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Showing posts from February, 2012

#Maldives: Addu - all hype, different vote? A look at Addu’s voting history in multi-party democracy.

Male’, Maldives.
As President Mohamed Waheed completes his first official trip to Addu Atoll, his political opponents claim all Addu Atoll is with them. Addu City Council lent credence to this claim by passing a resolution earlier this week, denouncing the National Unity Government as unconstitutional. President Waheed completed his visit amidst substantial support, significant at a time that Addu is still reeling from arson and vandalism by supporters of Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned from his post as President early this month. Nasheed had even warned President Waheed not to even attempt to step onto Addu soil.

Addu is a crucial voting bloc in any elections in the country, a fact evidenced by voting history and acknowledged by all political parties. Unfortunately, Addu has also a dubious reputation of being for sale in any vote. With its distinct dialect and close knit society, Addu has a history of seeking self-recognition, in competition with the more politically powerful Male’. …

#Maldives: No Easy Road to Reform - A look at Mohamed Waheed's long journey to the Presidency

Male', Maldives.
On February 7th this year, the reins of the Maldivian Presidency passed to Mohamed Waheed Hassan Maniku, the fifth President of the country. Waheed, then Vice President, ascended to the Presidency when Mohamed Nasheed resigned after weeks of civic protests against him. Some say Waheed was a puppet of the leaders of an alleged coup to topple Nasheed. Nasheed accuses him of leading the alleged coup. Others accuse him being a cowardly man with a history or running away when the going got tough. Very few recall that the country's long road to political reform did indeed begin its modern phase with Mohamed Waheed. Political opponents seek to hide the fact that Dr. Waheed is the man who first introduced a Bill of Rights to the Constitutional Assemply, the first to introduce a Bill on Freedom of Speech to the Majlis.

Nicknamed the Professor by his classmates for his studious nature, Waheed may not have a flamboyant history of a prisoner of conscience. Nor does he have …

#Maldives: Nasheed Vs. Waheed, a clash of Male'/Addu Vs. rest of the country?

Male', Maldives.
Yesterday's face-off between President Mohamed Waheed and his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed on the Male' streets ended with a victory for Waheed, but perhaps a victory that may be very temporary. Backed by an impressive display of people power over 50,000 strong, President Waheed condemned Nasheed's Maldives Democratic Party as terrorists, as enemies of the state. Alluding to the massive economic losses under Nasheed, Waheed warned that "There is no place for people who destroy our economy."

Clearly, public support was behind Waheed. The MDP Women's Protest staged yesterday afternoon to balance the scale was vastly outnumbered, mustering about a 1,000+ to the National Unity's 50,000. The maximum Nasheed had been able to gather at his rallies was just over 7,000, even including his supporters arriving from the islands.

However, what is most evident from the past two months of protests and rallies by all political parties, is that Nasheed …

#Maldives: We will defend Islam and National Sovereignty: President Waheed

Male', Maldives.
"We will defend our nation, its culture and Islam with the last drop of our blood." pledged President Mohamed Waheed, amidst rousing cheers by the thousands gathered in support of his National Unity Government. In a rude wake up call for Mohamed Nasheed and fallen government, thousands thronged to Male's Artificial Beach today to stand in unity with President Waheed's government. Organizers of the event estimate over 50,000 supporters at the rally, with over 15,000 having already arrived from the islands. President Waheed was backed by the leaders of 8 political parties and 150 civic associations.

This is in sharp contrast to the series of rallies being held by former President Nasheed at the South East corner of Male' since February 17th. The most support for Nasheed was received on the 17th itself, with an estimated 7,000 hard core MDP members attending from Male' and the islands combined. Since then, Nasheed's rallies have at the mo…

#Maldives: Transfer of power from corrupt government to foreign government?

Male', Maldives.
Maldivians watch stunned as new President Mohamed Waheed calmly invites foreign interference in their domestic affairs, just two weeks after he ascended to power following the resignation on strongman Mohamed Nasheed. Claiming to be a national unity government, the inexperienced Waheed administration is falling over its two left feet dancing to Bollywood music mixed with European colonial lyrics. The Waheed government's capitulation of Maldivian national interests and national sovereignty is unprecedented by any Maldivian government at anytime throughout the country's long history.

Throughout the annals of our history Maldives maintained her sovereignty and defended uncorrupted Islam as her religion by maintaining policies of non-interference in our domestic affairs by foreign powers. A small island state in the vast Indian Ocean, overshadowed by the looming mass of India in the North, Maldives has weathered many turbulent political storms, emerging somewh…

#Maldives: President Waheed's Reform Roadmap sunk before launching?

Male', Maldives.
Even as Nasheed's Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) capitulated and came to the negotiating table, Maldivian hopes for true democratic reform waned today as political parties undermined President Waheed's proposed Reform Roadmap. Key political leaders stayed away from the much anticipated All-Party talks today, instead sending representatives of little or no political weight. Citizen confidence in the Talks died as the whole exercise was exposed as just another drama of going though the motions of following due democratic process.

President Waheed's appointment of Ahamed Mujuthaba, the first Human Rights Commissioner of Maldives, was widely appreciated by the general public as Mujuthaba was seen as a person who would be acceptable to the aggrieved Nasheed and MDP. Although Mujuthaba filled cabinet posts in the Gayoom government, he gained credence amongst opposition for his later vocal and financial support to the MDP movement.

Of the political parties, o…

#Maldives: #Canarygate - Nasheed's Israeli Connection, Ismail Saadiq, lobbying to pressure the US?

Male', Maldives.
The Canarygate Scandal of political corruption, obstruction of justice and abuse of power which led to Mohamed Nasheed's resignation as President, yesterday entered a new dimension as Nasheed's Israeli connection was revealed to be Ismail Saadiq, of the FPID and 7/11 corruption scandals in the 1990s. Ismail Saadiq, at Nasheed's request, visited Israel after Nasheed's resignation, in a bid to secure Israeli support for Nasheed's come-back bid. Sources close to Nasheed report that Saadiq's visit was to request Israel to pressure the US to support Nasheed's call for an early election. Saadiq and Nasheed's ex-Chief of Staff, Ahmed Mausoom, were in the process of setting up a joint venture for supplying STO Maldives with Israeli oil when Nasheed resigned on February 7th.

Saadiq, a Maldivian trader engaged in various corrupt activities, first leapt to local prominence in the late 1970s when he spilled the beans on Kandi Ahmed Maniku's …

#Maldives: Canarygate Scandal – The betrayal of democracy and the Maldivian people continues.

Male’, Maldives.

Maldivians are increasingly disillusioned and bitter as they and their country people are ridiculed and torn apart by international media following the resignation of Mohamed Nasheed as Maldives President after the Canarygate Scandal. The Canarygate Scandal is the final series of events leading to the end of the three years of Nasheed’s rule on February 7th 2012, a rule earmarked by abuse of executive powers, obstruction of justice, contempt and lockdown of the Legislature and Judiciary, corruption, graft and nepotism. Canarygate gets its name from Nasheed's family name, Canary, so named because of the countless evidence of nepotism, cronyism and corruption during his rule.

While western commentators and the neighbourhood strongman India dismiss Canarygate as just a political fisticuff between Nasheed and his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Maldivians call upon the new Government for justice, for the Maldivian people and for democracy in Maldives. They ask new …

#Maldives: Reconciliation with MDP or Collusion in coup? MDP Financier Deen to be VP

Male', Maldives.

President Waheed this afternoon appointed Tourism Tycoon Mohamed Waheeduddeen (Deen) as his Vice President. Deen, an MDP financier, is a close confidante of ex-President Nasheed who used to host Nasheed every weekend at his private hideaway near Kandooma Resort. Deen was also a Minister for some time in Gayoom's cabinet. He was also part of Dr. Hassan Saeed's New Maldives Movement against Gayoom. Deen's nomination and President Waheed's subsequent statements to media fueled speculation that President Waheed had indeed colluded in "forcing" Nasheed to resign, or if this is a sign of MDP's reconciliation with President Waheed.

President Waheed's statements in announcing Deen's nomination appear to point to his active involvement in the events that led to Nasheed's resignation on February 7th.

Two key statement made by President Waheed were that, 1) in selecting his VP nominee he had looked for someone who did not aspire to…

#Maldives: Ex-Defence Minister, Police, MNDF, Nasheed, everyone ... requested our help - alleged coup leaders

Male', Maldives.
The week after power transfer in Maldives ended with a press statement by three of the individuals alleged by ex-President Mohamed Nasheed to have led a military coup against him. The three individual, current Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, current Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz and ex-police officer Fayaz (FA), stated that they had intervened in the events of February 7th out of national interest, and at the behest of Nasheed himself, his Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim, unnamed senior officials of the MNDF, and police officers and public at the protest that day. PPM Interim Deputy Leader, who had confessed to "commanding" the "operations" that day, was not named in the statement.

In a three page press release with confusing statements about multiple requests by the above parties for the three individuals to take charge of the situation and negotiate on behalf of public, Police and MNDf, the only thing that the trio make clear is that the…

#Maldives: Sexual abuse, assassination attempts, military coup - which of Nasheed's allegations are Maldivians to believe?

Male', Maldives.
More tarnishing of the Maldives international image as the sunny side of life continues as Mohamed Nasheed continues to lead his party Maldives Democratic Party to violence and civil disobedience. Nasheed, who resigned on February 7th, last night called upon his supporters for civil disobedience and violence until his successor, his former Vice President Mohamed Waheed stepped down from his post. On February 8th, Nasheed led violent street riots in Male', while his supporters on some islands rampaged through the communities vandalizing and burning down public and private property.

Speaking to the party faithful in Male' last night, Nasheed alleged that the Defence Forces had always been plotting his assassination and had assisted Dr. Waheed to bring about a military coup.

Nasheed further alleged that the police officers who extricated him from his party's street riots on February 8th, had sexually abused him when they first interacted with him that day.…

#Maldives Crisis: Who is the real terrorist? Nasheed or his alleged Maldivian "Islamist terrorist"?

Male', Maldives.
A week after Mohamed Nasheed resigned as President of Maldives, Maldivians are being victimized and their livelihoods put at jeopardy by the countless allegations aired in international press by Nasheed and his supporters. Daily, international press continue to report about various "terrorists" who allegedly pushed Nasheed out of office and even now threaten his life. The first allegations were against the biggest "baddie" of all, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled for 30 years. Next came, Maldivian "Islamist terrorists". Then, it was rich tourist resort owners who didn't want to pay taxes. Today, we are back to "radical" Islam.

Terrorism has no single definition worldwide. According to US Law, the term “terrorism” means "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents". Others define terrorism as the systematic use o…

#Maldives: Unity Cabinet sworn in, but continued silence on coup investigation

Male', Maldives.
President Mohamed Waheed swore in a new cabinet today but maintained his silence on investigating the alleged coup which brought him into power on Tuesday. The new cabinet comprises of members of various parties, but none from his own party. Nasheed's MDP is totally absent. The largest share (4 ministerial posts) was taken by ex-President Gayoom's Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), lending weight to allegations that the coup was organized by Dr. Waheed in collaboration with Gayoom, and led by Gayoom loyalists. Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP) and Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) took two cabinet posts each, while Jumhooree Party took one. Five posts (Finance, Foreign, Housing, Fisheries and Islamic Ministries) remain to be filled.

ex-President Gayoom took the key portfolios of Attorney General, Defense, Tourism and Youth Ministries. Dr. Hassan Saeed walked off with the Home Ministry and Health Ministry. Ahmed Thasmeen Ali took Education and Economic Ministry, w…

#Maldives Crisis: Can President Waheed field an independent investigation acceptable to MDP?

Male', Maldives.

Last night, ex-President Nasheed again called upon his party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, to assist him to immediately remove President Mohamed Waheed and reinstate him. The MDP cannot sit around with folded arms, but must take action to remove President Waheed from office, Nasheed told party members gathered at a rally in Male' last night.

These statements come in the midst of international reports which say that Nasheed has agreed with foreign envoys such as US Special Envoy Robert Blake to join a unity government and work for reform leading to an election in 2013. However, neither Nasheed nor MDP have confirmed such a commitment.

The international community which collectively expressed support for the new regime earlier in the week have modified its stance after Britain and Germany supported Nasheed's allegations of a forced resignation by a military coup. The international community now collectively call for an independent investigation into the r…