Former President Gayoom departs to Oman as president’s special envoy

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom departed for Oman today as a special envoy of President Abdulla Yameen.

“During his visit, former President Maumoon will meet officials from Oman, and discuss ways to further boost the existing bilateral ties between the Maldives and Oman,” the president’s office said.

Gayoom -leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives and half-brother to the president – is reportedly unhappy with the imminent impeachment of the vice president and had opposed a constitutional amendment that set an age limit of 30 to 65 years for the presidency and vice presidency.

Last week, Gayoom denied rumours that he favoured a person other than tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb to replace Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

Despite the rumours of a rift between the Gayoom brothers, the former president said in a tweet last week that the appointment of a deputy is the sole prerogative of the president.


Former president’s son given job at president’s office

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s son, Gassan Maumoon, has been appointed state minister at the president’s office today.

Gassan was previously state minister at the ministry of youth and sports. He is president Abdulla Yameen’s nephew.

The reasons for the transfer is unclear.

Gayoom meanwhile denied rumours of a rift between himself and his half-brother this week following claims by the opposition that the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives leader is unhappy with the current administration.


PPM disciplinary committee decides to expel MP Mahloof

The disciplinary committee of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has decided to expel Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahloof for allegedly bringing President Abdulla Yameen into disrepute with false statements in the media.

Ali Waheed, the committee’s vice chairman, told the press yesterday that Mahloof did not deny making the statements in question on opposition-aligned Raajje TV when he was summoned to answer the charges.

“The committee decided that this action was absolutely necessary,” Waheed said, adding that the decision to dismiss the MP was reached unanimously by the three members who participated in deliberations.

The PPM council member was accused of making statements that could cause loss of public confidence in President Yameen as well as misleading the public concerning the arrest of former Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim.

Speaking to Minivan News after attending the disciplinary committee meeting, Mahloof said he told the committee he had “no problem with President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom]”.

“I did not say anything against [Gayoom] on Raajje TV,” he insisted.

“I told them that I spoke about President’s Yameen because of how the government is being run. My intention is not to defame or damage anyone but to put things on the right track.

“I was removed from the party just like how the Auditor General and Supreme Court Justices were removed. In haste and without giving due process”

Asked whether he would challenge the committee’s decision at the party’s appeals committee, Mahloof said the committee’s decision to dismiss him instead of issuing a warning or imposing a fine suggested the move was planned in advance.

“I know this was very much planned, I do not believe the party’s appeal committee will properly look into the matter,” he said.

“I do not trust the party’s internal mechanisms to deliver justice, therefore I shall not pursue the matter within the party.”

Asked whether he would join another party, Mahloof revealed that he had been in contact with both former President Mohamed Nasheed and Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim, “but no arrangements have been made so far.”

“I need some time to think this through. I will decide on whether I should join a party or not after some contemplation and consultation with my constituents,” he added.

“So far, the reaction from my constituents have been positive and supportive. They understand that I am standing up for justice and principles. This is not the end to my political career, I will always serve the people and no one can put a halt to my political career.”

In his Raajje TV appearance on Sunday night, Mahloof said President Yameen was misusing the PPM’s parliamentary majority and called for the immediate release of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Nazim.

Mahloof alleged that police “framed” Nazim by planting a pistol and bullets in his apartments as a pretext for his arrest.

Nazim’s treatment by President Yameen’s administration was “a thousand times worse” than former President Nasheed’s arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his tenure, he said.

Mahloof also criticised the PPM’s decision to sever its coalition agreement with the JP after Gasim Ibrahim stood for the post of Majlis speaker, adding that he had supported Gasim’s candidacy as maintaining the coalition would have preempted the present crisis.

Declaring his loyalty to Gayoom and vowing never to speak ill of the PPM leader, Mahloof claimed the former president was “not in the picture” and was not involved in the government’s decision-making process, adding that Gayoom was unhappy with the current administration’s direction.

However, the PPM put out a press release the following day denying any rift between PPM Leader Gayoom and his half-brother President Yameen.

Related to this story

MP Mahloof resigns as PPM spokesperson

Gasim will have to withdraw candidacy for Majlis speaker, says President Yameen

Former President Nasheed arrives in court with arm in makeshift sling

Ex defence minister’s wife charged with illegal weapons possession


Opposition alliance a “waste of time”, says Gayoom

Former President, and leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has described the opposition’s alliance to defend the Constitution as a “waste of time”.

Gayoom told reporters that the current government has in no way violated the Constitution and that there is no reason for any party to talk about defending it.

“Therefore, when some people have come out claiming to defend the Constitution, it makes me laugh,” Gayoom told reporters before travelling to the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) this morning.

The former 30-year ruler, who will participate in the summit as a panelist and a speaker, also questioned the intentions of the opposition, stating that “our President Abdulla Yameen pays special attention to follow the Constitution”.

Gayoom’s comments are the first from a high level member of the ruling party since the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party’s (JP) decision to work together in defending the Constitution.

The parties are alleging that the government is narrowing civil liberties, intimidating political opponents, and destroying state’s checks and balances.

PPM spokesman MP Ali Arif told Minivan News that the opposition parties were unable to specify which part of the Constitution the government has violated.

“We have asked them which specific part or article of the Constitution the government has violated. They cannot seem to answer the question. This is just noise, all these claims are baseless,” stated Arif.

He also said that amendments to the Judicature Act – which saw the removal of two Supreme Court judges, and amendments to the Auditor General’s Act – which saw the reappointment of the auditor general, were all legislative changes brought by parliament.

Former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim has suggested his removal – just days after an audit report implicated the tourism minister in a US$6 million corruption scandal – was not legal without changes to the Constitution.

The Civil Court has, meanwhile, said the People’s Majlis had “forced” the Judicial Services Commission to deem Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Justice Muthasim Adnan unfit for the Supreme Court bench without due process, through an “unconstitutional” amendment to the Judicature Act.

“In a democratic society the parliament brings changes to laws,” Arif told Minivan News today. “If the president does not wish to gazette the law, he can send it back but then again if the parliament passes the bill, it automatically becomes law. How is the president or government at fault?”

Meanwhile, the MDP and the JP held a third round of discussions at Maafannu Kunooz on Sunday (January 1) night, agreeing to officially sign a document concerning their joint efforts to defend the Constitution.

The document, scheduled to be signed at a special ceremony on Thursday (January 5), will be followed by a joint rally that evening at the Carnival area in Malé.

Although the Adhaalath Party has decided against joining the alliance, the Maldives Trade Union has joined the opposition, claiming that the government’s persistent violations of the constitution have “eroded crucial checks and balances and accountability mechanisms”.

The MTU was inaugurated in May 2014, with 180 members aiming to provide an independent voice for the protection of small and medium sized businesses.

Zahir formed the group after clashing with authorities over the new tax regime – introduced by the MDP government. He was investigated the the Prosecutor General’s Office last year for tax evasion.


Related to this story

Maldives Trade Union joins opposition’s defence of Constitution

Adhaalath Party decides against participation in opposition talks

MDP and JP reach agreement on defence of Constitution

Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks

MDP holds street rally in front of Gasim’s residence


Former President Gayoom calls for leadership of small island states in climate change

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called upon leaders of developed nations to allow small island states to lead the world in efforts to combat climate change.

“We say to the leaders of the emitting countries, if you are not ready to lead the world on climate change, then give us the opportunity,” Gayoom appealed in a statement delivered at the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa on Monday (September 1).

“SIDS are ready to lead. Don’t stand in our way.”

Despite challenges posed by the small size of SIDS, Gayoom said “size alone does not determine our destiny.”

“With the right policies and right choices we can become our own masters who will shape our future,” he said.

“To do that we need to establish partnerships; meaningful partnerships and enduring partnerships. Partnerships that are defined not by more aid, but by more opportunities. Opportunities that small states could seize to help themselves and to live their dreams.”

The former president is representing the Maldives at the four-day conference as a special envoy of President Abdulla Yameen along with Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim.

The objectives of the conference includeidentifying new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of SIDS and means of addressing them” and “identifying priorities for the sustainable development of SIDS to be considered in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda.”

No progress

Despite “numerous pledges” at UN conferences where “ambitious action plans” were adopted, Gayoom noted that there was “very little to show in terms of real progress.”

“Global CO2 emissions continue unabated. Our fragile ecosystems face increasing threats. Sustainable and innovative solutions we initiate remain unrealised because of lack of international support,” he said.

“It is deeply disappointing to the Maldives, and to the people of all small island developing states to observe the lack of action, particularly by the industrialised economies.”

The objective of SIDS as a separate category was “to help small states in coping with vulnerability,” he added, as well as to coordinate policy decisions “instead of defining these states in terms of what they are not.”

Climate change should be the “core issue of concern” for both SIDS and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Gayoom said.

While the Maldives was considered a beautiful and exotic tourist destination, Gayoom said the country was threatened by rising sea temperatures, unpredictable weather patterns, coral bleaching, increased salination of fresh water, accelerated beach erosion, and erratic migration of fish stocks.

The Maldives along with other SIDS have “consistently called for genuine action for climate change, to not bury it in the political manoeuvring that is a reality of today’s international diplomacy, to not wait until it is too late,” he said.

Despite vulnerability of small states, Gayoom said SIDS were also “valuable contributors in proposing common solutions to common problems.”

In the past four decades, the Maldives has shown that small states are both viable and “have extraordinary ability to survive and even thrive in the turbulent global political arena.”

He referred to the Maldives drawing international attention to sea level rise and security threats for small states in 1987.

Gayoom suggested that the declaration of the conference – the ‘Samoa Pathway’ – could “change the course of history in climate change and sustainable development negotiations.”

The declaration could help small states build resilience and develop economies driven by innovation and new technologies, he continued, which would “encourage free enterprise and individual initiative.”

Following today’s session of the conference, Gayoom tweeted,


Gayoom warns of spread of “secular ideology”

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has warned of the spread of “secular” or “irreligious” ideology in the Maldives, reports local media.

Speaking at a ceremony held last night to hand over funds to the Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) branches, the ruling party’s leader was quoted as saying that “our responsibility should be to protect the country and uphold the principles and tenets of Islam.”

Gayoom warned of “an ideology to allow other religions on Maldivian soil” as well as efforts to instil values or practices that were contrary to Maldivian traditions and culture.


Gayoom denies meeting DRP leader

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has denied meeting acting leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Mohamed ‘Colonel Nasheed, at the latter’s resort during the Eid holidays, reports Raajje TV.

An MP from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) told the opposition-aligned private broadcaster on condition of anonymity that Gayoom – leader of the PPM – posted a message on a viber group of the party’s parliamentary group denying reports by newspaper Haveeru last week.

“The story in today’s Haveeru about a supposed meeting between me and DRP vaguthee [acting] leader in Kanifushi resort is totally false,” read Gayoom’s message.

“True, my family and I are spending a short family holiday at Atmosphere Kani. But no political activity has taken place. The story is fabricated from A to Z.”

Citing a source from the resort, Haveeru reported on Thursday (July 31) that Gayoom’s children – Farish Maumoon and Gassan Maumoon – as well as son-in-law Ahmed Nadheem also participated in lengthy secret talks with Nasheed over the course of two days.

The local daily further claimed that the PPM parliamentary group’s decision to endorse Muthaz Muhsin as the new prosecutor general in defiance of Gayoom’s appeal for them to vote for his nephew Maumoon Hameed has caused divisions within the ruling party.

Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Nasheed – who switched to the DRP in March 2013 – has also denied holding discussions with Gayoom regarding the DRP’s future, informing Raajje TV that he only welcomed Gayoom to the resort and offered due respect to a former president.

Nasheed had told Haveeru that there was “no reason” for Gayoom to return to the party he founded in 2005.

Nasheed took over as DRP leader following the en masse departure of the party’s former leadership to the MDP.

Despite a rebranding effort with Nasheed at the helm, the party failed to win any seats in this year’s parliamentary and local council elections.

Gayoom had meanwhile left the party in 2011 following a dispute with former leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and formed the PPM with the loyalist Z-DRP faction.


PPM MPs to vote Muhthaz for PG in defiance of party leader’s appeal

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MPs have decided to vote for Criminal Court Judge Muhthaz Muhsin as the new Prosecutor General (PG) despite the party’s leader, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, urging ruling party MPs to vote for his nephew Maumoon Hameed.

Majority Leader MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News today that 33 out of 38 MPs present at a parliamentary group meeting this afternoon voted in favour of Muhthaz.

Nihan – parliamentary group leader of the PPM – also confirmed that a three-line whip has been issued for all 43 PPM MPs to vote for Muhthaz’s approval to the vacant PG post.

The decision comes after PPM Leader Gayoom sent a letter yesterday – subsequently leaked on social media – appealing for the party’s MPs to vote for Maumoon Hameed, son of former Atolls Minister Abdulla Hameed.

Gayoom noted that President Abdulla Yameen had declared at a PPM rally that he wished to appoint Maumoon Hameed to the post and that the president had “sent a message through the PPM’s official viber group” requesting the party’s MPs to vote for the lawyer.

Vetting process

Following a vetting process, parliament’s independent institutions oversight committee had rejected both of President Yameen’s nominees last week.

While a minimum score of 75 marks was required for the committee to recommend a nominee for approval, Hameed received 33 percent and Muhthaz received 67 percent.

The committee’s evaluation report has been tabled in the agenda for debate at Monday’s sitting of parliament, after which the nominees will be put to a vote.

Meanwhile, Gayoom sent a letter to MP Nihan – also leaked on social media (page one and two) – last week demanding an explanation of the PPM-majority committee’s decision.

The oversight committee – chaired by PPM MP Ali Saleem – is comprised of five PPM members, one MP from coalition partner Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA), three opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs and two Jumhooree Party (JP) MPs.

In his letter, Gayoom contended that a committee meeting held on July 10 where the nominees were interviewed – where the chair had “acted arbitrarily” – was conducted in violation of parliamentary rules of procedure.

Gayoom said he had learned that the nominees were summoned without a vote by members and that an assessment criteria had not been passed prior to the interviews.

Moreover, he added, the marks sheets were not tallied in the presence of committee members.

Gayoom also argued that a sitting judge could not stand for the post of PG, citing article 151 of the constitution – which requires judges to “devote his full time to the performance of the responsibilities of a judge” – and a “legal norm” whereby judges who leave the bench must wait two years before practicing law.

While article 26(a) of the Judges Act stipulates that a judge who stands for a political post specified in law or the constitution would no longer be a judge, Gayoom noted that Muhthaz had not done so.

However, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has since said that judges could apply for posts in independent institutions.

Vacant PG post

Meanwhile, following the PPM parliamentary group’s decision today, MDP MP Rozaina Adam tweeted, “Could President Yameen publicly humiliate President Gayoom more than this? Yameen’s choice is very clear.”

She also alleged that Yameen had conspired for the previous parliament to reject Maumoon Hameed in April by ensuring that several PPM MPs would be absent for the vote.

Several pro-government MPs – including PG Leader Nihan who was with President Yameen in Japan and MDA Leader Ahmed Siyam – were conspicuously absent at the sitting, which saw  Hameed fail to garner the required 39 votes after falling just three votes short.

According to article 221 of the constitution, “The President shall appoint as Prosecutor General a person approved by a majority of the total membership of the People’s Majlis from the names submitted to the People’s Majlis as provided for in law.”

A majority in the 18th Majlis is 43 seats. In addition to its 43 MPs, the PPM’s coalition partner MDA has five MPs. The minority party announced today that its MPs would also vote for Muhthaz.

Following the previous parliament’s rejection of Hameed, President Yameen refused to submit a new nominee and opened up a third call for applicants, announcing his intention to nominate Hameed for a second time to the newly elected 18th People’s Majlis.

The PG’s post has been vacant since November 25 following the resignation of Ahmed Muiz ahead of a scheduled no-confidence motion in parliament.

Meanwhile, Acting PG Hussein Shameem’s resignation in early May brought the criminal justice system to a halt after state prosecutors went on strike, citing concerns of a lack of accountability in the absence of a PG.

However, the Supreme Court ordered prosecutors to resume work “without any further excuse” and ordered the seniormost official at the PG office to assume the PG’s responsibilities.


Nasheed alleges President Yameen “remains under power” of Gayoom

Acting leader of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) former President Mohamed Nasheed has alleged that current President Abdulla Yameen “remains under the power” of his half brother former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Nasheed opined that it will be difficult for Yameen to continue his presidency under such circumstances, adding that to date he has observed that Yameen has been unable to rule autonomously without Gayoom’s interference.

“All we are seeing so far is the differences of thought between Yameen and Gayoom and the rifts that rise between coalition parties. So far, it does not appear as if Yameen has actual control over his presidency,” Nasheed said, speaking on a live talk show on opposition aligned Raajje TV on Wednesday night.

Nasheed also described Yameen’s appointment of Gayoom’s children and other relatives to political positions as nepotism, adding that “it’s lingering effects will prove to be extremely harmful even though it might seem the easier option”.

“They seem to be unsatisfied unless some relative or other is filling each key position in the government,” he continued.

Currently, Gayoom’s daughter Dunya Maumoon serves in Yameen’s cabinet as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Additionally, Yameen’s niece Dr Hala Hameed fills the post of Minister of State for Health and Gender, while Gayoom’s sons Ahmed Faris Maumoon serves as Minister of State for Economic Development and Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon serves as Minister of State for Youth and Sports.

Gayoom’s daughter Yumna Maumoon is currently in the post of Deputy Minister of Education.

Yameen has also drawn criticism for his drawn-out attempts to nominate his nephew Maumoon Hameed to the post of prosecutor general.

Nasheed – the first president to be elected in a multi-party election in the country – further asserted that it would be extremely difficult for a country to adapt to democracy after having had an autocratic regime for decades.

“Moving from autocracy to democracy is not an easy feat. It is not something that can be done in a day, or even in five years. I call upon all Maldivians to persevere in the efforts to establish a complete democracy in the country,” he stated.

“SEZs a path to money laundering”

Speaking on the show, Nasheed also criticised current government’s policies regarding tourism and foreign investment.

Nasheed alleged that, should the current bill on Special Economic Zones be passed by parliament, it would pose numerous threats to the people of Maldives. He stated that it would prove to be a path that facilitates black market activities and money laundering.

Tourism Minister and head of the cabinet’s economic council Ahmed Adeeb told Minivan News last month that critics of the bill had failed to understand that it offered the best way to encourage regional investment and development.

Nasheed yesterday alleged that there are no signs of improving general living conditions for the people as a result of Yameen’s economic policies, and that instead additional benefits are being introduced for businessmen and foreign investors.

Nasheed went on to say that the recently launched guest house island program would not present any benefits to locals, and that it is a threat to the success of guest houses in inhabited islands.

This policy – designed as a controlled version of the emerging guest house model on inhabited islands – was launched last week, and has been endorsed by industry groups.

Concluding the show, Nasheed spoke of the current government’s disregard towards improving the general livelihood of Maldivians.

Minivan News was unable to contact President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz for comment at the time of press.