“Maldives pres takes political advantage of nephew”

PPM leader Gayoom's son, Ghassan (L) looks on as his father (C) exits the party office after a press conference on Sunday. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

PPM leader Gayoom’s son, Ghassan (L) looks on as his father (C) exits the party office after a press conference on Sunday. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

The divided ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom accused his half-brother and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom of taking advantage of his youngest son, Ghassan Maumoon.

Ghassan Maumoon is the only child of the elder Gayoom who has thus far refused to take sides in the bitter power struggle between his father and uncle. The political feud between the two half-brothers has split the ruling party into two factions with Maumoon’s elder children, Dhunya, Yumna and Faris having declared their support for their father.

The Gayoom brothers appear to have shared custody of Ghassan, who still serves as the State Minister at the President’s Office, but continues to attend council sit-downs from both factions. However, hints that his political support lies with his uncle arose when Ghassan recently decided to attend the council meeting of President Yameen’s faction instead of Maumoon’s, which took place simultaneously at the end of October.

In an exclusive interview to Mihaaru on Monday night about the ongoing disputes within PPM, Maumoon questioned the necessity of President Yameen’s promise of a parliament seat to Ghassan three years prior to parliamentary elections. He said the motive behind it is nothing but political benefits.

The former president expressed disappointment over President Yameen using his nephew to deliver a “negative message” to the public. However, Maumoon declared that in spite of President Yameen’s efforts, his family is more united and stronger, and that they have trust in each other.

“Ghassan has never mentioned running for the Parliamentary Elections,” said Maumoon.

Hence it is noteworthy that President Yameen’s supporters commenced a campaign to elect Ghassan for the Thulusdhoo Constituency in the wake of the president’s promise of a parliament chair to Ghassan, whilst the current lawmaker of this constituency, Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim backs PPM leader Maumoon.

Maumoon said, “I don’t force my children to make decisions, every child has the freedom to choose what they desire.”

The elder Gayoom’s daughters, Dhunya Maumoon who formerly served as the foreign minister and Yumna Maumoon who was the former state education minister resigned from their posts before the rift emerged between their father and uncle.

“Hence Ghassan is also doing the same. He is a good boy, smart and intelligent. He won’t do wrong and will remain loyal to the country. I have confidence in him,” added Maumoon.

Further, Maumoon said Ghassan believes his service at the President’s Office is an obligation to his nation and there are no political motives in his decision.

“We don’t see [Ghassan] speaking at these political undertakings, do we? “said Maumoon.

Ghassan has been silent over the ongoing political rifts within his party and family. Mihaaru previously contacted him regarding a preceding article about his movements in which he persisted to keep silence.

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