PPM activities funded by government, alleges opposition

PPM activities funded by government, alleges opposition
October 30 18:19 2017

Recent campaign activities and events of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives have been funded by the government, the joint opposition parties have alleged.

At a coalition press briefing Sunday evening, MP Imthiyaz Fahmy also accused the PPM of using civil servants and employees of independent institutions and state-owned companies to organise party activities.

“The state media is broadcasting all of this. But what they’re showing are activities by the faction of a political party’s advisor [President Abdulla Yameen’s post in the PPM],” he said.

“But they’re not showing any activity by any other political party.”

Repeated attempts to contact MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla and Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer, the PPM’s deputy leaders, as well as MP Dr Abdulla Khaleel, the party’s secretary-general, were unsuccessful as of press time.

On Monday, employees at the state-owned Housing Development Cooperation told the Maldives Independent on the condition of anonymity that members of the company’s social club helped organise the final match of First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim’s women’s sports bashi tournament.

The final match took place at the national stadium on Friday night. Some 49 teams from 17 atolls competed in the tournament, which began earlier this year. The champion team from the island of Feeali in Faafu atoll won MVR150,000 (US$9,727) as prize money. The runner-up won MVR100,000.

The first lady – who launched Yameen’s re-election campaign earlier this year and heads the campaign office – has toured several atolls this year. Most recently, she travelled to Addu City on a campaign visit with the ministers for housing, economic development, and environment.

During the weekend, the first lady’s office and the PPM conducted a women’s symposium dubbed Kanbalunge Mahaasintha to train campaign workers for Yameen’s re-election bid.

The first lady, known as Madam Fathun, previously conducted a series of symposiums to train “campaign leaders” from across the country. Earlier this year, a four-day women’s craft expo in Malé and a jobs fair held in Hulhumalé were also initiatives of the first lady.

Speaking to the Maldives Independent on MondayMP Imthiyaz accused the Yameen administration of “running a faction of PPM, not a government. They unlawfully use state resources, staff and property for PPM activities while withholding its use by any other parties.”

The PPM was split into rival factions last year after its elected leader, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, lost an acrimonious leadership dispute with his half-brother Yameen.

Imthiyaz went on to criticise the state media company, Public Service Media, for exclusively covering Yameen’s events.

“When these things come to light the PPM or the government have no explanations for it either, this is corruption. We have submitted cases to independent institutions about these issues which have been ignored,” he said.

Ikram Abdul Latheef, the PSM’s deputy managing director, was the emcee of an event billed as a meeting between Yameen and senior citizens on October 9. Fathimath Zaina, who worked as an aide to the first lady before her appointment to the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, was photographed handing out seating arrangements at the rally.

Several civil servants and government company staff were also forced to attend a PPM rally on October 19.

Photo of first lady’s bashi tournament at the national stadium from PPM MP Jameel Usman.

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