Former President Mohamed Nasheed has branded the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) report a “whitewash”, claiming it purposefully excluded testimonies from key police and military figures concerning last year’s transfer of power.
The CNI report, which was published back in August last year, concluded there had been no coup, no duress and no mutiny during the controversial transfer of power that saw President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik sworn into office. The findings were also welcomed at the time by the US State Department and the United Nations.
Nasheed alleged that despite the CNI report’s conclusions, a recent parliamentary inquiry had heard evidence from senior police and military figures that was omitted from the commission’s findings and supported allegations of a coup.
The comments were made following a recent visit by the Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Don McKinnon. McKinnon, whose visit concluded yesterday (January 27), was in the country to discuss progress to “strengthen democratic institutions” in line with recommendations in the CNI report.
The Commonwealth Secretariat today said it would not be issuing a statement or making any comments on McKinnon’s visit at the present time.
Nasheed, who declined to meet with McKinnon during his visit, has expressed strong criticism of the investigation conducted by the CNI.
“The CNI report was a whitewash. It wilfully excluded testimony of police and army leaders – the very people best placed to ascertain whether the transfer of power was legal or not,” he stated.
The former president also slammed the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, claiming it had taken no action against police and military officers for alleged human rights abuses during the transfer of power, or towards correcting issues with the country’s judiciary raised in the CNI’s conclusions.
In the same statement, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mariya Didi condemned the Commonwealth-backed report for empowering and legitimising President Waheed’s government, which she accused of lacking a democratic mandate.
“The CNI report was to empower and embolden an illegitimate regime, which is now pressing charges against President Nasheed in the hope of disqualifying his candidature in the upcoming presidential elections. Uncertainties created by these politically motivated charges have skewed the election landscape and allowed campaign momentum for marginal political groups led by former international civil servants, feudal entrepreneurs and religious extremists that clearly do not have electoral support,” she claimed.
“Having stolen one presidency, the regime intends to rig the vote for another. This situation has grave consequences for the future of our democracy,” Mariya added.
On Saturday (January 26), the MDP accused the Commonwealth Secretariat of being complicit in a “systematic government cover-up designed to subdue testimonies from key witnesses to the coup d’etat”.
MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said at the time that respective accounts from the CNI and the UN concerning the transfer of power on February 7 were “not reflective of the experiences of Maldivians who witnessed and lived through the event both out on the streets and through their TV screens”.
“The letters sent to the government [concerning the transfer of power] represented a real shoddy job by these organisations. It is clear they did not do their homework. It is embarrassing,” Ghafoor said.
President’s Office Spokesperson Ahmed ‘Topy’ Thaufeeq meanwhile told Minivan News last week that the CNI report was a “transparent” process undertaken by “qualified Maldivian people”.
“Because of this, the CNI report is accepted by the government. We have a judiciary, if anyone has a problem with this affair they can go to the courts themselves,” he claimed.