So much for ‘Yameen The Strong’, the tough, gunda boss: alleged purveyor of illegal oil to the Burmese Junta and other illegal substances to Male’s youth. Instead, he should be known as Yameen The Chicken, or Yameen The Meek.
For Abdulla Yameen is clearly scared of the Maldivian electorate, and afraid of losing the second round presidential polls. Why else would he conspire with half-brother Gayoom to get the Supreme Court to indefinitely postpone the vote? There can only be one explanation for PPM’s delaying tactics: Yameen knows that in a second round fight, the MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed will kick his ass.
Yameen’s election campaign has been lacklustre at best. He rarely campaigns, his policies sound as if they are made up as he goes along and, as I pointed out in my previous column, Yameen seems incapable of dropping his semi-permanent and voter-off-putting sneer.
Yameen barely scraped second place in the first round on 7 September, despite inheriting the second largest political operation in the country: the PPM. Yameen acquired a paltry 25.35 percent of the vote, to Nasheed’s 45.45 percent. Since then, the DRP has joined forces with Nasheed, likely pushing his vote above 50 percent and leaving Yameen’s campaign in big trouble.
And so, rather than choosing to man-up and fight Nasheed head-on, Yameen has hidden behind a bench of thieves, porn-stars and illiterates otherwise known as the Supreme Court of the Republic of Maldives.
The Supreme Court has entertained a ludicrous case about voter irregularities by third-placed Gasim Ibrahim – another Gayoom stooge. This farcical trial, involving witnesses “who heard from someone there was voter fraud”, has been used by the court to delay the second round indefinitely, despite numerous foreign and local election observers praising the vote for being free and fair.
Yameen’s gambit appears to be to delay the second round for as long as possible – perhaps until the New Year – so, in the words of his lawyer, PPM has “time to campaign.” Or maybe his game-plan is to get rid of the Elections Commission, so his mate Abdulla Riyaz – Police Commissioner and coup d’état perpetrator extraordinaire – can take over the voting process and rig it in Yameen’s favour.
Yameen’s running mate, Mohamed ‘Angry Bird’ Jameel has even muttered dark thoughts about disqualifying Nasheed from the race entirely, by re-starting the politicised trial against him over his decision, when president, to detain a corrupt judge.
Yameen’s undemocratic (and unconstitutional) behaviour might not be surprising. He is, after all, the little brother of a vicious dictator. But it does smack of cowardice. Because leaders – real leaders, that is – don’t hide. They don’t cower. And they don’t duck out of a fight, and get big brother to fight it for them.
Yameen has been accused of many things since the start of the election campaign. Hassan Saeed vowed to put Yameen on trial for the theft of US$800 million of state-owned oil, which Yameen allegedly stole while head of STO. Umar Naseer claimed Yameen peddles drugs, and pays street gangs to attack his political opponents. Mohamed Nasheed has called on people to be “mindful” of Yameen’s dark past and dodgy character.
But now the PPM candidate faces a new charge. One that, for an aspiring Head of State, is perhaps most damaging of all: that he is a chicken and a coward. He is Yameen The Meek.
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