Z-DRP opens new office for former President Gayoom

The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) Z-faction opened its new office in Male’ this morning for use by the party’s ‘Honorary Leader’ (Zaeem) former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Gayoom told press at the function that a number of people from Male’ and the atolls had requested meetings with him and invited party members and supporters to seek appointments at the new Z-DRP office.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Gayoom expressed gratitude to benefactors who arranged to pay rent as well as salaries for staff. The former president also thanked DRP Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed and Umar Naseer for their efforts.

The Z-DRP office is located on Bodhuthakurufaanumagu a short distance from the official DRP office. The party marks its sixth anniversary today with separate events by the two factions led by the former president and his successor Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

To kick off the activities of the new opposition coalition after breaking off from the main opposition DRP, the Z-faction announced a rally tonight at artificial beach, with former President Gayoom in attendance.


Protests planned as Umar Naseer called to face DRP disciplinary committee

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader Umar Naseer accused the party’s Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali of attempting to dismiss him from the party today, after the DRP council voted narrowly to recommend Umar to the disciplinary committee.

With five absentees, the 33-member DRP council voted 16-11 against the former presidential candidate of the Islamic Democratic Party.

“I know that the disciplinary committee will decide to oust me from the party, that is very clear to me,’’ Umar told press after the council meeting, adding that the committee was “full of Thasmeen’s people who would do whatever he says”.

Umar told the press this evening that he was unfairly targeted as MPs Ilham Ahmed, Ahmed Mahlouf and Ali Arif were also involved in announcing a protest for Friday night, which the party’s secretariat claimed had not been approved.

“The sincerity of our leader Thasmeen is questionable,” Umar said. “Some of our senior officials are known to be involved in secret deals with the government.’’

Umar declined to go into any further detail on the alleged deals.

Flanking Umar at the press conference, MPs Ilham Ahmed and Ahmed Mahlouf condemned the council’s decision as characteristic of a “dictatorship.”

Ilham said the council’s decision was “regrettable” as he and Umar were “guilty of the same crime.”

“I signed the same letterhead sent out to the media announcing the protest, but the decision was made to take action only against Umar,” he said.

According to the party’s charter, said Ilham, the only measure that could be taken against deputy leaders was a vote on a no-confidence motion.

Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahlouf said tomorrow night’s protest, which the DRP Deputies plans to go ahead with in defiance of Thasmeen, will prove that the party’s 40,000 members were with them.

Mahlouf revealed that the children of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Dhunya and Gassan Maumoon, as well as MPs Ahmed Nihan, Ali Arif, Abdul Muhsin Hameed, Abdulla Maseeh and former Attorney General Azima Shukoor voted against the motion.

“We are happy that they were with us,” he said. “Gassan himself will take part in tomorrow night’s demonstration.”

He further revealed that council members voted unanimously in favour on a motion by Azima Shukoor on whether members had confidence in Thasmeen’s leadership.

Shortly after the Deputy Leaders met the press, Thasmeen called a press conference to defend the council’s decision.

Thasmeen stressed that the issue was not holding demonstrations, insisting that Umar had defied and ignored a directive from the party’s secretariat.

“I welcome the council’s decision,” he said. “What I want to say is that the council’s decision today was not based on whether to protest or not to protest.

While it was important to plan protests to hold the government accountable, said Thasmeen, DRP should ensure that its activities are disciplined and organised and mindful of “the big picture.”

Meanwhile, Umar and Ilham signed and issued a press release late afternoon announcing that the postponed protest will take place at 9pm tomorrow night.

Thasmeen however denied that the party had planned a protest.

“I do not have to comment on a protest that anyone conducts,” he said.