Defections and sudden u-turns in allegiance are common in Maldivian politics. The joining of Dhunya Maumoon, daughter of the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the former foreign minister, with the government is the latest example of the volatile nature of politics in the archipelago. This could stir up family feud in the ruling family, fear observes. Gayoom has already disowned his daughter’s move while Dhunya believed that each person should take the appropriate decision for the time.
On Thursday, the government appointed Dhunya as state minister for health. The former top diplomat’s return exemplifies a seismic shift in the bitter dispute between arguably two of the most powerful men in the tiny island nation.
Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his half brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been locked in a power struggle for ruling party control which had split the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in two.
Dhunya along with siblings Yumna and Faaris had been dragged into the bitter dispute between their uncle and father who had officially withdrawn support for the government after the civil court had handed the ruling party control to Yameen.
Dhunya had continued to publicly criticize president Yameen and his government amid the feud.
Gayoom’s youngest son Ghassan Maumoon, currently the state minister for social affairs, was the only child who had backed president Yameen in the feud before Dhunya’s appointment.
The former president, however, quashed rumors of a possible mended fences with his half brother by insisting that his daughter’s decision was ‘her own’ which did not have his support.
As soon as the announcement was made public, Dhunya rather understandably sparked contrasting sentiments as top government figures heaped praise while the clearly aggrieved opposite camp expressed shock.
Dhunya’s u-turn has extended the split from the ruling party to the Gayoom family. The spat between the two Gayooms has taken yet another twist with the ‘royal siblings’ split on opposite corners, commented the AVAS, an online media outlet of the island nation.