Comment: Political parties will not resolve current conflicts

The killer headlines these days are about the standstill to Maldives political party peace talks.

The UN has spent more than US$40,000 to recruit a peace negotiator, and the resources allocated towards this are justifiable. There have to be efforts made to resolve the bickering and barking of the political parties.

In my graduate studies in human rights and peace studies, I was asked in one course to research a paper on how to connect human rights and peace. It was challenging as these were two varied disciplines and the advocates of both notions have different discourses.

Oftentimes during conflicts, the human rights advocators desire to settle scores with the human rights violators and bring justice. If the human rights violators are the past regime or the government, the government will reject all peace talks.

At the same time, peace keepers may show some indifference to human rights violators as their main aim is to resolve disputes and conflicts so that peace processes and peace talks can resume. When you study the history of peace negotiations in conflicting countries, each country has undergone dissimilar transformations.

We can consider the examples of good peace negotiations and try to adapt a workable methodology that may be appropriate to Maldives.

No external expert can resolve the case without internal and domestic willingness to resolve the political differences to accord peace to the citizens of the Maldives.

Maldivian context

The international community has been adamant that the Maldivian politicians would be able to settle their differences for the sake of the Maldivian people. I was skeptical and shared my views with the international diplomatic missions, statesmen or whoever came during the past few months to influence the Maldives politicians to resolve our domestic political affairs.

At the beginning there were reservations by Maldivians and politicians that the good name of the peace talks could be stolen by external experts and foreign countries. When Assistant Secretary of US State Robert Blakes met us in July, I was critical and open.

I shook my head negatively at his hypothesis that political parties will resolve the conflict.

There was a series of successive visits by foreign diplomats before his visit and afterwards. Another visit was a mission from UN Department of Political Affairs who met stakeholders but kept nodding off through nearly all the meetings.

I predicted at the time that the peace talks will be boycotted sequentially. I predicted that the sudden quick agreements will stall if there are no international negotiation facilitations. I suggested having an international negotiation facilitation team of 2-3 members with local consultants.

It will be a costly affair but I felt it has to be done.

Psychological warfare

Do you know what happens when two kids starts fighting over a toy? Each kid will tug at the toy, trying to gain control and power. The stronger kid will always win.

A smart kid knows how to cajole, and sweet talk will win over the other kid. Nice is manipulative and always wins. We need this kind of approach in the resolution of politics in the Maldives.

Nobody wins at all rounds, some lose and some win. We have to learn to accept defeat sometimes.

Immature political games

The deadlock in parliament’s deliberations has been challenged several times, at a cost in public spending of Rf400,000 a day. When the deadlocks are at climax, the pressure rises from the public. The general public starts calling for the resignation of MPs through radio and television channels, which are their only outlet.

Local television polls have shown that the public believes the MPs are not doing their jobs, although the political parties do not take these polls seriously are claim this is work of the opposition or government.

Again, are there any laws where the public, ultimately the highest authority in the Maldives, can make the MPs accountable?

Unfortunately, there seems to be no such laws and the MPs seem to be above law. They have failed many times to pass the required laws as per the Constitution. The public has witnessed the MPs name-calling on the parliament floor, accusing everybody of corruption without citing credible sources, accusing each other of fraud, vulgarity and theft.

Many times we have seen the MPs committing criminal offenses in parliament by hitting each other, but none of these cases have been put to trial.

Each MP – not to be outdone – presents that he talks on behalf of the public. This is an old story we are sick of hearing.

How many MPs can truly say that they have talked and understood the voices of the public? The general public elected the MPs with high expectations and hopes for a better democracy.

Way forward

Dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue.  We understand the Maldivian context, we are going through a democratising process and there will be many political hurdles, but not at the cost of public spending, our public life, and political peace.

The MPs are paid large amounts of public money for their salaries and they have to fulfill their obligations. How can, the ruling Government, the opposition or the independent candidates say that they are not ready for dialogue or peace talks?

The only way forward to any political solution in the Maldives is to keep up the dialogue. Ask any Maldivian citizen and you will hear same thing: we need the politicians to talk and bring solutions to the political conflicts.

Also, the peace expert should climb down from his chair and talk to the average citizens to hear our grievances. To the politicians, if you are not ready to dialogue, please resign from the political scenario and give peace to average citizens.

We have bigger issues in trying to make ends meet and earn a living, what with the high rents, spike in food prices and living costs. In addition to this, we have to deal with drug and gang warlords, fear, and sadly a society disintegrating moral values.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


12 thoughts on “Comment: Political parties will not resolve current conflicts”

  1. Peace? With the previous regime?.

    Sure, we'll have a ceasefire. Over their dead, rotting bodies. We will never forgive the crimes of the tyrants of the previous regime - and we will never forget the martyrs who gave their lives and liberty to severely damage the criminal regime of Maumoon.

    This war ends when the so-called "opposition" is naught but a memory in the history books.

  2. It's because it's a battle for Maldives PVT LTD. That company the opposition have been running for what? 30 years until the new management stepped in?

    The people are just collateral.

  3. Most Maldivian politicians are very narrow minded or do not know how to work for the public good and being a MP or politician is famous and earns high salary that is the reason why they are there, mainly for personal gain. They dont know how to conduct dialogue nor even talk decently or have discipline and yet they call themselves the highest caliber. I fear this is too costly for Maldivians as politicians need to learn and understand how to operate party system and rule of game. It takes time and this is costly to the whole society including them. Party system creates diversion and fragmentation politically and socially. We dont know how to operate party politics it will be better without party system so that everyone can think on their own and may work to wards a betterment right now the MP will not collaborate without party agreement as they are been captured and hijacked in party politics. We dont know how to work with differences because by nature in many ways we are homogeneous society and never experienced it before so one simple but big impact would be to resolve party system and to run the system without party system. Right now it is not feasible nor is practical.

  4. This is the most sensible headline on Minivan to date.
    comment by 'Hani' is on the spot. The current conflict is nothing more than a reorganization within the Maldives establishment (big businesses) which includes all parties.

    But only the big business has the final say.

  5. We have a functioning democracy. We dont need international intervention and these silly meaningless peace talks. Our course maybe a bit rough but things will work out as they are meant to under the constitution. Have patience.

  6. @Ahmed Aliased

    yOU are not only a self proclaimed Satan worshiper/athesist BUT also a sadist! A country cannot go on by erasing the evils of the past into mere history books but we need to learn to forgive and have transitional justice prevail to move forward and NOT REVENAGE!! We need political parties leaders that could think more than their mere pockets and power sustaince!! Ahmed Aliased You are a real disgrace! We need less of your kind!

  7. Its third world democracy. Most Maldivians are not ready to shape their destiny and willing to let someone manage their lives. Each single one of us need to be personally responsible to make decisions in any issue that impacts their lives. As long as people feel they need to be loyal to anyone particular be it an individual or a group (a party for that matter), no good results will come out of it. The society is confused, fearful and not standing up to the truth - living in self denial.

  8. @Maldiva

    "Its third world democracy."

    Really? So, let's take an example from First World democracy, shall we? Not too long ago, the British public were aghast at the scale and manner of their Parliamentarians essentially robbing the tax payer of vast sums of money. "Money grabbing bas***ds" was heard quite often in reference to the United Kingdom's Members of Parliament.

    Third World politics indeed. Need we mention the powerful lobby groups operating on the United States Congress, the so-called leader of the First World.

    Third World politics indeed.

  9. I agree with Khadeeja. This is bad writing and the point of the article (which I am not sure of anymore) is lost. The author is wrong in saying that someone always has to lose. Ever heard of the win-win situation? What we need is some thing along the lines of truth and reconciliation. Those who are responsible for the crimes need to confess and ask for forgiveness. And we all need to be forgiving if we want to move forward. There is no need for retribution since no amount of money, no prison sentences can take back the damage they have caused to the people of Maldives.

  10. The artiacle highlights the problem. Hope the politicians are grown up enough to find solutions.

  11. The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."
    -G.K. Chesterton


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