Male’ City Council (MCC) has said it has today received a letter from the Housing Ministry requiring the body to vacate its offices based in the Huravee building by 3:00pm tomorrow.
Minister for Housing and Environment Dr Mohamed Muiz told the Haveeru newspaper that the council had been asked to vacate the offices in order to accommodate two new government ministries. He said that the work done by the MCC in these offices would be relocated to Male’ City Hall.
Minivan News was unable to reach the Dr Muiz for comment at the time of press. However, Councillor Mohamed Abdul Kareem confirmed that the MCC had received the letter, which informed the council that its members were to be evicted from the offices which provide health services, trade, and registration services.
“The council has decided to make a public announcement saying that public services will be disrupted,” said Kareem. “They [the Housing Ministry] are not obeying the law. They don’t want local government,” Kareem continued. “We have not yet decided to give over the property.”
A similar dispute between the municipal council and the Housing Ministry took place yesterday concerning control of the Dharubaaruge conference centre. “They are not disturbing the MCC, they are not disturbing the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), they are disturbing the citizens of Male’,” Councillor Kareem claimed while discussing the two disputes.
Yesterday’s dispute arose after the Housing Ministry informed the MCC that its staff at Dharubaaruge were to be transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Environment.
This news prompted the MCC to lock the centre and send staff home for the day. Dr Mohamed Muiz described this action as “unlawful”.
Later in the day, Police were seen outside of the conference centre, where they drew the ire of MDP supporters gathered at a demonstration site set up at Usfangandu, an area of land adjacent to Dharubaaruge . Police Spokesman Hassan Haneef confirmed that three arrests had been made in the unrest that followed.
Earlier this month, the Housing Ministry informed the MCC that it intended to claim jurisdiction over Usfangandu, the site of the new MDP protest area. The ministry claimed that the use of the land for political activities was in contravention of regulations, a claim the MCC denied.
The MCC itself came into existence with the passing of the decentralisation act in 2010 under the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed. The MCC consist of eleven councillors, nine of which belong to Nasheed’s MDP.
Sun Online has today reported that the MCC has filed a suit that disputes the legitimacy of the letter sent from the Housing Ministry regarding the transfer of staff at Dharubaaruge.
The Chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) yesterday stated that “institutions and land belonging to central government can be changed by cabinet decision according to the rules.”
Local media has since reported that the decentralisation bill itself came under scrutiny in the People’s Majlis yesterday.
Haveeru reported that MPs argued that the act needed root and branch reform rather than “piecemeal amendments” that had been presented before the parliament in order to make any changes more suitable to the country.
Sun Online reported on the same debate, covering the comments of Ahmed Siyam, who argued that the current constitutional set up of the nation would lead to financial disaster for the country.
“I think, unless we revise the laws, and especially the constitution, within the next two or three years, our economy will be completely destroyed. Our country will be left in poverty. Even if we look at this Parliament – it’s larger than any other Parliament in the world, and the government structure is top-heavy. Our economy is not able to survive on its income due to money not being used in the most optimal manner,” Shiyam is reported to have said.