Male’ City Council passed a resolution today to seize the official residence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Ma Kibigasdhoshuge, for the state with compensation.
At an impromptu meeting held outside parliament this morning amidst public protests, nine councillors of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) sat cross-legged on a red carpet decked out on the road and unanimously endorsed the resolution. The two opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) councillors did not attend the ‘meeting’.
Former Mayor “Sarangu” Adam Manik confirmed the council’s decision and defended the legality of the move.
“The meeting was a lawful meeting and all decisions made during the meeting will be lawful and shall be implemented,” insisted Manik, who also chaired the meeting.
However the former municipality head refused to comment any further on the matter.
Article 41(n) of the Decentralisation Act empowers the city council to seize private property “if necessary” after providing “fair compensation”.
Ahmed Nihan, spokesperson of the Z-DRP faction formed behind the party’s ‘Honorary Leader’ Gayoom, told Minivan News today that he did not believe the council’s decision was legal.
“How can they claim land owned by someone? Even the constitution states that everyone must respect others private life and house,” Nihan said. “The current government is helpless to rule the country.”
Nihan said that the Male’ City Council had violated the rights of the former President, adding that the council did not have the legal authority to seize land.
“The ultimate outcome of such decisions will be other island councils will start making such decisions in council meeting and will start claiming others’ properties,” he suggested. “Now also Kaafu Atoll Guraidhoo Council is claiming that the resort (Kandooma Island Resort) right next to the island is a part of the island.”
The DRP MP for Vili-Maafanu strongly condemned the decision made by Male’ City Council.
“It is another desperate action of the government,” he said. “Mad people like Adam Manik will do such things like sitting on the road and holding council meetings.”
Nihan argued that the Male’ City Council could not take the land without Gayoom’s consent.
“Although the council has decided to pay compensation in return for the land, still it cannot be taken without the consent of former president,” he insisted.
Nihan said that he was not aware if Gayoom had officially decided to take any action concerning the decision.