Opposition condemns “coercing” govt staff to attend ruling party rally

During the "Habeys 3" rally held by PPM to celebrate the third anniversary of its government. PHOTO: MOHAMED SHARUHAAN/MIHAARU

During the “Habeys 3” rally held by PPM to celebrate the third anniversary of its government. PHOTO: MOHAMED SHARUHAAN/MIHAARU

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) late Tuesday condemned the coercion of civil servants and employees of state institutions to attend government rallies and gatherings as a low act.

There have been several talks in circulation of civil servants and staff of government offices having been forced to attend ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s “Habeys 3” rally at Alimas Carnival in capital Male last Monday night, which was held to celebrate the third anniversary of the current government. While the rally had been fully packed at the beginning, a great number of attendees had left halfway through the event.

In a statement, MDP declared that coercing employees to attend rallies under threat of losing their jobs is low and conformist compared to this age. They described it as an act performed by politicians the likes of which have lost the true support of the public.

“We remind the government that the people’s love and support are to be gained not through coercion and extortion, but a true heart-to-heart connection,” read the statement.

MDP added that they have received complaints and concerns from citizens over being compelled to attend the rally to campaign for President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The opposition also accused the government, which has already faced major embezzlement and corruption issues, of incessantly abusing the people’s money and state assets, highly condemning the acts.

Meanwhile, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday had refuted the allegations of the government forcing staff to attend the rally, declaring that none had been under coercion. He also brushed off the issue of several attendees leaving the function halfway through, saying they had left to take care of “basic needs”.

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