Monday, October 13, 2008

Cash for votes

It is emerging that Gayoom may have bought votes in the first round. Islanders of Hulhudhoo, Seenu Atoll, have reported to Minivan News that DRP representatives paid them 100-500 Rufiyaa to vote for the dictator. Meanwhile, there are similar allegations in Hulhumale, where MDP supporters claim to have seen Leela, a DRP supporter, paying out 500 Rufiyaa bills to residents to vote for Gayoom. In both cases, it appears that female DRP representatives have targeted mainly women voters.

An old hand at vote-rigging from a southern atoll, who has now defected to MDP, told me that a sizeable percentage of Gayoom's votes may have come from female voters. According to him, women's development committees were used by Gayoom on the eve of the elections to bribe women to vote for him. Blogger Abdulla Waheed has estimated that Gayoom may have got up to 20,000 votes through the work of loyal supporters in the island administration and the women's committees. 

According to senior officials of island administrations, semi-governmental organisations such as the women's committees and the island development committee habitually rig elections. Indeed, that may be the sole reason for their existence. 

The auditor general has also pointed out, in his latest report, that Gayoom made several appointments to the posts of atoll chief, deputy atoll chief and assistant atoll chief in the run-up to the elections. According to the auditor general, the appointments were made "to promote DRP's presidential campaign."

Attorney general Azima Shukoor vehemently denied the auditor general's findings, while her brother Athif Shukoor, the DRP media manager, has said complaints regarding vote-buying, illegal under the new constitution, should be "officially lodged at the appropriate bodies."

While both the Shukoors hold high offices in the Gayoom government, their father is a beneficiary of the controversial "loans" scheme operated by the president's office and uncovered by the magazine Adduvas two years ago. 

The auditor general has now called for an immediate cessation to the issuing of loans by the president's office.

The Shukoors are typical of DRP supporters, people who only rally behind Gayoom for money, loans, or high government posts.


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Hilath said...

A DRP supporter told me that he is interested in paying me Rf2,000 for my vote. I guess he was actually saying that I should spread this amount around to buy more votes as spending just Rf2,000 on one single vote doesn't make sense. Perhaps I am expected to keep a little and spend the rest on buying the votes of my friends for Maumoon? Anyway, didn't hear from him afterwards.

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