Worked honestly, refusal to boycott led to rift: Adhurey

PNC's Chairperson Abdul Raheem Abdulla and former president and former leader of PPM Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyom. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

PNC Chairperson Abdul Raheem Abdulla on Monday said the current ruling coalition were always loyal to the cause of releasing former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Abdul Raheem Abdulla said PNC, when it was the opposition, had honestly carried efforts for the release of the imprisoned former president, but the tension originated when Yameen's call to boycott the presidential election was rejected.

After the Criminal Court, on December 25th, 2022, sentenced Yameen to prison for 11 years for money laundering and graft charges, the PPM/PNC coalition's top leadership position was temporarily handed over to Abdul Raheem.

During the PNF rally on Sunday evening, Yameen alleged the current ruling coalition's leadership worked against its former leader's release. 

In response, Abdul Raheem spoke with 'Sun' claiming Yameen's allegations were baseless.

"Is it not the result of the leadership and members working together, that PNC is the ruling party today? What he is claiming is false," he said while denying to respond to Yameen's allegations.

"Since the first day, the PPM/PNC leadership has been strongly united, so, President Yameen's statement is clearly false."

Abdul Raheem further said PNC would not be the ruling party if the coalition's leadership failed to work in unity.

While highlighting the PPM/PNC coalition's leadership has always been loyal to Yameen, Abdul Raheem said the crux of the entire tension originated when the leadership rejected Yameen's call to boycott the presidential election.

"The whole reason for everything we are dealing today, began when the leadership rejected the call to boycott the election," Abdul Raheem said.

The PPM/PNC coalition first fielded Yameen to contend as its candidate in the last presidential election, but the Elections Commission (EC) disqualified him owing to his ongoing criminal sentence.

PNC then moved forward to elect its candidate through a primary under Yameen's instructions, to field current President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu as its candidate.

However, after the Supreme Court's seven-judge bench unanimously held Yameen's disqualification as a presidential candidate last year, the former president called the then opposition to boycott the election entirely.

This decision however, was not welcomed by the PPM/PNC senate, which decided to contend in the election. After that, Yameen's allies and the coalition's leadership endorsed Dr. Muizzu to run for presidency.

Moreover, Abdul Raheem was the only member of the leadership to attend the ceremony where Dr. Muizzu's candidacy was handed to EC.

"Jameel's intentions towards Yameen was never good. I have evidence to back that," Abdul Raheem alleged about the intention of Dr. Mohamed Jameel, the former Vice President and current close associate of Yameen.

"Dr. Jameel is the mastermind who maneuvered everything during Yameen's trial ensuring he did not get released."

 Abdul Raheem reiterated he had love and respect for Yameen despite the recent tension, and claimed both Jameel and the former Minister of Technology Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal never intended good for Yameen.

"We do not need Maleeh's vote for a PNC candidate. This government did not succeed because of Maleeh. In fact, it was he who alleged we were thieves while he retained his ministerial position during the former government. He also claimed Yameen was unjust," Abdul Raheem added.

Although Dr. Muizzu succeeded Solih to become the next president with the endorsement of Yameen as well, the former PPM leader had resigned from his position in the party.

Since his exit from PPM, Yameen went on to form People's National Front (PNF) and has continued to place serious allegations on the current government during multiple rallies of his new party.

At Sunday evening's PNF rally, Yameen alleged the ruling coalition never intended to release him but was after power from the beginning.

Despite his active participation in political rallies, Yameen is still serving time for his criminal sentence. While his appeal trial concluded hearings earlier, the case now awaits its verdict which has stalled for nearly four months.