Gayoom's daughter says 'strong policies' behind govt return

Former foreign minister Dhunya Maumoon Sunday said president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's "strong policies" would bring unprecedented development to the people which was the primary reason why she rejoined the government.

President Yameen Thursday appointed his niece Dhunya as the new state health minister amid the ongoing rift with his half brother and ousted ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Dhunya suddenly stepped down last July over what she described as a profound differences of opinion with the government’s bid to enforce the death penalty.

Speaking during brief interview with state broadcaster on Sunday, Dhunya admitted that her resignation was over "differences" but reiterated that the only way for her to best the people was through her uncle's government.

She explained that the nation was in dire need of capable and experienced to serve its people.

"As the foreign minister I did everything I could to protect the independence, sovereignty and religious beliefs of this country. But I resigned due to some divergences in opinion. Now I've returned to the government because this country needs capable and experienced people in its service. Despite the great strides we've made in terms of development and progress, there are still a lot of expectations and needs of the people still to be addressed. So I realized that the best way to serve the country was for me to return to the government," Dhunya who had been publicly critical of her uncle and the government amid the bitter family feud explained.

She also explained accepting the step-down from a top ministerial portfolio to a state minister pointing out her previous stint in the health sector while adding that improving the country's health care system remains a top priority for her uncle.

"The health sector is very important for president Yameen. And its not an entirely new sector for me," Dhunya said highlighting her engagement with the health sector during her tenure in the UN.

Pointing out the unprecedented progress the health sector has made in the past three years, Dhunya vowed to play a pivotal role to further improve the country's health care system.

Dhunya along with siblings Yumna and Faaris had been dragged into the bitter dispute between her uncle and father who had officially withdrawn support for the government after the civil court had handed the ruling party control to her uncle.

Questions were being asked of what Dhunya's decision would mean to the clash between the two Gayooms before the former president who ruled the country for three decades insisted that he did not support his daughter's decision to return to the government.

"Dhunya's decision to go back to the government is her own. I don't support her decision," the elder Gayoom said on Twitter shortly after the appointment was made public.