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Page added on October 17, 2011

DRP accuses PPM of using cash incentives and development funding to poach members

DRP accuses PPM of using cash incentives and development funding to poach members thumbnail

Spokesperson and Deputy Leader of the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP), Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef, has alleged that the breakaway opposition party of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been offering cash incentives and development funds to island groups, in a bid to persuade them to join the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

“There are many social clubs in the Maldives with the purposes of developing islands. Many have been offered cash incentives and funds for development activities if members join the party. Even individual members have been offered,” said Shareef, who has made similar claims to local media this week.

PPM Spokesperson Ahmed Mahlouf was not responding to refute the allegations at time of press.

“We’re not about to file a court case, but this is happening on a wide scale. If the clubs involved need funding, members are inclined to accept. We couldn’t afford to lodge so many cases,” Shareef said, when asked if the party had any evidence to back the claims.

Prior to the PPM’s inaugural convention on October 15, the EC verified and approved the membership forms of 3,019 party members.

Several thousand people attended the convention at Dharubaaruge, including at least one prominent ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activist.

The 971 delegates present elected Gayoom interim leader unopposed, while his half-brother MP Abdulla Yameen was elected acting parliamentary group leader.

Yameen’s party, the People’s Alliance (PA), recently split from the main opposition DRP which remains under leadership of Ahmed Thasmeen Ali. The relationship between the PPM, formerly known as the Z-DRP faction of the opposition, and the DRP leadership remains strained.

Shareef expressed surprise at the large numbers of people who attended the convention, and acknowledged that support for Gayoom’s party had the potential to affect the DRP’s membership base.

“This was a 30 year regime and we have to accept that there are pockets of support everywhere. During Gayoom’s time he did a lot a lot of work and has many supporters, and we have to recognise this,” Shareef said, but questioned the PPM’s “ability to work together as a party.”

“I don’t see any future for PPM. They are saying that 99 percent of [DRP members] are joining the party but we don’t see any such thing happening. At the same time there are a lot of people who have remained steadfast and believe the DRP has a future, and that the leadership has the experience and qualifications to run the country,” Shareef said.

The breakaway faction consisted of Gayoom’s immediate family and “former DRP members who failed in elections while they were in the DRP,” Shareef said. “PPM is a family enterprise, promoting a private hidden agenda in the name of the national interest.”

Gayoom had capitalised on growing dissatisfaction with the government, Shareef contended.

“At the grassroots level, people are very unhappy, and the swing voters have been moving away from the government. This is why Gayoom chose now to form his new party. In 2008-2009, and even midway through 2010, there was no political space.”

The division was as much ideological as it was acrimonious, Shareef explained.

“Many people do not believe the DRP is able to hold the government accountable, because we do not create violence or street protests. Many people think the opposition should make the country ungovernable, even the media and opinion leaders. I’m not sure if they understand it themselves, but it makes it very dangerous, as it risks the whole society falling and becoming a failed state,” Shareef said.

“We believe we are a responsible opposition and we oppose the government’s polices where they are wrong, and support them when they are right. There is nothing personal and we are not out for revenge, and we do not see the ruling party as personal enemies.

“Gayoom’s family and his inner circle view them as personal enemies and are out for revenge, using chaos and anarchy to try and stop the government from doing any work. We are clear we want a stable government, and to change it through elections, but the immediate family of Gayoom has a different idea. They want street action, so that every day the government is under pressure, while we voted for a presidential system of government that gives the President a free hand to run the country [while he is elected].”

Beyond the poaching of its member base, the DRP faced new financial challenges with the departure of the former President, Shareef said.

“Finance is a great challenge. The current DRP leadership is not as rich as PPM’s top leadership. It presents a challenge, but I like to believe money is not everything.”

Road to 2013

Shareef was a founding member of the MDP, Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader in Nasheed’s shadow cabinet, then later a deputy to Gayoom, and now a deputy to Thasmeen.

With the split in the opposition, and the collapse of all the MDP’s coalition agreements, Shareef predicted that “given current trends” the 2013 presidential election would effectively be a replay of the 2008 election in which Nasheed won power in a run-off election against the incumbent Gayoom, due to the support of coalition partners.

The MDP would need to gain 51 percent of the vote in the first round to secure a clean win, while “none of the opposition parties will secure enough votes to reach the 51 percent mark,” Shareef said. “Meanwhile the MDP has chased away all its coalition partners, and they cannot now turn around and say ‘We can work together’, because nobody will believe them.”

Faced with a run-off, the disparate opposition groups would temporarily unify over the common ground of ousting the MDP, Shareef predicted, giving power to the largest opposition party.

“Look at the last three elections. In the first round of the 2008 Presidential election Gayoom got 40 percent, while the rest of the then opposition got 60 percent. In the second round the opposition totaled 54 percent. The MDP lost ground in the parliamentary elections, and the majority of the islands voted for the DRP in the local council elections,” he claimed.

“The incumbent government has the resources of the state to get votes, and can get at least 20-30 percent just by being in power. At present trends, the 2013 will be a replay of 2008, and as things stand now, whoever is in opposition will go to the second round. But we need a leader who is not out to take revenge.”

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8 Comments on "DRP accuses PPM of using cash incentives and development funding to poach members"

  1. Rolex on Mon, 17th Oct 2011 7:58 PM 

    “Several thousand people attended the convention at Dharubaaruge, including at least one prominent ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activist.”

    This is totally fasle.
    The capacity of that hall is 1100 people. There were many unoccupied seats. If you look at the pictures on Sun Online, you can see this. Also, several of its seats were stacked up against the wall. How then are you saying “several thousand people” attended the meeting?

    Get your facts correct, JJ.

  2. Rolex on Mon, 17th Oct 2011 8:08 PM 

    PPM’s inaugural convention was laughable.
    Chairperson ‘Seena’ Zahir was able to see whether the hands of all 971 were up or down just sitting at his desk. I don’t know how he did it. I did not see him use a telescope or binoculars. But he just saw that all hands were up.
    How did he do it?

  3. Gi. Joe on Tue, 18th Oct 2011 12:02 AM 

    FPID, Loot at work people.

  4. ahmed on Tue, 18th Oct 2011 6:00 AM 

    Mavota has made perfect sense here, especiallly where floating votets are concerned. Be wary of anyone offering you MRF500 for your vote, this corruption and you are damaging the nation if you accept it.

    If someone claims to uphold values and operate within the law, they cannot offer this and not break the law, think before glycerol yourself.

    When you make up your mind who to follow, think about the team line up. Are they ( whichever party)

  5. ahmed on Tue, 18th Oct 2011 6:06 AM 

    Mavota has made perfect sense here, especiallly where floating votets are concerned. Be wary of anyone offering you MRF500 for your vote, this corruption and you are damaging the nation if you accept it.

    If someone claims to uphold values and operate within the law, they cannot offer this and not break the law, think before you sell yourself.

    When you make up your mind who to follow, think about the team line up. Are they (whichever party) offering anything new? Are they the same people you are Mitchell with or even voted out effectively ladt time.

    Let’s make sure they work for us this time, make them accountable, if you don’t believe they will then don’t vote for them.

    Dumb voting with no thoughts has not helped us, ask questions and make them work for their seats this time.vote with your heads not your pockets, make up your own mind, this is important.

  6. Dhonfuthu on Tue, 18th Oct 2011 11:12 AM 

    The yellow and the blue are scared !!! Now the real rumble has begun . Winner will take it all :)

  7. Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb on Tue, 18th Oct 2011 3:09 PM 

    Mavota must have a split brain. One side of his brain talks about perfectly rational things like making the government accountable and not jeopardising the young democracy. At the same time, his party is hell bent on ousting the Finance Minister for what appears to be a vendetta, if anything.

    I totally agree that PPM is a way for Gayyoom to keep the “dynasty” in the public eye and that’s what the old man craves for as one of his last acts on earth. He will sacrifice everything to get there; bribery, corruption, cheating or lying are mere tools to be used to achieve an aim.

    Here’s my prediction. Even if Gayyoom or his clone comes into power, he won’t be able to hold on for long. Far too much has changed since he was last in the seat of power. The country and society are much less tolerant and there’s simply no way for Gayyoom and his mates to run things the way they did. They may think they can still go back to the same old mantra, but that’s a pipe dream.

    Gayyoom has a very simple method: as long as you don’t pose a risk to his personal position, you are free to do as you please; take as many cookies from the jar as you like.

  8. momo on Tue, 18th Oct 2011 4:41 PM 

    should’ve shot that deputy, eh MAG?


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