President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan on Tuesday met with the Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) to provide an account of his actions during the recent transfer of presidential power.
The CNI was set up by Dr Waheed to investigate the legitimacy and legality of the events between January 14 and February 8 following the claims of the former ruling party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), that the change of power was tantamount to a coup.
The Committee which consists of Ismail Shafeeu, Dr Ibrahim Yasir and Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef, has been criticised by the MDP who argue that it was assembled without adequately consulting other parties and that it lacks impartiality. The party has refused to work with the CNI.
This criticism was backed by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) which has given the government a deadline to address its concerns over the commission’s impartiality and independence.
These calls have more recently been accompanied by the Maldivian civil society coalition Thinvana Adu which was particularly keen to encourage the involvement of international experts in the inquiry process.
The government’s response to CMAG’s criticism was, firstly, to criticise the statement as lacking in specific details, before arguing that it had asked the Commonwealth to assist in the inquiry process but had received no response.
More confusion followed as President Waheed claimed that it was not within his remit to change the compositioin of the commission. This statement was followed by a statment from the commission arguing that changes ought to be made by presidential decree and not at the behest of the commission itself.
The CMAG deadline expires in one week’s time, after which the group has threatened “further and stronger measures” which, according to Spokesperson for the Commonwealth Secretariat, Richard Uku, could include suspension.