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God has rejected government’s fasting say Democrats as earthquake felt in Tongatapu

God has rejected the government’s controversial fasting programme by sending an earthquake on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku (L)during last Sunday’s national fasting programme.

That was the view of political reform advocates and PTOA party supporters after a 5.5 magnitude earthquake was felt in Tongatapu.

Political reform advocates and PTOA Party activists asked when the government would learn that its prayer service programme, which was designed to show off how religious they were, was contrary to what the Bible said.

Critics accused the government of being hypocrites who paid lip service to the nation, while the Prime Minister did nothing to stop Ministers convicted of electoral fraud from being paid with taxpayers’ money.

One pro-democracy movement livestream campaigner, ‘Asiata Māsima, said God would never agree with the government’s national fasting prayer, referring to a Tongan verse in the Bible from Isaiah 29:13 which says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips,  but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Māsima said the government is bringing curses to the nation.

Former government initiative

The government fasting programme was initiated by the former Tu’i’onetoa Government. It was heavily criticised after it was revealed the Ministers and their spouses had been paid by the government when they travelled to outer islands to conduct the fasting services. In return the ministers received plenty of fish, food and expensive handicrafts.

The Parliament was told last year that after fasting services in the outer islands ministers and government officials went on cocktail parties.

As Kaniva News reported at the time, residents of Tonga’s outer islands began to revolt at demands for elaborate feasts to be provided for the government’s prayer and fasting tours.

The fasting was designed to protect Tonga from Covid-19 and all natural disasters. These were some of the claims made from time to time by church ministers during the prayer services. However, in January 2022 the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai exploded, causing an earthquake that registered 6.2 on the Richter scale and a tsunami.

A total of four people died in Tonga as a result of the tsunami and two more were killed in Peru by the tidal wave generated by the eruption.

Changes to the programme

The Hu’akavameiliku government made a change to the fasting programme after it took power. The Prime Minister asked the churches to conduct it on their own while the government would only attend and support it.

Yesterday, photos of the programme were shared on Facebook. It was organised by the Mo’ui Fo’ou ‘Ia Kalaisi church and was attended by the Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers.

Critics have been baffled by the government’s apparent use of religion as a weapon to calm its citizens while the Prime Minister has been seriously criticised for his refusal to remove the convicted ministers.