Category Archives: Leadership

Running Mates and their Candidate's Pole Position

Running mates are now almost in place for the presidential candidates who have announced their candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections. Maumoon first announced his running mate, Thasmeen Ali, who is very much of a loyalist to him and therfore a shadow to him. Then it was Gasim who made the announcement, Ahmed Ali Sawad, a PhD student who is new to the country and the reform and democracy movement, who simply makes Gasim himself the candidate and the running mate. It was followed by Hassan Saeed, who chose his friend and colleague Dr. Shaheed to run with him, putting forth more of an equal mate. Finally Anni announced Dr. Waheed, “the earlier reformist” who is “a well-know figure” and in a way a senior to him.

It would be interesting to see how the choice and the timing of the announcement of running mates affect the pole position of the candidates. The reality is that Maldivian political demography has matured, and however much a political figure is well-knowN or popular, is not any guarantee that will make it easier to sell him for a pole position – not anymore. It is those who can identify with, and merge with the pulse of the grassroots that would get votes. This has been very clear from the pictures emerging from the ever dynamic political landscape within the country, last three weeks or so. Though popularity and money will play a part, it would be substance and conviction that would lead the vote, in my opinion. I believe the will of the people will prevail, and that it would be an informed and calculated decision by the majority of the people. Who will win, depends on who can convince the people of this and build momentum upto October 8th.

Anni and Maumoon are believed in the pole position for now followed by Gasim and Hassan. Yet, the fast paced momentum of changes makes uncertainty the certainty of the day.


Political Unpreparedness: Dearth of Acceptable Running Mates!

I toyed with the idea of Anni and Maumoon running as a team in the upcoming presidential elections; anyone of them could have been running mate to the other. That was in February of this year. But then, Maumoon announced his running mate in August just before ratifying the new constitution of the country.

Since then, there seems to have been a dearth of acceptable leaders for choosing as running mates. None of the presidential hopefuls have been comfortable in announcing a running mate to team up with, for the presidential race. I am confused by this undecidedness and lack of posture. Some would call it political tactic, but I would not.

Anni had opposition from his party ranks for appointing a woman to be his running mate, solely for the sake of Islam. They held their beliefs in faith over the constitution. That is to be expected where religion comes above all. Anni was to have announced a running mate at the formal launch of his presidential campaign, but felt shy of it. With less than three weeks in any practical terms, (provided the parliament can complete the marathon to the deadline of passing the electtoral bills and appointing a supreme court bench); to meet the constitutional deadline for holding elections; Anni has still not even hinted at a possible running mate.

Tonight, Jumhooree Party held a special ceremony at Dharubaaruge, which was seemingly to announce Gasim’s running mate; he too felt shy of it. There was widespread speculation and several pointers in the media to the effect that Munavvar would be Gasim’s running mate. Yet, he gave an unprecented campaign speech and then apologized for a “strategic” delay to the announcement.

Hassan Saeed, Ibra and Umaru have all been saying that they would be announcing strong persons as their running mates. Yet, seem to be shying away from making an announcement too. Media reports of a statement by MDP acting president Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, of an invitation to Hassan Saeed to join with a party – seemed to point to a possibility of him becoming Anni’s running mate! It could be the next “big bang” of the dynamic political reality in the Maldives, after tonight’s failed announcement.

The big question is the reasons that’s holding these leaders from making such a simple announcement. I am sure those who have far reaching plans for the country for a five year term, must have seriously thought about the delivery mechanisms. How can that be true, if they are not sure of the team who would deliver it; let alone a possible vice president.

The underlying fact seems to be nothing but political immaturity. I sincerely hope that these presidential hopefuls would be more collected, composed and decided. Otherwise there’s no need for a race that would lack decisiveness even at the first step by all but one of the contenders.

A disappointing announcement at the last minute cannot be a strategic decision!


Maldivian MPs: Good-for-Nothing MPs

Minivan News reports…

The vote for the acting speaker of the people’s majlis (parliament) was suspended following a dispute in the process, meaning the the decision has now been postponed until 12 August. Previous speaker Ahmed Zahir was initially elected with 25 votes to 23, but members of the newly founded Republican Party said Ahmed Shiyam was ineligible to vote, and so the ballot may have to be retaken. Zahir was competing against Mohamed Shihab, who has recently joined the Republican Party with several other parliamentarians. Read more here

The “good-for-nothing” Maldives Parliament or People’s Majlis has once again proven its inefficiency and acumen for medling up with proceedings and messing up the decisions that it makes.

The Parliament House did not know that DRP Vice President Ahmed Siyam Mohamed was an appointed member of the MTDC Board of Directors appointed in July this year. Even at the time of his appointment he and the government would have known that he cannot remain a member of the directors’ board and also be an MP. And when the confirmation of MPs whose positions in public companies were announced, and Siyam’s name did not come up in that list; the Honorable MPs waited till the casting of votes was over, to make the fuss. That way they grab the attention of the people, like babies. Wow!

What wise politicians we have got in this country! Heh he… I believe that these are not mistakes, but hidden messages to the people. What do you think the message could be?


The Most Shameful Independence Day!

Today is the 43rd anniversary of Independence of the Maldives, since 26th July 1965. This independence day is special because a cabinet decision to scrap the Indepdence Day Grand Ceremony on the 26th was overturned by the Home Minister on the wise counsel of school children. The children echoed their grievences on national tv.

The cabinet decision that was overturned less than 24 hours after its announcement showed that we do not have a THINKing cabinet, despite the recent THINKnation initiative by the Information and Legal Reform Minister. When this fantastic idea [to cancel the 26th night celebrations] was suggested to them by the President or whoever did it, they could not disagree with anything in front of the President. So, they did not take a minute to hesitate, but praised the wise counsel.

We thought we had a capable cabinet. I am sure now we all know the caliber and the capacity fo the cabinet we have now. Shame!


Posted by on July 26, 2008 in Leadership



Leadership in Maldives: the Paradigm Shift

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. – Andrew Carnegie

This was written on a photocopied piece of paper I was given today. The next page on this pocket book read, “Leadership by definition, cannot be a one man show. If I don’t possess the humility and desire to enable me to praise others and give them credit for their success, I’ll be severely handicapped in my leadership. If my ego is so big that I insist on the applause, attention, and affirmation, potential partners will leave me alone; and I will end up with only what one person can accomplish.”

How true! I am sure we will all agree.

But let’s look around us. The gist of the saying and its reasoning doesn’t seem to hold true in our midst. Most of our nation’s heroes who have accomplished anything are those who have defied all universal truths, including the opening statement in this post. So, I would hesitatingly agree that this unique country breeds a uniqueness that is exclusive to the Maldives… where you can enjoy the “art of doing nothing” in the “Sunny Side of Life”!

Times are changing though. We are compelled to learn the art of doing something to attain a decent life.

We are loosing our uniqueness in everything, from the hospitality to those who land in these white sandy beaches surrounded by crystal clear blue lagoons, to the unique single mindedness in everything. It is time those hopeful to lead the nation and its people come to grips with this reality.

No one will attain a position of great leadership alone in the New Maldives! It will be the one who steps ahead of our time and accept that leadership requires a passion for a sum total of the greatness of many and all!

But then it is a huge challenge for those of us who have been indoctrinated in time and space to believe that the greatest are those who defy the rest! It will be a lesser challenge for those who have not been tainted by the greatness of dynasties, tribes / localities, families and individuals.

Great leaders rise to the occasion!


FAM Elects a New President

Eleven enabled members of FAM elected a President of the Football Association of Maldvives, alongwith a Vice President and members of the Executive Committee. The elections held today were witnessed and endorsed as being free and fair by the AFC and FIFA.

In the run up to the elections there was much in the media and the town-gossip about bribery and corruption in the upcoming FAM elections. Football being labelled the most popular national game (though, it is actually not so) it became the most widely debated election of all. All sports associations are in the process of electing their office-bearers right now.

As the elections closed in, the media was pleased with the new headlines it cooked up. Yet, I could hardly see anything about the function of the FAM executive committee or even the Chair of FAM. I never heard the clubs or anyone else speak out about the function of the Chair of FAM or the purpose of having an elected person in the post. It was highlighted a little bit in a report on maldivesoccernet. I always believe that the right decision can be made by those who are made aware of the purpose for which they make a decision.

It is so important in this country because we are tribal by nature – we protect and promote our own kind. We have opened up into this global village and have embraced all the modern realities of the global village without the intellectual and emotional capacity to exist as civilized human beings. We are fighting to promote democracy and liberty as we understand it from our tribal mindsets. A significant difference I see is that in the civilized world you don’t go for the kill, but compete with dignity to win; and there are systems and processes that are adhered by all parties to ensure fair play.

Our playing field is nothing less than a vulgar baibalaa show. It is a feast of the beasts! And the losers refuse to accept the winners!

Please visit for more on the elections and football.


Posted by on July 20, 2008 in Civil Society, Leadership, My Concerns


Annis flirts with India to garner their support

Mathaba News Network Reports that:

The 41-year-old leader of a fledgling political party said with unusual candour that the “dictatorship” of President Gayoom, his China policy and Islamisation of the Maldivian society were creating security threats in the India Ocean area. >>>Read the full story here

I thought this to be a very interesting piece of news! It is also more meaningful when read together with an article on the influence of the British Conservative Party and the Church on the Maldives democratisation process and how it all began. Mohamed Saud concludes the article by arguing that “an overwhelming majority of Maldivians now believe that the British Conservative Party and the Church is a source of bad influence on the Maldives democratization process and reform agenda initiated by President Gayyoom.” >>> Read the full article here

The next couple of weeks will be “deadly” in Maldivian politics – not so much the politics of the people, but the political maneuvering of the king makers of politics for whom the people are an insignificant mass. It will be very much about ego, power and more than anything else, revenge.

The poeple will be the insignificant bystanders. Yet, the test will be on the people; the day the ballot boxes rule. I am not yet quite sure that the the decisions will be based on political values or simple arab-style tribal phyche.


Posted by on July 16, 2008 in Leadership, Presidential Race 2008


Maumoon to Continue as President for Seventh Term

Hamdhoon becomes vice-president (naibu zaeemu); Yamin (President’s half brother) says he will contest (the Presidency); reports Maidhu Daily Online. And Haroon Hassan of Miadhu also questions whether it is the “End of Gasim’s Political Career?”. Miadhu also reported in the same issue that the President has called upon political parties to give priority to national interest over their own personal interest. That was on 12 July Saturday.

While all this was being reported, President Gayoom said he believes that with the blessing of Almighty Allah he will continue to serve the people of Maldives as (their) leader. He closed the Second Congress of DRP which also saw the election of his daughter to the post of Vice-Leader of the women’s arm of the Party which rejected a Vice Leader post from amongst four to be designated to a women’s candidate; with much satisfaction and confidence about his future.

The election of Hamdhoon and Dhunya to the leadership of the party also means that DRP will now be in a much better position to garner the support of the conservative and educated middle class as well as young people in Male’ and throughout the atolls. The party leadership also will be strengthened by the presence of Hamdhoon who brings with him a sense of stability and no-nonsense professional allegiance to his uncle. Hamdhoon and his brothers and sisters have generally maintained a close and cordial relationship with the community at large and do not have cause for much grievances from the public at large. Maumoon’s children are also seen as down-to-earth and friendly as ordinary people.

The Second Congress of DRP had come to a close with a renewed sense of confidence to its members. But there are some who are believed to have been disgruntled such as Addu MP and Deputy Minister of Atolls Administration “Mavoataa” Shareef.

It is widely believed that Maidhu Daily Online is owned for Gayoom by people very close to him including Energy Minister Ahmed Abdulla who is also father-in-law to the former Attorney General and president of the country’s leading opposition party Dr. Munavvar.

I guess that is how closely knit it can get anywhere in the world! So uniquely Maldivian!


Posted by on July 15, 2008 in Leadership, Presidential Race 2008


The New Coalition for the Upcoming Election Season!

DRP Second Congress came to a close on Saturday. The congress reaffirmed its leader President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as the party candidate for the promised presidential election under the consitution that has been adopted by the Special Majlis put together to amend the country’s constitution.

A possible powersharing arrangement under a coalition could very well give DRP the guarantee of a landslide victory for its candidate in the presidential elections. DRP may very well form a coalition against the divided opposition to Maumoon’s continuation in Office.

This possible coalition will give a credible advantage to the Party (DRP) against the opposition which consists of the MDP, Adaalath, SLP and Hassan Saeed in addition to the marginal IDP and the smaller parties. The coalition is likely to consist of three parties led by DRP.

The powersharing arrangement may very well be that the Vice Presidential portfolio can be given to the leader of the first party, with special responsibility to the Homeland Committee of the cabinet consisting of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Atolls Development and Ministry of Justice; a very strong Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Trade who will head the Economic Committee of the cabinet consisting of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Develoment and Trade, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Fisheries. The President would retain direct control of the Minister of Defense and National Security, the Attorney General and the junior ministries.

Such a powersharing coalition arrangement is quite possible, where the Opposition Alliance consisting MDP, Adaalath, IDP, SLP and Hassan Saeed camp failed to offer a credible opposition to Maumoon’s government consisting of DRP members.

It will be interesting to see how it unfolds in the next few weeks in the run up to the presidential elections – whether under the current version or the amended version of the constitution.

Comments Off on The New Coalition for the Upcoming Election Season!

Posted by on July 14, 2008 in Democracy nd Reform, Leadership, Neevey Adu Kon Adu, Presidential Race 2008


Munavvar Speaks Out Finally

Miadhu reported on Wednesday:

According to Dr. Munavvar the two most important tasks facing MDP is winning the forthcoming presidential elections and obtaining success at the next parliamentary elections. He said if he were to speak out on behalf of the party or criticize the government then it will create conflict and will not be in sync with the work of the presidential candidate. He said he believed in providing space for the presidential candidate as he sets out to win this all important elections. >>Continue reading the full report here

I have, since the publication of this article, met with a half dozen people who were not as impressed as me with the content and the substance of what Munavvar had to say, and my impression of the final revelations made by Munavvar in his aforesaid interview. They believe that he is not presidential class. Yet, my contention is that what the whole episode shows is that he does not belong with the masses of which he is intellectually far ahead in design and farsightedness. But then, I would also have to agree that a presidential candidate has to belong with the masses. It is not enough for him to be the best, but he has to move with the pulse of the people. That was what “Meemu Sappe” (Honorable Special Majlish MP for Meemu Atoll) said when he was asked of how he presented himself in the constituent assembly. His argument was that he was a man of the people and his words and actions were manifestations of the pulse of the people. He said that what we have become is simply pathetic.

So, my contention is that democracy is not necessarily for “good” as prescribed in the religion of Islam. It is a system of governance that gives the majority the right to decide what is right and what is wrong, what is fair and what is not fair. It is a dictatorship of those who can rally the majority behind them. And the minority would always condemn the tactics of those who rally the majority behind them – until such time when the masses have reached a level of economic independence to decide their future without being unduly influenced by a handful. Such a day is far from sight, here in the Maldives – a nation which only has a football championship to its credit as a nation!

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