Commonwealth envoy criticises conduct in parliament, MPs raise bribe allegations

The Commonwealth has expressed disappointment at attempts to stifle parliament yesterday in a week that has seen the international organisation facing allegations it had been bribed by anti-government supporters.

Having witnessed the chaotic protests that occurred inside the Majlis yesterday as Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs heckled and unsuccessfully tried to prevent President Waheed from giving an address, Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon issued a statement criticising the developments.

As well as stressing disappointment at the “manner” in which the opening session of parliament was conducted yesterday, the special envoy also raised concerns over the “security situation” in the nation.

McKinnon therefore called for maximum restraint from all sides of the political spectrum after violent clashes between civilians and security forces gripped the capital.

The statement comes on the back of a controversial few days for the Commonwealth and its relationship with the Maldives, with the organisation accused of political bias and even taking bribes by the MDP.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed has claimed the opposition MDP have bribed the Commonwealth after the body’s Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) called for early elections on Friday.

CMAG—the Commonwealth’s democracy and human rights arm—said elections were necessary to legitimise the executive after former President Mohamed Nasheed alleged his deposition on February 7 was through a bloodless coup d’état.

Speaking on local television Dhi TV’s “From the News” programme on Saturday, Riyaz also accused the CMAG of intimidation, called the British Queen “physically challenged” and said the United Kingdom was “not a democracy.”

Riyaz was joined by Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof, who threatened the country could potentially leave the Commonwealth should the intergovernmental organization repeat its call for early general elections.

Riyaz’s DQP is among the alliance of seven parties that support President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

Bribery and Intimidation

CMAG—authorized to assess infringement of the Commonwealth’s political values—has come under intense criticism following its call for early elections. The Maldives government called the CMAG’s statement “biased” and said it may reconsider its membership in the commonwealth.

Riyaz said the CMAG representatives in the Maldives “were slaves who have been bought by the MDP”, and only wanted to “reinstate the MDP to power”.

British citizens had supported and financed the MDP’s rise to power in return for permission to establish churches in the Maldives, he claimed. He also said the British hated the Maldives for having gained independence.

“What have the Commonwealth done for us? Why do we have to comply with them? That is the question. The English hate us. Why? Because Ibrahim Nasir saved us from slavery and brought us independence, since then what have the English done for us?” he said.

The CMAG’s elections calls were an act of intimidation, Riyaz said. “They come here and intimidate us, intimidate the president, intimidate the political parties, we will not be intimidated. This government will not be intimidated. The political parties will not be intimidated”.

“We know what the commonwealth is concerned about,” he said, “We know the current president [Waheed] will not drink alcohol from the same cup with them [as Nasheed did]”.

Riyaz repeated the government’s stance that early elections can only be held after constitutional amendments.

“Has the Commonwealth lost all sanity?”

Riyaz claimed the MDP was a terrorist organisation and condemned CMAG’s allegd lack of criticism at the time regarding MDP’s continued protests. “Has the Commonwealth lost all sanity? Are they sane? Are they sane? Is the Commonwealth sane? Who gave them visas to come here? They must not be allowed here,” he said.

The CMAG’s lack of action over the detention of senior then-opposition leaders during Nasheed’s administration were further evidence of their bias, he suggested.

He also appeared to threaten the CMAG saying, “I say very firmly and clearly, if they want to have security and leave safely, there are certain sovereign issues that they must not interfere with, if they were to, we are Maldivians, we will not be submissive.”

The Commonwealth Secretary General’s special envoy to the Maldives Sir Donald McKinnon arrived in the Maldives on Friday to resolve the current political crisis. He met with former President Nasheed on Saturday and met with President Waheed on Sunday.

The body suspended Fiji in 2009, after the country’s military seized power in 2006.

The Queen is “Physically Challenged”

Riyaz attempted to discredit the Commonwealth’s commitment to democracy by slandering the British Queen and claiming the UK was not a democracy.

“Look, the Queen has been in power for 50 years. Is that good? No, that’s inappropriate. If we wanted to point fingers, we can,” he said.

“Ater 50 years, the English Queen, she is physically challenged. But she is still Queen, and if she wants she can remove the Prime Minister. Where is democracy? Where is democracy? That is not a democracy,” he added.

Ironically, he also said he planned to submit a bill to parliament to give former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom the same status and respect as the Queen since Gayoom had ruled the country for 30 years and was responsible for all development the country had seen.

Commonwealth Membership

Gayoom’s PPM MP Mahloof said he also “shared Riyaz’s frustrations.” However, he appeared to be more diplomatic highlighting the Commonwealth’s assistance during the drafting of the new constitution.

He echoed Riyaz in saying early elections would destroy the constitution.

“Their help and support is very important,” he said. “But if they tell us to destroy the constitution, we can only say sorry! For example, if the Commonwealth’s final decision is that we need to hold elections before 2013, then we will leave the Commonwealth before they suspend us! Why not?”

Mahloof said he believed the MDP’s only hope now was the Commonwealth with the party stepping up its protests over the past week to influence the CMAG’s decision.

“If the Commonwealth’s decision is to suspend Maldives, then I believe the Maldives should not join the Commonwealth ever again. We saw why the Commonwealth suspended countries such as Pakistan. [Military] went out with guns and shot [people], that was the level at which government was changed. It did not reach that level here,” he said.


80 thoughts on “Commonwealth envoy criticises conduct in parliament, MPs raise bribe allegations”

  1. Nars It is funny when you say Riyaz rasheed was showing his frustration when actually he got what he wanted the remix of riyaasee bayaan when the huge amount of citizens are ignored by the coup government. Don't you think we will more frustrated? proves you are the stupidest here!

    hail hitler on Tue, 20th Mar 2012 6:15 PM
    i find it strange a person who uses hail hitler talking about democracy. when you mention US backed mission i wonder if you know anything at all. US and United kingdom are like siamese twins. From what we know Commonwealth head is the head of United kingdom. Queen, she might be symbolic but she is very powerful. You stab Commonwealth=you stab United kingdom=you stab US. If you thought different shows how little you know. Other similar country following suit you say, haha do you think other countries are as stupid as the current coup government of Maldives? Where do you think the tourists come from? They mainly come from EU countries and United kingdom is one of the most powerful countries in EU. Also we know how hitler died. Do you?

  2. @hail hitler
    It would have been helpful if you mentioned a few influential countries within commonwealth which recognized this government as legitimate!! I may sound dumb yet i believe the commonwealth might have perfect records of the countries which recognize the present government.

  3. Maldives needs Commonwealth more than Mahloooooog and Riyaaz Rasheed....

  4. @simple and honest

    DO you know a country called INDIA which has a population equivalent to all the other 50 odd member nations of the commonwealth and an economy next only to U.K?

  5. @Hail Hitler, India has also called for early elections. Signs that they doubt the legitimacy i beleive.

  6. Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon, would YOU let a puppet president installed by bloodthirsty foreign occupiers speak in parliament in your country?

    I'm sure you would not.

    What we have here in the Maldives, is the front guard of a foreign occupational force, backed by mercenaries. Many of us do not agree that Waheed is the legitimate president of Maldives. We pay the Members of Parliament to uphold our rights - and by preventing Waheed from declaring himself as President, they have done as we, the People, have wished.

    The enemy mercenaries have spilled the blood of children in their efforts to silence dissent - ergo, they have no legal authority whatsoever.

  7. @dicktator30

    Have you ever been to the U.S or britain for that matter?? Do you know the united states fought a lengthy war with colonial imperialist british forces to gain its independence?Or for that matter do you know any modern day Amercian diplomats?if you do ask them how they feel about the britishers!! The ancestors of the present Americans are people from england and Italy who fled the prosecution by the church and its monarchs and fled as pilgrims to the new wrold.There is alot of culture and alota egos involved there.But how would you know!!!Doesnt the promotion of American english over the british english sink anything into ur head!! They may today have joined forces for a common cause as they r both highly civilzed societies,but there is no greater rivalry for world control and superiority than amongst the Britishers and the Americans.And for that matters it wasnt until the last century when Adolf (hail) hitler failed so miserably against the States when he had bombed london that you today see the United states as the world power and deists ( see American enlightenment) that control the country promote science and humanity which became too big a challenge for british imperialism in the name of the queen and church or for communists of russia and elsewhere in the time of the cold war!
    The American revolution is seen as the beginning of the end of the great British empire!(which today is reduced to the symbolic Comonwealth!)

    As for me hailing hitler why are u being such a racist when you can do a Anni or MAumoon zindaabad, people i dont consider any better!!!

  8. @hail hitler
    Do u know there is a country called India who later back tracked from its initial recognition of the Coup government of Maldives. And the same India later called for holding early elections as a mean to solve the current political crisis. Do you know India gave way to the Commonwealth to lead the efforts to solve the problem. re-check your facts mate...

  9. Maldives is in a deep danger. security forces are not following laws. we don't have a population like pakistan. we have a population of 300,000. we [majority of people in maldives] need an urgent help from international community to stop the police brutality before it's too late. we are in a fear. I call for the international community to respond quickly.

  10. I think the headline is somewhat misleading.

    I feel, Sir Don, in fact, is commenting on procedural issues rather than the behaviour of the MPs. "Manner in which the opening session of parliament was conducted yesterday" suggests the onus is on the Speaker since it is the Speaker who 'conducts' the Parliament.

    As MDP parliamentary leader said in his interview today, Shahid let Waheed proceed while a point of order had been raised. That, and the fact that the MNDF forces manhandled the MPs- even those whose names had not been announced for eviction- raises questions about "the manner is which Parliament was conducted."

    Sir Don, therefore I think is referring to procedural issues.

    Being of vintage democratic caliber, I have no doubt he does not expect form above content,nor expects propriety in Parliament, just for the sake of propriety itself, when all else has collapsed.

    As for MPs Riyaz and Mahloof- there words speak for themselves. We do not need to add further insult to injury here.

  11. @dicktator30

    India has already given millions in aid and increased repayment period of loans from SBI since this government came to power,what bigger endorsement do you need!For that matter india is a far bigger country to shy away from involving itself directly in a small state like the Maldives incase of something like a coup.The reason India and U.S and other major powers have put their hands off from getting directly involved is they beliv this is an internal matter and also because they were fed up of the cartoon foreign policy of the previous regime that put the security of the whole region at risk!If India or the U.S even today outrightly claims that this was a military coup and condemn the current government as unconstitutional, Waheed wont survive in the chair for more than a week!Calling for ealry elections amidst the chaos is a totaly different thing and will depend on the elected parliament of the country. I guess u lack any knowledge of anything except 30 years of dick keep praying for ur not so common wealth.

  12. Here is the thing.

    The police said they will not obey a president which orders them to do unlawful activities. OK good and i think that's fair enough to say. The problem here is the President ask assistance from MNDF to arrest the chief judge of the criminal soon as the order came, they did it. Now on the 7th March they are all shouting saying they were given unlawful orders. OK . Why did MNDF at the first went and arrested the judge? why didn't they at that time didn't react and say "No this is a unlawful order and we will not do that"

  13. waheed hassan has given death warning by the coup if resigned so he is helpless and told himself quite few times. ask waheed he'l tell the truth but must protect his life killing from the coup members.

  14. CMG have also seen those mighty capitalists who own most of the resorts of the country from times immemorial infiltrating into the armed forces bybthe help of ex serviceman the so called a FILO en and former deputy commissioner . CMG also saw police attacking after mutineering. Not the CMG the while world has seen the events that led to an armed forces cue fueled by those the so called rich buruma gasim cheering after successful overthrow of the legal government that was in existence. There is no need to blame MDP or any other the people are gasim,he dominates most of the businesses in Maldives, u name it opfuel, cement,resort,aircrafts,ships,n this guy is crazy of power but the joke is he want bribe the parliament ,people or staging a cue or wat ever way he can to come to power through short cut. Riyaz , Mahloof are uneducated few youth who have started small business by the help of the mighty capitalist Gasim.

  15. Our country has gone to the Dogs and I mean literally now.
    All politicians are in this together. They all want money. and more money. PPM, DRP, MDP, Adaalath the whole lot.

    They all tell us lies and repeated lies.

    The Government has said that they have set up an inquiry. An inquiry my arse. This is not the way to have an inquiry.
    An inquiry has to be set up with the backing of the Majlis and a judge sitting as the chair. Then they should be able to get the witness to be able to be questioned under oath.

    If there is nothing to hide then why is the Government stalling on this?

    On the other hand, if MDP was so sure it was a military coup, then why are they not clamouring for an inquiry instead of screaming about an election and destroying the country?

    If someone's right was taken away the obvious bleeding choice is to get it back. So if Anni was outed in a military coup, the only option is for the people who did it to be held accountable and then Anni restored as President.

    Maldivians have no idea about democracy and follow people blindly. They make cult heros out of people and elevate them to be equal to God and worship them, be it Gayoom or Anni.

  16. another good example of one sided article. Riyaz expressed his views. Minivan always wants discredit out nation and the the people of our nation. some of Riyaz's comments were taken out of context to show he is against UK but this is not true.

  17. Enough is enough!

    All the nonsense happening in the Maldives is because of vested interests trying to protect themselves under the garb of politics and religion.

    Stop your hypocrisy, it is a massive waste of time.

    Indulging yourself in theatrics and insulting those who have come to help you does not bode well for Maldives.

    You are intolerant and you expect others to be tolerant of your bigotry and small mindedness!!!

    The common people suffer in midst of all this populist nonsense. It is sad that parents cannot drop their children to school. It is sad that on this 2km small island of Male' you need to block roads.

    Your politicians are prophesizing doom which will come true. Your intolerance and nonsense is going to result in other countries banning you from travel. Where will you go for food, for medicine?

    Stop this bull"^*!. You need a citizen's movement, free from political affiliations and religious overtones. Repeating either just undermines your position.

    The educated people should stop feeling embarrased and do something about it, if they ever wish to reclaim the dignity of Maldives. Get together a majority and have the balls to call for an early election to all stakeholders. Make it clear you care for the future.

    Its a democracy. Participate in shaping your future, or else be condemned to cry on the sidelines. Forever, as everything burns around you. It has already started.

  18. I really cant help but laugh at how ignorant and also may add arrogant these MPs are. Mahloof of all ppl should know better, after all he was Asia Regional Caucus Chair. Mahloof wants us to leave Commonwealth I think that is big talk. Mahloof dont be mistaken Commonwealth really doesnt need Maldives. If they back out of their aid to us will you be able to feed us?

  19. Riyaz is an idiot and his ramblings have no place in politics but so is yours Nazee. The Commonwealth does not give us much aid at all. In fact they are now a redundant relic from the past of the British Colonial Rule. The Commonwealth would cease to exist as soon as the Current Head, Queen Elizabeth II passes away.

    So it is not a bad idea to leave the Commonwealth if they interfere in our internal politics and takes sides.
    Fiji is also out of the Commonwealth and it has not hurt them much either.

  20. why did Anni never had mid term election as promised in his capping in the second round with the coalition member ? I vote the bugger in the second round because of the coalition and not for Anni.

    I very clearly remember anni saying " People of Maldives had made very clear for me that I myself and MDP alone can not win the election and will have to form a coalition with Adalth, Jumhuree, and Gaumee Party" . Is this guy Anni was drunk when told that or was he mad at that time.

    MDP should know that you managed to get 23.8% of the total vote in the election and second round we all voted for a change not to Anni. Pls. do not forget that.

  21. Jameel, you are right and few people like you need to change this country.

  22. Founder of Commonwealth is Father of Kenereege Mohamed Nasheed and his exwife Queen. Do your best bring him down.

  23. Commonwealth need Maldives more than Maldives need them. People think they know everything once they graduate. Little they know we brainwash you through education. You are all fools who think West is superior and are made better than Asian. hehe heh he

  24. The Maldives can quit the Commonwealth today, and even the UN tomorrow. Hail Republic of GolhaBoa!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    One more sunami and Maldives can also quit from the face of this earth.
    The queen has carefully selected given the Cross of St. Michael and St. George to His New Heights Gayyoom. Let him carry the cross to the eternal Hell .... and let Meridium Services fuel the fires therein. Amen!

  25. people under frustration do this kinda mess... riyaz having to pay 7000/- per YEAR on a plot which would cost more than that a month saying all this concludes to only one .... hes damn shit scared.. and hes pissin his pants and so are all the allied parties..

    man o man.. they are gonna get hit rite in the nuttssss!!!

  26. sad and depressing situation we are in because of ignorant politicians like Riyaz and Mahloof and may more. I wonder how much do they understand foreign and international, country's need for development and education for our youths. However it is us who have elected them with a blind eye to be our politicians to make policies for our future. So we pay for it now and tomorrow......

  27. Alright for the sake of peace and reconciliation, shall we all agree to make Maumoon Queen of Maldives?


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