Former President Nasheed has expressed concerns over what he alleged was the current government coalition’s deliberate spreading of xenophobia, abuse of religion for political gains and negligence in bringing MP Afrasheem’s murderer to justice.
Speaking to a gathering of an estimated 2000 attendees at Sunday’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) gathering on the occasion of Republic Day, Nasheed strongly criticised the political opposition to the contract with GMR to develop the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).
“With the direction Maldivian politics are going in now, we may have to face consequences where the country’s citizens become prey to powerful foreign countries,” Nasheed warned.
“For the purposes of justifying this coup, people who are passing themselves off as religious scholars are spreading hatred for foreigners among our citizens. Under the guise of religion and nationalism, they have instilled xenophobic sentiments in the hearts of a few Maldivians.”
“A few politicians, for their personal gain, have brought the Maldives to the edge of a very dangerous precipice. The political actions of people who are nearing the age of hundred to try and revive their personal pasts, to repeat what has happened in a different century, will prove to cause a loss to us citizens in the end,” Nasheed said.
He added that it was impossible to “chase the Indian High Commissioner” out of Male’ in this day and age as might have been done in the distant past, and that GMR could not be sent away either.
Nasheed once again asserted that the contract with GMR was one beneficial to the people of the Maldives, “although some businessmen may not be benefiting from it.”
At a recent meeting, Nasheed had shared figures detailing the financial benefits the GMR contract had for the Maldives, while denouncing the Dhivehi Qaumee Party’s economic criticism of the same contract.
“Creating rifts was a common strategy during the long 30 year old regime [Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s administration]. Some Maldivian politicians see creating a rift to then take political advantage from it to be a strategic and inventive skill. Baaghee (“Traitor”) Waheed may possibly have read in some book that creating rifts would be beneficial, but Maldivians will get no benefits through setting up India and China against each other and creating problems between them,” Nasheed stated.
Nasheed stated that the country’s foreign policy needed to be clearly laid out, with the aims and objectives clearly defined.
“Stop hiding Afrasheem’s murderer” : Nasheed to CP Riyaz
Nasheed expressed disappointment that the police had to date failed to uncover details in the case of PPM MP Afrasheem Ali who was found brutally murdered in early October.
“There seems to be none among us who is even concerned about it anymore,” said Nasheed. “On the first couple of days, we were very vocal about giving money to Dr Afrasheem’s widow from state funds, but we have not taken any steps to bring the murderer to justice.”
“This government has been negligent in the case of Dr Afrasheem’s death,” said Nasheed. “We assure you that an MDP government will bring his murderer to justice.”
The former president further alleged that the police had failed to find any relevant information about the case, saying “Baaghee [‘traitor’] police claim they have uncovered a lot in their investigations; that it was indeed Afrasheem who had been killed, his identity card number, that he was a member of parliament, his wife’s name, who his friends and relatives are… these traitor police claim to know all the details, except what concerns the actual case of the murder.”
Stating it was a direct message to the Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz, Nasheed said: “Stop hiding Afrasheem’s murderer. You know who Afrasheem’s murderer is. Please send the related details to the judicial institutions and courts of the Maldives. Ensure Afrasheem’s murderer is brought to justice immediately.”
“A republican government is one that belongs to the people”
“The current people in government came to power through a coup. What we see today is a violent, illegitimate, coup government kept in power through the force of pepper spray and batons of a few police officers and MNDF soldiers,” Nasheed said.
He further stated that it was a national obligation of all Maldivian citizens to bring down the coup government and establish a democratic government voted in by the people.
“It is because of that coup that today the country’s economy is being destroyed for the benefit of a handful of businessmen,” Nasheed said.
“This coup government has broken up the social protection programme that we established in our democratic government. Their intention is to create dependency and keep us citizens forever at the mercy of these traitors or some rich businessmen. We need to bring an end to this coup government for the sake of the country’s development.”
Nasheed ended his speech by calling on the Speaker of the Majlis to assume leadership of the country and to hold presidential elections within two months. As a final word, he led the crowd of supporters to chant “Elections Now!”