President Mohamed Waheed Hassan appointed 18 new deputy ministers to 11 ministries on Tuesday.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) criticised the appointments as rewards for participation in the alleged coup d’état of February 7, that saw Mohamed Nasheed resign “under duress”.
“All of these people were senior activists in leading the coup d’état. Many of them were present at the Republican Square on February 7. They are unqualified and inexperienced,” MDP spokesperson and Maafannu Uthuru MP Imthiyaz Fahmy contended.
However, President Waheed’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said the positions were awarded based on political party affiliation and qualifications, not based on “political activity or their presence at a certain place.”
He also said the appointments reflected President Waheed’s desire to “formulate a national unity government”.
“The law gives him the choice to choose his cabinet. He wanted his cabinet to represent all political parties, and he invited all parties to join the government. And these are the people who joined him,” Riza said.
According to Riza, the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), the Dhivei Qaumee Party (DQP), and the Jumhooree Party (JP) were given three deputy ministerial positions each, while the religious Adhaalath Party was given four seats. President Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihad (GI) received two seats, and the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) received one seat. The MDP declined to participate.
Waheed also appointed his brother Ali Waheed Hassan Manik as the CEO of National Center for Arts. Managing Director Adam Shareef of the now defunct Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC)’s alleged Ali Waheed had led the take over of MNBC on behalf of Dr Waheed before Nasheed resigned.
Dr Waheed’s new appointments include former prominent opposition activists, DRP media coordinator Ali Solih, Abdulla Rifau and Naaif Shawkath who led a series of opposition-sponsored youth protests in May 2011, Gayoom’s former presidential appointee now DRP registrar Mohamed Saleem (Hoarafushi), Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa TV reporter Shiham Mohamed Waheed, and Adhaalath Party’s Asadhulla Shafee, who was seen in a leaked video clip at the police headquarters with opposition leaders before Nasheed announced his resignation.
MDP MP Fahmy said the public had voted for an MDP administration, but that Waheed’s appointments represented the interests of former president Gayoom – who had been voted out.
“Waheed has been forced to grant jobs to these activists. He is a mere puppet. He is controlled by Gayoom, his brother Yameen and the businessmen who led the coup,” he said. Fahmy said he believed Gayoom was backing Waheed in a bid to avoid early elections, which the MDP is confident of winning.
In response, Riza said the 2008 vote had been for a coalition government that included the Jumhooree Party, Dhivehi Qaumee Party and Adhaalath Party. “Calling it an MDP administration simply has no political weight,” he said.
President Waheed appointed Ahmed Shafeeu as Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture on Monday, filling up the last post in his cabinet. He also appointed eight state ministers on Tuesday, among them retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohamed Fayaz (Home Affairs), and December 23 protest organiser and spokesperson Abdulla Mohamed (Home Affairs).
Waheed had also appointed Gayoom’s children, Dhunya Maumoon and Ghassan Maumoon to state minister for foreign affairs and state minister for human resources respectively.
Waheed now has 14 ministers, 16 state ministers and 18 deputy ministers. Riza subsequently told local media Haveeru that there would be no further ministerial appointments.
Download a ‘Who’s Who’ spreadsheet of the Dr Waheed’s ministerial appointees (English)