The Quality of Political Appointees in the Nasheed Administration

As almost seven months pass since President Mohamed Nasheed took power in the Maldives, Maldivian citizens despair of ever seeing the much promised improvements in their livelihoods. The state treasury has been exhausted within this brief period, and the economy has declined to an extent worse than the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Escalating price of consumer goods, collapse of social services, increasing food insecurity and declining real income have thrown more people below the poverty line. While President Nasheed is engrossed in his hate and persecution campaign against political opponents, his government has ground to a halt.

The Nasheed administration came into power promising reduced expenditures, increased government revenue and a clamp down on corruption in top government circles. President Nasheed’s first budget (2009) has a 7 billion deficit (nearly 5 billion more than the previous administration’s last budget, and government revenue has fallen by more than 28% since he took power. As for clamping down on corruption in top government circles, one need only look at the quality of political appointees in the Nasheed administration.

Indeed, there is no recognized metric for measuring the quality of political appointees. Nonetheless, a look at the backgrounds and previous activities of political appointees is clear evidence of an alarming decline in qualifications of political appointees in the country.

Numerous political appointees serving in President Nasheed’s Administration have criminal backgrounds. This can be demonstrated by a short review of some shining examples such as:

Mohamed Rasheed Hussain, Minister of State for Human Resources, Youth and Sports:

President Nasheed’s class mate and crony Mohamed Rasheed (aka Bigey), was convicted in 1992 under the terrorism act for his active involvement in planning and executing terror attacks against the general public. Terror attacks masterminded and executed by Bigey include arson attacks on two private cars and launches in Male’. Bigey’s terror campaign was aimed at bringing his brother-in-law, incumbent Vice-President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Maniku to power. Bigey’s second life in Government began when Nasheed appointed him as a President’s member to the interim Parliament. Following his failure in the recent Parliamentary Election, Rasheed (aka Bigey) was elevated to the post of Minister of State at the Ministry of Sports Employment and Human Resources. In his pre-terrorist days, Bigey worked as a technical assistant in the Marine Rsearch Centre. He later survived on small businesses such as mechanical workshops and small scale civil contracting.

Abdulla Shahid, Minister of State for Housing, Transport and Environment.

Shahid (alias DB – Double Bass) is a convicted terrorist and traitor to the country. He was an accomplice of President Nasheed’s uncle-in-law Bodu Sikka’s attempted coup on November 3rd , 1988 to overthrow the government and take power. Sikka’s coup was undertaken with the LTTE. Shahid was also homosexual Sikka’s drinking buddy and ‘close personal friend’. Shahid was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to life imprisonment. Pardoned by President Gayoom, Shahid went to work in his family owned business. President Nasheed first appointed him Minister of State for Defence. However, when a public outcry broke and hundreds of people marched in demonstration against Nasheed’s appointment of convicted terrorist and traitor as Defence State Minister, Nasheed transferred DB to his current position as Minister of State for Housing, Transport and Environment. According to the ministry staff, Shahid has absolutely no clue of the work in his Ministry.

Ahmed Shafeeq, Minister of State for Home Affairs:

Shafeeq’s (aka Goathi Vagu) civil service carrier started at the Selected Islands Development Unit which was entrusted with the responsibility of developing Viligili Island as a township of Male’. Shafeeq obtained property (Housing land) on the island through fraudulence using his office. He was charged with the crime and found guilty. He was exiled for this crime. He got an opportunity to mount his vendetta on Gayoom when he was elected to the Constitution Assembly in 2004. It is widely believed in Meemu Atoll, the constituency from which he got his Constitutional Assembly seat, that Goathi Vagu got his votes in a confusion amongst voters as to who-is-who between his competitor and name-sake Ahmed Shafeed (alias, Kokko Shafeeq).

Umar Jamal, Minister of State for Home Affairs:

Umar Jamal is also a convicted terrorist and traitor, convicted for his participation in the 3rd November Coup attempt. Convicted and later pardoned after serving apart of his prison sentence. Jamal had worked as a refrigeration instructor at the Vocational Training Center. Umar Jamal is the ex-husband of Rugiyya Ahmed Didi (MDP Chairperon Mariya Didi’s sister). Rugiyya is presently a Deputy Under Secretary at the Executive Services branch of The President’s Office.

The above is just a sample of the top political appointees by President Nasheed. As is well known by all Maldivians, his government’s top political posts are filled with persons of similar caliber – that is, known ex-cons, fraud artists, racketeers, gang lords, terrorists who have attacked the Maldives with armed personnel, porn stars and swindlers. Amongst the above examples and numerous others, these include Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussain Zaki (infamous for his swindling of seven resorts while Tourism Minister), Nasheed’s close cousin State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kerafa Ahmed Naseem (infamous for his unabashed soliciting of bribes from potential foreign investors when he was head of the Foreign Investment Board), Personal Secretary Ziyad (known drug lord and gangster), Defence Minister Amin Faisal (a leader of the attempted military coup to support Nasheed’s uncle Bodu Sikka’s joint attempt with the LTTE to overthrow the then government), State Minister for Trade Adil Saleem (lead actor of an infamous porn movie), and Thimarafushi Musthafa (well known gangster and loan shark). President Nasheed himself comes from a background of corruption and embezzlement of state funds, typified by the well known and proven case of his father Kerafa Abdul Sattar’s embezzlement from the government company, MITE and later his attempt (again co-lead by Sattar’s brother-in-law, Bodu Sikka) to assainate President Ibrahim Nasir.

The title Minister of State is a title borne by politicians or officials in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a minister of state is a junior minister who is assigned to assist a specific cabinet minister (probably it is so in the Maldives too). In others countries a minister of state is a holder of a more senior position, such as a cabinet minister or even a head of government. Usually, a minister of state is assigned a specific area of work for which the appointee is qualified (experience considered as a qualification). However, in the case of the Maldives now, it appears that President Nasheed plans to spend from the national budget to pay his party Maldivian Democratic Party’s lead militants for their past services to himself and his family.

With such quality in charge of the affairs of the state, it is no small wonder that the Maldivian economy has collapsed, the state treasury has been ransacked and the Maldivian people beggared.