22 Oct 2015

Petition to remove Tongan PM from education not political, says organiser

10:27 am on 22 October 2015

One of the organisers of a petition in Tonga calling for the prime minister and another minister Etuate Lavulavu to be removed from their education portfolios denies it's politically motivated.

Tonga's Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva arrives in PNG with Niue's Premier Toke Talagi for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in September 2015.

Tonga's Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: Koro Vaka'uta / RNZ

The former chief executive of the Ministry of Education, Emeli Pouvalu, presented a petition to the King this week.

Mrs Pouvalu says it is based on claims the Prime Minister, Akilisi Pohiva, who is the Minister for Education and Training, and his acting minister have been bullying staff and not following correct procedures.

The Public Service Association doesn't support the petition - saying it is of a political nature and being led by the former minister of education Dr Ana Taufe'ulungaki.

But Mrs Pouvalu denies that.

"There is nothing personal about it. I was just taking leadership and because I was already outside there was no threat to me and the [former] minister was not involved at all till the paper came to her house and she was one of the signatories to it and then she wanted to come with us to the presentation, that's it. It started by workers from the ministry."

Emeli Pouvalu says the petition collected over 900 signatures.