Dunya Maumoon served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2013 until her resignation in 2016, citing difference of opinion with the current government over the death penalty. While she rejoined the government, as a state minister at the health ministry in January 2017, the government is yet to change its stance on the issue.
Her resignation came days after a dispute between her father, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and his half-brother, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, went public. The elder brother ended up officially withdrawing support for the younger brother’s government in October 2016.
While the entire nation was shocked by Dunya’s decision, Gayoom denounced it, saying that it “is her personal choice,” and outright said that he does not support his elder daughter’s decision. Around the same time, Dunya’s twin sister, Yumna Maumoon, tweeted that she remained “steadfast” by her father’s side “on the righteous path”.
A little over a year after Dunya’s return to the government, on 5th February 2018, Gayoom was arrested under a state of emergency declaration. Both Dunya and Yumna were by his side at the time of the arrest.
Dunya has sent out a number of tweets expressing concern over her father’s continued incarceration, even filing the case at the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) and has briefed Shoko Noda, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to the Maldives.
Her last tweet on the matter was on Thursday, after visiting Gayoom in Maafushi Prison, calling for his immediate release. She noted that he is “a man who served his people sincerely for 30 years”.
Dunya first served in the government during her father’s tenure in 2007, as a deputy minister at the foreign ministry, where she headed the multilateral department. In 2012, during former President Mohamed Waheed’s tenure, she was appointed as a state minister at the ministry, until finally taking up the role as the foreign minister in 2013, in her uncle’s administration. Her Wikipedia page is full of her accomplishment as foreign minister.
Yumna has been working for the release of her father as well, and her brother, Dhiggaru constituency MP Ahmed Faris Maumoon, and husband, Mohamed Nadheem.
While her sister had always been in the limelight “successfully liaising with the international partners such as Commonwealth and the United Nations to vindicate Maldives from the false allegations” (as per her Wikipedia page), Yumna had remained quiet mum about the political developments in the country, until the fallout between the Gayoom brothers in 2016. She had served the government previously as well, as a deputy minister at the Ministry of Education and the Head of the Department of Heritage.
Dunya, with all her connections and influence in the international community, was already telling the world of her father’s unlawful detention, even telling the United Nations that she is counting on it “in resolving the current crisis in Maldives”.
But on Friday, lawyer Maumoon Hameed revealed that Gayoom had “instructed his daughter Yumna Maumoon as his SOLE designated personal representative to CLEARLY convey to the international community his stance on these issues and to press for urgent action to restore constitutional order in the Maldives”.