Following the major internal squabble within ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), President Abdullah Yameen had assumed leadership of the Party. While his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was still the President of the Party. The former President had been reduced to a mere bobble head on the dashboard, stripped of his powers as the Party President. All done with the assistance of the Courts.
In spite of his many transgressions committed over his 30-year rule, Maumoon is still admired and revered. His quiet defiance in face of the many injustices has earned him the respect of not just his admirers but the disenfranchised millennials.
As a person who still demands respect and hailed as a game changer in the political arena, Maumoon can play a vital role in holding the Government accountable.
This has been seen to an extent. When PPM split into Yameen faction and Maumoon faction, a small number of Parliament Members and Jumhooree Party Leader Qasim Ibrahim began a series of measures aimed to rectify the changes to laws brought forward by using Government majority in the Parliament. This was announced by the faction. Qasim and Maumoon had even planned trips to the islands for the cause
Then came in the attacks against Qasim. Using legal means the Government effectively shackled him. Many of the MPs who had thrown their weight behind Maumoon had to shift their allegiances.
Perhaps the biggest blow to Maumoon was that of his daughter Dunya Maumoon. Dunya Maumoon, a strong force both in the Party and the Government had been serving as Foreign Minister. She had resigned from her position, backing her father in the squabble. Months after, she switched her allegiance, going back to the Government. However, this time she was given a fairly inferior political position in Yameen’s cabinet. His son, Ghassaan Maumoon still remains in uncle Yameen’s cabinet, unwaveringly committed to the regime.
What transpired next is even more incredulous. Maumoon was prevented from meeting his Party members at his office, forcing him to cancel the meeting. That meeting was later reconvened and held behind closed doors.
In the face of such persecution, should a figure like President Maumoon remain silent, save for a few tweets on Government abuse of power and corruption?
It is both unthinkable and unacceptable for President Maumoon to remain silent, backtracking on his reform agenda. He has to move forward with it. He has to come forth in a bid to clarify and explain his agenda first to members of PPM, then the public.
The silence of political figures such as Maumoon is a deterrent to any well-rounded reform to the nation. In the absence of it all we’ll be able to see is the increase of corruption and abuse of power by the Government.
Granted, the road to any reform agenda and any reformist is a perilous one in the Maldives. But having individuals like Maumoon moving this agenda forward is bound to bring some form of change. Therefore, it is national obligation on Maumoon to push forward with resistance.