The government has accepted ousted former President Mohamed Nasheed’s nominee for the Commission on National Inquiry (CNI), according to reports in local media.
The government confirmed its acceptance of Nasheed’s nominee, Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed, who was formerly both Principal of ‘Ahmadiyya School’ and Deputy Principal of the British College of Sri Lanka.
President Mohamed Waheed Hassan confirmed prior to his departure to the UK this morning that the government had accepted the nominee proposed by Nasheed.
Waheed said that despite “certain reservations”, Nasheed’s latest nominee was “a good person” and that he hoped the CNI would proceed with its duties with the inclusion of the nominee.
The government previously accepted Manaal Shihab, the daughter of former Finance Minister Mohamed Shihab, however Nasheed had reportedly withdrawn his nominee at the time of the announcement and the confusion led to a statement from the Commonwealth that no nominee had yet been approved.
“Nasheed had proposed her name without proper consultation from his party,” Waheed alleged. “That is why we shall not disclose the name of the nominee yet, because something like that may happen again,” he said.
Asked about his reservations, Waheed stated that the latest nominee had “said certain things” regarding the transfer of power of February 7, but that he and the government were looking to proceed without much of an issue out of it.
“We do not intend to reject the name. We want to proceed with the commission,” he said.
Waheed further stated that Nasheed’s proposed name had been forwarded to the Commonwealth, which was expecting the say on the proposal.
Minivan News tried contacting Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed to confirm the appointment, but he did not respond at time of press.
MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor declined to comment on the matter, claiming that it was not the policy of the party to reveal the names to the media until the government officially did so.
Ismail Shafeeu will not be removed from the CNI
While the government appears to have accepted Nasheed’s nominee to the CNI, it has refused to remove CNI Chairman Ismail Shafeeu.
Shafeeu was the former Minister of Defence and National Security under former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He was also Minister of Home Affairs during the time when the custodial death of Evan Naseem took place, a key moment in Maldivian political history that led to an uprising against Gayoom and the introduction of multiparty democracy.
Former President Nasheed and the MDP had raised doubts over Shafeeu’s impartiality and his role in the CNI.
Speaking to the press on the occasion to mark 100 days of Waheed’s government after he came to power on February 7, Nasheed said that Shafeeu did not fit the criteria imposed on his own nominee.
He expressed concern that Shafeeu was still on the panel despite an expectation that he would be replaced by the current facilitator of the All Party Talks, Ahmed Mujthaba.
Waheed disputed Nasheed’s assessment of Shafeeu, stating that he would remove Shafeeu as he was “capable and qualified”.
“His integrity and impartiality can be only questioned after close observation of his work at the commission,” said Waheed.
Waheed also reiterated that the government had agreed to revise the commission membership in consultation with the Commonwealth, with the appointment of a retired Singaporean Judge and a representative from former President Nasheed as agreed.
MDP’s Spokesperson Ghafoor has said Shafeeu’s impartiality was not as much of an issue for the MDP following the inclusion of an MDP representative on the panel, adding that the party had compromised during the negotiations.
The appointment of a nominee would be a “good achievement” despite the of barriers and complications set in place by the government to disqualify names proposed by Nasheed, Ghafoor said.
He said that while the Commonwealth had the “moral authority” to impose qualification requirements on the nominees, the government did not, as it was itself the subject under the investigation.
“I just don’t think one can give up the impression that the government is actually helping to resolve the situation here,” he said.
The CNI was established by President Mohamed Waheed Hassan to investigate the controversial transfer of power that took place on February 7. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claimed that Nasheed was forced out of office in a coup d’etat.