Commonwealth Envoy expresses concern at “rising political tension” in the Maldives

The Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Donald McKinnon, has expressed concern at “rising political tension” in the Maldives –  specifically over ongoing street protests and the criminal charges filed against ousted President Mohamed Nasheed.

Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has taken to the streets for the tenth consecutive day calling for an early election, alleging the former President was deposed in a coup detat on February 7.  Police have clashed violently with protesters resulting in injury to police and public as well as the arrest of hundreds of protesters. However, President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has insisted the earliest constitutionally permitted date in which fresh polls can be held is July 2013.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz on Monday filed criminal charges against Nasheed for his alleged role in the detention of Criminal Court Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed in January.

The Commonwealth’s Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has urged for early elections to be held in 2012, and has played a crucial role in the reconstitution of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), set up to investigate the controversial transfer of power.  The composition was changed after the Commonwealth raised concerns over the body’s impartiality during its first iteration. The CNI is expected to release its report by the end of August.

In a statement released yesterday, Sir Donald called for dialogue among political leaders, urging all parties to show “restraint and restore calm.”

“It is absolutely essential that all relevant actors in Maldives refrain from any actions that could jeopardise the stable environment necessary to allow the Commission of National Inquiry to complete its work and produce an outcome within the stipulated time-frame,” he said.

“Restore calm”

Sir Donald added that he has been in contact with President Waheed and Mohamed Nasheed to discuss the MDP’s ongoing protests, along with the response by security forces to these demonstrations and the charges filed against the former president.

“What is very much needed in Maldives right now is for all concerned to show restraint and restore calm. Any actions that create or exacerbate political instability cannot be helpful to the national interest, including in the difficult economic circumstances at the moment in the country and the global context,” Sir Donald said.

The Maldives is facing a foreign currency shortageplummeting investor confidencespiraling expenditure, a drop off in foreign aid and a crippling budget deficit of 27 percent.

Speaking on the need for a stable environment for the CNI to complete its work, and urging all parties to refrain from jeopardising the commission’s efforts, Sir Donald said: “We have all invested a huge amount of time, energy and resources in reconstituting the Commission of National Inquiry, to establish the truth about the events of 7 February 2012 and help Maldives move forward. The international community has been supportive of these efforts.”

Hence, Sir Donald has called on Maldivian leaders to engage in dialogue, stating that “Ultimately, any resolution of contentious political issues in Maldives can only come about through inclusive political dialogue.”

“I therefore urge the leaders of Maldives to engage in genuine dialogue, with the interest of the people of Maldives in mind,” he added.

MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Gafoor welcomed the Special Envoy’s statement, but said that MDP protests would continue. “You must remember our protests are non-violent and are aimed at restoring political stability,” he told Minivan News.


Sir Donald’s comments come at a time when renewed attempts at restarting the All-Party talks appear at a stalemate.

The talks were conceived as one of two internationally-backed mechanisms – alongside the CNI – to resolve the political deadlock in the Maldives following the controversial transfer of power on February 7.

The Convenor of the All-Party talks, Ahmed Mujuthaba, on July 12 announced that a series of “high-level” discussions will be held between President Waheed and the leaders of the largest political parties after sixteen previous attempts had resulted in “no breakthrough.”

However, a spokesperson for President Waheed on Tuesday said the president will not hold talks with Nasheed as long as street protests continue, condemning the protests as an “act of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – who served as the country’s autocratic leader for 30 years up to 2008 – said he would not negotiate with Nasheed.  Gayoom claimed that Nasheed had made baseless comments about him in both the local and the international community, particularly that the former President had masterminded a “coup d’état” on February 7.

Nasheed subsequently released a statement on Monday arguing that his allegations were based on public statements made by Gayoom and those closely affiliated with him politically, including his family members – many of whom now hold senior positions in government. Nasheed then offered to apologize if Gayoom agreed to participate in the all-party talks.

“Given that not for a single moment would I wish for someone unelected by the people of Maldives to entertain himself as leader to them, I believe now is the time for all parties to come forth in support of the best interest of the nation and its citizens, and as such, if President Gayoom indeed was not party to the coup, I have decided to apologise to President Gayyoom for the fact that I said he was behind this coup,” Nasheed said in his statement.

However, Gayoom told local media today that he believed Nasheed’s apology was “insincere” and has asked Nasheed to issue a formal apology on local and international media.


12 thoughts on “Commonwealth Envoy expresses concern at “rising political tension” in the Maldives”

  1. Ramazan is around the corner. There was a time, when we let the time pass by on a bike-ride round the island, and be satisfied.

    But now, we are on political steroids. Nothing less than complete war between factions, politicians would captivate us and suffice our crave for an interesting time spend.

    Looking forward for good times in Ramazan!!!!

  2. The gov is already leaving the Commonwealth (Majlis today), so I suppose they won't care much. UN next?

  3. How does President Nasheed know that Gayoom was not involved in the coup de'tat? We will have to check the phone calls and text messages of all Generals and Senior Officers of MNDF and the Police on 6th and 7th of Feb 2012. Presumably, Gayoom used his cronies to contact the senior officers of these institutions and apparently, at the eleventh hour, he himself had spoken to some very key people in these institutions. That will have to be verified and corroborated before Nasheed makes his conclusions.

  4. yes now common wealth will try to intervene to stop the execution of Nasheed .

    Where were these people when Nasheed was showing his power and brutality prior 8th Feb. Were they sleeping or they do not see what was going on this country.

    Nasheed to be charged for the crimes that he had committed and he need to face the justice. Why common wealth is so concerned if the guy was innocent .

    Let the judiciary decided whether guy is pure as white not common wealth.

  5. @mode on Wed, 18th Jul 2012 6:16 PM

    "Why common wealth is so concerned if the guy was innocent ."

    I'll tell you a few reasons:

    (i) The last democratically elected government was toppled under what can be described by any neutral party as "questionable" circumstances. A significant percentage of the Maldivian population believe it was a coup d'etat.

    (ii) The group that's behind the current regime, i.e. the "December 23rd" Jihadis have made no secret about their desire to lock up Nasheed and senior military personnel.

    (iii) Umar Naseer of PPM has gone on public record saying that Nasheed will definitely be locked up for good.

    (iv) International as well as domestic observers note the serious shortcomings of the Maldivian Judicial system which has failed to uphold the law time and time again.

    (v) None of the cases of corruption, abuse of power, illegal torture of the 30 year rule of Gayyoom has been the subject of any investigation.

    (vi) There are cases of corruption against former Gayyoom regime members including his half brothers, that have stagnated in the Courts for no apparent reason. In the case of Abdulla Hameed, the Courts have repeatedly failed to provide necessary documentation for an Interpol notice on him.

    These are only a few of the issues that lead any neutral observer to cast doubts on any case brought up against former President Nasheed under the current regime.

  6. The world is watching now. If Anni is wrongly taken out MATI and the rest of the country will feel it in the bank accounts. Things like democracy, human rights and an honest judicary matter in the other 200 country's in the world.

  7. @Mode
    "Nasheed was showing his power and brutality prior 8th Feb.".. This is wrong. Whatever Nasheed was, he was not a brutal person. his problem is ideology and disconnect with people's wants. Maumoon's regime was more brutal if brutality is concerned.
    Anni made mistakes like:

    failing to take action on sex trade in Male'

    failing to see something wrong with the statutes they were erecting in Addu.

    lobbying for opening the city hotel with liquor licence - as a favour for Maria.

    the Laadheenee agenda (some of which are hyped, but most are true. That's why Fareesha was given a job in side president's office.

    failing to stop or distance from the arson and vandalism that happend on 8/feb.

    Things like that. He was not brutal. He was actually more generous and kind than Maumoon ever was. I am no supporter of Maumoon or Anni. Anni was better but he lost me when sided with the wrong ideology.

  8. Moosa Rasheed. You are right to some extend.

    When it come to brutality, Maumoon would have been more compared with Anni.

    Anni also use different tactics to torture people and it was not the physical torture but other means. He had sidelined people who does not belong to MDP and had been favoring his cronies and making life very difficult for some high profile people who does not say " yes" to him.

    There are number of things we can show of his brutality.

    Ahmed. You can listed few dozen of reasons but you never will never look at the incidence that had occurred prior 8th Feb. and will never accept any wrong doing prior that.

    You need to understand that Anni was not elected to be the president of the country to run the country on his own terms but rather elected to run the country as per the constitution.

    When he is in breach of constitution, then he no longer a president.

    I know you will tell that then parliament need to take action. But Anni had bought MP with the money from GMR in order to highjack the parliament and that is why the people of Maldives had come out and start to have those demonstration.

  9. It is very clear that the coup government's intention to take Nasheed to court is to eliminate him through their corrupt justice system. It is obvious that if their is an independent judiciary this coup would not happen and also that former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom would be tried first for the human rights abuses of torture and murder during his time.

  10. This is the easiest way possible to do away with Nasheed, "The Crow President" needs to think how he came to power, he is so power hungry that he will do anything to kill Nasheed Fools and Mamoon worshipers have the tactics to kill a democratic system. After all what does democracy mean to most of us as we have been used to eating the crumbs of Maumoon table and be treated like slaves so why worry. We know to follow all what the West does but only Democracy we critice the Common Wealth the judicial system in Maldives is the most corrupt system first Sheikh Shaheem has to learn Arabic and Arabian laws more clearly a bunch of idiots ruling more over the Crow President practices Christianity now why is he pretending and following our religion fraud!!!!!!!!!!

  11. @mode on Thu, 19th Jul 2012 9:34 AM

    "Ahmed. You can listed few dozen of reasons but you never will never look at the incidence that had occurred prior 8th Feb. and will never accept any wrong doing prior that."

    I am fully aware of everything that took place since Nasheed took power. He carried out a number of questionable acts such as confining Gasim and Yameen besides the notorious judge. There are democratic ways to address them.

    Your claim that Nasheed and his party "bought" parliamentarians says more about our parliamentarians than anything else. These are our elected representatives whom we trusted to represent us. If we cannot find individuals from our society that can be trusted to work for us, then we have failed as a society.

    Instead of addressing that failure, people like yourselves seem to think that February 7th was the will of the "people". I am afraid that the only mildly responsible way to address that and the current regime is the "rule of the mob". The will of the people can only be the outcome of democratic and representative ballots; nothing else.

  12. when commonwealth expresses their concern, they are called racist (may not have been on this article but somewhere)

    truth is many in commonwealth are racist, hard to tell the difference between those who genuinely care and those who pretend to for greedy purposes, thats the truth it is mixed

    even those who are genuine and do care may be ethnocentric and get some things wrong, but the label racism does not apply if they are otherwise prepared to address their ignorance if presented with that chance - and if their heart genuinely cares

    i'm so tired of defending the accusation that i'm racist that i just label myself as racist to avoid the pain...

    i care for maldives, when you care, you make yourself vulnerable to being hurt, when you get hurt, you get angry, and say things you later regret

    but i cannot stop caring for maldives

    so, i will probably always be the "racist," sad, because the opposite is the truth, i have always looked at everyone elses country and culture above my own, i am more often ashamed to be a westerner than proud because of our greed and colonialist past

    i've got the worst frickin headcahe!


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