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. Riyaz - does he have a single brain cell in his head, what complete utter nonsense.

  2. oooh big talk mahfool. like expelling maldives is going to be a big loss to the commonwealth. we need the commonwealth, commonwealth doesn't need us. think before you open your mouth.

  3. His brain filled with diesel and petrol. Thats why sudden combustions.

  4. Is this man in the government? Why does he not want early elections. If what he and what he supports are so popular, but it to a vote.

  5. The youth of our nation are disgraceful, and their children will be disgraceful also. Until we fix our defective women, the Nation will remain defective, and give birth to unworthy sons - who will conduct themselves in the manner witnessed inside of our parliament yesterday!

    We do not need a Parliament anyway.

    Say no to democracy, and yes to Islam! For by God, then we begin the task of fixing our defective women!

    I have had it up to here with their insane rantings, for democracy and whatnot!

  6. Excellent, Minivan should transcribe more propaganda like this from the nonsense that is said on VTV, Dhi TV and TVM. The international community should read exactly what lies are being spread about them. These kind of lies are being said relentlessly on these stations all day every day since the coup.

  7. King Maumoon Abdul Gayyyoom?


    Riyaz has inhaled too much petrol fumes from his petrol shed. He should be given a compulsory brain scan.

  8. With all due respects to Sir McKinnon, while the scenes in Majlis on the 19th was not desirable, I do not share his view that there was an attempt to obstruct opening of Parliament. Some PMs were trying to prevent an address by a President who's legal position is being challenged even by his own Advisor.
    I do not share Riyaz or Mahloof's view of the Commonwealth, CMAG or the Queen. Their comments are most likely the result of ignorance.

    Commonwealth have been one of our closest development partners in nation building and human capacity development, for a number of years.
    I strongly oppose the idea of Maldives leaving the Commonwealth.

  9. I heard Mr.Riyaz educated from some where in England. The thing is he is power hungry, these people don't want to face a ballot box, if there is an election they know they will be out of the Government, and MDP will come to power with any of their leaders. Not only the Anni is a leader in MDP, there are lot more. We support MDP's Think tank, and their Manifesto, its something what every Maldivian wanted, we don't want Dictator ship any more.


  11. Commonwealth have been biased and will be biased in further too. They have been promised by Anni that he will change our constitution to give religious freedom . Anni is backed by these NGO with the hope of getting religious freedom in this country.

    Anni have full backing from common wealth and British ruling party and Anni is being used by them to get thier foot hold on our nation.

    Anni was drunk when he resign and got realized what he had done the next day.

    Anni need to be jailed and prosecuted to bring the peace to our nation and common wealth need to stop madling with our souveinity. Anyway, what benefit are we getting being a member of common wealth . Nothing and they can just get loss.

  12. what have the English done for us?”

    Visiting Maldives as tourists and spending thosands and thousands of us$...Not enough??

  13. Riyaz,you are sadly mistaken about Waheed,he loves his liquor and has before also shared liquor sessions and enjoyed his bacon breakfasts..old habits die hard,after all he lived abroad for a long time and had himself admitted in an interview to Sun magazine,that being away from home had taken him away from Islam,he had forgotten the teachings of islam(if such a thing ever happens?),so don't white wash any of yur actions,you all enjoy a glass of wine,being the hypocrites that you are,how about explaining the rule which says alcohol is not allowed in Maldives ,when alchol is actually available in the resorts?Cannot blame you all,after all who can outpace the hypocritical ways of your dictatorial(self proclaimed democrat for some strange reason)Maumoon?A total munaafig that Maumoon and all of you are following him.And you all know how Maumoon hates Islamists!Go back in time when Maumoon loved to shave the beards of all Islamists,SO now it's Maumoon talking,coz the West love Maumoon's ways!

  14. @Dhivehi Hanguraama

    I support you're view in dismantling the parliament. I know where the democracy and parliaments will lead us to... see Australian parliament... its a joke. even the prime minister can act as undignified and disrespectful as the most ignorant MP in our majlis. And this goes on everyday.

    UK a democracy? what a joke! the queen was recently reported to have been thinking of using citizens tax money to build herself a new ship (she got bored of the one she has now) for her birthday.

    I will tell this now, and you all who mock islam and promote abujahul style democracy (which even Satan was a parliament member of...) you will regret with every fiber of you're being and will think of not having a single atom of intelligence whatsoever on that day. I am warning Minivannews, when the day comes I will be in the front to drive you lot (promoting Zionist agenda) out of our islamic soil.

  15. Wow its hard to believe that an MP could be so devoid of any form of diplomacy. Not much value in abusing a Monarch who has been a stalwart of fairness and goodness for a very long time.
    The biggest issue for Maldivians to grapple with atm is learning how to hold differing points of view without "playing the man". Time to grow up! Time to learn how to be a nation of diplomats able to converse with representatives from the world that you belong to.
    Come on Maldives you can do it!

  16. "does he have a single brain cell in his head, what complete utter nonsense."

    Whose brain are you talking about?
    Don Manik's?
    The last remaining just vapourised after seeing and hearing the MDP monkeys inside the parliament yesterday.

  17. I think Don Manik is better than the CMAG guys.
    But Don Manik is also doing a bare minmum in terms of critisizing the MDP madness.

  18. The Police Integrity Commission has condemned MDP’s actions.
    The HUman Rights Commission has condemned MDP’s actions.
    Not the Commonwealth also have critisized MDP's actions.
    MDP will still think they are innocent.
    Is everyone else to be blamed?
    MDP should be serious about the coup from within them.

  19. Yes, Riyaz talks bigger than his size and is sick of oil diseases. He has psychological problems since he lost his bid to get free oil from sto.

  20. Riyaz rasheed is a stupid fool. Also Mahloof thinks he is so mighty that he was wed by his god Maumoon. These people are all puppets of the thirty year dictator. This article is true. I saw them on VTV saying all of it. Ma hee hee

  21. It was ashamed on this nation with MDP MP’s, the most disgusting behavior; they have dramatized, in the sacred parliament house, on the opening session. CMAG, you must have seen their disgusting and ruthless behavior. The majority of the MDP MP, s is much degraded both academically and politically hence they would behave such a manner, which is unacceptable. They don’t know anything about the democracy, what a shame on this peaceful nation, because of those bastards.
    I strongly condemned as a citizen of the this nation, those who dramatize the animal behavior on the parliament house, CMAG, I beg you, please push to Maldivian Government or the elections commission to change minimum criteria for MP’s of the parliament, when they elect MP’s for the next parliamentary elections.
    I wish, the election commission or whatsoever policy makers, consider at least minimum requirement for the MP’s, such as Bachelor‘s degree and above, to get rid off these hooligans from parliament. It is really unfair, their pay is over mrf80, 000 net with other benefits. The current trend is, those who are able read and write in local language, they eligible for the MP’s, off cause there are some other requirement, I’m talking about MPs’ education stand. Definitely I’m not a degree holder to enter the “dirty Politics” this is my opinion. Please digest.

  22. Thank God for Riyaz.

    Those cringe inducing statements will certainly help our cause.

    9 year olds present better arguments.

    I can picture the Queen come to Maldives, meet this nincompoop, hands on the hips and saying, "Well?"

  23. Commonwealth's stand from 1st March to 19th March is questionable. They fall short of adressing the core factor who is destrupting and creating unprecedent obstruction to the parliament. They have yet to denounce the act of MDP Mp's action on both days. Insted they were quick to call for election. Commonwealth can be a strong body and our country may be small but should respect our internal affairs and constitution.
    They should also find out who really Nasheed is. Nasheed is a mad man who plays stunts and could even go up to for resign entire cabinet just shock people.
    Even now Nasheed keeps forgetting certain incidences that led to his resignation.
    Nasheed is a very sick man he is suffering from Antisocial personality disorder

    Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.

    A person with antisocial personality disorder may:

    Be able to act witty and charming

    Be good at flattery and manipulating other people’s emotions

    Break the law repeatedly

    Disregard the safety of self and others

    Have problems with substance abuse

    Lie, steal, and fight often

    Not show guilt or remorse

    Often be angry or arrogant

  24. the content of minivannews is not very rich now. the article mostly highlight about the riyaz mp said this and that, and how it reflect the opposition mindset about CMAG. Almost all parg you can find this, riyaz this and that....The heading attracts the audiance yet fail to keep their attention. v poorly scripted....
    ask sir donald what was he thinking when this pic was shot..

  25. Where do we get idiots like Riyaz Rasheed. May almighty Allah save us from people like Gayoom, Nasheed, Waheed and now we have to add Riyaz Rasheed to this list.
    Why on Earth do people like him get elected to the Majlis?

  26. good work Zaheena , we need more TV interviews and preivious speeches translated so that the whole world can read it...
    shame on these coup organization

  27. Please stop talking about religious freedom and alcohol like a broken record.

  28. What an embarrassment this new (old) regime is to the world and our people.

    ELECTION NOW to save the nation.

  29. Riyaz is a sewage gutter. Very bad smelling and unhygienic for the nation. STO pls grant him his request of 20 million credit facilities for unlimited duration and shut his mouth before he does more harm to our motherland.

  30. "my concern: sacred parliament house" Oh my god. This is too much for me. Dhen hama ma hee hee

  31. Some pple should learn to shut it instead of blabbering ineptia...
    It's one thing to make a fool of urself and look like an uneducated idiot in front of the world, but it's another one alltogether to speak from a postition of power (albeit an usurped one) as this will reflect badly on the whole maldivian nation.
    Riyaz, ur a disgrace for ur country (unsurprizingly for a mutineer)

  32. Oh, What has Waheed been drinking in New York. I guess Holy water with taste of wine!

  33. Radhun would be glad if you explain to us what "antisocial" actually means. Then we can talk about disorder. At the same time can you please give us a lesson on coup-perpetrators mental disorder. Thank you in advance

  34. I am sure ignorance itself will be laughing at this guy Riyaz. He does not know that greed does not have no boundary!
    @ Mohamed Rasheed; very true! I agree with you!

  35. I see just one little piece of a chain of many such events that would make it easy to anyone of common sense to believe and say out loud that it was a coup, a military, coup by which Nasheed was ousted on February 7. That is the video in which Nasheed is shown writing a letter standing at a podium like thing surrounded by people never seen before around him in his office or residence. This alone is sufficient to suggest that Nasheed was forced to write the letter of resignation.

    Besides, in his statement he put it clearly that he resigned to avoid a bloodbath that would be the case if he were to remain in power. To say that he was forced he need not use the words 'I was forced to resign' verbatim. The fact that he was forced to resign was, maybe, why he chose not to used these words. Any way, it's not difficult to see that Nasheed resigned under duress which invalidates the resignation under the Constitution which still prevails in this country.

    The solution to the coup is either the regime lets the elected president to be reinstated or give way to a snap election giving the same people who elected him in 2008 a chance once again to elect their leader and president. It may be any one of the popular choice which must be final and respected.

  36. how on earth is an early election a favour to a particular party. It is for the people to decide. the guys so hopeless to win an election as they know they are anti-democratic elements to the core. What's so wrong with an early election when the current leader has admitted the weird transfer of power. Questions:

    1. resignation was under duress
    2. swore in as President without the People's Majlis
    3. the opposition and parties rejected by the people in the last presidential elections are in power
    4. MDP and senior members that was voted to power has been purged of by the regime
    5. Army and police violated their oath by brutalising their elected and serving commander in chief
    6.It was capture of power, and toppling of a government before people's eyes.
    7. There is every sign that the squanderers and embezzlers have returned witha vengence to partake of governent coffers
    8. fear tyranny are the oder of the day.

  37. Bodibaih Jameel the present home minister studied with a scholarship of commonwealth..and now why you say commonwealth is not good...maldives cannot efford without comonwealth

  38. Oh god what's gonna happen to us, why people ellected such a foolish PM's like Riyaz and Mahloof.

  39. Riyas should not have siad it. But it is also true that the Queen has been there for too long (over 5 decades) and that is not right.

    Just becuase you love British does not mean you have to belive everything there is better than in the Maldives.

  40. This talk about MDP bribing CMAG is such a cliche - the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. We all know who did the bribing around here: the guys hiding behind puppet Waheed. Yet there are people who have a moral compass and some insight, including those at CMAG and maybe those who accuse them of taking bribes need to actually look around themselves a little: must be the company they are keeping that makes them think that bribery is the norm when it comes to getting stuff done.
    As for the "diplomatic" comments issued from Riyas and for those who comment re how long the Queen should reign, well guess those who are a credit to the Maldivian race (sharp thinking) are certainly not those in power right now or their supporters, - the blind leading the blind comes to mind. Everyone should surely think for themselves,isn't that what education is all about? Otherwise why waste money on it?
    @Radhun: isn't it a bit lazy to keep coming up with this ill researched blurb ref anti-social personality disorder? Putting things in point form doesn't make them more valid. Repeating it so many times is pure propaganda, very Cold War-ish. Very few people fall for this nowadays, so time to adapt to the real world. That goes for this whole power hungry bunch. Adapt or face extinction (now that's a phrase worth repeating till it sinks in or so it seems).

  41. what is the age of Mahloof when he says 'they are going to come out of commonwealth .... is stupid plus its not our concern that the Queen ruled too many years ... ,

  42. MP Riyaz is an idiot.

    Praise be to commonwealth for criticizing the acts of MDP activists after the commonwealth delegation witnessed firsthand the mayhem and chaos MDP is willing to plunge Maldives into so that MDP can achieve their political objectives.

    Yesterday, we saw the depths MDP will goto, if they believe they are not getting what they want. Setting the Neelanfihaara (auction place on fire), attacking media station VTV with bricks and stones, attacking media reporters (there are pictures on the internet of Protestors wearing MDP headbands smashing Haveeru cameramens camera), attacking police and security personnel, MDP has shown that it will show no regard to law and order, and will demolish anyone and everyone who comes in front of their path.

    As a citizen of Maldives, i praise the Maldives police for having the courage to dismantle the MDP protest area. During the dismantling of the tents, police discovered numerous alcoholic substances, condoms, hammers and pipes used to commit violence. Of course MDP were quick to try to pin the items on the police and say that it was Police who brought the items. What a load of baloney.

    As a citizen of Maldives, i thank the commonwealth delegation for seeing the truth as the truth and having the courage to condemn MDP's violent and chaotic acts.

    And please remember that all Maldivians arent like this, committing violence, throwing bricks and stones, setting places on fire, destruction of peoples vehicles and property when they dont get what they want.

    The majority of Maldives want peace and stability in our lives, not the violence and the chaos that MDP is plunging our nation into.

  43. hahahah so stupid comments here today by brainless MDP ducks......Dhi radio is a local radio...we dont believe everything we hear from MPS...not like MDP supporters who seems to think that everything and anything Anni/Mari/reecko etc says is divine...Riyaz rasheed was just releasing his frustration .. of course people have the right to criticize queen or commonwealth...whats so wrong with that? there are daily shows even in England who makes fun of the whats the big deal.

  44. All my country man and women pl dont listen to barking of mr.riyaz.
    Mr.Riyaz is power hugry mad dog he have double face. he was drunkard.

  45. The leaders of the UK must have peed in their pants hearing that the Maldives is gonna leave commonwealth! Guys please dont! Commonwealth will die without the Maldives! Leaving Commonwealth, the UN SAARC, cut all diplomatic ties with the rest of the world and then what? The rest of the world is gonna starve to death? haha! What nonsense! Allowing such lunatics on media to blabber about patriotism will only damage the image of the country and the government!

    Riyaz, please see how many students have studied and are studying under Commonwealth scholarships and you will shut your mouth.

  46. @
    wrong but.. on Tue, 20th Mar 2012 4:30 PM
    whats his age... on Tue, 20th Mar 2012 5:13 PM

    The Queen of England is a constitutional monarch. She is the head of state but her powers and responsibilities are strictly symbolic and ceremonial. The real political power lies with the parliament, elected by the people.

    No excuse for not clarifying that by yourselves before commenting, especially whilst sitting in front of computer with an internet connection 🙂

  47. Riyaz actually has a point! The modern international relations and diplomacy advocating globalization combined with worldwide security threats along with vast technological advancement the world has seen in the past few decades has made it a very much smaller place.Organizations like the commonwealth are ever losing their influence ecspecially if its not a U.S backed mission.the Commonwealth in itself has become as symbolic as The Queen as head of state.Only world forums of any importance other than the generally accepted U.N. will be those that are involved in economic and trade relations.Commonwealth is neither a becnchmark anymore for democracy nor human rights or for advocating judicial independence or financial freedoms.Adding to this the Maldives was never a former proper colony of England.However small the Maldives is, if it gives up membership it paves way for many other similar states which constitutes the Commonwealth to follow suit or state making increasing demands to maintain membership.After all every country has internal economic and political issues and conservatives who would refuse to agree with every demand of alien forces.Furthermore the more influential countries within the Commonwealth itself have recognized and supported the present government and pledged all forms of support for its policies,and have even provided financial aid.

  48. I feel very sorry for this country.
    I am sure the Commonwealth would understand through this experience, just how badly off we are in terms of human capacity for democratic nation building.

    I don't know how much support these parliamentarians had received and continue to receive from international organisations to bring them up to scratch to understand what the meaning of democracy is, what their parliamentary duties are and what the role of an MP actually is!!

    We certainly have some MPs that are capable of public service. But MPs like Riyaz Rasheed and Ahmed Mahloof are political opportunists, whose primary interest for being in parliament appears to be to serve their personal business and related interests. Their levels of education do not make them fit to undertake parliamentary duties designed to serve the public. Therefore, their capacities to grasp the democratic principles and values being endorsed and upheld by the Commonwealth is understandably limited.

    I hope the representatives of the Commonwealth can appreciate the severe educational and knowledge limitations that inhibit the capacity of many of our MPs to perform their public service duties and to serve this country - MPs Riyaz Rasheed and Ahmed Mahloof being very fine examples of this.

    The citizens of the Maldives are indeed very unfortunate to have people like these as "lawmakers" representing them in the Majlis.

    For all its worth, as an ordinary Maldivian, I am obliged to express my embarrassment about the inadequacies of these MPs and the offence they cause, to organisations such as the Commonwealth which actively support the development of this country.


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