Dunya promises ‘sincerity’ to South Hulhumale’ constituents

Dunya Maumoon: She is contesting for the South Hulhumale' seat in the 2024 parliamentary elections. (Photo/Dunya Maumoon)

Maldives needs sincere leaders to resolve the issues facing the country, says Dunya Maumoon, who is contesting for the South Hulhumale’ parliamentary seat as an independent candidate, adding that this sincerity is evident in her past public service, and will continue to be apparent.

At the PSM parliamentary debate, Dunya, the daughter of former Maldivian leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, described Hulhumale’ as one of the most important developmental projects undertaken during his administration.

Dunya said that while South Hulhumale’ has green public spaces perfect for unwinding, the district also has several issues that need addressing. She said that she has met people living in dire conditions during her door-to-door visits.

“There are many people living in the homes I visited in congested spaces, in desperate situations. They are denied what they are entitled to by the state. They are denied Aasandha, denied NSPA. There are so many issues. I will therefore work on these [issues]. I will advocate on their behalf,” she said.

Then-Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon addresses the UN General Assembly in 2015.

Dunya said that she has a close understanding of the plight of the constituents of South Hulhumale’. She blamed the failure of getting things done through the Parliament, as per the wishes of constituents, on the lack of sincerity of lawmakers.

“There was a parliamentary representative for Hulhumale’ during the last term as well. But a lot of people told me that he disappeared after the election. That they weren’t able to contact him,” she said.

Dunya said that she, on the other hand, will continue to make house visits and inquire after the wellbeing of the people, if she is elected.

She said that resolving the housing crisis facing the Maldivian capital is also linked to sincere service. She said that formulating laws and plans alone isn’t enough.

Dunya said that Maldives is a wealthy country that attracts a lot of tourists, and expressed concern over the wastage of the revenue generated from tourism, adding that the revenue was being utilized with complete disregard for the rights of the people.

Dunya Maumoon's supporters hold a rally in Hulhumale'.

“The rich are getting richer. And the poor are getting poorer. Therefore, the housing crisis can only be resolved by having sincere people in the Parliament, talking and working on this,” she said.

“I want to make it clear that I am such a person. That I will advocate for the rights of all my constituents. That I will hold the government accountable.”

Dunya said that her vision for South Hulhumale’ encompasses of all making the district one where all its residents live a happy life. She said that she will work to make the district one where its residents have employment opportunities and live a wealthy life.

Noting that this year’s parliamentary elections boast the highest number of independent candidates to date, Dunya said that it shows public discontent over how the multi-party system is currently functioning. She said that unlike candidates from political parties, independent candidates can provide sincere service to their constituents. She said that her own public service record shows this important quality.

Dunya Maumoon (L) with then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

‘I am not someone who can be bought with money or power and influence. I am not from a political party. Therefore, I do not need to appease particular leaders. I say that I am the best candidate for this district,” she said.

Dunya obtained a B.A.(Honors) degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in England in 1992. She went on to complete a MPhil Degree at the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) in 1996, where the focus of her research was “Gender Activism and the Islamic Revival”.

She served as Maldives’ Foreign Minister from 2013-2016, and also served at the United Nations Human Rights Committee.