President Mohamed Waheed Hassan has appointed seven state ministers for various ministries in a ceremony held in the President’s office yesterday.
The newly appointed state ministers were Imad Solih as the Minister of State for Education, Fuad Gasim as the Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture, Ahmed Shameem and Mariyam Mizna Shareef as Ministers of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Abdulla Ameen as the Minister of State for Economic Development, Gassan Maumoon as the Minister of State for Human Resources, Youth and Sports and Sheikh Mohamed Didi as the Minister of State for Islamic Affairs.
Gassan Maumoon, appointed Minister of State for Human Resources, Youth and Sport, is the son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Gassan also contested in the last parliamentary elections under a DRP ticket against the recently unseated MDP MP Musthafa. Gassan lost the election twice, after the Elections Commission held the election for a second time after the first election was declared invalid.
The Criminal Court in October 2011 ruled that the arrest of Gassan was unlawful, after he was summoned for questioning in connection with an injury sustained by an MDP protester outside his residence Endherimaage.
During the incident, a 17-year-old boy was struck on the head with a wooden plank allegedly thrown from Endherimaage, while protesters led by MDP MPs, councillors and senior members were marching by the former President’s residence. Police submitted documents containing early evidence for the judge’s considering, including a medical report of the injuries sustained by the 17-year-old, photos, witness statements and “evidence we collected from the scene.”
Gassan’s legal team, including current Attorney General Azima Shukoor, argued that witness statements were invalid as they would have come from “people participating in an unlawful assembly.”
Police argued at the time that if Gassan’s arrest was unlawful, “everyone police have ever arrested and brought before the court [for extension of detention] have been arrested in violation of the constitution”, and suggested that Gassan’s legal team was “concerned that we might present evidence” and that the legal argument bore “no weight.”
Imad Solih, appointed as the state minister of education, is currently the deputy leader of Dr Hassan Saeed’s Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and was a former presidential appointee to the People’s Special Majlis during the time when the constitution was drafted.
Gasim, appointed as the state minister for fisheries and agriculture, is the current secretary general and a council member of business tycoon and politician Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP).
Shameem, the newly appointed State Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, is a senior member and a council member of Dr Munavvar’s political party, the Maldives Reform Movement. Shameem is also the brother of the Human Rights Commission member Dr Ali Shameem.
Ameen, appointed as the Minister of State for Economic Development, is the current Secretary General of Dr Hassan Saeed’s DQP.
Mariyam Mizna Shareef, who was made state minister for tourism, arts and culture, is the daughter of DRP deputy leader Ahmed Shareef.
Sheikh Mohamed Didi, appointed as the State Minister for Islamic Affairs, is the President of the Civil Alliance, an umbrella coalition of NGOs behind the December 23 movement in defence of Islam. Didi also played a pivotal role in organising the 23 December Islamic rally and has been working with the opposition during the tenure of President Nasheed.
President Waheed, speaking to the newly appointed state ministers, expressed confidence in the new appointees and that he had no doubt in that they would serve the nation with best of their capacities.
MDP Spokesperson Imthiyas Fahumy said: ” Gassan is not at all experienced in working in such a position. What is happening right now is exactly what happened during Gayoom’s regime.”
“We are day-by-day seeing that Waheed does not have full power over this government. Someone else from Maumoon’s end is controlling this. Those who were involved in this coup are getting the positions,” Fahumy said.