“CMAG lacks clear mandate to place Maldives on its agenda”: government tells EU

Maldives’ permanent representative to the EU Ali Hussein Didi has criticised the Commonwealth’s involvement in the Maldives, telling the European Parliament that the Commonwealth’s Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) lacked a clear mandate to place the Maldives on its agenda.

Following former President Mohamed Nasheed’s claim he was deposed in a coup d’état, the Commonwealth suspended the Maldives from the CMAG, and said it had decided to place Maldives on its formal agenda because of “questions that remain about the precise circumstances of the change of government, as well as the fragility of the situation in the Maldives.”

However, in a statement obtained by Minivan News provided to a monthly EU parliamentary session on South Asia, Didi said the situation in the Maldives did not allow for the country to be placed on the Commonwealth’s agenda.

Didi said the enhanced mandate of the CMAG approved in Perth in October 2011 only allowed the organisation to place a country on its agenda if there was: “(1) unilateral abrogation of a democratic constitution or serious threats to constitutional rule; (2) the suspension or prevention of the lawful functioning of parliament or other key democratic institutions; (3) the postponement of national elections without constitutional or other reasonable justification; and (4) the systematic denial of political space, such as through detention of political leaders or restriction of freedom of association, assembly or expression.”

“As you would agree, the Commonwealth Ministerial Mission that visited the Maldives from 17-19 February was not able to determine whether any of the above four conditions exists in the Maldives,” Didi claimed.

But the government of Maldives will continue to extend “maximum level of cooperation” to the Commonwealth “despite the fact that, in our opinion, the CMAG lacks a clear mandate to place the Maldives on its agenda,” Didi said.

In his five page statement, Didi further criticised the CMAG for not responding to requests for assistance to the government’s inquiry into the transfer of power, and reiterated the government’s commitment to holding presidential elections in 2013. He also claimed President Nasheed was ousted in a widespread popular uprising following Criminal Court Head Judge Abdulla Mohamed’s detention and said that normalcy and stability had returned to the Maldives.

Further criticisms

The CMAG and the EU have called for an independent and impartial investigation into the transfer of power and urged the Maldives to hold an early presidential election within the calendar year.

New President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan set up a three member Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) to investigate the circumstances surrounding Nasheed’s resignation, but the CMAG has challenged the committee’s independence, and in April warned of “further and stronger” measures should the Maldives fail to review the committee’s composition and mandate.

However, Didi supported the CNI’s independence and said the Commonwealth and the United Nations had not responded to requests for technical and legal assistance for the CNI.

Spokesperson for the Commonwealth Secretariat, Richard Uku had previously told Minivan News that the CMAG remained “ready to assist the Commission as soon as broad-based political agreement is reached on its composition and terms of reference.”

Didi also acused the CMAG of failure to respect understandings reached by the Maldives government and the Commonwealth’s Special Envoy Sir Don McKinnon. He did not provide details on the nature of the understandings reached between the government and McKinnon.

“Yet, I note with regret that the understandings we reached with the Secretary General’s Special Envoy, H. E. Sir Don McKinnon has not been respected by the CMAG or the Commonwealth Secretariat. The cooperation we give to the Commonwealth is not reflected in the statements issued by the CMAG. My government would therefore need the assurance from the Commonwealth Secretary General that the organisation’s interaction with the Government of Maldives is serious and that any understanding reached with the Government would fully be respected,” Didi said in his statement.

Commission of National Inquiry

Didi said the CNI “is conducting its work in complete independence from the Executive and other branches of government.”

He  also provided details on the government’s efforts to make the CNI acceptable to President Nasheed and to solicit international assistance.

“Names of the Commission members were shared with the MDP through international partners but no response was received. Eventually, the Government had to establish the Commission with the consultation and guidance of members of the international community. Although the Commission comprises officials with immense integrity and respect in the country, it has requested both the Commonwealth and the United Nations for technical and legal experts to assist the Commission in carrying out its work. The terms of reference of the request experts were drawn up in close consultation and in complete agreement with the Commonwealth Secretariat. Despite repeated follow-ups by the Government, there has been no response from any of the two organizations to the request.”

Didi further claimed President Nasheed had not exhausted domestic legal avenues for justice.

“His own party’s Vice President Alhan Fahmy, MP, called for a parliamentary inquiry into the events that led to transfer of power. However, this was also later withdrawn from Parliament when Nasheed decided he did not want inquiry from taking place,” he claimed.

Fahmy had submitted the resolution to Majlis’ National Security 241 committee. Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs said they had walked out of the committee because the committee was chaired by MP Gasim Ibrahim who they accuse of funding the alleged coup d’état.

Early election

Didi noted the EU’s call for early elections, but said that July 2013 was the earliest date allowed for elections in the constitution. Further, an early election could not be held while the Office of the President continues to be occupied, he claimed.

“When Maldivians voted in 2008, they voted for a President and a Vice-President. Every vote that Mr Nasheed received was also received by Dr Waheed. The Vice- President is elected for the primary purpose of filling the office of the President, should it become vacant during the term of Presidency, for any reason,” the statement said.

“Normalcy has returned”

Didi also assured the EU parliament that “stability and normalcy” had returned to the Maldives.

“The political situation in the Maldives is stable and normalcy has returned to the country. All state institutions are open, and fully functional. The schools are open, and functioning as normal. Hundreds of tourists visit the Maldives every day. In short, people in the Maldives go about their lives as normal.”

According to Didi, Dr Waheed’s administration was “committed to enact reform legislation, strengthening judiciary, building capacity of independent oversight bodies, modernising the criminal justice system and fighting corruption.”

He alleged corruption was “endemic” in Nasheed’s administration and claimed that President Waheed had set up a “High Level Task Force” to ensure compliance with the Anti- Corruption Commission and Auditor General’s reports and recommendations.

Nasheed left the Maldives at the verge of bankruptcy, Didi alleged, saying that Maldives’ debt had risen from 46 percent of GDP to 88 percent of GDP during Nasheed’s tenure.

“A team of IMF officials that visited the Maldives a few days back issued a stern warning to the Government that unless painful measures are taken urgently, the Maldives faces economic and financial crises within a matter of few months,” Didi claimed.

“Widespread popular uprising”

Didi claimed President Nasheed resigned following “a widespread popular uprising” after Nasheed “abducted” Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

The judge was not granted access to a lawyer or family for 22 days and refused to obey a Supreme Court ruling to release the judge, spurring a series of nightly protests against Nasheed, Didi said.

“The Government’s response to the protests was the use of tear gas and arrests. Simultaneously, however, hundreds of convicted criminals were released from the prison, and were put on the streets to clash with the protesters,” the statement read.

After 22 days of protests, Nasheed’s administration ordered the police to withdraw from the streets, “and the protesters from both sides were left to fight physically and the security forces were ordered to do nothing,” Didi said.

“Reporters and protesters were getting serious injuries and taken to hospital in numbers. Eventually, the police who had been withdrawn from the site, decide, on their own volition, to go and stop the clashes and implement law and order. All of this was being broadcast live on TV and was witnessed by the people of the Maldives.”

“Following this, orders were given to arrest the police officers, who had intervened, upon their return to the Police Headquarters. At which point, majority of the police force decided to join hands and took their position on the square in front of the Police Headquarters and MNDF Head Quarters. Then began the police and armed forces stand-off. In the ensuing time, President Nasheed decided to resign,” the statement narrated.

MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor refuted claims of popular uprising saying the protesters only numbered a few hundred people consisting of “police in plain clothes and opposition party members who were paid to protest.”

Further, Ghafoor said Judge Abdulla had been granted access to a lawyer and family members, but had refused to see his family. Hamid also noted that the Human Rights Commission (HRCM) had visited the judge on January 20 and told media that the judge was in good health, and had the ability to freely roam the island.

Hamid also condemned Didi’s failure to include in his report the police’s ransacking of MDP offices in the early hours of February 7, the hijacking of state broadcaster MNBC One, and the police’s brutal crackdown on Nasheed and his protesters on February 8.

Read the government’s full statement to the EU (English)


25 thoughts on ““CMAG lacks clear mandate to place Maldives on its agenda”: government tells EU”

  1. The overthrow of Nasheed's government was illegal, whichever way you look at it. He was forced to resign as the law enforcing body, the Police refused to obey their senior commanders and forced the resignation of the President. What do you call that? A coup, treason, or something else? It certainly was not a result of "mass protests" by the "people".

    Now, if MDP is objective about what lead to all of this, they have to agree that they made a lot of miscalculations which culminated in the above. Former Home Minister Afeef has got a lot to answer for. He is responsible for Abdullah's detention and he was also the political head of the Police who ultimately refused to obey his orders.

    Senior figures in MDP like Afeef made catastrophic mistakes which will overshadow the MDP forever. If MDP has to have a chance of getting elected again, the party has to cleanse itself from those individuals.

    Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that the current regime does not have a leg to stand on in terms of the law of the land.

  2. Nasheed simply was not capable to run a country... sadly he will be remembered as a big failure, a corrupt dictator...

  3. Thank you Ambassador Didi for revealing the truth to EU.This is exactly what happened.I saw the events live on tv.
    Top marks for accuracy.

  4. “CMAG lacks clear mandate to place Maldives on its agenda”: government tells EU"

    Current leaders of the country are of the opinion that CMAG has over-stepped their mandate and targeted Maldives for "publicly unknown" reasons. These reasons are said to be clear to the government but the government wishes not to disclose these reasons for "national security reasons".

    Therefore, we are being told that the government has decided to take pre-emptive measures by revoking Maldives membership at Commonwealth rather than let CMAG takes actions against Maldives (when in the first place CMAG lacks a clear mandate to place Maldives on its Agenda).

  5. US & EU should assist Maldives rather than let CMAG mess up relations.

    Any effort to mediate by any party has to be neutral, unbiased and genuine.

    Perhaps its time for China to lend a helping hand!

  6. Didi is biased, it is not what really happened. He mentioned that Nasheed has not used domestic legal avenues. Ask this question: How can we ensure a balanced inquiry with the parliament when majority is with the coup participants? Judiciary was a problem from the start, and Judge Abdulla was detained due to corruption in judiciary in the first place. Now that they are back, can anyone trust the judiciary to investigate this matter? Further inquiry commission has allies of the former dictator Gayoom. Only hope is through the international community to restore justice.

    Please also note that MDP is not wanting power back. But restore democracy from a coup in disguise.

  7. Who is CMAG? And who is the EU?

    They are Jews and heretics! We shall not associate with them!

    "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews , when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." - Bukhari

    Don't fall for their traps! We can live without their help! Say no to Jews!

  8. I think most of the people or the majority loves Democracy. For whatever the reason if President resigns the Vice President should make all arrangements for an early election ASAP instead of trying to rule his way. Because a president position is elected by the people.

  9. ambassador didi is a two faced lier...he was the same during Maumoons years, later in Nasheeds and now in waheeds. he is a person who knows how to play the game...didi don't think you are smart. Maldivians will get a chance to have a free trial even after 50 years. we will bring these coup leaders to justice...and maybe you might be one,,,who knows

  10. @Ilyas Ahmed on Sun, 29th Apr 2012 8:46 PM

    "Perhaps its time for China to lend a helping hand!"

    I do hope that you're joking here! China, seriously? What can we learn about a model democracy from China? Hmm, I can't think of a thing.

    Well, let's see what China can offer us based on what goes in that country. If you express ANY opinion against the government, you'll mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again. If you're lucky you may face "trial" on some trumped up charges.

    Labour laws do not exist. An employer can enslave you if they wish. Are you getting paid too little for your labour? Tough, don't complain, because you'll get fired otherwise and you'll be destitute.

    Well, perhaps, this is the new model that the Maldivian regime would like to adopt.

  11. Hard to believe that this statement was written and presented by Ali Didi. It seems very much like a statement drafted by DMAG, Ruder Finn & Co. in Male' and sent to Brussels.

  12. @Sheikh Imran Abdullah

    What do you think about the Waheed administration hiring a PR firm for the Maldives

    a) run by jews,

    b)which distributed anti Islam film Fitna at a conference organised by the firm in 2008 called “Facing Jihad”

    c) which was the PR firm for Israel Airline El Al which was recently banned by the Majlis from landing in the Maldives?

    d) when the firm’s founder David Finn, cited on the website of the American Jewish Committee, a think tank and advocacy organisation “combating anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry” and “supporting Israel’s quest for peace and security”, recounts how ”some years ago a professor at the Seminary helped us make the decision to resign the sizeable Greek tourism account after three colonels seized power and installed a military dictatorship.

    Do you see the irony here??

  13. Fathun, while I doubt that you are a woman, you must know that whoever in the government tries to have relations with Jews, I would not associate with. I pray to Allah SWT that they be in hellfire in the hereafter!

    But more importantly, Fathun, if you are a woman:

    a) Do you where the hijab? If not, I fear you aren't a muslim.

    b) Were you with a mahram while commenting on Minivan? If not, I fear you may soon be lured by Shaitan into adultery and leave Islam altogether.

    Fear Allah SWT, and repent before it is too late!

  14. Though I feel that "Sheikh Imran" is making a mockery of me, his words are not unture.

    I have heard news of MalDeviants planting Gharkad trees in anticipation of the semitic presence that will soon grace our shores.

    Such egregious treachery cannot be tolerated. Anyone found with such seeds must be garrotted on the spot! Woe unto them!

  15. whether it is a coup or not, those who control the majority of the parliament eventually end as victorious. And in democracy, as the saying goes, the majority rules.

    The big democratic irony in our Maldives' case is the majority parliamentarians has sided with the coup leaders, thereby ensuring the MDP members in the parliament could not win any votes taken in the House.

    The Maldives' second big irony is that under the existing constitution of the Maldives, there is no provision for snap elections or early elections. The constitution states that a presidential term is five years and therefore, presidential elections should be held only once in five years. According to the constitution, an early presidential election can only be held if the president and vice president resigns. This did not happen in the Maldives. Instead, the vice president decided to take the oath of president and keep warming the president's chair- and continue enjoying the presidential perks- until the end of the five-year presidential term of the ousted president Nasheed. And the vice president again assumed the presidency according to the constitution which says should the chair of the president is vacant for any reason, the vice president shall become the new president and continue serving as the president until the end of the presidential term.

    As there is no clear explanation in the constitution delineating the types of resignations that are permitted by the constitution, all types of vacancies- including death, voluntary resignation, forced resignation,resignation under gun-point- are seen as vacancies and hence, opportunities for the vice president to step in and take the oath of president which should be administered to him by the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court and in the presence of the Speaker of the Parliament.

    The Maldives being a country that has presidential system of government, the vice president and president are elected under the same ticket. Hence, he too was elected. Therefore, no matter how strong is the international pressure to hold presidential elections, and clear the political mess the country is undergoing, this can only be achieved after bringing the appropriate amendments to the constitution.
    Unfortunately, for this process can only happen through the parliament.

    Added complications include the fact that according to the current constitution, any amendment to the constitution can only be brought about by a two-third majority of parliamentarians who vote in favour of the change. And, given the the current composition of the existing parliament, there is no way that any side of the political spectrum, that is whether MDP or the coup leaders' parties, represented in the parliament can get a 2/3 majority unless some parliament members disregard their party loyalty and switch sides for the purpose of voting for the new amendment.

    Unfortunately-in the current post coup political climate- to everyone's dismay, many strongly suspect that parliamentarians have been "bought" by the coup leaders in order to extend their hegemony over the legislature and ensure that the constitution stays the same. Hence, an early election could not be held before July 2013. This is the time-frame given in the constitution. This gives the coup leaders ample time to "reset" their panic button and tactfully disperse the public emotions in the different islands

  16. Ambassador Didi claims Nasheed was overthrown by a popular uprising, and yet now, normalcy has returned. MDP on the streets everyday is not a "popular uprising" but 20 days of vandalism by a group of thugs led by businessmen is, for Ali Didi a genuine uprising?

  17. "(Popular?) Uprising" + Police + Army = "Coup" just as 1+2+3=6 and not anything else.

  18. Nasheed was thrown after a popular uprising. One of those gatherings ammounted to more than 20,000 people in a country with a population of less than 400,000. Hamid clearly forgot the scenes. Do you need videos or photos? Disgusting how these MDP thugs twist the facts for to promote their evil agenda?

  19. Fathun , please don't waste your time answering to likes of Imran, he is a pervert and use religion as a political tool, Imran please do your fatwas some where else, we are fed up of you ,

  20. @ Ilyas and Imran: first of all I did not put Sheikh in from of your name on purpose as you are not fit for the noble title.

    secondly you should be ASHAMED to call other muslims non muslims. Even if women do not wear hijab, you cannot call them non-muslims as long as they belive in Allah and that last prophet is Mohamed. Only Allah decides on this.

    You should fear for Allah for your wrongdoings and for participating in the coupe.

  21. @ kaza on Mon, 30th Apr 2012 8:27 AM

    Absolutely spot on! So in other words its all "legal" but morally reprehensible.

    The "Prince" himself ended up as the victim of the Machiavellian Solution to end his rule.

  22. HC Didi was a political appointee to the foreign service, anyone who thinks or considers him as a carrier diplomat is wrong.

    He was made the HC to Sri Lanka soon after Abdullah Shahid was made the Foreign Minister in the last days of MAG. His loyalty remains with Shahid and MAG. He was also believed to have worked very closely with the NSS in the early 90's when Anni first started his campaign against corruption etc and he was by many considered as a SS agent. He was in and out of the NSS offices then.

    Although Anni maintained him at HC in Sri Lankan his sincerity to Anni and Party was questionable and remained loyal to Shahid and DRP.

    He is now only defending what he has to in support of the coalition.

    Anyone with principles would not have said all that he had given in the Statement and rather respectfully resign from his post.

  23. @Sheikh Imran Abdullah

    You have some questions for me? I am a woman and I wear the hijab, I cover my face when i go outside and when men come into my home. I also have a husband who reads every comment i write.

    I have answered your questions. How about answering mine now?

  24. Hon ambassador stated correctly. Mr nasheed couldnt behave like a president instead, in the name of democracy he locked parlamiant and supreme court and with held civil service wages two parliament member was picked at night and held them against their will to mention few. what ever happened to him is his own fault and no organisation should punish this country for his blunder. may god bless this country.


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