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Reinventing the Wheel of Local Governance (2)

07 Jul

[The following is a glimpse of a piece of my mind. You are not required to believe it, to accept it, nor to act upon it. Please read at your own risk. It is not my intention, to promote it; but to exercise my right of freedom of thought.]

(continued from before)

The local councils charged to run the affairs of the administrative units – city council, atoll council and island council administrative parts, of the nation was preempted by councilors appointed by the President. The councilors so appointed, replaced the atoll chiefs and functioned as oversight government officials at the island level.

Once the councilors were elected, the councils mandated to run the affairs of the localities seemed to fashion themselves more like lower houses of people’s representatives. They became somewhat miniature governments of sorts. The ensuing confusion created ample space for a complete break down of a unitary state in the country, as determined by the August Constitution.

Local councils have become more like power houses to consolidate political supremacy rather than a municipal services agency that ensured efficiency and effectiveness in governance, an empowered administration closer to home, and decentralization of services. The ensuing battle of parties have created chaos and confusion for both the local authorities as well as the communities. The extent of the dilemma facing the people today, are exemplified in two incidents during the span of a week.

FIRST

The only member of the opposition party DRP who also happened to be the only female member of the Thulhaadhoo Island Council was dismissed for failing to attend 10 consecutive meetings of the council. Now that sounds really callous of the council member, hah! And she was expelled after consultation with the Local Government Authority (LGA) under the control of the Home Minister, who said that they had also sought the advice of the Attorney General.

The particular councilor was out of the island when these meetings were held, to attend a workshop on Governance and Development according to media reports attributed to the councilor. And also seven of the ten meetings were emergency meetings, and she had not been sent any notifications of the meetings. The grounds for the dismissal by the other members who were all ruling party MDP member is this – she had not submitted a letter notifying her leave of absence, though she claims that she did inform the President of the island council.

the Local Government Authority  is the democratic name for the Ministry of Atolls Administration of the dictatorial regime of the past! The Home Minister of the present is made more powerful than the Atolls Administration Minister due to his direct control over the Maldives Police Services.

SECOND

A no confidence vote of the President of the Male City Council or the Mayor of Male City was table earlier this week. The agenda item was later withdrawn by councilor Falah who is also a member of the national council of the Maldives Democratic Party. Prior to this, the council which has a clear majority of the MDP passed a resolution forbidding the Mayor to attend any meetings by himself to represent the council.

Male City Council comprise of eleven councilors of whom two belong to the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party. The other members who belong to MDP are deeply divided and have their allegiance to the respective factions within the party.

The frictions between the councilors mean that there is complete confusion in everything and it is almost impossible to get things done, according to sources from within the city council administration.

the Addu City Council which has all its members from the MDP, are not in any better shape, either. They seem to be doing something, but the friction between the factions loyal to a particular MP and another strongman of the MDP, means that it is also treading a path of uncertainty.

The proponents of the current chaos will simply put the events into a circle called “teething problems of a young democracy”. Such people are usually not affected by the events!

(to be continued in Part 3)

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Politics

 

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