Monkey’s justice for DRP problem

Stalemate between DRP’s honorary leader ‘Gayoom’ and its leader ‘Thasmeen’ over its control hasn’t bring anything better for their party, as day by day the differences are widening — creating deep division between two factions. Consequently, their dreams for 2013 are apparently in jeopardy. It is seen vital for them to stay together if they really want to defeat MDP in 2013 Presidential Election. But the current scenario may not win through any hopes for them.  And ruling MDP could take immense advantage from ongoing infighting between the rival factions of DRP, the Gayoom’s ‘Z’ faction and Thasmeen’s ‘T’ faction.

During our childhood we used to read a very famous story among kids “The Monkey’s Justice for two cats”, what if current political game of the country also end up similar to the plot of this story, where two friendly cats saw a piece of butter and fight for the ownership of it as a cleaver wicked monkey approaches them and in an attempt to solve the problem taken it all.

I wonder some time, why politicians don’t take lessons from such tales?  I believe somebody has to distribute such kindergarten stories to them or else force them to be back in school. All what I know is that they all are fighting for one thing, one noble post, Chief Executive of a sovereign land.  But then they have forgotten to adhere to democratic values and thoughts, deeming to what they see near them and act as if never tend to see the broader picture of things might occur in the years to come, due to just making one mistake decision.

It is said the main reason behind the division in main opposition DRP has started because of bigoted standards carried out by both rival leaders. Without paving way to end the differences DRP candidate is unlikely to get most popular votes during 2013 presidential election. Each side has to show restrain to move forward without much delay, if both leaders genuinely are hoping to see ample votes in the election to get the office of President.

Last night’s Z-DRP rally was seen with peculiar flavor. For the first time after a long break its current honorary leader, former party leader and former president who ran this country for more than 30 years appeared at the site of the gathering, bringing an end to a plea of many of his loyalists. President Gayoom was accompanied by his spouse, former first lady Nasreea Ibrahim, who has been under medical treatment in abroad ever since the fall of his regime.   However, on this occasion he didn’t give a speech to his supporters, and he left them early before the gathering came to a close. May be his intention was to show them that he is enough capable and energetic to play a pivotal role to solve the problems within DRP.

Earlier, he called on party members on a televised address, to solve the current crises if they decide to hold a National Congress he will most welcome such a verdict by members. In response to this Thasmees-faction has denounced Gayoom’s remarks saying that Gayoom is trying to create division in the party in an apparent intention of coming back to power adding that party council has the sole right to convene the National Congress.  Since the Council is in the grip of Thasmeen this may not be easy to do through DRP council. This is a clear indication that none of them are willing to give up, making it impossible to solve this impasse.

How long these two people will keep on quarreling…? Already in the wake of differences ruling party cunningly took over two of their MPs and they have lost significant parliament majority. DRP is in a life support system. Without independent members and other minor parties’ help they won’t be able to do anything on their own in the parliament.

Last night’s rally was said to be the largest opposition gathering to take place in many months.  The attendees might be die-hearted fans of former president or may be the stronger part of so called ‘real’ DRP. However, it is evident that Thasmeen’s DRP are unable to draw this kind of crowd since the separation of both leaders.


DRP MP Kalhey aslo switches party

It’s no surprise to see former DRP member MP Abdu’Raheem (Kalhey) switching his party to MDP. Even last year just for 24 hours he slides in and out to MDP.

Amid speculation that MDP is buying up MPs in a bid to gain absolute control of the parliament with the new members joining, the seats directly controlling by MDP has risen to 34.

President Nasheed welcomes Abdu' Raheem

MP for Maafannu Uthuru constituency Abdullah Abdu’ Raheem signed up for MDP after less than three days since his former colleague Ali Waheed joins the rival party.

The special rally to introduce new politicians joining ruling MDP was originally planned to host at an open space in Maafannu near STO Building, but due to rain at the last minute they had to put it in Dharubaaruge, main hall. However, this did not affect number of party supporters attending the gathering. MP Abdu’ Raheem was received in a hall packed with supporters, President Nasheed, many senior government officials and party leaders were among the members.

There is a strong belief that soon or later the ruling party members slowly bound to take over complete majority while still they need four more members to go to fully achieve this. Now DRP/PA coalition controls 33 members in the parliament that means to pass legislation in favor of opposition they need strong and firm support from minor opposition parties, Jumhooree Party, Qaumee Party and at least 3 or 4 independent votes as well.  But there is an uncertainty over how well this will work at a time DRP has first to settle its own internal feuds.

Speaking at the rally Raheem said he quits DRP mainly as few influential businessmen are trying to block bills aimed at increasing state revenue such as long awaited tax bills.  He also said he was waiting for the right moment to change his party and finally that moment has come, citing that he made the decision in line with his constituents.

He joined MDP along with 100 news members from Maaziya Sports group based in the western area of Maafannu within his constituency.

Speaking in the joy of celebration MDP parliament leader Moosa Manik apparently lot his mind and gave a defiant threat to opposition. He said being the majority party at the floor MDP would bring amendments to various legislations relating to judiciary and finance, adding that they will press on with necessary changes to the formation of key committees in the Parliament.  In his speech Reko moosa went on to ask the MDP members whether they want to arrest former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and pledged to work through the parliament to find a way to take out all privileges offered to former President Gayoom.

Even though MDP has taken up two of DRP MPs, Z-DRP clams yet MDP hasn’t win the total control of the parliament and still they would have to face hard time in defeating opposition in the parliament floor.  Speaking on a local TV channel MP for Z-DRP Nihaan Hussan Manik said even though Moosa has a strong desires to arrest their ’Zaeem’ Gayoom it will never happen and accused MDP for intimidating former president and other political opponents.

Meanwhile, DRP’s ‘Z’ faction accuses current fever of – party switching – as corruption and has filed a complaint with anti-corruption commission.

Opposition MP Ali Waheed joins MDP

It was not an ordinary evening for ruling MDP supporters. Hundreds of supporters, party activists alongside with President Nasheed and other senior government officials were enthusiastically waiting at the party rally held in the artificial beach on Friday evening to welcome the defected politicians from main opposition DRP joining their party.

President Nasheed welcomes former DRP Deputy Leader, MP Ali Waheed to ruling MDP

The rally commenced stating that 9:47 is going to be a very special moment for MDP. After a while that moment has come.  Every one stands up clapping with jubilation to see the new faces. Peeping through one edge of the huge crowed, stunningly, everyone saw the huge figure of MP Ali Waheed making in to the center of the crowd.  Until yesterday, he was a vocal critic of the President Nasheed’s policies and a deputy leader of the main opposition DRP’s Thasmeen Faction. He was given a flamboyant welcome by MDP supporters and as he tried to walk to the center of the crowd supporters gets around him, shaking his hands and cuddling with him. One spotlight picture published on local media shows once political enemies, President Nasheed and Ali Waheed embracing each other.

Ali Waheed is attributed as the drive force of the opposition in the parliament. He made the choice while some of his vehement debates in the parliament against the government policies were still fresh in the minds of opposition supporters.  At a personal level he had criticized some of the actions and odd behaviors of the President Nasheed and MDP Parliamentary group leader Reko Moosa Maniku. In the parliament floor he accused President Nasheed of having chipped alcohol during one of his official trip and blamed Reko Moosa fathered a baby out-of-wedlock to a film star known as Mariyam Nisha and the poor baby is looked after in a Indian orphanage.

After all, quitting DRP by joining ruling MDP its members have either forgotten or forgiven Ali Waheed and in the joy they bear him on their shoulders and carry him in to the crowd. MDP supporters no longer want to remember what Ali Waheed uttered to them in the past but they want to go ahead with him, cause at this juncture his presence with them is much important than anything else to weaken the opposition control parliament.

In front of hundreds of supporters Ali Waheed, signed up the party alongside DRP activist Ahmed Assad ‘Adubarey’ and DRP Sports Wing Head, Hassan Shujau who was last week given a government post of State Minister for Housing.

Here comes the end of a rumor spread by local media for days. This move is seen as a beginning of series of such events to take place in a bid to win the absolute majority of the parliament for the ruling MDP government. There is growing rumor that Abdulla Abdu’ Raheem of Maafanu Uthuru constituency are also going to join MDP.

Government accuses that they being unable to fulfill their pledges mainly due to the blockade of opposition controlled parliament, so as Ali Waheed said after joining MDP, “government has a plan but the opposition has no plan other than rejecting government plans…, they never let know how to overcome the dollar shortage of the country, protesting alone would not solve the problems”.  For the first time standing on yellow podium Ali Waheed said, “Boom, Boom, Boom . . . I came here to get passengers to my flight, because it is only available, here”.

He admired MDP’s policies to strengthen democratic values within the party and went on to criticize DRP saying there is no political prospect for him as its members are spooling around two major party figures Gayoom and Thasmeen respectively. He said former President Gayoom is mainly responsible for factional division in DRP.

Speaking in the rally President Nasheed noted that it is a step taken forward to gain full control of the Parliament while some other speakers shoots verbal attacks on Zaeem-DRP’s leader former president Gayoom, calling for his arrest.

Some local analysts say at this crucial time party transfer market is high as MDP allegedly offering huge sum of money by taking advantage of the fragmented main opposition, DRP.

MDP hopes to fetch four more opposition members to get absolute majority of the parliament while opposition’s members says soon or later some MDP members may take side with them as well. However, Ali Waheed’s transfer is seen as a blow to the main opposition party. Along with him if Abdu’Raheem joins MDP it will be difficult for opposition to play a pivotal role on the floor.

Along with political freedom women wearing Hijab increases in Maldives

After reading your ( article “Fashion Statements”, right away my fingertips scrolled on the keyboard to write an opinion on this topic. Occasionally I read your blog and this is the first time I am giving my thoughts in to one of your article.

local model in traditional dress

Well, in Maldives Hijab was not a common seen until beginning of 90s. I can remember during my school days, in 1980s women wearing Hijab is not that much like what today we see. I can say 90% of women at that time were not wearing Hijab or head scarf however, some of the prominent women’s of those days still can be found without head scarf, and they include former Women’s Affairs Ministers Aneesa Ahmed and Rashidha Yoosuf, Health Minister Aiminath Jameel, former Education Minister Zahiya Zareer and list goes on. Still quite a lot of women engaged in the four front of politics, social activities, rights groups are not wearing Hijab or Buruga.

The Maldivian society is in fact very liberal compare with that of many regional countries. In 1970s as tourism first introduced to the country many new things like fashion and music along side with modern education introduced to the country. At that time we had many things that you would not find in a conservative Islamic society. Then the population of Malé was less than 20,000 where as today the population of capital alone has risen over 100,000 making it world’s second most densely populated urban city.

However, in those days rest of the country was not aware of the developments in the capital mainly due to lack of communication and sea connectivity to faraway islands. But during the last five years of former president Ibrahim Nasir at least one restaurant with discothèque known as “Icege” were found in Malé while a casino ran in a 70s’ carnival known as Hakuraa Fair. However, both activities were since banned in Gayoom’s early days of presidency citing illegal in Islamic Shari-ah. Nevertheless, at the time these activities become very famous among many young Maldivians, especially with the generation that followed English medium which was introduced between late 60s and early 70s.

Maldives first all girls school in 1970s - none are wearing Buruga

Those days women tent to wear Hijab only after performing Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and this would take place usually after a women grows old enough to become a granny. Even when seen young girls in Hijab or head scarf during those days, they had to face harassments in public. Some call them “Sathari Dhoni” means ‘boat covered with an awning’.

But as more and more Islamic scholars came back home after studies in Egypt or Saudi Arabia their preachings slowly took the society for the first time to think wisely about their faith — how to practice it and how to steadfast with Islamic way of life. Apart from religious sermons in the mosques, Television and Radio played an important role in creating awareness regarding Hijab and many other Islamic values to follow. And the change took place during former president Gayoom’s 30 year long regime.

Being an Islamic Scholar himself Gayoom maintained fairly liberal policies when it comes to religion and many fundamental scholars did very often pound criticism over this. And in fact during the later days Gayoom’s government, Islamic Party, Adhaalth and then opposition party MDP members used religion as a tool to oust him from power. Imprisoned scholar Sheikh Fareed’s release in 2005 was a major turning point. For the first time his followers marched across the city streets calling to strengthen Islamic Sharia and denouncing Gayoom for failing to give free preaching rights.

Gayoom is credited for paying a lot of attention to Islam by opening first ever Islamic Higher Study’s Institution in Malé where he brought moderate religious scholars from Egypt. Most of them were based on teachings of Azhar University in Egypt. He developed country’s economy from scratch to a robust economy while ensuring so called moderate Islam in the country.

fully veiled woman seen on an island street

Things started changing as more and more scholars coming home after attaining their higher studies in Islam in abroad.  Most of them took their studies from fundamental foundations of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and most scholars were self funded. As democratic reform movement began in the country in 2005 yet many scholars who disagreed with Gayoom’s moderate policy on religion took it as tool to tackle him down in 2008 so as MDP. Many radical scholars gave public speeches on many political podiums. With all these developments in the political landscape has brought in deed some sought of  religious freedom at least to those who were demanding for free preaching of various sects and belief of Islam.

Briefly I can say, Gayoom’s regime tried to maintained a moderate ideology of Islam across the country while President Nasheed and members in his inner-circle shows more secular behavior even though he is powerless in controlling hard-liners in Adhaalath party as they were a coalition partner.

fashion buruga - now many young girls wear these colorful dresses with buruga

What so ever, Hijab has become a prominent character  among many Maldivian women and regular harassment that took place earlier has faded away. As I said before, in 80s we see few people wearing it but during the 90s the number increases and after democratic reform movement even more women has started covering up their head or entire face with Hijab or scarf, many are covering their whole body with black Hijab. Now as you said head scarf is wide spread in the Maldives and it not less becoming  a fashionable feature. They come in many colors, many styles and unlike in different occasions.  Even I notice Maldivian women are more beautiful when seen wearing Hijab, head scarf or Buruga. The focus stop at their gorgeous faces, their stunning eyes and sparkling lips as we gaze at them. It has become fashionable thing to wear.

In the department I work there are three female secretaries out of which 2/3 are wearing Hijab or head scarf. Measuring with this ratio I can say in every 2 out of 3 women in Maldives are are wearing Hijab however, fully veiled or face covered women are still relatively few.

Maldives: Transfer of Broadcast Assets to Autonomous Body


Radio Building

The InternationalFederation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the ruling by the Maldives Civil Court that the assets and budget of the state-owned Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) be handed over to the autonomous andindependent Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

This transfer is to be effected within twenty days, by which time journalists and other workers in the employ of the MNBC will become staff of the MBC. The Maldives Journalists’Association (MJA), an IFJ affiliate, has placed on record its belief that the empowerment of the autonomous corporation, which has been designated as apublic service broadcaster under Maldives’ national law, is key to raising awareness during a challenging time of transition for the Indian Ocean republic. The MBC was created by an act of parliament in April 2010, soon afterwards signed and passed into law byPresident Mohammad Nasheed. MBC was designated as a public service broadcaster to be overseen by a nine-member board appointed by parliament. All assets heldat that time by the MNBC, were to be handed over to the new body.

In July 2010, a top political advisor to President Nasheed indicated that the MNBC would continue to operate without any abridgment of either its mandate or its assets base. As he was quoted as saying: “Although the MBC has been established, the MNBC will continue operating the state broadcasters”.

TV Maldives (TVM) and the Voice ofthe Maldives (VOM), the presidential advisor insisted, would continue to remain assets of the MNBC. They have since been rebranded as MNBC One and Raajje Radio respectively.

“We hope that the stalemate over the disposition of broadcasting assets in the Maldives will be resolved with the Civil Court having given its ruling,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“The IFJ has consistently argued the case for public service journalism which is independent of state control and insulated from a dependence on advertising revenue which is known to often impair editorial independence.

“The initiative to set up theMBC as a public service broadcaster is one that we have watched with great interest, and we hope that with the recent judicial ruling the MBC will be ableto begin functioning in a manner that is true to its mandate.”


Government media attempts to connect recent protests with Uchchu.

Propaganda news are being spread by the government control TV channels concerning the recent week-long protests held in Malé over high commodity and consumer prices. Such misinformation is carried by government control MNBC and Malé TV a privet channel partly owned by State Minister for Housing and Environment Mr. Akram Kamaaluddin.

I was able to obtain a copy of the actual news item and it is seen as a very irresponsible piece of work, in which the whole news was written in such a way that at one point I thought I was reading stuff from gossip magazine. First thing, they put the facts wrong; secondly didn’t adhere to editorial standards of professional journalism. And they failed to bring comments from both sides after their assertions which of course liable for defamation Charges.

Based on gossips and tales that are not yet being proofed – MNBC connected its story about recent protests with famous local businessman Chmpa Mohamed Moosa or more commonly known as Uchchu who also owns privet channels DhiTV and DhiFm respectively. Actually the story was first carried by Malé TV and later MNBC followed it.

Quoting some of the unnamed youth organizers of the protests MNBC reported Uchchu as the prime person behind the protests and alleged that he contributed funds to those who organized it. They also stated his intention was to silent the internal strife within main opposition DRP and spin the public focus towards the protests.  Uchchu was said to have given half a million ruffiya to protest organizers, a claim he denied later.  The news report also claimed, every night after rapping up the protests some of the organizers go to the building where DhiTV operates and discus it with Uchchu. Government owned media blams that Uchchu is leaned towards former president Gayoom’s ‘Z’ faction and is enthusiastic to see Z-DRP to win the election in 2013.

What so ever, we can say, at a time of deep division within main opposition DRP leadership, demonstrations helped bringing together DRP’s rival leaders to one platform, at least during the protests.

Later his television station, DhiTV telecast a statement from Champa-Brothers denying all the chargers put forward by government control media saying, Chammpa Mohamed Moosa or Uchchu has nothing to do with the protesters and the half a million ruffiya they are talking about was actually an aid support given to Iskandhar School to mark their golden jubilee.

See how immaturely they put this news item to propagate false perspective of the protests which was in fact organized by the Youths in support of opposition political parties.

This shows how state media is being controlled by the government. They are reluctant to let go state media in the hands of Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) which was formed by parliament act ensuring to turn state media to an independent public service.

Click to view the actual news item: