Government plotting to “destroy decentralization,” says Malé Deputy Mayor

The Housing Ministry’s efforts to appropriate lands and property under the Malé City Council is an organized effort to discredit the council, destroy the decentralization system and punish Malé citizens for voting for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Deputy Mayor Shifa Mohamed has said today.

Since the takeover of the Dharubaaruge Conference Center, the ministry has asked for the hand over of two additional parks developed by the council, Shifa told Minivan News.

“This is an organized joint effort by the ministry and the government to discredit the council and destroy the decentralization system. When taking back lands [from the city council] is among the very the first decisions of the cabinet, it can also be seen as a revenge against people living in Malé, and people from all over the country who are living in the city. I dont think Malé citizens deserve this spirit of revenge from the government for voting for the MDP,” she said.

The ministry’s official reason for taking over the parks is “unlawful activity” taking place at the parks, but Shifa said the ministry failed to provide details of such activities.

The council had developed the two parks – Fini Park or Bondibai Park and City Park – with cafeteria services in 2012 in order to prevent drug dealing and criminal activity, Shifa said, accusing the government of taking back the parks to reverse gains.

President Abdulla Yameen’s administration is preventing the council from serving the people of Malé, she added.

“Even earlier [with Dharubaaruge and other lands] they could not give a valid reason or explanation. They just said it was based on the Attorney General’s advice which no one has ever seen. This time they say are saying unlawful activity without telling us what these activities are,” she said.

Police involvement

Council Member Shamau Shareef told local media yesterday that the Maldives Police Service was not cooperating with the council to clear out gang hangouts in Malé City’s public spaces. The police are “afraid to touch” such areas, Shamau claimed.

In response, the police said the council had not issued an official permit requesting action.

The council yesterday sent a letter requesting Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed to stop police participation in Dharubaaruge takeover without a court warrant, and asked him to investigate the incident.

No plan for development

In an official statement released yesterday, the council said the government is appropriating lands and property under the council without any plans for development and said the ministry has confirmed the absence of such a plan to the council in writing.

Regulations on transfer of lands between the local and central government states the government is authorized to take over land from the councils on a cabinet decision for socio- economic purposes and national security purposes.

The ministry also intends to take over the artificial beach, carnival area, south harbour area, lands near the T-Jetty and Usfasgandu area on the city’s southeast.

The council condemned the “unlawful takeover,” noting that the police and housing ministry officials who entered and changed Dharubaaruge locks yesterday had done so without a court warrant or any official document indicating the center had been transferred to the ministry.

The council called on President Yameen and senior members of the government to take action against such unlawful actions and asked the government to ensure the implementation of its policies would not harm the citizens of Malé City.

The statement also explained that the Ministry of Finance and Treasury rejected the council’s request in December 2012 for funds to repair a badly damaged and deteriorating Dharubaaruge.

According to the council they were asked to utilize funds allocated for the council in 2013, and the council informed the ministry the funds were insufficient for repair. However, the ministry refused to release additional funds, the council claimed. Copies of the letters was shared with the media.

When funds were denied, the council handed over the maintenance and development of Dharubaaruge to a private company, under a public-private partnership agreement through a public bidding process.

The council statement also said the ministry’s actions were “without any respect to the legal contract between the council and a private party” and without considering  how the action may affect members of the public.

Although MDP dominates the council, a council member from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Zaidul Ameen has also condemned yesterday’s incident.

The MDP has on several occasions accused the ruling PPM of opposing decentralization and said their policies reflect the party’s founder President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s centralized policies.


7 thoughts on “Government plotting to “destroy decentralization,” says Malé Deputy Mayor”

  1. well clearly what have the councils done to their residents? supposedly green parks are now just full of cafeterias and shops is just one example how they are ruining the 'city'

  2. Deputy Mayor,

    what you are experiencing right now are the delayed effects of the poison pill taken by your predecessors belonging to MDP. They were irresponsible and highly corrupt while in their seats. As a result of their actions then, people's faith in the functionality of a decentralised government is greatly devalued today. And this is a blow to the very core of decentralisation - our own capital city.

    It is a public secret that former MDP council members formed a corrupt-co-operative within the MCC chaired by Ibrahim Suja (defacto mayor). Together they exploited and dispensed each and every single land that belonged to MCC (and in some cases - lands that were next to lands that belonged to MCC).

    There was no due process or due diligence. Bogus bidding processes were staged and shady evaluation processes went inside the council chambers. And this became business as usual at Male' City Council.

    Everyone know about it, but the general public enjoyed the gossip of how corrupt MCC is at coffee gathering and tea houses.

    but when we fast forward and come to where you are today, the general public has since changed much! now they don't care even if this government is destroying the decentralisation system because it just didn't work nor it did not set a fine example during MDP reign for the public to value it any more.

    Let us review projects former MCC did is of any value to people. parks were created, people are going to restaurants inside them, Ameer ahmed school got built and students are studying in a new building, billboards have come up on our streets, half baked plan of improving greenery of main streets by planting palm trees, upgrading the gaadiyas, night market.

    And the other projects that didn't bare any fruit but created a buzz -South harbour, fish market, vegetable market, Adu park, dharubaaruge, carnival area etc. etc.

    But if you see the pattern of these project, what did MCC do with them, all they did was privatise it to a party. They themselves didn't really do anything tangible. The streets have not become any cleaner, the island has not become any less congested.

    So, when you say this government is trying to destroy decentralisation - even though decentralisation as a concept maybe a better system - it just didn't work with the kind of people that were put there by MDP during its governance.

    To broaden the scope of this line of thought, MDP just made a big mess out of decentralisation and also central government. of course there was strong opposition from other parties but yet MDP was in power and they should have been able to maintain power long enough for the public to believe in this new system of government.

    But i think MDP being ousted in 3 years, subsequently asking public to play a blame game, then boiling them up to an election, that ended in opposition winning through a corrupt justice system - oh well - the public has just got fed up and tired to believe in this whole decentralisation, democracy crap.

    They rather prefer the old ways where we just shut up, not bother and let the government do its business as long as it doesn't interfere with the daily lives of the people.

    We won't be fighting for political ideologies for a long long time.

    So keep saying what you saying. It will continue to fall on deaf ears.

  3. Let's not beat about the bush.

    Decentralisation is good only if they take responsibility and can be held accountable for their actions.

    The biggest threat is the psyche of the some hypocritical Mordisians, who wants a government similar to Nigerian militants, following Imrano-haram!

    Let's have a government who can crush the fascists!

  4. Quite honestly i agree with google saleem. One of the biggest reasons that ideas like democracy and decentralisation did not take off is is due to the example set by the MDP government.

    They were elected on a platform of saying no to corruption and starting a fresh new chapter where everyone was afforded opportunities on a merit basis rather than a who you know basis.

    However it evident pretty soon that the MDP government was merely a trojan horse for the people of Maldives. While Nasheed was standing on podiums going on about democracy his cronies like Reeko and Co were awarding themselves and their friends huge contracts and other bonuses. The same corrupt practices were taking place at the MDP majority City Council.

    I am not saying that members of other parties were not corrupt merely that the Maldivian public had higher expectations for the MDP members. Nasheed and his party was viewed by many as the solution to many of the corrupt practices of the Maumoon era.

    However the example they set quickly disenchanted the public. Few months in to Nasheeds rule the coffee houses that were once filled with enthusiastic supporters of democracy were replaced with disillusioned and embittered people.

    It is no wonder that Maldivians are remaining silent while these councils try to defend themselves against the government. For the average citizen the end result appears to be the same.

    The general public no longer views MDP as the road to utopia where democracy functions as it should and justice is served.
    At present both MDP (with its rallying cry of democracy) and PPM(which most people seem to accept is a return to the Maumoon era) are just two roads leading to the same destination.

  5. But what do you mean by these two roads leading to the same destination ? Perhaps something different could await us at the end of each road.


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