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Citizen rights trammeled into dust by President Nasheed’s unconstitutional regime

The current Constitution of the Maldives came into force on August 7th 2008 after four years of continuous hard work by the People’s Special Majlis. Four years during which the Special Majlis members discussed and deliberated issues one and all from human rights to separation of powers. During the course of these laborious years, people’s inherent rights to self-esteem and integrity were lost, personhood and honour was defamed, families were split, communities torn asunder and Maldivian society was victimized by derogatory abuse led by MDP members of the Special Majlis. The sacrifice was thus huge. However, Maldivians staunchly bore this sacrifice for the sake of having access to a Constitution that led them towards greater democracy.

President Nasheed emerged the victor at the Presidential elections of October 2008 and assumed leadership of the country on November 2008. Armed with a Constitution that separated the three powers, the State, the Judiciary and the People’s Majlis, he vow to his people that as democracy was finally in place he would ensure that ‘people power’ ruled the country.

Less than half a year passed since an over-exited President Nasheed delivered his speech of people power and democracy. Since then, the public has seen Nasheed take huge strides backwards into de-civilisation that have made his regime unconstitutional. He has either ripped off the powers of all the independent commissions or diffused their powers by abusing Article 115 clause 6 of the Constitution and by establishing alternate mechanisms controlled by him in The President’s Office. Chapter Seven of the Constitution states clearly the powers of independent Commissions and independent designations – the Judicial Services Commission, the Elections Commission, the Civil Services Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor General.

The Civil Service Commission was the first to metamorph from being a forceful and independent commission that protected the rights of civil servants into a subservient one that bowed down to every whim and fancy of the current President and his cronies. Civil servants are still being sacked without prior notice, threatened with termination if they don’t join Nasheed’s party, and Permanent Secretaries were appointed by the dozen in blatant violation of the Civil Service Act.

The Judicial Services Commission was forced to accept Speaker of the People’s Majlis Mr Mohamed Shihab as the representative from the Majlis despite the fact that the then Attorney General Diyana Saeed declared this nomination as unconstitutional.

The Elections Commission is harassed and ripped of its independence and powers. Commission members were offered bribes and threatened if they did not partake in the vendetta against the opposition. Vote rigging and vote fraud by Nasheed’s atoll counselors were swept under the carpet, and commission members cautioned with physical injury if they opened their mouths.

The Human Rights Commission was goofed when President Nasheed arbitrarily appointed his long time crony Go Go Latheef as Human Rights Ambassador and entrusted him with the duties of the independent Commission. In addition, the previously respected Human Rights Commission cowered and fled from the public eye when Nasheed publicly threatened people who did not support his party during the parliamentary elections.

Further, the Police Integrity Commission, a partially independent Commission mandatory under the Police Act is yet to be formally established by Nasheed despite the fact that Majlis had approved four Commission members in mid march 2009. The plan to undermine the Police Integrity Commission became evident when two weeks later Nasheed arbitrarily established a Presidential Commission with the same mandate as the Police Integrity Commission. Nasheed’s reference was Article 118 Clause 6 of the Constitution.

The Auditor General, a long time faithful puppet of Mr Nasheed’s political party, the MDP, laws energized as he sought to illegally influence all democratic processes under the constitution by persistently injecting doses of fabricated audit reports in a timely manner, that is, on the eve of every important event.

The Anti-Corruption was handcuffed when it started investigating corruption charges against the Auditor General. As it scampered for cover when the opposition party DRP and its coalition ally PA won the majority seats in the recent parliamentary elections, Nasheed overturned its mandate by establishing a Presidential Commission under the now infamous Article 115 clause (15) to investigate alleged embezzlement of state funds.

The Attorney General was felled with a terminal blow when she cautioned the President against his unconstitutional and illegal activities in running the affairs of state. She was sacked immediately creating a vacuum in the State. Today, national media reported that Press Secretary Zuhair (Juhaa) had announced that the institution of the Attorney General would soon be abolished as advised by senior members of the current unconstitutional regime. There goes Article 133 clause (1) of the Constitution which states that “there should be an Attorney General appointed by the President” into non-existence!

This then is the shameful story of the unconstitutional regime which Maldivians ushered in with false hopes. President Nasheed and his cronies have overthrown every independent constitutional power created for check and balance, thereby forging avenues for human rights violations, corruption and embezzlement of state funds and cruelty through intimidation and harassment. On top of it all is the fear of losing sovereignty and independence as Nasheed’s government sells off national assets and independence to foreign states and multinationals. The worst of the worst is to lose this nation’s most valuable asset, the state religion Islam … and this is likely to happen if President Nasheed’s unconstitutional regime thrives longer!

Fellow Maldivians, are we ready to sacrifice all this for Mr Nasheed when he has demonstrated how autocratic and dictatorial he is in practice and in vision? Fellow Maldivians, where is the people power we cherished all these years?

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