Nasheed announces former university chancellor Musthafa Luthfy as running mate

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has announced Dr Musthafa Luthfy as his running mate in the September 2013 elections.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor confirmed the announcement, made at a meeting of the party’s national executive committee this morning.

One of the conditions Dr Luthfy had agreed to, Ghafoor said, was that if Nasheed was elected President and later “killed or incapacitated”, Luthfy would declare an election.

“Nasheed discussed the choice with the national council, but it believed the choice should be left to Nasheed,” Ghafoor said. “The general opinion was that the person should be faithful, a party member, totally in support of the party’s manifesto, and not necessarily an expression of who the next president would be.”

He noted that Nasheed during a previous committee meeting had narrowed the choice to what he described as a “religious person, a military person, and a development person. In our context, these are very relevant [themes].”

Development person

Dr Luthfy served as Education Minister during Nasheed’s administration, initially appointed to the post under a coalition agreement with then-Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP), alongside Economic Development Minister Mohamed Rasheed.

One of the founding members of incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s GIP, Dr Luthfy joined the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) following its acrimonious split with GIP in 2010.

The MDP severed the coalition agreement after GIP leader and then-Vice President Mohamed Waheed’s publicly criticised the government on an opposition-aligned media outlet.

Rasheed was ejected from the government following the split, while Luthfy remained in the post of Education Minister until the mass dismissal of Nasheed’s cabinet by parliament in late 2010. He was subsequently appointed as the first Chancellor of the Maldives National University, resigning from the post in protest against Dr Waheed’s controversial ascension to the presidency in February 2012.

Education reformist

As Education Minister, Dr Luthfy was among the first to flag the country’s low O-level pass rate as the source of many social challenges facing young people, such as high levels of unemployment and lack of both tertiary and vocational education opportunities.

“When students finish Grade 10, and when they do not have many other avenues to go to for education, they remain in society and have two years before they become adults at 18 years. So they have two years of not being able to get a job, and this is also a crucial period in their physical development,” Dr Luthfy told Minivan News, in an extensive 2010 interview.

“During this time they are not in a school and due to this I think there will be negative impact on their behaviour and also on society. We are trying to keep students in the system until they are 18. We can do that by diversifying our curriculum – some can do A-Level, some can go for other programmes such as foundation and certificate level courses, and through that proceed to higher education,” he said.

Luthfy and his successor, Shifa Mohamed, presided over “mega reform” of an education sector which had last been revised in 1984, overseeing an increase in the O-level pass rate from 27 percent in 2009 to 32 percent in 2010, and 37 percent in 2011. In 2012, the pass rate leapt to 46 percent.

Some proposed reform attracted controversy, and was quickly exploited for political leverage by the government’s opponents.

One of these was the proposal to make Islam and Dhivehi optional subjects at A-level, which became a wedge issue with the MDP’s remaining coalition partner, the religious conservative and nationalistic Adhaalath Party (AP).

A-Level students typically study between four to five subjects. Some university prerequisites demand as many as three or four subjects, particularly for university-level science courses. Luthfy had suggested that making the subjects optional would give A-level students greater ability to pursue careers of their choosing, and become “world citizens”.

Speaking to Minivan News in 2010, he justified the Education Ministry steering committee’s recommendation as opening many more doors for students to seek tertiary education, stating that it would “give students many different subject options, so they are not forced to take some subjects – rather they have the freedom to choose whatever they want.”

Religious groups and the Adhaalath Party seized the issue as an assault on national identity and evidence of the government’s supposed irreligiousness, a point of view disputed by Dr Luthfy.

“I think there is a certain group of people who actually think that it is their responsibility and their duty to safeguard Maldivian culture and Maldivian religion, and that others are not treating this fairly,” he told Minivan News at the time.

“But in fact we, as the educationalists, we are also taking care of our culture and religion and trying to train our students to become world citizens, rather than narrowing their perspective. That may be one of the reasons why they have suspicions that we are not trying to do justice to the religion or language [of the Maldives], and that is obviously untrue. Whether the subjects will be optional or not, we will revise them, and the curriculum, and we will train our teachers to teach these subjects in a better manner.”

Adhaalath-aligned MP Ibrahim Muttalib – who had previously sought the total elimination of alcohol from the tourism dependent economy – levelled a no-confidence motion against Luthfy over the issue in June 2010.

The day before the vote was due to be held Nasheed’s entire cabinet resigned in protest over what they termed the “scorched earth politics” of the opposition-majority parliament.

Nasheed subsequently re-appointed the ministers, however the constitutional requirement for newly appointed ministers to receive parliamentary approval ultimately led to the mass dismissal of all but five members of Nasheed’s cabinet later that same year. Luthfy was among the seven ministers dismissed, but was soon after appointed the first Chancellor of the newly-opened Maldives National University.


12 thoughts on “Nasheed announces former university chancellor Musthafa Luthfy as running mate”

  1. “But in fact we, as the educationalists, we are also taking care of our culture and religion and trying to train our students to become world citizens, rather than narrowing their perspective. "

    Totally agree with Dr Luthufy on that one. Time for a quiz. Who'd be better at running our education system:

    (1) People who are actually educated and experienced in the education sector.
    (2) The Mullahs of Adhaalath whose role models are the likes of the Taliban who shoot girls just for going to school.

    Is that a tough choice?

    Dr Luthufy is an educated and experienced loyal citizen and I'm sure he'd made an excellent Vice President if elected. Good luck.

  2. Dear MN, I think there's an error in the opening line of this article. Rgds

  3. Mullahs are trying to preserve our culture and religion? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I mean, seriously. Arab imperialism wants to preserve Arab Bedouin culture and Wahhabi Islam. Maldivian indigenous culture and religion have been compelety wiped out. Anyway, I'm just glad the website-blocker wasn't chosen.

  4. Bad bad choice. I used to support Anni but after this decision, no freaking way i am going to vote for him now. what was anni thinking when he chose this idiot who cant speak??

  5. The funniest people in the world are the people of Zombie republic. People want education and in the meantime they want school curriculum to be written by Mullahs, they want freedom and democracy but want to be shackled with an ideology that is designed to shut human critical faculty, they want good economy but want remain isolated from global community. They want leaders who can feed them for observing religious obligations. I wonder any one can qualify for their liking.

  6. If we want to improve education, skills and job opportunities,
    - make it compulsory that all teens go to school or another program of training untll 18.
    - from at latest 7std, English should be the medium.
    - schools and education are not meant to maintain religion. As religion is a personal, individual matter, religion can be freely taught outside school and school timings.
    - we should encourage by all means that students finish A-level or an alternative which gives access to university.
    May God save us from madrassa education managed by Adhaalaths mullahs and sheikhs (which sould be banned from public life).

  7. @Ahmed Bin Suvadheeb.
    Yes indeed! Dr. Musthafa Luthfy truly is an educated and experienced loyal citizen.
    I too wish him all the best!

    As for your quiz: Heh! Heh!
    It is obvious that if our education were to be manned and executed by the Mullahs of Adhaalath, it will not differ from those in Afghanistan and Pakistan!
    Children will have to bend at their command and fulfill their needs without questions!

  8. Another PhD doctor specialized in Education.

    We have already had Dr. Waheed, Dr. Shaugee, Dr. Latheef (same basic template) and know what they are like...

  9. Pakistan launches a rocket onto Moon.

    News on Pakistani news channel, “Water and fishes found on Moon”.

    News on BBC,”Pakistani satellite found in Arabian Sea”.


    Arab scientists have invented a time-travel device that can transport an entire country back to the middle ages.

    They’re calling it ‘Islam’.

  10. Great Move! one sensible thing Nasheed and MDP have done, however, there is some worries to thin of based on his previous tenure.

    'Activist Castro-style philosophy'

    President Nasheed must stop putting 'friendship' as a basis in selecting his cabinet and staff. He failed in his last tenure because the government was full of close social friends, childhood friends, or those he fought with on the way to democracy. Many of them were and still are incapable in managing anything because they have come through a life and activities that have made them lazy, incompetent and unable to take proper decisions (if you know what i mean)

    Look at his running mate Dr. Musthafa. An educated gentleman with public respect, morals, discipline and CLEAN in all senses. This is the type of people we need in our ministries, cabinet and other government authorities. We do not need people who:
    a) 'Unclean' who abuse substances and indulge in vulgar lifestyle
    b) Go late to office
    c) Lack discipline and even smoke in government buildings including presidents office
    d) Are not responsible even in their own homes
    e) Uneducated and unskilled
    f) Have been arrested for dealing in illegal substances or found guilty in crimes against women or children

    Maldives has competent skilled young and energetic pool of people that can make a change, but they are not all from MDP. They are in all parties and my advice to Nasheed and his policy makers, is to offer an olive branch and integrate these sharp minds into the system. We dont care about party but we need the country to grow and that can be done through combined efforts.

    Of course if I was Nasheed I will not take anyone who abused me in public without a reason...and this brings me to something that is letting us down. 'A lose filthy mouth'. We spit words and abuses without thinking, we are so personal and insultive, we at times sound and seem barbarians. This must stop and maturity and respect enhanced.

    I hope Dr. Luthfy will assist and bring discipline in the next MDP government. Good luck MDP

  11. In Maldives there are no educated people whom we can call as fine-tuned people. In Maldives you have old fashioned conservatives who believe democracy and freedom is western conspiracy theory against Islam and basically this group is so called educated people in Maldives who do have some sort of education , they think anyone who talks about freedom and democracy are agents of anti Islamic forces. MDP leadership comes from pro democracy movement and their policies are based on universal human rights and values and modern system of governing, which are viewed by mainstream as anti Islamic. MDP supports are mainly those who were victimized and abused under theocratic rule and they are seen as criminals by those who call them educated. The general public is divided between those who are ready to face any challenges to get a meaningful decent life and those who prefer to stay in comfort zone with fear that any changes would worsen their social fabric and could endanger the very purpose of their life which is to protect Islamic faith.

    Also there are highly exposed and knowledgeable handful people who believe that the main problem that hinders development and education is due to extremist Islamic ideology which give false hope for miserable people to live without doing anything. These are Kuffar.

    Who can lead such people who are polarized to two opposing ideology, in a world Islam is highly criticized for its close-mindedness, back ward ideas and incompetence with democracy?. In my view Anni will be challenged again if he comes to power. Any one else comes, will not make much difference, they will rule without much challenges, and we will not see any thrill in Maldives politics, it will be dull, unchallenged and not much changes to education and economy.

  12. An excellent choice! Well respected, educated and intelligent gentleman.


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