MP Mahloof resigns as PPM spokesperson

MP Ahmed Mahloof has resigned as the spokesperson of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) yesterday.

The MP for Galolhu South revealed on social media Twitter that he had resigned at the request of the party and later told online news outlet CNM that PPM Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla had told him to resign.

After resigning previously, Mahloof returned to the post in July 2013 reportedly at the behest of party members.

Asked if he would remain with the party, Mahloof told CNM that he was a PPM member “at the moment”.


19 year-old Maldivian HIV patient gives birth

A 19 year-old woman with HIV has given birth to a child last week at the Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), local media have reported

According to online newspaper ‘MV Youth’ the patient was allegedly involved in a sexual relationship with a man with HIV when she was 15 years of age.

The website reported that the man who she had sex with was found guilty of having sex with the girl and sentenced to 19 lashes in 2010 by the Criminal Court. It was not confirmed whether the baby was tested positive to HIV.

Speaking to Minivan News today IGMH Spokesperson Zeenath Ali said that she had not heard of the incident.

‘’Some other news agencies had contacted me today and asked about it but I told them that only the concerned authorities such as Health Ministry and concerned persons from IGMH will have that kind of information,’’ she said.

She said she cannot confirm whether or not the information was true.

On February 27, an expatriate lab technician working at IGMH who was allegedly responsible for the transfusion of HIV positive blood to a pregnant Maldivian patient was taken into police custody.

The technician at fault reported the blood as negative despite the machine showing that it was positive for HIV.

The error was discovered when the patient came in for a routine checkup on February 18, after which the blood test report was reviewed.

The blood sample was taken from a donor found by the patient and not from the hospital’s blood bank and was not previously registered as an HIV patient.

In October 2012, the then Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Jamsheed Mohamed claimed it was only through “incredible luck” that HIV had not spread across the Maldives, considering the prolific levels of unprotected sex and intravenous drug use.

Jamsheed at the time spoke of the risks of promiscuity in the society, referring to the 2010 case where police arrested an HIV positive prostitute. He stated that the same prostitute had been identified in the Maldives as being HIV positive in the year 2009 as well.

Since the first case of HIV in 1991, 19 cases of HIV have been reported among Maldivians, while the estimations of HIV positive persons are as high as 70 – 100.

The Health Ministry has previously warned about a possible explosion of HIV/AIDS in the country, with high risk behavior such as drug use and numerous sexual partners a concern.


Forty percent of manifesto complete, claims MDP

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claimed at its congress last weekend that 40 percent of the party’s manifesto had been implemented since the party took office in 2008.

MDP spokesperson Ahmed Haleem told Minivan News that the congress was “very successful”, with launch of the local council election campaign representing “major progress” towards the upcoming local council elections.

During the congress the MDP launched a “Youth Wing’’ and a ‘’Womens’ Spirit Wing’’, which Minivan News understands intends to encourage “positive discrimination” towards involving women in politics.

Haleem said more than 1000 delegates took part in the congress including observers.

“All delegates were selected through primaries, unlike how it is done in other political parties in the country,’’ he said. “Other parties just call their friends to be delegates or hold a little primary at the event.”

Speaking at the Congress, President Mohamed Nasheed outlined dates for the construction of housing, claiming he would lay the foundation for flats in Male’ on November 10, the foundation for 1000 flats in Hulhumale on November 11, and 500 flats in the atolls.

A further 1000 flats would be built with the assistance of Korean aid, he said.

He also noted that projects such as land reclamation, harbour development and sewerage works were not included in the manifesto, but were also being implemented. Harbour developments had been completed in 27 islands since the party took office, Nasheed said, while further harbour developments were currently occuring at 11 islands. Projects would commence in Hoarafushi, Ihavandhoo and Dhiffushi in November, he said.

Speaking on corruption, Nasheed noted that years of accumulated corruption could not be dismissed in two years. But, he said,  “a good governance system without torture is now being created in the Maldives. The government has done away with revenge.”

MDP’s election manifesto consists of five core pledges: ‘nationwide transport’, ‘affordable living costs’, ‘affordable housing’, ‘affordable quality healthcare’, and the ‘prevention of narcotics abuse and trafficking’.

Criticising the the government’s achievements, opposition Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf claimed that the 40 percent implementation of the pledges announced at the congress “was more like five percent.”

“I think it’s very clearly not true,” he said. “What we saw at the MDP Congress was some deleagates criticising the President for giving dates for the launch of projects because they knew it was going to make it difficult for them to campaign.”

Mahlouf noted that while the number of poor registered in Male’ in 2008 was 2000, “now it has increased to 9000.”

“Nasheed also promised to bring down the price of goods – but now it costs Rf 300 for a kilogram of chilli. I was shocked.”

Mahlouf further claimed that the DRP had attempted “to help the MDP implement its manifesto by ensuring there was a free state media, run by a board determined by parliament, but they were against it.”

Mahlouf also noted that as for the promise to tackle corruption, “Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index now ranks the country next to Zimbabwe.”

The government contends the index reflects a growing awareness that corruption is a problem.

Image: Maurouf Khaleel


Dhiffushi divided: islanders concerned about anonymous man preaching Islam from bedroom

People living on Dhiffushi in Kaafu Atoll have expressed concern about an anonymous man living in the island preaching Islam to an isolated and growing congregation.

A authority familiar with the matter told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that the man claimed to be a resident of Male’, and said he had moved to Dhiffushi with his wife and two kids ”because he liked the island.”

He claimed the man “preaches Islam to people and convinces them to form an isolated congregations and to join him.”

”There are youths following and protecting him,” he said, ”he leads all the prayers, including Friday prayers, in his bedroom.”

He said the man claimed he is living the way Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) lived.

”He uses a mop stick as his staff,” the source said. ”People one day spied on them while they were doing the Friday prayers and found out that he gives the Friday speech standing on his bed with his crowd surrounding him,.”

He said the man and his followers had claimed that the imam of the government mosque was a sorcerer, and that there was a corpse buried under the mosque.

”Islanders are really angry with his behavior,” the source said. ”Some people have already told him to leave the island immediately.”

He said the man’s his acts were dividing the society of the island.

An official at the Island office said that the case had been reported to the Islamic Ministry and the Atoll Office.

”At first they did the Friday prayers in his room,” he said, ”now they do it secretly in other room.”

Spokesperson for the Islamic Ministry Sheikh Ahmadullah and Permanent Secretary Mohamed Didi said they had no information on the matter.