Youth Minister and spokesperson for former President Gayoom, Mohamed ‘Mundhu’ Hussain Shareef, has hit back against the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP)’s allegations that the government had not made “adequate efforts” to address the country’s recent economic and political upheavals.
Mundhu’s response followed allegations last week from DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef that some top officials in the present coalition government – of which the DRP is one of several parties represented – had not shown themselves to be “capable” or “proficient”.
Speaking to online publication Channel News Maldives, Mundhu said the DRP’s criticism targeted ministries headed by the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) because ministries headed by the DRP had themselves not done sufficient work after the government came into power.
Mundhu also claimed that the criticism leveled against the PPM was with the intention of helping the government sort out its challenges, but was instead a personal attack. He also stated that when Shareef criticised the youth ministry, he did not realise that it was one of the most efficient ministries in the current government.
“If one had looked into Male’ alone, there has been significant progress made since I assumed the position,” Mundhu claimed.
He said that renovations had been brought to the youth centres in Villimale and Galolhu wards, and also the youth center in Hulhumale. He added that maintenance works were being carried out in Maafannu Stadium leveling its ground and fixing the lighting system, and that his ministry had planned further enhancements to the National Stadium as well.
“These are just a few works to date. The Youth Ministry is one of the most efficient ministries since Dr Waheed came to power,” he added.
Mundhu alleged that the DRP had been making up stories “because the ministries that they control are failing.”
“They want to say the government is not functioning properly so they can walk away from the government. President Waheed will know of this,” Mundhu said.
Mundhu was not responding at time of press.
During a press conference held last week, DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim Shareef expressed particular concern over the conduct of the Foreign Ministry, which he alleged had not sufficiently explained to the international community the current situation in the Maldives since the new government came to power. Both the Foreign Minister and State Minister are from the PPM. State Minister Dunya Maumoon is also Gayoom’s daughter.
Shareef also raised criticised accusations by the Foreign Ministry that the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had sided with the now opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – a claim he did not agree with.
Shareef told local media that despite the “major achievement” of the coalition remaining in power for its first 100 days, it had been difficult for the DRP to “execute its policies and beliefs” in line with other parties.
He said he was confident that several ministries overseen by DRP representatives, including areas such as finance and tourism, were functioning “efficiently”.
Tempers have been flaring between the two parties, who make up the majority of the now ruling coalition of political parties backing President Mohamed Waheed Hassan. Waheed was sworn in on February 7 after former president Mohamed Nasheed’s controversial resignation.
Vice President of the PPM Umar Naseer has alleged to local media that DRP’s recent criticism of the government was due to their intention to leave the ruling coalition, an argument the DRP has denied to this date.
Speaking to newspaper Haveeru at the time, Naseer accused DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali of trying to “get things done in his favor” through the present government.
“The DRP is seeking to get a sovereign guarantee to pay off Thasmeen’s debts. As soon as they know it can’t happen, they will break away from the coalition”, Naseer claimed.
However, Shareef denied Naseer’s allegations and accused Naseer of continuously attempting to defame Thasmeen.
“Umar accused Thasmeen and Abdulla Shahid of being involved in the [awarding of the airport] to GMR. If that is so, why aren’t they investigating the matter now that they are in the government? There is never any truth to what [Umar Naseer] says,” Shareef said at the time.
Naseer claimed that PPM deserved more positions in the current government than the DRP, as PPM had played the “most important role” in the transfer of power in February.
“Ninety-nine percent of the anti-government protesters were from PPM. 99 percent of the injured were from PPM. Our members sacrificed the most to change the government. And DRP does not deserve to get an equal number of government positions as PPM,” Naseer said.
Naseer’s comments follow last week’s press conference by the DRP criticising certain government officials and describing them as incompetent.
The Progressive Party of the Maldives formed from a splinter group in the DRP, under the leadership of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. Gayyoom and Thasmeen came to blows after Gayyoom’s faction alleged that Thasmeen had been running the party through “authoritarian” means.