A letter from former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom denouncing the current leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) reflects the concerns of a wide number of members over the party’s opposition of government policies, such as the privatisation of Male’ International Airport, MP Ahmed Nihan has said.
The letter was linked to on Haveeru in Dhivehi. Minivan News is currently working on an English translation.
In the letter, Gayoom accuses Thasmeen of “dictatorial” characteristics and claimed he was writing the letter “in order to protect the Islamic faith of the Maldivian people and the sovereignty of the Maldives.”
Following his retirement from politics in February 2010, Gayoom endorsed Thasmeen as his successor to the leadership of the opposition. Thasmeen was then appointed to the leadership unopposed during the party’s congress.
However, after months of infighting between two factions – one loyal to Thasmeen and the other to dismissed Deputy Leader Umar Naseer – and speculation as to which side the party’s ‘Honorary Leader’ would back, Gayoom’s letter finally puts the former President’s card on the table.
“Disputes and conflicts always arise within the party, as you are leading the party against the democratic manners, and in a dictatorial way,” Haveeru translated Gayoom as saying.
Gayoom’s particular point of contention with Thasmeen was his “taking decisions without the advice of the party’s council and against the council’s decisions” – namely, an apparently unanimous decision made by 21 council members in an urgent meeting in on June 24, 2010, to fight the government’s leasing of Male’ International Airport to Indian infrastructure giant GMR.
“Decisions are being taken on force and on your influence on several organs of the party, outside the system of the party. This should not be the case in a party that is being run on values of democracy and transparency,” Gayoom said.
The former President criticises Thasmeen for the party’s dismissal of Umar Naseer, accusing his of having “a personal grudge” against Naseer. Gayoom said he had requested Thasmeen resolve his difficulties with Naseer outside the Council, and retract his request with the Elections Commission to remove Naseer from the party.
“I was given the short answer of ‘out of the question’. Your answer proved to me that you have a personal grudge towards this particular Deputy Leader, Umar Naseer, as you have not taken an action against the other Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed, who was involved in the matter to the same extent as Umar Naseer,” Gayoom stated.
“I believe that every political leader should be free-minded and patient in order to be able to live with people of different ideas. It is democracy. I believe that the severe action taken by you against the Deputy Leader [Umar Naseer] proves the small scope of your political views,” Gayoom said, in Haveeru’s article.
Gayoom also attacks Thasmeen for contributing only Rf300,000 (US$23,300) to his campaign for the 2008 Presidential election – a campaign Gayoom said cost Rf33 million (US$2.6 million), and criticised him for not accompanying Gayoom’s son Ghassan on his campaign trip to Thaa Atoll during his bid for the Thimarafushi constituency in the 2009 parliamentary election.
Gayoom further accused Thasmeen of trying to damage his reputation by following the recommendations of a British public relations firm, The Campaign Company (TCC). The same firm was used by Hassan Saeed, leader of the minority opposition and now coalition partner Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP), during a PR trip to the UK last year in a bid to gain international support for the opposition. The firm employed an individual named Peter Craske to arrange meetings with politicians and journalists, who falsely presented the DQP as “an alliance between the DRP and MDP parties.” Craske later acknowledged the error in an email letter to Minivan News.
Gayoom claimed that TCC’s cofounder, Jonathan Upton, visited the Maldives and recommended that Thasmeen sideline him.
“[Upton] did not have any idea of the views of the Maldivian people and the political situation of the Maldives. His recommendation to keep me aside, without knowing the support of the majority of the Maldivian people as they have seen the development and changes during my presidency, was not a politically mature recommendation,” Gayoom said. “You are showing characteristics that cannot be prevented after being deceived by the words of people who are unaware of the political scenario of this country.”
The letter puts the writing on the wall for Thasmeen and is likely to split the opposition’s membership. There was heightened speculation this week that the party would actually split into two parties and potential names were reportedly being circulated among MPs through SMS – however the fight for the right to keep the DRP’s name is likely only beginning. Thasmeen is showing no sign of bowing to the wishes of the former President, and has already told local media that he considers the letter “slanderous” and dared Gayoom to make it public.
Thasmeen’s ability to use his democratic mandate – though unopposed, he was still elected – to survive the factional struggle within the opposition will serve as a bellweather both for the extent Gayoom’s continuing influence in the Maldives and the potential for Maldivian parties to mature beyond personality politics. However if Thasmeen remains, the split opposition could mean an easy re-election for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in 2013, given the party preferences in the recent local council elections.
DRP MP Nihan, who said he is yet to fully read the leader sent by Gayoom, believes Gayoom’s correspondence reflects dissatisfaction among a number of “ordinary members” during the last ten to eleven months concerning the leadership of his successor.
Thasmeen was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press concerning the letter. However in response he has written his own letter stating that he will “stand firm and with full confidence” of winning the presidential election 2013.
“In my trips to more than 100 islands during the local council election campaign, members of the party, heads of the party’s wings and supporters have assured me of giving their full cooperation and have asked me to continue with this work,” Thasmeen said in a letter, translated by Haveeru.
Earlier this week, DRP MPs from both sides of the spat said they believed a split within the party appeared imminent; with some members even considering potential names for new political bodies as internal divisions and infighting between factions has continued to escalate.
These factions relate in part to a war of words between the supporters of Thasmeen and dismissed Deputy Leader Umar Naseer that has continued to escalate, at times, into violent confrontations over the legitimacy of decisions taken by the party’s council, such as the latter’s removal.
In light of these divides, Nihan said he believed the letter, without having read it in detail, was not so much part of a vendetta against Thasmeen from factional rivals in the party, but a reflection of complaints that Gayoom has received from party members dating back almost a year.
“There have been reports received by Mr Gayoom as to what has been seen as mismanagement on the part of Thasmeen,” he said. “Ordinary members of the party are very unsatisfied with party leadership and they have complained to Maumoon [Gayoom] about this.”
One of the key issues Nihan stressed that was behind the complaints levelled against Thasmeen had been in the work of the party to hold the government accountable for its actions, particularly in terms of deals such as the decision to allow Indian infrastructure giant GMR to manage and devlope a new terminal building at Male’ International Airport.
“Like with the GMR issues, there is a sense that Thasmeen hasn’t done enough to oppose this,” he said. “The divided thinking in the party has really been seen in the last six months from around when the airport was handed over [to GMR] in November.”
DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali told Minivan News in November that a coalition of political parties formed in opposition to the GMR airport deal remained committed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focusing on legal recourse to try and prevent the privatisation agreement.
“We simply believe the deal is not in our national or security interests,” Thasmeen said. “With the privatisation of other [existing or soon to be] international airports in the north and south of the country, the state will not have an airport under its control.”
Thasmeen soon came under fire amidst allegations that both himself and fellow party member and Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid has taken bribes from GMR to hinder opposition to the deal. Both politicians and GMR have denied the allegations, which they claimed were a complete “fabrication” by political opponents.
23 thoughts on “Gayoom condemns Thasmeen’s leadership of opposition in 12-page letter”
Gayoom is paying way to try Thasneem in a court of law and to overthrow him from DRPs leadership. Truth is, Gayoom has significant control on Maldivies Judiciary.
It is time that Thasmeen takes a preemptive measure, by exercising his power in the parliament, and contain the role of ex-presidents through a legislation. If not attended soon, then Thasneem is heading for trouble at an accelerating speed.
Now I don't know which politician is sincere with this country and for the people of this country. Qayyoom calls thasneem a dictator, then what was he for 30 years. Thasneem is acused of taking bribery from GMR, then what is this MOU he is talking about? MDP has less chance of winning the next presidential election but remains in solid dream of winning it. Its all chaos now.
He has clearly lost it, long expected this is the rant of a child that has had his toys taken away and he is screaming for them to be given back. We heard from the daughter just earlier in the week trying the same speech and no-one was interested, now we hear it direct from the horse.
Umar is his new champion, also clearly certifiable and as determined to undermine the opposition. He was public enemy number one only yesterday, with his sham of a party.
DRP members, please have a clear mind when you think of this stuff because it will shape your future. Do you continue to follow the same stale rants of a dictatorial "supremo" or do you stay with your current leader?
It's so important this time because if you blow it, you will lose not only the next election, but the support of the general public even in opposition.
This man has destroyed the judiciary, the majlis and now seeks to destroy his party, the people who stood by him whilst he ignored the will of the people and lost his seat as well as all credibility. At this time please follow Thasmeen, he is the only leader you really have.
Even the rotten brother is pretending to 'stand by his man' obviously no-one believes him.
The government needs to start serving the public, the judiciary needs to get trained and honest, deal with the thugs holding our country to ransom. Last but not least, all so called parliamentarians need to get off their butts and start working for their constituents. At this rate we may as well do it ourselves, we could hardly do worse.
maumoon the father of dictator calling someone else by it is just toooooo effing funny!
I have seen a lot of comments on other news websites where DRP members were saying they would rather vote for Nasheed than Thasmeen in 2013. Says a lot about what's happening in that party.
Thasneem can join MDP.
Maumoon clearly believes he has more wisdom than anyone else when it comes to Maldivian politics.
This is clearly evident in the letter that Thasmeen has sent in reply to Maumoon. Several incidents are highlighted where Maumoon never consulted his party council and took the decisions himself. The most notable is Maumoon's own decision not to form a coalition during the last Presidential election.
Maumoon will not change his ways. He is not capable of that and he has shown that amply over 30 years. He is demonstrating quite clearly that even today.
I'm not sure that DRP members will see a rational way out of it. Most politically active people in the country are leaning on one extreme or the other. There are very few who are thinking with a level head. This applies to both DRP and MDP and this is part of the reason why we've got so much infighting.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" - Dr. Samuel Johnson.
If you read the letter it is clear that the issue is that Maumoon sees Thasmeen's leadership as a gift from him and he just can't digest the betrayal of Thasmeen not following the wishes of maumoon. The whole letter is full of contradictions that only he will not notice because he do not see himself as a normal human being. Eg: He says Thasmeen should follow the decisions of the council and then complains he does not follow Maumoon's suggestions...are they always the same...? He writes most of it as a supreme leader and signs the letter as such but claims within the letter that he is writing it as a concerns citizen...? Bascially the whole thing is full of contradictions and reduculous claims - he is sick to the stomach that the puppet he installed is not obeying the puppet master...
I find it difficult to take Maldivian politics and even Minivan News seriously.
Gayoom continuing in politics after 30 years of dictatorship, torture of opponents, and fleecing the country, should cause concern and alarm to any educated person with some knowledge of politics.
Gayoom is the least qualified person to call Thasmeen or Nasheed or anybody else a dictator. Gayoom knows as little about democracy as Mubarak and Gaddafi. Dictatorship is the only ideology that Gayoom knows. That is for sure.
I do not know what is going on in the Maldives nowadays. However, it looks to me as if democracy has not yet been established, and its future not yet made safe.
Mohamed Nasheed has a job to do.
Thasmeen had turned a blind eye to what he should have seen coming on upon him.
Now that Maumoon has gone down to the mattress, Thasmeen better be aware!
Samurai has been rolled out and could strike at anytime!
Maumoon cannot and will not change!
Maumoon's letter is written with the intensity of a lover's jealousy. One can write a letter attacking a person's policies, fair enough. But such letters should be written without such vitriolic personal attacks such as "writing to protect the sovereignty of Islam in Maldives?" That is an extreme statement from Maumoon. It implies that Thasmeen's actions are in direct opposition to Islam, which is a very serious offence in the Maldives and a very serious social-slander. Things I have seen lead me to feel that many Maldivians would rather be accused of being a drug dealing pedophile rather than as being accused one who attacks Islam.
Maumoon has demonstrated to me that he is a truly bitter, souless man, and that the benevolence I had seen on his face is nothing but a well constructed mask. His serenading manner of speech, particularly the beautiful eloquence with which he speaks Arabic, is a sweet designed to lure the masses into terryfying slavery of a dehumanizing nature.
Maumoon, discredit Thasmeen as a political thinker, as a leader, as an economist, that is fair game. But refrain from asserting that that you are protecting Islam by attacking him.
That is a dirty, dehumanizing and evil trick, if any believe such nonsense they will hurt Yameen badly, and that is cruel and inhuman of you Maumoon.
You tried to do the same to the Great Mohammed Anni Nasheed, yet Mohammed Anni Nashhed, His Most Benevolent Excellency THE GREAT Mohammed Nasheed I should say, is BY FAR the greatest Maldivian who ever lived simply because he saw you for what you were and had the guts, the courage to suffer for acting on his knowledge when others were afraid.
You are not half the soul Anni is Maumoon, you are insanely jealous of Anni, and your attempts to hand over the Maldives to your totally evil Brother Yamin will be the most evil action you had ever done.
oh I made a mistake in my above comment, i was meant to write, in the fourth paragraph, they will hurt Thasmeen badly.
Tasmeen should sack Gayoom and his family and tell the people that he is old and gone crazy. He must remind the people that by keeping this guy in the party is going to do no good in the country. It is better for DRP to lose the next election than keeping Gayoom in the party.
Ask Haivakarugey Leela to mediate this dispute. Perhaps she is the mole in the DRP now.
Better for them to keep Maumoon - it'll make it easier to carry out the 'hunt' if he's not in hiding.
Maumoon, you are too nice with Thasneem. You should be a bit mean and evil with people like Anni and Thasneem. Be more strong headed with them. If you call Maldivians to stand against thasneem, it won't take more than a second for him to be out of DRP. Its better to vote for Anni than Thasneem's DRP in the next presidential election.
Maumoon is a coward! shameless b#####s!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! GET OUT OUR LIFES WITH YOUR FAMILY!!
Dear author, and fellow Maldivians
While scanning through many of the comments made here, one can clearly find a commen sence that leads to why DRP'S current so called leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali is not suitable enough to lead the biggest opposition Party in Maldives.
My argument is simple, many Maldivians still dosent know how spell this leaders name correctly? Some spell him as " Thasneem" others spell him " Thasmeen". He is an alien among the general public, his own party members mistake his name as of Thasneem.
Hence a person who is supposed to be heading towered 2013 with such a unperedicted political environment must be be very well know by Name and conviction. This guy is a total failure and nut head.
"Its better to vote for Anni than Thasneem’s DRP in the next presidential election."
Shame that you still haven't learned how the NEW Constitution works. You do not vote for a PARTY in the Presidential election. You vote for a person. That person may or may not represent a party. Well, if you think Anni is more deserving of your vote than Thasmeen, by all means, cast your vote that way. I don't think it matters much to either of them.
Thats your interpretation. Thasmeen is far better than Gayoom. By his actions, Gayoom made it amply clear that he is power hungry and wants control over DRP. Its time that the old man is told that the party is not his personal property and time has come for Thasmeen to confronts Gayoom and tell him who is leader of the DRP for once and for all.
Gayoom's daughters and sons are forcing the old man to stand up for the election in 2013, so that they can return to their life of comfort in Theemuge and continue to rob the country for a luxury living. Yumna, Ghassan, Faahish, Shoaib and Dhunya should be ashamed of themselves. Can't they earn a proper living instead of eating off their poor father.
Nasreena please discipline your children. Leave our Supreme Leader in peace.
A dictator calling some one else a dictator is the biggest joke of the century. If we allow Gayyoom or his family member to come back we will see the revenge and total destruction of this democracy. so beware and either choose Nasheed or Thasmeen. The old man is evil.
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