Former presidents, Nasir and Gayoom, to be honored on Independence Day

Former presidents Ibrahim Nasir and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom are to receive an honorary shield on the Maldives’ golden jubilee of independence from the British on July 26.

Nasir, who served as the president of the Maldives from 1968 – 1978, is being honored for his role in securing independence for the Maldives. When the independence agreement was signed in 1965, he was prime minister of the Maldives.

Nasir died in exile in Singapore in 2008 at 82 years of age. His body was flown back to Malé where he received a state funeral.

Gayoom, who succeeded Nasir and served as the president from 1978 – 2008, is being honored for his role in maintaining the Maldives’ independence, the president’s office said today. He remains influential in Maldivian politics.

The government is planning to hold grand celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of independence, including a parade by the army and school bands, reopening public parks with water fountains, and an official function at the Usfasgandu area. More than 100 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend.

The government is yet to disclose the full program for the day. Several areas at Male’s waterfront have meanwhile been closed off as the government rushes to complete major renovation projects including a new official jetty and a musical water fountain at the Republic Square before July 26.

Ibrahim Muaz Ali, the spokesperson at the president’s office, said President Abdulla Yameen had asked for updates on preparations at a cabinet meeting today.

“The President requested his minister’s to use all the government’s resources to hold the Independence Day celebrations,” he said.

A budget of MVR150million (US$9.7million) has been allocated for Independence Day activities.

The Supreme Court, the President’s Office, the foreign ministry, the Malé power plant and other government offices have been decked in lights for July 26. Plastic palms have been set up in some areas. Malé’s streets have also been decked in flags.

Deputy minister for home affairs Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem, who is in charge of the organizing the activities, told the press previously that a three-hour play will take place at the national stadium from 9pm to 12pm on the night of July 27.

The play will show different stages of Maldivian history from the Buddhist-era to the present and depict the sacrifices of national heroes to maintain the country’s independence. It will also feature video projections.

The Minivan 50 or independence 50 office has awarded a contract to a British company called The Projection Studio to manage sound, light and projection at the official celebrations.

Some 15 Maldivians have meanwhile undergone a 15-day training session in Addu City for a skydiving event on the night on June 27.

The skydivers will land at the national stadium using special parachutes manufactured with the national flag. The second part of the skydiving training is due to start in Malé today with Malaysian trainers.

Meanwhile, president’s office minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef told the press earlier this week that more than a 1,000 people will attend the official function on July 26, including all Maldivian citizens born on July 26, 1965.

Shareef also dismissed allegations of corruption in the use of the Independence Day budget. The home ministry has received special permission from the finance ministry to award some projects without a bidding process due to lack of time.

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Opposition councilors barred from Dhiggaru office over PPM lunch

Two opposition councillors in Meemu atoll Dhiggaru say they were barred from the council office today because of a lunch set for the ruling party’s campaign team.

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, his son and ruling party candidate for the Dhiggaru by-election Ahmed Faris Maumoon, and senior party officials are on the island ahead of Saturday’s polls.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) councillor Ahmed Nishan said they were unable to work today as lunch had been set for the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) campaign team in their offices.

“When I came to the office I found out that a lunch was set up in the office where the councillors usually work. The lunch was for Faris Maumoon’s campaign team,” Nishan said.

Dhiggaru lunch

The five-member council consists of three PPM councillors and two MDP councillors.

Dhiggaru council president Imran Ismail denied that lunch had been set at the council office.

“I am not aware that any councillors are facing difficulties as of yet,” he added.

The council’s vice president, also a PPM member, declined to comment on the matter, while a staff at the council office hung up the phone when asked about the lunch.

Nishan said he believed the lunch was bought on PPM’s funds, as all council members must be informed of expenditure from public funds.

Former President Maumoon reportedly arrived at the council office in the island health centre’s ambulance.

Faris will contest against the MDP’s Ahmed Razee and independent candidate Moosa Naseer Ahmed in the June 6 poll.

The opposition has accused the PPM of vote-buying and bribery after PPM donated x-ray machines and air conditioning units to the constituency.

President Abdulla Yameen this week pledged to provide a 140 kilo-watt power generator for Dhiggaru and urged Dhiggaru constituents to vote for Faris to ensure development.

“If you do this, no doubt when the budget comes, under the principle where constituencies with our members are prioritised now, this constituency will be noted very early on,” he said.

The generator will arrive before Ramadan, and projects to establish water and sewerage systems in Dhiggaru will begin early next year.

An outer wall for the Dhiggaru football field will also be built in two months and a futsal pitch will be built during the year, he pledged.

The government has also signed an agreement with the state-owned Maldives Transport and Construction Company to build a harbour in Dhiggaru.

The by-election was triggered by the jailing of former MP Ahmed Nazim, also a PPM member. He was convicted of defrauding the former atolls ministry and imprisoned for life.

Dhiggaru is a PPM stronghold and a support base of the former president.

The ruling party was also accused of vote buying in April after handing over air-conditioners to a school in Raa Atoll Alifushi, shortly before an island council by-election.

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Former Defence Minister Nazim remanded for 15 days

The Criminal Court has remanded former Minister of Defence and National Security Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim for 15 days in police custody.

Nazim was arrested last night at around 1:15am and was taken to Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre.

Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed told Minivan News this morning (February 10) that his client was being charged with offences related to activities against the state, while his arrest form described the charges as terrorism and possession of illegal items.

Members from both the Adhaalath and the Jumhooree Party have today said they will join Nazim’s legal team, while the Prosecutor General’s Office has declined to comment on any aspect of the case.

Nazim himself tweeted news of his arrest to his followers shortly after 1am, also announcing that he had left the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.

A press conference by Nazim’s legal team is scheduled to be held tonight at VTV at 9pm, explained the law firm of Maumoon Hameed – Premier Chambers.

Meanwhile Adhaalath Party spokesman Sheikh Ali Zahir tweeted saying that he has decided to join Nazim’s defence team along with former Commissioner of Police MP Abdulla Riyaz.

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla has been one of the few politicians to comment on the case today, tweeting his belief that Nazim would not kill anyone in order to gain power.

“Nazim has been treated with injustice. We are and have been against injustice,” read another post from Imran today.

Following comments made in the media regarding the charges yesterday, Riyaz told Minivan News that he was convinced the case was “purely political”.

“The legal team has prepared a very strong case, and can positively prove that the items found at Nazim’s house do not belong to him,” he said.

Nazim had been minister of defence since the controversial transfer of presidential power in February 2012, having delivered an ultimatum on behalf of mutinous police and military units demanding President Mohamed Nasheed’s unconditional resignation.

Prior to his dismissal, he was considered one of the most powerful figures within the government, holding the health portfolio as well as chair of the Local Government Association (LGA).

Special Operations officers raided Nazim’s home in the early hours of January 18, with police later saying they had found dangerous weapons – including a pistol and an explosive device during the search.

After initially expressing support for the minister, Nazim was dismissed from his position two days later, being replaced by Major General (retired) Moosa Ali Jaleel on January 20.

Police have maintained they were unaware that the home belonged to the defence minister prior to the raid, later telling media that the decision was made not to make arrests due to the profile of the suspect.

After the passports of both Nazim and his wife were confiscated, the former minister was summoned for questioning at police headquarters earlier this week.



Related to this story

Former Defence Minister arrested on illegal weapons charge

Police raid Defence Minister Nazim’s home in early hours

Nazim dismissed as defence minister, replaced by Moosa Ali Jaleel

Pistol and explosive device found at Nazim’s home, says Police Commissioner

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Former President Maumoon “saddened” over Judge Shujoon’s resignation

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has expressed sadness over the resignation of Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon.

A tweet posted yesterday by the former president read that he was “saddened by the resignation of Judged Aishath Shujoon one of the first two women judges I had pleasure of appointing in 2007″.

Haveeru reported Shujoon gave her letter of resignation to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Monday (December 29).

Shujoon, a founding member of Maldivian Democracy Network, was recently re-elected to UN subcommittee on the prevention of torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment.

Earlier this month, the seven member Civil Court bench condemned the removal of two Supreme Court Judges, including the chief justice, saying the JSC was “forced” to deem the two judges unfit for the bench through an “unconstitutional” amendment to the Judicature Act.

A subsequent case challenging the decision was removed from the Civil Court’s jurisdiction by the Supreme Court.

In February, JSC launched an investigation into Shujoon after she announced on state television that she was once offered a US$5 million bribe, which she refused.

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Maldivian judge re-elected for second term on UN anti-torture subcommittee

Maldives Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon Mohamed has been re-elected to the UN subcommittee on the prevention of torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment.

Shujoon was first elected for the sub-committee in 2010 and won re-election by winning 63 of the 70 valid ballots cast at a vote held in Geneva.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon congratulated Judge Shujune, saying that the re-election “is a true testament to Judge Shujune’s performance in the sub-committee, her integrity and conviction.”

Shujoon is one of the founding members of the Maldives Detainee Network – now the Maldives Democracy Network – as well as being outspoken on issues of bribery within the judiciary.

The 20 member UN subcommittee works with governments to prevent torture and makes unannounced visits to prisons and detention centres to ensure detainees are not being mistreated.

Late last year, the Maldives passed its first anti-torture legislation. The Anti-Torture Act declares freedom from torture as a fundamental right, penalises torture, ensures respect for human rights of criminal suspects, and prohibits torture in state custody.

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PPM leader Gayoom says he does not know who is behind MDP attacks

Former President and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom has rejected claims that his party was behind – or has knowledge of – the recent attacks against opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP).

“I would not blame any political party or any individual over the attacks. The relevant authorities would investigate the attacks and let us know who did it. I would like to reiterate that it was not PPM’s doing,” said Maumoon.

While speaking to media at a ceremony held to celebrate the signing of 104 members of the Jumhooree Party to the PPM, Maumoon said the recent attacks were not conducted by PPM and that the party does not encourage violent behavior of this sort.

An MDP rally in Feydhoo last week was attacked by a group of masked individuals wielding wooden planks and rocks with the party’s main office in Malé set on fire last month.

The government and MDP have been involved in a heated blame game over the attacks with the President’s Office spokesperson reportedly suggesting that the attacks were coordinated by the MDP itself, while the party’s leaders have suggested a third – unnamed group – may have been behind the attacks.

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Civil Court rules in favour of former Police Superintendent Jinah in Gassan Maumoon suit

The Civil Court has ruled that the court was unclear of the role former Police Superintendent and head of the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) had played in obstructing the basic rights of Gassan Maumoon, following his arrest last year on suspicion of dropping a wooden plank from a six story building into a crowed of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters.

Gassan Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, filed the suit against Jinah after police arrested him on allegations that he had dropped the wooden plank into the MDP supporters, striking the head of a 17 year-old boy.

Police at the time said that the victim, Hussein Hassan of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal, had to undergo brain surgery to repair damage to his skull.

Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon ruled that the Police Integrity Commission (PIC), the oversight body of the police, had told the court that the case was lodged at the commission and that it had decided that Jianh did not have to take responsibility for Gassan’s arrest.

Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed at the time ruled that his arrest was unlawful and ordered his immediate release, despite early evidence being produced to the court supporting police claims.

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) had recently competed a report on Abdulla Mohamed detailing the judge’s misconduct, notably politically-biased comments given to opposition-aligned private broadcaster DhiTV. This would later lead to his detention by the military, opposition protests and ultimately the toppling of the Nasheed administration in a police and military mutiny on February 7 this year.

In his counter suit filed in the Civil Court, Gassan contended that the Criminal Court had ruled that the arrest was unlawful and requested the court make Jinah take responsibility for his unlawful arrest, and pay him compensation.

At a press briefing at the time, Superintendent Jinah said police wished to “reveal the truth” about the incident as “deliberately false allegations have been made against police using the media” to bring the institution into disrepute, and “relentless attempts” had been made to cast aspersions on police and its senior officers by members of the then-opposition.

Police at the time exhibited video footage of a wooden pole thrown from above injuring the 17 year-old during the MDP protest against judicial corruption, which took place outside former President Gayoom’s residence, Maafanu Endherimaage.

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Gassan Maumoon sues Police Chief Superintendent Jinah for unlawful arrest

Gassan Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has filed a case at the Civil Court against Chief Superintendent of Police Mohamed Jinah, claiming that Gassan was unlawfully arrested on his order.

Gassan’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ confirmed that the case was filed yesterday.

Gassan was arrested last month on allegations that he hurled a wooden plank at protesters from his balcony on October 20. A 17 year-old was critically injured after the plank struck him on the head, resulting in skull fractures and paralysis down his left side.

Waheed told local media this week that Jinah’s order to arrest Gassan was unconstitutional and violated provisions of the police act. The Civil Court was requested to determine that Jinah’s order was unlawful.

Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed had ruled that Gassan’s arrest was unlawful and ordered his immediate release.

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has recently competed a report on Abdulla Mohamed detailing the judge’s misconduct, notably politically-biased comments given to opposition-aligned private broadcaster DhiTV.

Contacted for a comment today, Chief Superintended Jinah referred Minivan News to Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam.

Shiyam said police did not wish to comment on a case involving the arrest of a specific individual.

“Besides, the police have not been officially informed of this case,” he added.

Following his release by the Criminal Court, Jinah held a press conference and exhibited video footage of the plank hitting the 17 year-old.

Jinah had said at the press conference on October 16 that police wished to “reveal the truth” about the incident as “deliberately false allegations have been made against police using the media” to bring the institution into disrepute and cast aspersions on senior officers.

Police decided to reveal the video footage to the public because “many people have been using different media to claim that [the incident] never happened and make serious allegations against police,” Jinah had said.

He told the media that the court was now requested to determine that Jinah personally has the responsible to his orders.

When Gassan was arrested, former Attorney General Azima Shukoor and Waheed both went to the Criminal Court and filed a case against police claiming that the arrest was unlawful and to order immediate release of Gassan, to which court the court agreed and ordered immediate release of Gassan.

When Minivan News contacted Jinah for a comment he referred Minivan News to Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam.

Shiyam said that police have been arresting different persons to investigate cases presented to the police and that police would not like to comment on a specific person’s case.

‘’Besides, the police have not been officially informed of this case,’’ he added.

After the incident police met with the press and viewed video footage captured near Aliwaage when the wooden plank was dropped.

Opposition that time said that the wooden plank did not come from Aliwaage and insisted that it was thrown at Aliwaage from the ground.

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Comment: Manufacturing slavery

According to psychology research undertaken in the USA, people express being happy when they experience what is called an ‘internal locus of control,’ a sense of being in charge of one’s own destiny.

One of the fundamental doctrines of Sunni Islam is that Everything happens acording to the Will of Almighty Allah, hence, a very strict Muslim will say ‘Insh’allah’ whenever they say that they will do something or expect something to happen. It is called Taqdir, the Doctrine of Qadar, or, the Doctrine of Power. If understood correctly, this doctrine can give great hope and power in times of loss and struggle. Yet the way that this doctrine has traditionally been used in the Maldives was to render the masses completely impotent, dependant on the power brokers of society in a fashion which sapped the Dhivehin of any sense of control or capacity for resistance.

Life swung from depressed helplessness, to explosive rage, the type of rage one experiences when one is frustrated deeply, dehumanised, humiliated.

The power brokers controlled the Dhivehin like Gods, and the Dhivehin were at their Mercy, degrading and debasing themselves in front of these ‘Befulhu’ Gods for every little favour. The experience was one of slavery. It was cruel, and deeply painful for the poor.

Attempts to break this power down in the name of the liberation of the Dhivehin through the creation of a republic, ultimately failed to break this system down. Once in power, the ‘Republican Presidents’ were possessed by the same culture of power, that all consuming ‘beast’ of narcisistic bliss bestowed by the general cultural understanding of any institution of leadership. One with even the greatest, the noblest sentiments, could not contain the beast,, its irepressible hunger for the bliss of being Worshipped, could overcome the greatest, most selfless heart.

This monster, now starved of its insatiable, ferocious lust for power for over two years is now rising through the possessed opposition.

This is why the opposition do not want democracy to succeed. This is why they wish to strangle the cultural development of personal autonomy and move of democracy. They wish the Dhivehin to beg at their feet, worshipping them, powerless before them like slaves, debased. This is the only motive that they have for their lack of co-operation in Parliament. They wish for Maldivian people to believe that they are not ready for democracy, to prove themselves correct, so that the masses look to them as the ones who were correct and therefore, who should be followed.

According to Ludwig Feurbach, humanities experience of God is in fact the experience of the power in ones society, the anthropomorphic projection of the will to power of a King or tribal leader, for example.

Maumoon, having tasted the complete control of power, wishes to once again immerse you in his power, to render you completely powerless in your own right. He wishes to do it by projecting his will as the all Powerful Will of God. He wishes you to remain a helpless beggar before the God that he presents, as it is ultimately, as Ludwig explained, worship of Maumoon himself.

Freud observed that one who is deeply religious to the point of anxious self debasement is in fact psychologically undeveloped, development being the experience of relative capacity for self determination, or, as Maslow would express it, ‘self realisation.’ Maumoon wishes to use religion to deprive the Dhivehin of the development of personal and social autonomy. He wants you to remain infantile, ‘his children’, forever.

On the other hand, if Durkheim was correct, and ‘God’ is the personified projection of our own society, then the concept of God can be utlised to inspire, motivate an oppressed society to struggle for freedom. God can be an expression of ones own force for personal and social, yet ‘non-violent’ resistance. When we magnify our own thrust for liberty by making it Divine, we can universalise, magnify the power, elevate the level of emotional energy fuelling our own struggle. We see this quite strongly in the moderate side of what we call Islamic Revival. The teaching in the Mosques of the struggle, the ‘non-violent’ Jihad, and those who embrace this Islamic Jihad (in a non-violent manner) as the essence of their dignity are examples of this expression.

Ones understanding of God will depend on who one is in society, and how much agency one has. We see the battle over the ownership of the true nature of God being played out in the Maldives.

Nietzche also argued the experience of God is the experience of power. He said that the will to power, for the elite, is called “Love and Benevolence,” for the middle classes it is called “equality” and for the oppressed, the will to power is called “Justice.” The Arabic equivalent of all these words are part of the ’99 attributes of God…’

Indeed, we see that the God of Maumoon and of the affluent middle classes is Compassionate, Benevolent, and the God of many of the islanders and the poor, is angry, hungry for Justice.

These anthropomorphic expressions of the will to power will remain in competition with each other, unless one particular class of people become so psychologically smashed that that their social will dies. For the class whose will dies, this is the beginning of depression, anxiety, helplesness, dependancy disorder and consequentially, physical sickness. For the class who wins the struggle, this is the beginning of bliss, of absolute power, of the complete appropriation of God and everything God is into themselves.

The death of political and religious pluralism is the death of a particular class of people. Religious and political pluralism is the sign of a healthy people, of a healthy society. To destroy political or religious pluralism in the name of creating unity, order, and love between all, is to create pain, disorder. This is because, to control a society completely and to control the religious thought of a people in the name of Benevolence, which Maumoon wishes to do, and done so for 30 years, is to take absolute power. It is to rob the masses of any will of their own.

In this scenario, rendered powerless, the defeated class must be kept poor to stay dependant on the leaders. They must be dehumanised by institutional protocol.

For they who feel so helpless, so controlled, so powerless, the only hope for freedom, for dignity, is belief in an afterlife.

The will of this class of people, which the opposition wish to create in the name of restoring order and humanity, can be awakened by the presentation of a kind of a Deity I have not yet described, a Deity of Death, the Deity of the radical suicide bomber.

In the name of restoring religious unity which they think will restore social order, the opposition are, without even knowing that they are doing it, working hard to awaken a suicide bomber mentality.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to editorial@minivannewsarchive.com

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