Ever since President Nasheed announced he will not occupy Presidential Palace Theemuge, people are wondering what to do with the house. This question is pertinent because Theemuge is arguably the finest building in Male. It was constructed at phenomenal cost to the exchequer (estimates vary from $ 30 million to $ 60 million) and has immense historical value. Considering all this, it could serve very well as Male's City Hall
A city hall or town hall is the chief administrative building of a city or town's administration and usually houses the city or town council, its associated departments and their employees. It is also usually the base of the city, town, borough, or county mayor.
Under the new Constitution, Maldives will have a system of local government by mid 2009. Under the system Male is likely to have an elected Municipal Council headed by a Mayor. Such a prestigious body will need a correspondingly prestigious address.
If one looks around the world, city halls serve as symbols of local government, and usually have distinctive architecture. They also frequently occupy historically significant buildings. This description fits Theemuge very well.
Theemuge started its life as 'Athiree Maafannuge' in the 2nd quarter of the 20th Century. It was built by Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaanu as a home for his second son Hassan Fareed. After Fareed's death during World War II, Abdul Majeed donated the house to the Government. During the regimes of Nasir and Maumoon, the house served at different times as presidential residence as well as prime ministerial residence. It also housed ATA (the fore-runner of STO). Finally, in the early 1990s, it was rebuilt and renamed as Theemuge.
In addition to housing the municipal offices, Theemuge could also host a cultural center that showcases Male as the historic capital of the Maldives.
[Note: This article simply expresses the author's personal opinion as a citizen of Male.]