Government feud with MCC moves to beach and park

The Housing Ministry has written to Male’ City Council (MCC) informing it that Sultan Park and the Artificial Beach areas of Male’ have been reclaimed by the government.

These areas represent two of the 32 land plots transferred from the Housing Ministry to the MCC after its establishment as part of the previous government’s decentralisation policy in 2010.

Dr Mohamed Muiz, Minister for Housing and Infrastructure, informed Sun Online that it was only the development rights that had been removed from these areas, insisting that the MCC would still be responsible for municipal services such as cleaning and maintenance.

Councillor Mohamed Abdul Kareem said that this was “proof that [the government] are politically motivated in other takeovers.”

“They are trying to take all the things handed over to the city council,” said Kareem.

The ongoing stand-off between government and MCC, which is dominated by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has been growing in intensity over the past two months.

The removal of these two areas from the council’s jurisdiction follows disputes over a number of areas in the capital which the MCC had allocated to the MDP for an ongoing series of protests. The reasons given for the jurisdictional challenges have varied in each instance.

  • March 19Lonuziyaaraiy Kolhu, “Justice Square” – The MDP camp was dismantled by security forces after a day of unrest in the capital. The government claimed illegal activities were being conducted in the area. It also claimed that the leasing of the land for political purposes was in contravention of the decentralisation act. The case remains stymied in the courts.

  • April 17Dharubaaruge Conference Centre – MCC informed that staff working at the centre would be transferred to the Housing Ministry. Police reopened the centre after the MCC locked the doors. The centre is currently still under the MCC’s jurisdiction.

  • April 18Huravee offices – The Housing Ministry informed the MCC that its staff were being evicted from their offices in the Huravee building to make way for two newly-created government ministries. The second of these ministries was  been officially introduced today. The MCC says the centre is still under its control.

  • May 9Usfasgandu – A letter in April informed the MCC that the land would be removed from their power if the MDP activities on the site were not stopped. The ministry again used the breach of the decentralisation act’s stipulations as justification for these breaches. Yesterday, the Home Ministry instructed the police to seize the area. Today, the police announced their intention to obtain a court order before taking further action.

  • May 21Artificial Beach – Government cites reclamation in order to develop the area.

  • May 21Sultan Park – Government cites “reasons of national security”.

The MCC has consistently denied the legality of these reclamations. Kareem said that the council will go to court to challenge the legality of the process of reclamation itself, rather than with regards to the individual cases, as he believes the government would prefer.

The reasons Muiz gave for today’s takeovers were the receipt of multiple requests to develop the artificial beach area and the importance of the Sultan Park area for national security.

Contrary to the development arguments cited by the Housing Ministry, Kareem argued that the MCC had intended to develop the area, something that the government did not want to see happen.

“They are trying to frighten investors”, Kareem alleged.

The importance of the area surrounding Sultan Park, mentioned as reason for the government’s takeover of this area, was highlighted by independent MP Mohamed Nasheed last month when speaking to Minivan News about a freedom of assembly bill entering the Majlis.

Nasheed stated that the unusual nature of the country meant that the area surrounding the state’s vital institutions must remain free from static protests, lest the security force’s ability to operate be jeopardised, reports Sun Online.

Dr Muiz was unavailable for additional comment when contacted by Minivan News.

Sultan Park lies on a short distance from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters and the Maldives Police Service (MPS) headquarters in Republican Square.

Both the MDP’s original “Justice Square” camp as well as the one currently threatened at Usfasgandu were leased to the party by the MCC.

Interim MDP Chairman Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik was today reported in the local media as saying that the MDP would make all of Male’ its base should the Usfasgandu area be cleared.

Kareem also reported that a petition, signed by 60 people was handed in to the Local Government Association (LGA) today criticising the MCC’s provision of services. Kareem argued that the MCC was in fact delivering services to thousands of people every day on a small budget.

Sun Online has reported that the petition criticised the council’s policy of not permitting certain religious speeches, which it argued was biased. The petitioners were also reported to have criticised the city’s maintenance of streets.

The MCC asked police to break up a speech given by Sheikh Ilyas Hussain on Friday which they argue had not been authorised.


3 thoughts on “Government feud with MCC moves to beach and park”

  1. L’est they forget. It will come back to bite them. Those who were in government yesterday are not in government now. Those in government today will not be in government today.

    Mark my word. The tables will turn and when they are on the other side, they will feel the pinch of the policies they put in place themselves. That’s how the world works. Call it karma, call it fate, call it balance.

  2. If MDP gathers inside "Kenereege" the housing ministry has no choice but to change ownership of "Goathi Registration of G. Kenereege" to the housing Ministry. There's logic behind all these take overs.
    My suggestion is members of MDP shall start demonstrations on fixed hours from their home turf (inside of their own individual homes throughout Male'). This will be very loud, and it will be all over Male', every road, every street. We can even point out flags from windows of the diffrent storeys of buildings. All Male will be yellow. And all oposition leaders will hear us no matter where they are. And they can hardly see us. Besides we will be protected from Nazim and Abulho Riza under our own roofs. All we need is Annis approval, clear guidance and timings issued by MDP. Lets rock Male'. Lets rock the Housing Ministry. (avoid prayer times, Ilyas's mosque surmons)

  3. They are taking over all properties of Male' City Council ...
    a) City Council is democratically elected by people -not these "government"

    b) filthy trick : govt takes control but MCC responsible - no way our money spent on govt using and refusing our people's premises
    c) dictators police regime has / is taken / taking over all public services, departments, organisiations, institutions, companies, properties, 30 % more resorts they said ... just to loot as much money as possible ... emptying state coffers, stopping development, and so on ... scumbag


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