The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICOM) has ordered the government to publicise the specifics of political appointments, including numbers, ranks, salaries, and allowances. This order came after a local media outlet appealed to the Right to Information (RTI) law, highlighting the President’s Office’s failure to disclose the information within the mandated timeframe.

Information Commissioner Aahidh Rasheed, presiding over the initial hearing, concluded that the requested details do not warrant secrecy and must be disclosed. The ICOM further stipulated that if the data does not reside within the President’s Office, the relevant state entity shall provide this information within three days.

This directive comes against a backdrop of repeated delays and a notable absence of representation from the President’s Office during the hearings. Despite rescheduling on three occasions to accommodate the President’s Office, their lack of attendance underscored a growing disparity between the government’s public commitments to transparency and its actions.

The perceived reluctance to provide information sharply contrasts with President Mohamed Muizzu’s earlier assurances of openness and accountability. Shortly after assuming office, President Muizzu pledged an era of transparency, stating that no RTI applications would be necessary under his governance. He promised readily available information and a cabinet that would tirelessly serve the populace. This commitment included the establishment of media units across ministries to facilitate this transparency.

However, the necessity of an RTI appeal to obtain information on political appointments casts doubt on these assurances. The ICOM’s intervention underscores a significant gap between the government’s proclaimed transparency ethos and its operational realities. Despite the initial promises, the administration’s reluctance to voluntarily share information on political appointments has raised concerns about its dedication to accountability.

This development also resonates with broader concerns regarding the burgeoning number of political appointments, which has been a subject of critical scrutiny. The disclosure of such appointments is crucial for public oversight, particularly in light of the administration’s substantial cabinet and the numerous appointments exceeding the president’s initial promises.