Comment: Waiting for the CNI report 

The ‘long wait’ seems to be nearly over for Maldivian politicians, the government and friends of the Indian Ocean archipelago. The expanded Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) has since reiterated its decision to come out with the findings on the circumstances leading to the resignation of President Mohammed Nasheed on February 7, by the extended deadline of August-end.

Whatever the finding, its presentation can expected to be followed by high drama, straining the infant democracy all over again, if the stakeholders refuse to the acknowledge their contribution and accept the CNI Report in word and spirit.

For his part, President Nasheed has since led a delegation of his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to the Indian capital of New Delhi and the Sri Lankan capital. The party seems to be coming round to the view that the two neighbours would matter the most in forming the international opinion on the CNI Report, nearer home, too, than the western nations, many of whom had backed him openly when he resigned but have not moved forward since as the MDP might have expected.

In Male’, after the Delhi visit, President Nasheed outlined the party’s options and propositions on the CNI findings. The MDP would want him reinstated if the report endorsed its conspiracy theory, early presidential polls in case of an unclear verdict, and elections when due by November 2012, if the CNI found no substance in the party’s argument.

The toughest decision for the MDP, or any other party in the country, would be to decide on an unclear verdict as the possibilities are many and varied.

The most comprehensive of an ‘unclear verdict’ could mean that the CNI finds no substance in the MDP argument about a plot, but still finds evidence of indiscipline in sections of the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldivian Police Service, punishable through the due processes.

However, all assumptions of every kind are based on the premise that the CNI could come up with a unanimous finding, or a majority verdict. Given the complexity of the situation, then and now, it is not unlikely that individual CNI members could come up with varied findings, based on their perceptions and understanding of the facts collated and evidence recorded.

Such a course could mean opening the Pandora’s Box of competing and at times conflicting arguments all over again. The question would then be raised if the CNI report would be taken up to the Supreme Court and, if its constitutionality too would be challenged at that late hour. There is also nothing in the Constitution that could force incumbent President Waheed Hassan to resign from office, if the CNI report endorsed the ‘plot’ theory but does not find any role for him, as suggested by some MDP leaders early on.

Even if the CNI report were to find President Waheed, or any other on the political side of the government, guilty of conspiring to overthrow his predecessor, there is nothing in the law to reverse the politico-constitutional reality of his incumbency and possible continuity until the time elections became otherwise due. It is in this context, the MDP’s neighbourhood visit assumes significance. The idea seems to bring moral pressure on President Waheed and political parties extending political and parliamentary support to him since his assuming office.

Among the parties in the Government comprising in turn a collective majority in the 77-member Parliament, only the Dhivehi Rayyathunge Party (DRP), founded by former President Maumoon Gayoom and now led by his one-time running-mate, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, is committed to early polls in case of a positive finding on the conspiracy theory. The breakaway Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), also founded by President Gayoom, has other ideas on the subject.

Talking to newsmen after speaking before the CNI panel a fortnight back, President Gayoom said that the party would not accept the CNI findings if it backed the conspiracy theory. More recently, Defence Minister Nazim, identified with the PPM in a way, has declared that the government would take no action against personnel of the armed forces if the CNI found any of them guilty of indiscipline. There is already the possibility of such conflicting notions leading to contradictions and confrontation when the CNI report is out.

Maldives cannot afford political instability, which has consequences for the nation in more ways than one. The immediate concern would be on tourism-driven economy front, but continued instability could act and react in ways that the government and political party leaders of the country cannot perceive now, or if and when they begin unfolding.

It may be a good idea for the government parties to formulate their strategy early on, and come up with a joint commitment like the MDP. That could throw some clarity about the emerging situation, but not much by way of resolving the continuing political deadlock which has greater consequences for the nation than a presidential poll — conducted now or a year later.

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]

The author is a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.


10 thoughts on “Comment: Waiting for the CNI report ”

  1. The author may want to dig a bit further than the outer skin of this issue of the developing constitutional crisis. Traditional ruling elites never liked the idea of an open democratic system of governance. The old order currently in power through their puppet president is rooted in Baathist philosophy mass deception and the desire to milk 'product Maldives' to their heart's content. Political manoeuvrings within the different clans shape the affairs of Maldives and interactions with the int'l community.

  2. ahmed,

    That is true of a ruling elite of any country. The key is the people who make up the society. If a free election is held, governance will be determined by the people. But not necessary for the people. It all depends on how fickle, gullible or naive people are. We have it all, in addition a large dose of stupidity, arrogance and bigotry.

    In this day and age brute force alone will not subdue a population.

  3. Democracy is a way of life. We have a constitution based on Islam.

    They are totally different and will never peacefully coexist.

    The sooner people understand the better.

    At best, a compromise has to agreed, letting some of the most critical features be let go.

    The reasons why former president had to resign had basic Islam fundamenlist views stacked up against him.

    Whatever comes out of CNI, the basic differences will clash, even in future.

    Why are we so hypocritical? Bottom line is Islam and democracy cannot coexist.

  4. Maldivians have a two thousand plus years of national history and this history is narrated to the people, from generation to generation, in terms of fiction and oral tradition.

    Oral tradition, we know, is less reliable as truth, than the books published in the modern historical tradition.

    If I am to be believed, for my age, education and life experience in Maldives and abroad, Maldivians have had only one leader, so far, anything near being a democratic leader in the Western traditional sense, in the whole of Maldivian history. It is Mohamed Nasheed.

    The last parliamentary election, and the presidential election were the only free and fair elections we, the Maldivians, have ever had.

    Because of the dictatorial and altogether undemocratic nature of our society, throughout the centuries, I cannot trust the Maldivian public to be very clever, mature and politically conscious.

    The last nobleman, military-man and Islamic scholar, all in one, Gayoom the Great, has had a revival of old fortunes and two of his children and his private secretary are members of the cabinet of ministers now.

    The fall of Mohamed Nasheed was not expected after 3 years in office. What happened in February 2012 would not have happened in a democracy.

    Maldives is not a democracy. Just holding an election, however free, does not make it a democracy.

    Maldivian judiciary, cowardly as it had been under national dictator after dictator, has not got the education, training and experience to resolve any constitutional crisis yet.

    We simply do not know what will follow after the report that you are talking about.

    We do not even know what that report will be.

    It is anybody's guess.

  5. Current President Office Press Secretary ABBAS ADIL RIZA is a silly boy! He doesnt know the ABC of politics

  6. @Peasant

    No its NOT true of a ruling elite of any country. In Singapore, UK, EU, and others, the ruling elite manoeuvre politics too. BUT they have some compassion. They win WITH and NOT AT THE EXPENSE of the poor.

    That is the difference.

    See how malnourished, fragile the Maldivians are despite immeasurable wealth of those in power.

  7. There are only two possible outcomes, and both of them are favorable to the Maldivian people.

    1) CONI accepts that this is a coup. The Maldivian people gain the legitimate right to resist against occupation.

    2) CONI denies that there was a coup. This renders the events of 7th Feb completely legitimate. You may now march with a invasion force and storm the Maldives with no legal repercussions whatsoever.

  8. Hear hear. Repeat. Brute force alone will not subdue a population. The people of the Maldives deserve better and they deserve to be heard. Surely the CNI has to ask why these folk didn't wait for another year an a half before turning up? Was it love for their country? Give us a break. The people of the Maldives aren't that foolish. Self interest before national interest. This is what we are dealing with. Let the truth come out, messy though it is.

  9. I have experienced 4 rulers in my lifetime!

    Late King Mohamed Fareed was more of a puppet and childish - no comment - may he rest in peace!

    Late President Nasir was an outstanding ruler who ruled the country with a strong determination which to my belief was nation building, though with an iron fist! May he rest in peace!

    President Gayyoom - a cunning dictator, a learned man who have made mince meat out of us! He should not be and cannot be forgiven!

    President Nasheed has compassion for the people, he has ego to develop the nation, and has the thinking to give the people a better life.

    He has opened the coffers wanting to give the people as much as he can!

    But the cunning and the gullible could not stomach it and could not wait and watch!

    It is a long wait and I hope is worth waiting for!

  10. @Patriot

    Among the 4 rulers, only Nasheed faced a democracy with shared powered.

    But later he learned (I hope) that democracy was just a name written on paper. The power structure of Maldives remains just as the days of the late King Mohamed Fareed...

    Don't delude yourself with democracy. Its only changed on paper but de facto, just like the time of kings, powerful families and clan control the show, keeping the mass economically hostage.


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