Gayoom “sincerity” attacked after criticising DRP appointments

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’  Shareef has questioned the “sincerity” of his party’s honorary leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, claiming the former president is behind “all the problems” currently facing the divided opposition group.

The comments were made after former President Gayoom yesterday addressed members of the media upon returning from a visit to Bangladesh to criticise the appointments of two new DRP deputy leaders without holding elections at a national congress.

Speaking to Minivan News, Shareef said that claims by Gayoom, who became the party’s honorary head after retiring from active politics in 2010, were intended to “deceive” DRP members and supporters.

Shareef alleged that Gayoom was personally responsible for the addition of a clause within the party’s constitution that allows for the replacement of vacant senior DRP positions outside of an official national conference vote.

Appointments have become one of the main points of contention for the DRP of late after the dismissal of its former Deputy Leader Umar Naseer. This dismissal was linked to the eventual formation of a spin-off movement within the party known as the Z-DRP.

The formation of this spin-off group has led to an increasingly acrimonious relationship between serving party head Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and Gayoom himself.

However, Shareef claimed that Gayoom had personally approved amendments to the party’s constitution during the previous national congress that allowed for the DRP’s council to approve deputy leadership roles to replace departing members.

“I don’t think Gayoom has sincerity [in his actions].  He knows [the party’s] constitution and that it allows to temporarily fill positions legitimately until the next congress meeting,” he said.  “Back in the 2010 congress, there were many positions in the party we were unable to fill due to resignations.  Gayoom approved [this appointment process] under the party’s constitution.”

In addressing how Gayoom’s latest criticisms could affect attempts by some councilors to try and reconcile divisions within the DRP, Shareef again questioned the sincerity of Gayoom in trying to find a resolution for the party.

However, upon returning from Bangladesh, Gayoom told members of the press that the solution to the internal rifts within the party was to respect its charter and retract the DRP council’s actions in appointing and dismissing deputy leaders; actions that he contends were in violation of the organisation’s charter.

“There are a number of things that were done against the charter,” he claimed. “I informed the leader of that in a letter.”

Gayoom argued that the recent appointment of MP Mohamed Ramiz and council member Ahmed ‘Anday’ Mohamed as DRP deputy leaders was not legitimate, as article 87 of the charter states that if a deputy leader resigns, a replacement should be elected at a national congress.

However, the DRP insists that article 122 of its charter authorises the council to temporarily replace vacancies in elected posts until the next congress.

Of the four deputy leaders elected during the DRP’s third national congress in 2010, Umar Naseer was contentiously dismissed by the party’s disciplinary committee, while MP Ali Waheed later defected to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Umar Naseer meanwhile contested his dismissal at the Civil Court, which is due to rule on the legality of the decision.

Gayoom also denied that remarks made at a Z-DRP rally last month about regretting “handing the [leadership position] on a platter” was a personal attack on serving DRP Leader Thasmeen.