“I have joined MDP to prevent window to democracy from being closed”: Speaker Shahid

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) held one of the largest political rallies in the country’s recent history on Friday (April 19) to celebrate the signing of Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid as a member.

Shahid announced he was joining the opposition MDP Thursday (April 18), after resigning from the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) earlier in the week.

He yesterday addressed thousands of supporters gathered at the Alimas Carnival area of Male’ in his first address since signing with the party at a special rally entitled ‘A New Strength’.

“I am here today with renewed resolve to give new hope to the Maldivian people. I am here with you brave warriors to do all I can to find the best means for the people of the Maldives,” said Shahid,

“In 2008, a flicker of hope was kindled in the hearts of the Maldivian people. A window to democracy was opened. Maldivians used the light of this flame and the opportunities of this window to experience the beautiful gardens of democracy,” Shahid continued.

“As our hearts yearned to stay in these gardens for good, an attempt was made to try and close this window. An attempt was made to extinguish that glow of hope in people’s hearts. It was the courageous members of MDP who obstructed the powerful forces that tried to close this window to democracy.”

“Today, I am here with all of you brave, steadfast warriors to prevent that window from being closed,” Shahid stated.

In his first speech at a MDP podium, Shahid stated that many of his supporters, as well as “many young, assertive technocrats” who have worked with him, were now in the process of joining MDP alongside him.

“People from all over the Maldives called me upon hearing that I have joined the Maldivian Democratic Party. They told me that this decision of mine is in the best interests of the nation at this moment, and assured me that they will join this party with me,” he added, to loud applause from party supporters.

Will not them enslave us in the name of religion and nationalism: Shahid

“The strongest tool used to oppress citizens is to instill fear in their hearts, to make them weak psychologically, to create mistrust between each other, to create a culture of doubt and unrest. It is not surprising that these tactics are being used in our Maldives today,” Shahid said, criticising the present government and its coalition parties.

“The aim of these tactics is to make people lose faith in the democracy that rose in the Maldives, to delude people into thinking that democracy is a useless concept. And along with this, to utilize the ensuing chaos to usurp the power of the people, and to prevent the establishment of an administration that will work for the betterment of the people.”

“I want to say to those orchestrating such actions, that today, the Maldivian people will not give you the opportunity to pull that off. Today, Maldivians will not move away from democracy. They will not give up the powers of the people,” Shahid stated.

Shahid, who has previously spoken out against the MDP and its supporters, stated his reasons for now joining the party on Friday.  He claimed that he had taken the decision as the MDP was the only party that can move the country forward and bring development through its policies and democratic values.

“Allegations that [MDP] is working to undermine the religion of Islam, and the independence and sovereignty of the country are made with the intention of spreading such fear,” Shahid said of the criticisms, which continue to be levied against MDP by its political opponents.

“The easiest way out [for them] is to talk about the fear of losing independence or sovereignty. The minute anybody says a word, they are labelled a traitor, or an enemy. That’s all there is to it. In a space like this, we must question why this happens. In some other countries which are now developed, we saw people being enslaved under the name of religion and nationalism. We will not give them the opportunity to do that to us here,” he stated.

Shahid said that at a time when the Maldives had “more scholars than ever before seen in Islamic history”, rather than spread fear, it is vital to disseminate information that Islam is the religion of science, progress and development.

“Be it independence, or sovereignty, they only exist because of us citizens. They are things that exist for the sake of citizens. Those that speak of protecting sovereignty and independence today, without shedding light on the significance of the citizens, do so because they have nothing more they can speak of, because they do not have any plans or policies for the people. This is something that the Maldivian people will no longer accept,” he continued.

“We are now interconnected with the world. We will not let them isolate us from the world, and take us backwards.”

In conclusion of his speech, Shahid echoed the words of MDP leaders and stated, “The Presidential Elections are right in front of us. I can assure you with certainty that we will win that election from the first round itself. The reason why I am so sure of this is because of the immense support for this party that we see today.”

“Taking off at high speed”

MDP Presidential Candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed stated at the rally that the party was now taking off at high speed to win the September 7 elections.

Gesturing at the thousands of supporters which filled the rally grounds on Friday night, Nasheed stated that this was the sight of victory that was being witnessed at that moment.

Welcoming Shahid to the party, Nasheed stated that he is one of the most experienced politicians the country has ever seen.

“This day will be marked in history. This country’s historians and researchers will emphasize the reason why Shahid joined MDP,” Nasheed stated.

“We will not stay still or take half steps. Tighten your seatbelts. We are taking off at high speed and will stop only after taking oath as President once again this coming November. Shahid has left a campaign that proceeds in slow-motion to join one that moves much faster. We won’t go in slow motion. We take 3 feets steps and move with speed,” he said.

Among other speakers at the rally were MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, Parliamentary Group Leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, MP and former Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi and Raa Atoll Councillor Mohamed Waheed.

Shahid’s switch comes almost exactly one year to the day that the opposition MDP submitted an unsuccessful no confidence motion against the speaker, accusing him at the time of making decisions relating to significant parliamentary issues without discussing them with various political parties.

Fall out

Speaking following the announcement of speaker’s switch on Thursday (April 18), DRP Deputy Leader Abdulla Mausoom told Minivan News at the time that the party had no present plans to pursue a no-confidence motion against the speaker as a result of him defecting to the opposition.

However, he claimed that in cases where any politician – whether a speaker or cabinet minister – was deemed to be compromising national issues, then the party “would not hesitate” to take action against them.

Meanwhile, Abdulla Yameen, Parliamentary Group Leader of the government-aligned PPM – the country’s second largest political party after the MDP and minority party of parliament – had his phone switched off today.

Earlier this week, PPM MP Ahmed Nihan said he had worked with Shahid for many years and personally found him to be very capable in his position as speaker.

However, he added that he was not sure how his fellow party members or other government-aligned MPs might view his decision to switch to the opposition.



18 thoughts on ““I have joined MDP to prevent window to democracy from being closed”: Speaker Shahid”

  1. I have joined MDP to join my long lasting friend Zaki and also secure Speaker post and also secure MP seat for 2014. I have joined MDP like and Alhan to destroy MDP. These are well known reasons. Nasheed (Anni) blind by power thirst.

  2. "Those that speak of protecting sovereignty and independence today, without shedding light on the significance of the citizens, do so because they have nothing more they can speak of, because they do not have any plans or policies for the people."

    Indeed. This is what we have been saying all along. Whenever a Maldivian politician starts blabbering about "independence" and "defending islam", that's the surest sign that they have absolutely nothing to talk about or any policies worth mentioning.

    The reason those issues are non-existent are quite clear to all of us. Maldives has been independent for virtually its entire history. There are no threats to its sovereignty either directly or indirectly.

    Islam has been here for over 8 centuries and has survived without the intervention of any particular politician or group. That situation will not change for the next 800 years either.

    The challenge for politicians then, is, to tell the citizens of their actual policies. Do they have any? If so, what are they? The party that can distinguish themselves with policies that meaningfully enhances peoples' livelihood is the only one worthy of existence.

    I hope Shahid can steer MDP into that sort of party. As we have noted before, MDP has made numerous blunders in the past. It's leadership has questionable characters. Can Shahid use his wisdom and influence to make this party useful for the Maldivian people?

  3. Coming back to the central point Shahid noted, we can see why those who seek to defraud the people of Maldives talk about "independence", "nationalism" and "islam".

    Autocrats throughout history have used those slogans to garner followers and to create "blind" following. The Romans, Turks, Hitler, Mussolini, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Gayyoom, Buruma Gasim and more lately Mr Waheed have been using the same tried and tested formula.

    They've read the history books and found this powerful formula that has worked for so many dictators and power hungry zealots.

    The uphill task that faces those learned fellows like Shahid and other democrats is to reach out and educate the Maldivian folk not to fall into the trap of listening to those autocrats. Teach them to beware of "snake oil sellers" (and crude oil peddlers too).

  4. @Shahid: Walk the talk, you slimy toad.

    MP Ali Waheed spoke at this rally too didn't he? He wants MDP to force people into the mosques for prayer. Is this going to be the beginning of the Maldivian religious police?

    I remember when Maumoon's government implemented a policy to teach schoolchildren to pray. The mullahs who taught Islam were the Inquisitors - questioning students and parents about their prayer habits. Perhaps Ali Waheed will be the Grand Inquisitor this time, travelling the Maldives to torture those who don't pray. Welcome to Dhivehistan.

  5. We have nothing but bad options. The MDP is the best bad option. I vote MDP too.

  6. Smart move by Shahid to join the MDP. And well done Anni for creating the space for Shahid to join the party.

    Shahid is a seasoned politician, and with his experience in the Office of the President as Executive Secretary and his cabinet experience, will be the perfect Vice President for Anni. Shahid is invaluable as Speaker of the Majlis, but perhaps we need him more at the Office of the President.

  7. @homo If you are worried about someone praying its absolutely ridiculous, tolerance goes both ways

    You arent upholding liberalism, you are writhing in hatred towards muslims because of your homosexuality and muslims not compromising their beliefs for the likes of you, and the irony is, you arent much tolerant either

  8. @ Ahmed on Sun, 21st Apr 2013 1:57 AM

    "We have nothing but bad options. The MDP is the best bad option."

    I certainly agree with the first part of your statement. As for the second part - "best bad option", I would say the best bad option is Nasheed (Not MDP). MDP without Nasheed would actually be a great and best option. But with Nasheed as the Presidential Candidate we can say its the best of all bad options.

    Nasheed is a great leader and wonderful person. Unfortunately electing him will mean continuity of the divisive politics. But Nasheed will keep the religious extremists under control.

  9. Reply to Ilyas Ahmed
    Yes Nasheed is divisive. However, he is a leader and when you decide you divide. His critics hate him because he gets things done.

    He is still the best chance we have for the country.

  10. I don't have a lot of hope in "any" political party or politician at the moment, not always the fault of the politician. But, I must say, Speaker Shahid's speech was beautiful.

    I certainly hope Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb's hopes (as expressed above) are realized, yet I also understand @Homosexual's cynicism.

  11. Nasheed will never be able to the very few people who had some extremism . Nasheed is the man who had given a cabinet folio to Adaalhth in this country and that was not how he should have done it.

    Shahid knew that he has no chance of winning the seat next time unless he joined MDP or PPM . There are two key political figures in this country i.e. Maumoon and Anni and both are equally bad and both had shown dictatorship .

  12. @Ilyas Ahmed @Ahmed

    Boys, I think it will take sometime for you all to "get" Nasheed and MDP policies. i understand where you are coming from because some of his take a little longer time to wean off 30 years of being breastfed by someone as regal and beautiful as Maumoon.

    to help yourselves "fast track" the process to the progress speeds MDP and NAsheed is talking about, please consider the following:

    the very simple and harmless fact that you are able to write a comment on this website is something people like Nasheed fought for, was imprisoned and tortured several times over the last 30 years. the very freedom without any fear you enjoyed when you expressed your little opinion and passed a judgement in this public forum on nasheed is largely accredited to hurt and sacrifices endured by many people who are in MDP today.

    (2) When Nasheed talks of better housing, free healthcare, giving freedom to the islanders through decentralisation, guest houses in local islands & mariculture to increase wealth of local islands, spread the wealth of tourism etc. etc. i want to ask you folks -- What the hell do you mean by "BEST BAD OPTION"?? Have you heard of any other policies that even compare by any other candidate???? Maumoon is still trying to spread fear about loosing faith in islam, Yameen is talking about digging for oil, Gasim is out there promoting his Villa businesses as a presidential campaign strategy - it is as if you are suffering from stockholm syndrome from the 30 years of Maumoonism and you just cant see anything beyond from where you were before.

    The other thing i want to let you know is in most countries, perhaps not in the Maldives you imagine as the "best", but in most developed countries during presidential elections, people give votes to the best policies presidential candidates promise to implement if and when they win. Nasheed outlined a manifesto in 2008. I wonder if you have properly gone through it. Just clear the clutter and think about this. Despite all the work done by opposition through media, allegations, court cases, corruption charges, police mutiny etc. to do everything possible to stop Nasheed from having a peaceful time implementing his manifesto - Nasheeds presidency has done relatively more work than Maumoon did in any 3 years segment during his 30 years.

    Just think about these facts engey. i know it will be difficult to absorb. but have the guts to think outside the box for once.

  13. even ablo gazee would be embraced if he got on a podium and sang praises for nasheed.

  14. Hats off to Speaker Abdulla Shahid. I hope that he will be productive in steering the MDP to the right direction and give the party much needed impetus to win the upcoming Presidential elections from the first round.

    In order to uphold the values described by Speaker Shahid, I join MDP as well.

  15. @Kuribee

    The cabinet folio to Adhalath Party came with the agreement made with the Jumhooree Party. It was the Jumhoory Party who brought the Adhalath Party to Nasheed's government. The Adhalath Party signed a formal agreement with Jumhooree Party before the 2008 Presidential election.

    You know this as well as I do, Kuribee, so what you have written is irrssponsible and malicious.

  16. Nasheed is best option as a statesman, because he is a humanist. He was despised by conservatives and the Maldivian conservatism is religious ecstasy, xenophobia, and fear of uncertainty to step outside of comfort zone. No one with right mind would want such a group to be their leaders.

    Anni did take very bold steps when he took presidency; he tried to diversify the economy through liberal policies, and moderation. Anni does not get religious ecstasy and he is no xenophobic and has no fear to leave comfort zone. The proof is, he does not hate Israel, he has revolutionized the whole system by privatization and tried to broaden the Tourism compromising culture shock. The key to change the condition is to change everything that existed. So if you want to change Maldives to a different Maldives it is Anni from all stake holders who can deliver it because he has all ingredients required to bring a change. These are the facts and all who can think rationally should try to get Anni elected.

  17. "Will not let THEM enslave us in the name of religion and nationalism" Shahid..?!?!?!?!........to all those guys in MDP-have you guys forgotten when you used to gather everyn8 infront of ibrahim mosque or rather a certain multi storeyed building yelling out most ridiculous stuff!!U gave people like these(add zaki,mariya etc,all maumoony inventions)and their families 30 years to enslave us using Religion and Nationalism, and now you want to give them another 30 years?Well r8, bfr they used religion and nationality but now they will use Democracy and liberalism to fill their coffers.Its not like this democracy is going to make us commoners rich.It has made us puppets of the SYSTEM where we educate ourselves to be slaves to these puppet masters and also give them TAX to run the country while we have no share in the resources of the country!!(not to forget it is us the populace who creats the market economy by rolling our money within the country while these big shots take the dollars out) !!This is capitalism at its worst -the common masses are beoming remote controled puppets,and the puppet masters are all together in it playing the drama of democracy.Does any of them ever get convicted of the coruption or atrocities they committed?Nasheed came with such promises,so did waheed!!Somenbody should teach Maldivians sociology and social dynamics...and y talk about religion(as in islam) there r stronger religions in Maldives led by strong spiritual teachers whose sunnah is followed with utmost care and dedication by its adherents,namely the pink religion,yellow religion,red religion and any indivaidual that has enough money and is of the master race or their slave can break into the gang of masters and will also have a new 'colored' religion.Very convenient!


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