South Africa parliament fire flares up again

Flames were seen billowing from the building's roof on Monday, as firefighters tried to douse the blaze.

The fire first broke out on Sunday and completely destroyed the National Assembly, or lower chamber.

Police have arrested a suspect who will appear in court on Tuesday on charges of arson, housebreaking and theft.

New Tonga PM to be elected

According to the Interim Speaker of Parliament Lord Tangi, one nomination was received and submitted to his office.

Nominations close at 4.30pm today.

In the meeting tomorrow morning Lord Tangi will open and read out the nomination(s) for Prime Minister.

“The nominations of candidates from the Nobles representatives for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker will be made verbally by the elected representatives from the floor at the same meeting after the result of the Prime Minister’s election is declared,” he said.

King Tupou VI: Tonga faces many challenges in election year

The King pointed out that in this election year, Tonga faced many challenges, including illicit drugs, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

King Tupou VI made the comments in his address to close the 2021 session of Parliament on Thursday.

His speech was read by Lord Ve'ehala, accompanied by the Nobles Fohe and Niukapu.

Prime on the list of challenges is the impact of illegal drugs, which the King stated had “caused frustration and anger among our youth, on whom we rely on to develop the country”.

Tonga soon to have a National University

Its intention is to merge all government tertiary institutions in Tongatapu into one national entity known as the Tonga National University.

If the Act comes into force, six government owned tertiary institutions will merge into one entity known as the Tonga National University.

The institutions currently exist as the Tonga Institute of Higher Education (TIOE), Tonga Institute for Higher Education (TIHE), Tonga Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), Tonga Maritime Polytechnic Institute (TMPI), Queen Salote School of Nursing an Allied Health and Tonga Police College.

MPs no longer entitled to 12-month absence from Tonga Parliament

The duration of absence is now three consecutive calendar months compared to the previous requirement of 12 consecutive calendar months.

The Legislative Assembly (Amendment) Bill 2021 was introduced by Lord Fakafanua, Noble’s Representative no.2 for Ha’apai.

The amendment to the Legislative Assembly Act was recently passed in Parliament to encourage the obligatory attendance of MPs during the House sitting to fulfill their Constitutional and legislative mandated roles.

Digicel Supports Tonga’s Take the Lead Youth Parliament Program

Anthony Seuseu, Digicel Tonga CEO, said, “We are proud to partner with Take The Lead and to support the success of She Leads Fale Alea ‘O Tonga 2021 to enable participants to become strong, confident and successful female leaders in their communities.”

She Leads Fale Alea ‘O Tonga (SLF) is Take The Leads annual female youth-led program in partnership with Tonga’s Parliament (Fale Alea 'O Tonga) and UNFPA, with the mission to end the low representation of women in Tongan politics. Take The Lead is a youth body that promotes youth-led initiatives in Tonga.

Government put on stage by King Tupou VI, people advised to select their representatives well

After welcoming and acknowledging the Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua, the Prime Minister Dr Rev Pohiva Tuionetoa and the Members of Parliament, His Majesty slammed the government and the House's "usual" practise of responding to His address without doing anything about it.

"It is unsatisfactory how this House does not make an effort after the promises and responses to Parliament’s Opening Ceremony each year," His Majesty said.

Vote of No Confidence motion filed by PNG Opposition

Speaker Job Pomat, in a press conference after the sitting, said he will now allow due process to take place.

“I have received it. When parliament meets on the 28th (May), it will look at this notice, after it goes through the process of the Private Business Committee,” Pomat said.

He explained that Parliament may not necessarily vote on the 28th but with the motion notice given yesterday afternoon, this will go for the notice paper when parliament next meets.

Bills deemed 'urgent' in Tonga set for lengthy delay

There have been a series of walkouts over the past fortnight as the 'Akilisi Pohiva's administration tries to get the bills through.

But the opposition, led by the nobles, say there must be consultation on bills that aim to limit the power of the King, and allow the government to appoint judges and the police commissioner.

While Mr Pohiva has previously talked of such reforms the only public consultations on these bills have been sessions on talk back radio.

Tonga prime minister told to seek proper advice

There have been a series of walk outs from parliament over the past week as the government tries to push through six bills under urgency.

The opposition, mostly made up of nobles, has asked Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva to explain why the bills are urgent.

This comes after a series of petitions to King Tupou VI calling for Mr Pohiva to be removed, and Massey University's Malakai Koloamatangi, himself a Tongan, says it is a very serious situation for the country.