Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Peoples' Majlis And The President's Cabinet

We have heard so much criticism about the president appointing his family members and close associates as cabinet members and senior aides.

The president has every right to appoint who ever he feels is capable to what ever post he wants as long as they are not posts stipulated to be appointed through an election by law. So we should not be having and objection with the President appointing his close associates for the Cabinet Posts. After all these are not elected posts and the president can elect anybody he wants by law.

It is clearly stated in the constituton in Article 42.b describing the powers of the president that President has power to “Appointment and dissolution of the cabinet of Ministers”. Again in Article 54 it says that “There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the President, and the Cabinet will be presided over by the president” and the constitution clearly states in Article 59 that cabinet “shall be accountable to the president”. That is why the members elected by the people are called the People's or Citizen's Majlis as opposed to the Cabinet being called the President's Cabinet.

When the constitution clearly gives you the right to do so, it goes without reason that you would appoint people closer to you that you can trust as your Cabinet. If you see some of the other countries nearby similar examples are abundant. In Saudi all holding senior posts will be form the house of Saud. In Kuwait all senior posts given to Sabahs. It is same with the Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan's family in UAE. I know what the readers are itching to say, that these are all kingdoms. Let us take the US which is supposed to be the greatest democracy in this world. It's a known fact that George Bush appointed his wartime colleagues and Business Associates to senior associates. You must be a fool to appoint people you don't know well to senior government posts just because they have a good qualification.

And just because you have a good degree you shouldn't be expecting to get senior posts either unless you have proven yourself with hard work. But nevertheless you must agree that when the batch of Fathuhulla Jameel and Zahir Hussein was appointed they were really the most educated amongst the Maldivians at that time. To his credit President Maumoon has not backed away from giving senior posts even to his worst critics if they happen to have proper qualifications. Even Dr. Waheed was holding a senior post in the Education Ministry when he got fed up his in-law's terrorist activities and fled the country in search of a more financially lucrative job abroad.

Some of the present ministers in the cabinet bring an enormous wealth of experience with them apart from the education they have. The president has blended their experience with the modern education of the new comers very nicely. People like Dr. Shaugee and Dr. Saeed has brought fresh ideas and a new vigor to the present cabinet.

In fact the President had even before tried to bring in more educated people to the cabinet. But people like Dr. Munavvaru who was selected on the strength of his education alone, proved to be a bad choice and set back the legal system of the country many years. This just goes on to prove that education will not replace experience and trust.

Under such circumstances, is the president wrong to elect people whom he can trust to important appointments in the government? What remains to be seen is not weather how closely related a particular Government Official is to the president, rather we must see whether they are upholding the trust the government had put in them by appointing them to high offices.
And I am sure any Maldivian who is well versed with the development of this country for the last 25 years will not doubt that President has been wise in appointing people. Even his worst critics don't deny the amount of development the Maldives has seen in the last 25 years. Given this scenario I must congratulate the president on his judgment. Mr.President you haven't done badly at all. Not bad at all.

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