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Maldives Presidency 2013: Made or broken by the local elite capitalist few?

Male', Maldives.
As 2012 rolls in, Maldives President Nasheed is teetering on the edge of a political chasm. Rivalry within his own leadership, attacks from the opposition, demands from his capitalist financiers, orders from his foreign masters are acting upon the failed presidency. Indeed, it will be interesting to watch the capitalists owners of the country scheme and scam in preparation for the Presidency 2013.

The Maldivian economy and society are presently characterized by a rich capitalist class made up of a few Maldivian clans, an educated but poor middle class and a poverty stricken lower class. Ex-president Gayoom's thirty year rule has to be commended for bringing up a segment of the lower class into the middle class bourgeoisie through education and business opportunity. It must also be noted that the foundation for these were laid by the preceding President, Ibrahim Nasir, who liberated the country from under the imperial boot of the British Empire and from the economic stranglehold of Sri Lanka.

Current President, Mohamed Nasheed, a puppet created by the Maldivian rich capitalist elite and British and European imperial interests, was quick to reward his masters by bringing back their monarchist class system. In the three years of Nasheed's despotic reign, he has rolled back the massive social and economic gains made by the general population under the socialist policies of the Gayoom government.

Maldives has been ruled as a monarchy from historic time. The emergence of the new Maldivian republic was engineered in such a way that the monarchists nobility recreated themselves as the capitalist elite, thus leaving the social system of the country unchanged. Land, business and economic control was retained in the hands of the few.

Political turmoil and upheavals in the country have been masterminded and funded by the rich elite in every past regime. The various uprisings against Presidents Mohamed Ameen, Ibrahim Nasir and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom are testament to this. Historical and political analysis and documentation abound with the proof of the vile role played by the rich capitalists whenever their personal interests are endangered.

In the case of President Ibrahim Nasir, the richest two people in the country at the time, Koli Umaru Maniku and Nakhudha Hassan Kaleyfaanu, funded Nasir's presidency bid. Nakhudha Hassan Kaleyfaanu, brother of Kerafa Mohamed Kaleyfaanu (Nasheed's Foreign Minister Kerafa Naseem's father) worked through his son-in-law Karankaage Ibrahim Rasheed. Ibrahim Nasir was no one's puppet and masterminded Ameen's overthrow and the transition. However, the political front that seemingly led Ameen's overthrow were Velaanaage Ibrahim Didi (Nasir's uncle), Kakaage Ibrahim Hilmy Didi (Gayoom's first Agriculture Minister Ahmed Hilmy's elder brother) and Eggamugey Thuththu Ali Didi (Ibrahim Faamuladheyri Kilegefaanu, Gayoom's last Defence Minister Ismail Shafeeu's grandfather). Nasir stayed away from the bloody coup, in fact acting the part of Ameen's protector in the public, while his uncle Faamuladheyri Kilegefaanu became Prime Minister under Sultan Mohamed Fareed.

A closer look at Nasir's rule clearly shows that Ibrahim Nasir remained forever grateful to Koli Umaru Maniku and Nakhudha Hassan Kaleyfaanum, protecting and furthering their business interests. From the well of Nasir's gratitude rose Koli Umaru Maniku's son Koli Ali Maniku and Nakhudha Hassan Kaleyfaan's only daughter Shareefa Hassan's husband Karankaage Ibrahim Rasheed.

A historic lesson can be learned from the fact that Nakhudha Hassan Kaleyfaanu was one of Mohamed Ameen's closest personal friends and a leading member of his inner council inside Athireege. Nakhudha Hassan Kaleyfaanu amassed his riches from Ameen's favors, becoming the first head of the Bodu Store, only to be robbed of this wealth by his brother Mohamed Kaleyfaanu (Kerafa Naseem's father) upon his death. Shareefa Hassan was a cripple, so his wealth was entrusted to Mohamed Kaleyfaanu (a little peon in the business at the time) to be looked after for Shareefa. Soon enough, the Kerefa clan rose in the business and political ranks, rubbing shoulders with the elite.

Nasir's downfall also came through Kolige. Koli Hassan Maniku, Nasir's star Koli Ali Maniku's cousin, was a key schemer behind the rise of the then Shipping Minister Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Koli Hassan Maniku was the intellectual architect of the 1967 attempt to overthrow Nasir led by Kerafa Abdul Sattar (President Nasheed's father), Sikka Ahmed Ismail Maniku (Nasheed's uncle), Hussain Khalid (father in law of Nasheed's Home Minister Hassan Afeef) and Minaa Kuda Thuththu (father of DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali). Karankaage Ibrahim Nasheed was party to the coup attempt and thus lost favor with Nasir.

Koli Hassan Maniku harbored a deep abiding bitterness against Nasir for Nasir's failure to restore his father Koli Ahmed Maniku's wealth stolen by his uncle Koli Umaru Maniku upon Ahmed Maniku's death. At the time of his father's demise, Koli Hassan Maniku was just a little boy and the guardianship of his inheritance went to his uncle. The true recipient of all this wealth was Koli Ali Maniku, a leading inner circle member in both Nasir's and Gayoom's regimes.

Koli Hassan Maniku's partners in the scheme to bring in Gayoom were fellow partners in the monthly magazine, Aabaaru (The New Power). Lead amongst these were Mandhu Abdullah Waheed (Gayoom's close friend), Aliya Ali Abdullah (President Nasheed's father in law and financier), and Aasthaana Abdul Shakoor Ali (Gayoom last Attorney General Azima Shakoor's father).

As in the case of Ibrahim Nasir, Gayoom too played a lead role in the presidency bid, establishing close links with the writing community in the islands through his brother-in-law Ilyas Ibrahim. Gayoom was introduced to the business community as a potential successor to Nasir by his father in law, Abdul Kareem Ibrahim (Ibrahim Maniku Dhon Maniku), a big businessman at the time.

In the case of Nasheed, the the Koligey clan and Nasheed's father-in-law Aliyaa Ali Abdulla again played a lead role, by selecting Nasheed as Gayoom's successor. Big business was hunting around for a candidate during the last 15 years of Gayoom's rule, coming up with candidates who for various reasons did not take up the baton.

Details coming up in Part 2.

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