Main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Abdul Raheem has accused coalition partner People’s Alliance (PA) Leader Abdulla Yameen of “trying to destroy the DRP”, claiming that his opposition to the government is motivated by a desire to conceal an alleged illegal oil trade worth US$800 million.
At a DRP Galolhu centre opening on Monday night that saw the war of words escalate between the rival opposition factions, the DRP MP for Maafanu West called on Yameen to swear off claiming to hold the government responsible, because “you are more ruthless and a much bigger thief than that.”
“I will dare to say this, you are a much more ruthless and Jewish person,” he continued. “Don’t come in front of us again and say ‘hold the government accountable,’ we know that behind those devious plans lies the matter of that illegal oil trade.”
DRP Deputy Leader Ali Waheed meanwhile told supporters that they “should not run around forever considering any of our political leaders a god.”
“We don’t believe in a tribe, we believe in principle,” said Waheed, adding that origins or family descent did not matter in “today’s political reality”.
The DRP MP for Thoddoo went on to say that people came out to vote in appreciation of Gayoom’s contribution to the nation, “but it does not mean that [Gayoom] should come back, or that you should endorse your brother [Abdulla Yameen].”
In an appearance on private broadcaster Villa TV this week, Yameen defended his party against complaints of PA using the DRP’s name to organise rallies to promote his bid for the presidency.
“If by holding rallies there, Yameen is being promoted, if they accept that reality, then Thasmeen is free to hold rallies every night,” he suggested.
DRP Secretary General Abdul Rasheed Nafiz told press on Monday that the party has officially requested the Maldives Police Service, Male’ City Council and the Elections Commission (EC) to disallow activities held without official approval.
The move comes after the Gayoom faction organised a rally Saturday night in defiance of a council resolution requiring authorisation before using the party’s logo or seal.
Nafiz warned that the party would have to take the matter to court if the authorities proved unable to resolve the dispute.
In a statement from ‘Honorary Leader’ Maumoon Abdul Gayoom read out at the rally, the former President called on the DRP council – which the ‘Gayoom faction’ has boycotted in protest of Thasmeen’s “dictatorial” leadership – to retract its decision to recommend MPs Ahmed Mahlouf, Ahmed Ilham and Gayoom’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed for disciplinary action.
Faced with similar charges that saw Deputy Leader Umar Naseer dismissed in December, Ilham however contends that “a Deputy Leader can be dismissed only if a third of the party’s congress votes to dismiss him.”
At the ‘Thasmeen faction’ rally, Waheed, one of four Deputy Leaders elected at DRP’s third congress last year, derided his former colleagues claiming that “not even ten people in our rival faction’s front rank possess A’ Level certificates, how can they run the country?”
Meanwhile at Monday’s parliament sitting, MPs of the rival factions exchanged heated words and accusations during the debate on an amendment to the Clemency Act.
DRP MP for Mid-Henveiru Ali Azim accused PA MPs of “using another party’s name and its flag” to hold rallies to attack and undermine the DRP leadership.
Azim was cut off by Deputy Speaker Nazim – presiding over the sitting in the absence of Speaker Abdulla Shahid – who advised the MP to stick to the topic.
Picking up where Azim left off, Ali Waheed raised the issue of appointing a new Auditor General, a post that has remained vacant for a year.
“Are you afraid [to appoint an Auditor General]? What are you afraid of?” Waheed asked the PA Deputy Leader. “Shouldn’t you appoint one [by now] if you’re not afraid of the US$800 million oil and the flags?”
In March 2010, Nazim pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the former Ministry of Atolls Development.
Waheed went on to criticise opposition leaders for being “obsessed with winning power” and “completely lacking sincerity” for solving national problems.
“Opposition parties are attacking Kenereege Mohamed Nasheed. But matters amongst us are worse than Kenereege Mohamed Nasheed, Honourable Speaker,” he said.
Echoing Waheed’s sentiments, Abdulla Abdul Raheem asserted that “you can’t do things in this country anymore the way US$800 million of oil was illegally traded using STO.”