Councilor of Maavah Laamu atoll Waleed Zakariya has claimed he was dismissed from the post earlier this month because he failed to give into demands by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists on the island.
Speaking to Minivan News, Waleed said he has learned that he was fired on the request of an MDP member on the island who was unhappy with him.
“The MDP people who worked to get me fired asked me to do illegal things and made complaints to try and make me do those things,” he said, adding the actions they wanted him to take could not be taken “even by a dictator”.
Among the demands were repossessing parts of enlarged plots owned by Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) supporters and refusing to issue licenses and ID cards to them.
Waleed said some people demanded that he give out part of his salary to them and publicly refuse to provide any service to DRP supporters.
“I begged and pleaded with them and told them I can’t do those things, but they refused to accept,” he said, adding they believed the island office should pass criminal judgment on opposition members.
He added the government’s decision to dismiss him was very “irresponsible” as it was based on the complaints of “just three people”.
The three MDP activists in question had ties to high-ranking officials in the president’s office, he said.
Minivan News could not reach the president’s office press secretary for a comment at time of press.
While the MDP supporters claimed Waleed was ordered by the government to marginalize DRP supporters, Waleed said he did not receive any such orders. He had been councilor for 11 months prior to his dismissal.
A DRP supporter on the island told Minivan News that MDP “activists” did not like the councilor consulting opposition party supporters.
“They don’t even want to see him talking to anyone other than an MDP supporter,” he said.
Waleed said the DRP supporters on the island were happy with the job he had done. “I think the reason is that under my watch, I have rented out a lot of empty plots on the land to increase revenue for the people. When I took over the office, the total finances were Rf900,000. But, in these past 11 months, I have raised it to Rf2.2 million.”
MDP supporters are outnumbered by the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) on Maavah, which is represented by opposition People’s Alliance MP Abdul Azeez Jamal Abubakuru.
After the MDP supporters alleged in public that Waleed stole money from public coffers, the letter of dismissal was posted outside a popular café on the island.
Waleed said he had been approached by many islanders to express condolences and urging him to contest for the upcoming local council elections.
He said he was “100 per cent certain” that an MDP candidate would not win a seat.
Waleed said he still did not have any clear information about why he was fired when he was told about it on 3 December.
“It came as a shock to me. I said I’m at the office working right now and I haven’t heard anything either from the atoll office or the province office. And I have not been asked by anyone to clear up any information about my work. I said I found it hard to believe that I have suddenly been fired.”
He added neither the home affairs ministry nor the atoll office was informed of his dismissal even three days after the letter was sent out.