The many promises of Mohamed Nasheed: Dr Hassan Saeed

“I have said in the past that many people find it hard to trust Nasheed and recent revelations about his relationship with President Waheed put this into perspective,” writes Dr Hassan Saeed, Special Advisor to President Waheed, in Haveeru.

“At this time of reflection, I want to put on record my own experience.

Shortly after my resignation from President Gayyoom’s cabinet in 2007, I visited London accompanied by two close friends. Through a series interviews with the BBC and the Independent, I and my team launched our 2008 presidential election campaign. We were then known as the New Maldives movement.

Whilst in London we also held a number of meetings. This included some with members of the then opposition UK Conservative Party. One such meeting was with a senior Conservative MP who had been closely working the MDP.  During the meeting in his office, he remarked that the MDP leadership lacked experience and competency and that he would ask the MDP leadership to back the New Maldives team in the 2008 presidential election.

Perhaps he did?

Shortly after we returned from London the MDP held primaries to pick its presidential candidate. A number of senior MDP officials from Addu and elsewhere met me conveying a message from Nasheed. That message was very clear; Nasheed would contest the MDP primaries, but he did not intend to contest the Presidential election. If he were to win the MDP primaries, he would back me.

This was not just local MDP officials making rash promises; Nasheed himself came to visit and told me that I commanded substantial support within the MDP. He asked for my support to win those primaries. He even told me further that his own mother supported me. Almost immediately after our meeting an older woman called me. She said she was Nasheed’s mother and how big a fan of me she was and that she would get fully involved in my election campaign.

Many in Nasheed’s door-to-door campaign teams would call and tell me that he was making it crystal clear to MDP voters that if he won in the primaries he would back me.

Nasheed did win. Initially, I did not hear from him for several days. My colleagues contacted him. A meeting was arranged. Nasheed’s team consisted of Ibrahim Mohamed Salih, Ameen Faisal and Nasheed himself. From our side Dr Jameel, Dr Shaheed and myself attended.

Nasheed agreed to be my running mate with the MDP to get 75 percent of cabinet posts. However if elected President on this ticket I would have had the authority to veto incompetent and corrupt nominations from the MDP.  In view of what seemed a good arrangement for all sides, we agreed this. We even shook hands on it before we finished the meeting.

Nasheed called an MDP Qawumee Majlis (Nations Council) meeting. He then contacted his close aides to mobilize their support for our agreement. The MDP member for the Constitutional Assembly Mr. Adnan Haleem floated the proposal to the MDP National Council. The Council unanimously endorsed the arrangement for Nasheed to be my running mate.

A meeting of senior officials from both sides was arranged to discuss joint campaign funding.

All seemed to be arranged. We would have change in the Maldives and it would have comprised an alliance that the subsequent first round Presidential election results shows could have secured up to 41.58 percent – ahead of Gayyoom’s 40.34 percent.

However what seemed to be solid turned out to be thin air. To my surprise immediately after the meeting a senior official from Adalat Party called me and said that Nasheed had asked MDP backing for his presidential campaign!”

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