Lawyer Latheef slams govt. for weakening local governance

K. Male' | Fathimath Saya Ahmed | 07-January-2017 | Saturday 22:42 | F_SayaAhmed | Local | 1,367

Lawyer Hassan Latheef speaks at a gathering of MDP. -- Photo by: Mohamed Sharuhaan

The only candidate running for the chairpersonship of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawyer Hassan Latheef has slammed the government for weakening and attempting to destroy the decentralized system of governance.

He was speaking at a gathering of the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) on Friday night in Baa atoll Dharavandhoo Island. MUO is currently touring Baa atoll to demand free and fair elections ahead of the delayed local council elections.

Latheef alleged that all the development plans announced by the government includes corruption and that the Maldives cannot maintain growth without the sustenance of the decentralized system of governance.

Highlighting that the incumbent government does not work in ways that a legal state operates, Latheef urged the people to consider the policies of the now-divided ruling party as the country prepares to face the local council elections.

“Whether it is the building of a school, making prayer arrangements in a mosque, harbor development, hospital development or the administrative operations of the state or the government, all we see is actions being taken in contravention to our principles,” Latheef said.

He said that the most important reason to win the local council elections and reinstate a decentralized system of governance is to stop the corruption activities being carried out by the government of President Abdulla Yameen.

Noting that the target of MUO is to not only win elections, he said that their work is based on the living standards of the people and added that he does not believe that growth can be maintained without reinstating decentralization.

Referring to remarks by President Yameen to transform Maldives into a Singapore, Latheef said the Maldivian people do not want their country to be turned into a Singapore.

“It is because of the great differences between Singapore and Maldives. Singapore is a country made up of just one small island whereas Maldives is a geographically vast country with 2,000 islands. We do not want to see a day when this Maldives is overcrowded and the people are forced to live in a 4 by 8-foot cell in Male’, Villimale’ or Hulhumale’. That is why we want a decentralized system,” Latheef claimed.

Highlighting on the development plans of the government, Latheef said these developments come at a great cost for the Maldivian people as each of these projects include corruption. He concluded by expressing hopes for the opposition to win the upcoming local council elections.

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