Former President Mohamed Nasheed has responded to President Abdulla Yameen’s declaration of trust in the judiciary by alleging that his confidence arises from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) ability to influence the judicial process.
Nasheed stated that both Yameen and his coalition partner Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhooree Party were expressing utmost trust in an institution that the European Union and the United Nations, as well as Maldivian citizens continued to regard as in need of reform.
“By insisting that they hold such a strong trust in this institution, they are really confessing to the fact that they have undue political influence over this institution.”
They are saying that they have confidence that they can do whatever they want at any particular time through these courts,” Nasheed suggested.
He stated that the biggest obstacle to maintaining Islamic principles was the corrupt state of the judiciary and accused the Supreme Court of abusing and breaching the constitution.
“What is most needed is the services of a lawyer to become free of criminal charges. The government should not be allowed to place whatever charges they want against citizens,” he continued.
“What we are seeing today is the Supreme Court raising charges against anyone whenever they want and then themselves launching investigations into the matter,” Nasheed said, adding that the Supreme Court was currently acting in a manner previously observed in the 1980s.
Nasheed further described the apex court as having turned into a “political campaign office” due to what he alleged were political discussions which were taking place among the judges, and various statements of political nature made by them.
He accused the court of working “like the police, with utter impunity”, adding that the MDP would continue to raise its voice against any and all unconstitutional actions – regardless of who commits them.
Case against the Elections Commission
Speaking with regard to the Supreme Court’s current case against the Elections Commission (EC), Nasheed alleged that the panel of judges were “pulling members of the EC to court in an attempt to exert political influence over them”.
He dismissed the court’s actions as being unconstitutional, stating that as per law, the People’s Majlis – and not the apex court – held oversight powers over the EC.
Meanwhile, Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has levied criticism against the EC, arguing that justice must be served to all alike, regardless of the office they hold.
He accused the EC of deliberately presenting obstacles and difficulties to his PPM at the approach of every election.
“Every time the PPM complains that the time the commission provides for any certain task is not sufficient, the EC will claim that they cannot extend the deadline. Then they will go ahead and extend the deadline anyway. This is something that we in PPM find very worrying,” Jameel said.
Jameel said that in order to win any election, the PPM had to face three competitors – the Maldivian Democratic Party, clandestine funds provided to the MDP by unknown entities, and the Elections Commission itself.
The Vice President further accused the EC of working against the laws which govern it, and of attempting to work in a manner that is beneficial to a certain party.
Speaking of his recent trip to the southern atolls, former President Nasheed noted that he had observed a trend of employees being transferred or fired based on their political affiliations.
“I want to say to the Civil Service Commission’s President Dr Latheef to please be aware. If even a single civil servant has to face such a loss, how will you defend your seat once we gain majority in parliament? We will closely observe what is done to the civil servants,” Nasheed stated.
He also alleged that employees at various tourist resorts were also being unduly dismissed for political reasons.
In the last quarter of 2013 – just ahead of the presidential election – employees from Irufushi Beach and Spa Resort and Sun Island resort spoke to Minivan News about what they alleged was the purging of employees based on their political affiliations.