Monday, December 22, 2008

Why do People Blockade Island Offices?

With a democratically elected government coming to power, one would have expected islanders to stop detaining government officials and blockading island offices –a false expectation apparently. If one goes by the recent spate of blockades, climaxing with the detaining of Constructing Minister Aslam, things are getting worse, if anything.

The only redeeming feature in this gloomy scenario is that the current spike could be a passing phenomenon related to the ongoing budget debates in the Majlis. Many of the incidents do indicate a close linkage with the budget, as exemplified by the incident involving Minister Aslam, which was apparently in protest against not including money for the island harbor in the budget.

It may be interesting to find out why islanders continue blockading offices. The widespread use of this method of protest appears to suggest that a significant number of Maldivians believe it to be an effective method. Let us examine some factors that may have led to this belief.

  • Often the government is seen to give in to the demands of the protestors. This was particularly so during the last few years of the previous regime. It’s too early yet to judge how the current government will respond to the situation.
  • While the Penal Code of Maldives prescribes harsh punishment for kidnapping and obstructing the work of government offices and officials, in practice action is rarely taken against the perpetrators.
  • With a history of non-elected officials and nominated committee members controlling island administrations, government officials at island level do not enjoy the confidence of the people.
  • There appears to be no alternative method of brining to government attention the issues at island level, since island Katheebs are apparently incapable of doing it.
  • For the average islander, the offices provide very few services. Most islanders have rarely visited an island office, except for a few once-in-a-life-time tasks such as applying for a plot of land or dividing a plot. Thus even if an office is closed it causes few problems to an islander.


Yafaau's daddy said...

This is a result of the intense disrespect which the political status have created among our little community. I don't support or think it is the way to archive things. But, the previous opposition started it. Now they have a chance to face that reality for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Blockading island offices as an available instrument to make the voice of the people heard was taught to us when MDP was the Opposition.Minister Aslam who hails from Maathoda island in Huvadhoo(south)Atoll was fore front in orchestrating the closure of his island office a couple of years back.Serves him right. He got a taste of what he had been preaching.

Anonymous said...

That shows desperation of our people. . . . That shows difficulty of their living standards . . . . . Enough is enough . . . this is time for everyone to fight and make it happen . . . no matter how many ministers and offices we have to detain.
The current government is so below what people have expected. They were able to freed criminals while people were fighting to save their lives. So judge it your self
“Shame on you Mr. president”

naimbé said...

Kadholhudhoo was developed for its 4,000 inhabitants, at a cost of over Rf390 million – that’s a hundred thousand rufiyaa per person. Th. Vilufushi, was also whopping cost of 340million rufiyaa – that’s over Rf 130,000 per inhabitant for the 2,500 odd people who will ultimately call the island, home. The two islands alone have set us over three-quarters of a billion rufiyaa behind. And now that our people ‘know’ what their ‘rights’ are, there are some 190 odd islands that would not shy away from demanding their harbours be built..breakwaters to be constructed. How do you do it for 195 islands with the less than USD 150million that we could afford to spend on capital expenditure per year? there is virtually no possible solution to this problem unless we are able to rethink the way we live in our 195 islands.

Anonymous said...

fiyori doesnt need an artificial harbour. It has a natural,good enough harbor.Anni Nasheed knows that. So, no money allocated for Fiyori harbor.Infact, we should STOP making harours in all islands. This is typical Maumoon type israafu. I say, build one harbor in a small atoll. And two harbors in a Big atoll. Or a v large harbor in each of the seven regions. And dont make tall aptmnt buildings. Get back to our goathi type dhandifanun but modern houses.then it will be more envrnmntly sound. This world is a temporary place. dont try long lasting structures. this is a waste. We do not know when the Bugle will call to announce the end of this world.