MRM defends former Minister Athifa after Nasheed’s criticism

Former president of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom.

Male’, Maldives — The Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) has responded to the claims of Former President and current Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed, who said that entrusting the Ministry of National Planning, Housing & Infrastructure to Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) early in the current government’s term was a “trap”.

The current administration – brought onto power by a coalition of 4 parties, assigned the Housing Ministry to MRM, who elected Aminath Athifa Shakoor as the then Housing Minister. However, she was harshly criticized by Parliamentary Group (PG) members of the Maldivian Democratic Party, and resigned in June 2020 citing health issues.

Defending Athifa, MRM released a statement which pointed out that she was a prominent member in the making of the coalition manifesto used in the 2018 presidential elections. They added that Athifa served the government and citizens in the housing and urban development sector for years, and is a dedicated individual with experience.

Since her appointment by President Ibrahim Solih as a Minister of his cabinet, Athifa was fulfilling her duties truthfully and without any influence, according to the MRM statement.

They noted that during the two years that Athifa served the Housing Minister, there were many improvements in the MInistry that she personally oversaw, including the production and distribution of an ink copy of the long overdue guidelines for establishing rent rates for spaces leased for living.

In addition, it was highlighted that she provided housing to numerous individuals who migrated from one island to another, while also ensuring that people were able to apply for flats online without having to wait in long queues and met with many citizens to get their feedback on how to solve numerous land inheritance issues in islands.

The government’s highest ranked officials know how dedicated Athifa was when working on matters related to the flat committee- which’s establishment was directly overseen by the President, read the statement.

MRM stated that Atihfa is a caring person, who maintains good relations with others and continues to serves the citizens. This was apparent as she directly heard multiple housing issues submitted by individuals and island councils, MRM said.

The statement claimed that while the fact remains, top government officials lying to the public for political gain is not acceptable, and called for such actions to stop.

At a ceremony held last month to open MDP’s Maafannu party office, Nasheed stated that housing pledges have yet to be fulfilled mainly due to MRM. He stated that this was a “trap” which has now been overcome, adding that the current Housing Minister is a MDP Minister.