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Letter I sent to MDP Secretariat on 11-06-2005

Mr. secretary

I will try to be frank and unbiased.

Do not assume that all of Maldives will blindly follow you. If you get elected to
government, terms and conditions apply and we expect you to abide by the
doctrines of justice, equality and respect the very foundations on which this republic
was built; Islamic values and principles being foremost (in case your wondering I
don’t keep a long beard and I am not an illiterate wahabi). If this turns out to be
another business venture for the tycoons supposedly running MDP from the shadows
do not think we will tolerate it for another 27 years. The present regime may have
taken the people for a ride, with more than 2 decades of unchallenged authoritarian
rule, but today’s generation is not the generation of yester- days (as you are also
proving). We are not as gullible and we will hold you accountable to your actions. We
are well aware, for instance, of the history of certain front line figures currently in
MDP, who were hitherto President Gayoom’s loyalists.

Do not, if your elected, forget that you will be so "by the people, for the people" and
to that end we expect you to fulfill your duties by keeping to your word of corrupt-
free good governance, economic prosperity and equal opportunities for all people of
the country. It is highly ambitious (if your intentions are what you say they are) on
the part of MDP to commit yourselves to such a task as leading and essentially
rebuilding a Nation. Anybody can post an anti-government website on the internet,
fill it with all sorts of garbage and even rally the frustrated or unemployed youth
against a cause, they may not be even aware of, if they have enough people, time
and financial resources at their disposal.

What the MDP has ultimately brought into motion is commendable; it was fuelled by
the frustrations and boredom of the people of Male', who ironically, are much well to
do than the rest of the country. The vast remainder of the country remained, for the
most part, oblivious and content with the current regime. There is no doubt that the
country needs a new generation of leaders who are capable and willing to lead its
people into the new millennia: times have changed and the world is no longer what is
was a decade or two ago. But this not to imply that what we are lacking and need
today is westernization. The democratic values and liberalism the west teaches third
world countries is a sound framework for good governance and it has proven highly
effective in many parts of the world. But that is not to say it is perfect: it is not a
flawless system. It is continually evolving and it is very important that we first know
what “Democracy” means before we preach it. In all countries ‘democratization’ is an
ongoing and dynamic process. The incorporation of foreign cultures and doing away
with native values and way of life is not a requirement of democratization:
Nightclubs, casinos and gambling, Alcohol and any and all loss of sexual inhibitions
are the scourge of modern and old civilizations. They should not and cannot be
allowed to foster in the Maldives.

The Maldives is lacking a transparent and sound political establishment; we do need
to have fair and free elections, we do need a working cabinet (one whose majority is
not made up of a flock of old high school friends), we do need a parliament that is
capable of more than just talk; one that is able to and has the authority to put forth
and implement viable policies. We do need to restructure our economic policies: the
deleterious effects of being solely dependable on tourism (accounting for a
staggering 30 per cent of our GDP) are now only becoming apparent, post-tsunami.
The wealth of the people does need to be more equally distributed; that Male’ being
the economic and financial hub of the country is the reason for its relative prosperity
is not a reason acceptable to the rest of the country.

The academia does need to be strengthened further and made more robust; it needs
to be a breeding ground for greater minds and those faithful to the motherland, not
for hooligans and juvenile delinquents as seems to be the case especially in
Majeedhiya and Dharumavantha School. The dilapidating morale of these two
institutions is most worrisome and is a matter, I believe, with far reaching
consequences and of National importance.

The Health and welfare system too needs reform: the tertiary and lesser hospitals in
the country need more trained personnel and more efficient use of available facilities.
Health care needs to be more decentralized and cost of services brought down. The
vast efflux of patients to neighboring countries in search of better health care
(although not necessary in all cases) needs to be countered, in part by improving
health care further and in part by launching counter strategies against the marketing
schemes of foreign private hospitals.

Unemployment, poverty and lawlessness are endemic even in the greatest
democracies in the world. But its effects are far more reaching and crippling in a
developing country like the Maldives with such a low population. For the foreign
workforce in the country to be brought down substantially requires better-trained
Maldivians who are also hard working and determinant. Only then can equal job
opportunities be created. We need to redefine the meaning of ‘literate’ to mean not
just being able to read and write. An uneducated population of youth yields
unemployment, discontent, poverty and subsequent lawlessness. The alarming rise in
abuse of drugs, women and children in the country is cause for concern and is
reflective of the failure of both government and people.

All government institutions in the country need reform: more effective and viable
policies need to be put forth, better strategies devised and implemented to
accelerate the growth of the economy, to improve the welfare of the socio-
economically deprived, the standards of Education, Training, Health and Social care
and living (especially in the country side). It needs to be remembered that The
Republic of Maldives is not just Male’ alone, but comprises some 200 inhabited
islands, of people with the same dreams and aspirations of prosperity and better
living standards. The geography of the Maldives presents a unique challenge to its
growth and development, with the islands scattered over an area the size of Great
Britain. It is not economically feasible to build a tertiary hospital, university etc in
every of the 200 islands. This issue needs to be addressed (perhaps by amassing the
people into regional colonies) and the development of the islands needs to be the Top
Priority of the next government.

These, Mr. Secretary, are the challenges (in a nutshell) that lie ahead for the
Maldivian Democratic party, if the people so choose to elect you. The party has
raised the hopes of the people and they expect you to deliver. You have willed the
government to the people’s voice, but this is only the start of a long process and the
aim should be the interests of the country and people and not to further your own
(financial/other) agendas or to follow personal vendettas against the current regime.
If and once you are given the chance to lead the people, with all due respect, do not
expect us to keep acknowledging the fact that MDP has rid the people of a ‘dictator’
while you run amok to plunder the wealth and honor of the Maldivian people.

The question I ask is can MDP do it? Or will it just bring about the fall of the current
regime, leaving behind a huge political vacuum? Which is not enough. Prove those of
us who are skeptical of MDP wrong; by putting forth solid economic and reform
policies that you plan to put in place if elected.
I hope the Maldivian Democratic Party will not disappoint the people and I pray that
their efforts be sincere and not ostentatious.

Mohamed Mamdhooh (,