Friday, August 24, 2007

Shahid And Muiz Replace New Maldives In Cabinet

Abdullah Shahid has been appointed to the cabinet as Foreign Minister one month after he tried to resign from the government. He is joined in the cabinet by new Justice Minister Mohamed Muiz Adnan.

The appointments come as President Gayoom grapples with the resignation of the three most vocal and recognisable advocates of reform in his cabinet, in the space of three weeks.

Dr Hassan Saeed and Mohamed Jameel resigned from cabinet in early August blaming Gayoom for delaying reform, while Dr Shaheed resigned as Foreign Minister on Tuesday.

In a separate move, Rilwan Shareef has been promoted to State Minister for Finance, following the appointment of Abdullah Jihad as Governor of the country’s central bank.

A Tale Of Two Resignations

Dr Ahmed Shaheed quit the cabinet on Tuesday, in what was believed to be his third resignation attempt in a week.

He has been replaced by Abdullah Shahid, who himself handed in a letter of resignation from the government in July, only for President Gayoom to reject it.

Shahid has been promoted from his position as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, where he had been working under Dr Shaheed.

He has pledged to continue Dr Shaheed's initiatives, especially in the field of human rights, but said he would have preferred the promotion, "under different circumstances," than his former boss' resignation.

Following Shaheed’s departure many expected President Gayoom’s daughter, Dunya Maumoom the current Deputy Foreign Minister, to be promoted to cabinet.

But Shahid denied Dunya presents a threat to his job, saying, “I do not regard her as the President’s daughter but as a qualified and experienced professional.”

Preferred Choice

Mohamed Muiz Adnan has been appointed Justice Minister to replace Mohamed Jameel.

Muiz is not himself a qualified lawyer, having failed to complete his law degree at Colombo university. But lawyers have expressed relief at his appointment.

On Wednesday it had been widely reported Ahmed “Thaggandu” Mohamed was to be appointed Justice Minister.

Thaggundu’s nickname, meaning stamp, stems from his tenure as head of the criminal court, when he rubber stamped every police request to extend detention of suspects.

Many lawyers actively lobbied against Thaggandu’s appointment yesterday. And most lawyers are understood to be comparatively pleased with the appointment of Muiz, who is regarded as an independent voice.

Muiz’s brother is a former Legal spokesman for the opposition MDP, and he himself used to work at the Anti-Corruption Board.

Two To Go

The two promotions mean President Gayoom has now filled eleven of the thirteen positions in his cabinet. Following the resignation of Dr Shaheed on Tuesday, the cabinet had shrunk to nine.
The position of Attorney General is proving difficult to fill. Information Minister Mohamed Nasheed was the favourite to win the coveted post, after being appointed temporary AG.

But Nasheed has said he is unwilling to take on the former position of his mentor, Dr Hassan Saeed’s, saying it would be like, "marrying the ex-wife of my best friend.”

The Higher Education and Employment portfolio has now been vacant since the resignation of the President’s half brother Abdullah Yameen in April. It is believed the cabinet position is being kept open for Yameen’s possible return to government.

Source: Minivan News

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