K. Male'
12 Feb 2018 | Mon 01:27
Former President Maumoon at time of arrest
Former President Maumoon at time of arrest
Mohamed Sharuhaan
Clash of the Gayooms
Caught between a rock and a hard place: Dunya Maumoon
Dunya had faced immense criticism over defense of present administration

As we approach the one-week mark towards the arrest of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, it is evident that his family is in distress and concerned about his well-being. Gayyoom’s daughter Dunya Maumoon and youngest child Ghassan Maumoon – both who are currently serving the government – face additional challenges, as they are put under immense pressure during this time of crisis.

On one side, stands their service to the public through the government while on the other, stands their father and their family.

Regardless of the crackdown during the state of emergency, Gayyoom remains pledged to the stronghold opposition with allegiance from son and Dhiggaru Constituency MP Ahmed Faris Maumoon along with Yumna Maumoon and her husband Mohamed Nadheem – both of his children who had previously served the current government. Amongst the four, only Yumna remain free as Faris and Nadheem both had been arrested following Gayyoom’s arrest.

While the political turmoil intensifies day-by-day, Gayoom’s youngest, Ghassan has been keeping a relatively low profile.

Contrary to that, his eldest Dunya had been by his side during the arrest and has expressed her concerns about it in the media, several times. Even though her political ideologies do not exactly go hand-in-hand with Gayyoom’s and in spite of the public backlash, she put her family first and refuses to mix her personal life with professional life. Present by her father’s side, she had advised her father to be strong and continues to work towards his release, displaying family values that we all should aspire for. And it shows.


Dunya’s photo with her father, taken just before his arrest, the anguish on her face, only proved the oft-uttered statement; blood is thicker than water.


Social Media is active with strong criticism and brazen mockery towards Dunya, for her calls of peace and a solution within us. The plea in her video statement, given with husband Shuaib Shah, was an impassioned one, both for her father’s incarceration and the status of the nation. It only highlights the necessity and a reality Maldives faced as a nation: that we need a dialogue to resolve this issue.

On Sunday morning, Dunya who is currently the Minister of State for Health tweeted out a quote, that could only be comprehended if read between the lines. Part of the quote read “never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass.”


Her tweet could perhaps be an indication that her resignation might be on the table – and that it would only come when the time is right. A resignation while her father remains jailed, may not be the wisest of decisions for her at the moment.

“My father had served as the president for 30 years, he had served the nation and the citizens in immense ways. He is the mind behind the modern development that we enjoy today. Never did I imagine, that I would have to see such a day,” Dunya said in her statement.

Both Dunya and Yumna, formidable women in their own right, have faced immense pressures in their mandates, serving the nation, in their own terms. Her time as the Minister of Foreign Affairs had been equally challenging as well. When ex-President Mohamed Nasheed was tried and convicted of terror charges, it was Dunya who fended off international pressure and stood tall to defend the country in the eyes of the international community. Yumna has been a fervent advocate for protecting the nation’s heritage and, of late, her brother’s staunchest defense.


While the issue seems civil and political in nature, Dunya had consistently stressed that what the nation faces today was more of a ‘family issue’.


In a time of intense media and public scrutiny, every politician and would be politician panders to public sentiment. However, for the Gayooms the stakes are higher.


The question that keeps us wondering is, will Dunya remain steadfast with the government? Or will they stand up against the government to defend their father?

Last updated at: 2 years ago
Reviewed by: Aishath Shaany