Mariya: I am only criticized as I am a woman

Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi speaks at the Aviation Security Command promotions ceremony on November 19, 2022. (Sun Photo/Ibrahim Shamveel)

Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi said today that she is only being criticized because she is a woman in the case of the opposition PPM/PNC coalition protesters obstructing the President's motorcade on Monday night.

The PPM supporters were protesting outside PPM’s office on Monday night when the crowd surrounded the motorcade of President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih and stopped his car.

Former President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom's supporters stopped the president's motorcade for 15 minutes calling for his release.

The President's security is provided by MNDF, and so both Mariya and MNDF have been heavily criticized for the incident regarding the President’s motorcade.

She has been criticized for failing to fulfil her responsibilities as the head of MNDF and Defense Minister, including the obstruction of the motorcade and the May 6, 2021 attack on Parliament Speaker and MDP President Mohamed Nasheed.

Responding to the criticism, Minister Mariya said in her own defence that the criticism was directed at her simply because she is a woman.

“If there is a surgical failure at IGMH, the Health Minister isn’t called to take responsibility for it. Nor is there criticism against the Home Minister for a problem in the police service. But if there is even a slight issue with MNDF, I get criticized as I am a woman,” she said.

An emergency motion was also tabled in Parliament yesterday calling for the removal of the Defense Minister from the post as the failure to ensure the safety and security of state officials is a serious matter.

The motion was moved by PPM member and Faresmaathodaa MP Hussain Mohammed Lateef and was dropped in parliament yesterday.

The army chief in charge of the President's security unit, Colonel Abdullah Ibrahim, was suspended yesterday following the motorcade incident.

The matter has now been referred to the Security Services Committee of the Parliament.