Everyone seems to love advising former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on how he should conduct his life. The most popular pieces of advice are: stepping down from DRP leadership, leaving active politics and migrating abroad. The latest to join the list of Gayoom's unsolicited advisors is Nirja Deva, the European Union parliamentarian of Sri Lanka Tamil origin.
Mr. Deva advised the former President "it would be better for him to remain as a respected statesman like former presidents of other countries," Miadhu Daily reports. While speaking at a news conference in Dharubaaruge on Wednesday, he said "as the former President knows the international community very well, he can use his knowledge to seek advantage for Maldives at various international economic or environmental forums."
If one analyses individual pieces of advice Gayoom is receiving one would notice certain common factors. Firstly, most advisors have hitherto not been Gayoom's best friends and in fact many have been his avowed opponents till they suddenly decided to turn advisor. Mr. Deja himself had a rather lukewarm relationship with Gayoom when he was President.
Secondly, most suggestions appear to be of such a nature that if Gayoom accepts them, it would make life easy for his opponents. For example, the suggestion for him to leave active politics would remove from the scene a leader who still has the support of a significant share of the electorate. Similarly the suggestion for him to step down from DRP leadership could spark a succession war, weakening the party at a critical juncture.
So whose best interests do the advisors have in mind, Gayoom's or their own?