Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Don McKinnon arrives in Male’ for post-CNI discussions

Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Don McKinnon, has arrived to Male’ yesterday to discuss the report released by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) following its investigation into the controversial transfer of power on February 7.

Presidents Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told local media outlet Sun Online that McKinnon was to visit Maldives before the release of the CNI report, but had to delay his visit because President Mohamed Waheed Hassan was not in town, and because of the holidays that followed.

Riza further stated that the government believed that this would be the farewell visit of McKinnon in his capacity as the Special Envoy.

He also added that the government would acknowledge the efforts made by the Commonwealth in helping resolve the political crisis that followed after the transfer of power, but added that the government “sees no role for the Commonwealth any more in the domestic issues of the country”.

Riza did not respond to calls at time of press.

Minivan News understands that Sir Don McKinnon is set to meet both President Waheed and his predecessor, former President Mohamed Nasheed.

McKinnon’s visit comes at a time where the current government of Maldives and the Commonwealth are at loggerheads over the issue of Maldives still being in the formal agenda of Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

President Waheed has already sent letters to member states of CMAG demanding the immediate removal of Maldives from the CMAG’s agenda, claiming that the report by the CNI clears all doubts on legitimacy of the current government.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs and daughter of former President of 30 years Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Dunya Maumoon, has already hinted about an impending withdrawal of Commonwealth membership if the Maldives is not removed from the formal agenda of the Commonwealth’s human rights and democracy arm.

Speaking at a press conference held in the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Dunya said, “We call on all the member countries of the CMAG to remove us from the agenda at the earliest possible opportunity. We do not altogether deserve to have been put on this agenda.”

Dunya stated that following the release of the report by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), many foreign countries had complimented the commission’s work. While she expressed concerns that “reactions from two countries are somewhat worrying”, she declined to name either country.

CNI Report

On August 30, CNI released its report into the circumstances surrounding the controversial resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed and the transfer of power on February 7, stating that the transfer of power was legitimate and that it was neither a coup d’état nor a resignation under duress.

The CNI was initially a three member panel (Dr Ibrahim Yasir, Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef and Chairman Ismail Shafeeu), formed by President Waheed Hassan to examine the circumstances surrounding his own succession to presidency.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of ex President Nasheed and the Commonwealth subsequently challenged the impartiality of the CNI, and it was reformed to include retired Singaporean judge G. P. Selvam and a representative of Nasheed’s, Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed.

Retired Court of Appeal judge from New Zealand, Sir Bruce Robertson, and Canadian UN Legal Advisor Professor John Packer, were appointed as international advisers representing the Commonwealth and UN respectively.

Nasheed’s representative Saeed resigned from the CNI on the evening of August 29, denouncing its credibility and alleging that the final report excluded testimony from key witnesses as well as crucial photo, audio and video evidence.

According to the published report, the change of government was “legal and constitutional”, and the events of February 6-7 “were, in large measure, reactions to the actions of President Nasheed.”

“The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will. It was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation,” the report claimed.

In addition, “There were acts of police brutality on 6, 7 and 8 February 2012 that must be investigated and pursued further by the relevant authorities.”

The report dismissed the MDP’s allegations that the government’s ousting was a ‘coup d’état’, stating that the Constitution “was precisely followed as prescribed.”

“There appears nothing contestable in constitutional terms under the generic notion of a ‘coup d’état’ that is alleged to have occurred – quite to the contrary, in fact,” the report claimed.

“In terms of the democratic intent and legitimacy of the authority of the Presidency, as foreseen in the Constitution, President Waheed properly succeeded President Nasheed.”

“As President Nasheed clearly resigned and now challenges the voluntariness and legitimacy of his action, the onus is on him to establish illegal coercion or unlawful intimidation.”

Counter report by Sri Lankan legal experts

A legal analysis of the CNI report by a team of high-profile Sri Lankan legal professionals – including the country’s former Attorney General – prepared upon the request of the MDP stated that it was “selective”, “flawed” and had exceeded its mandate.

The legal analysis’ authors include two Sri Lankan Supreme Court attorneys – Anita Perera and Senany Dayaratne – and the former Sri Lankan Attorney General Shibly Aziz.

The analysis focused on five main areas: the CNI’s compliance with its mandate, the procedure pursued in exercising this mandate, the evidence gathering process, the adherence to the “imperative dictates” of natural justice, and the legal issues which ensue from this.

“The Report offends the fundamental tenets of natural justice, transparency and good governance, including the right to see adverse material, which undermines the salutary tenets of the Rule of Law.” Read the report

The report further suggested that there was “in fact adequate evidence to suggest that duress (or even ‘coercion’ and/ or illegal coercion as used by CNI) is attributable to the resignation of President Nasheed.”

“Even by the yardstick of ‘coercion’ or illegal coercion which the CNI has incorporated for reasons one cannot fathom- given the clear mandate- , ex facie the events accepted by the Commission and without anything more, does strongly and convincingly establish the ‘coercion’ or ‘illegal coercion’, the yardstick chosen by the Commission,” it read.


16 thoughts on “Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Don McKinnon arrives in Male’ for post-CNI discussions”

  1. Upon the request of the MDP – see that’s the clincher.

    Why would any individual spend their cash on commissioning a report if it was not required to meet their own needs. So the so-called legal review does not have any worth or value unless the Ex-President was required to prepare his case for a trial.

    The inquiry has already been done and CoNI’s work has, on the whole, been received positively by Western power-brokers and India.

  2. Dr. waheed appointed CNI and did not wanna act whats on the report,Trying to prove the world that this not a coup, by giving an an unconstitutional command to the forces.That he admit on the press conference about the lower command which not onCNI report. I was there at Artificial Beach when the officer`s told the police to go and sit down at Jumhureemaidaan or Republican Square.I evan gave

  3. I even gave my report to CNI about the command which is not on the report how ever or what ever they say its a coup

  4. hey, the CONI report has not officially been accepted by CoNI yet. They will have a teleconference in October where they will also consider the rebuttal by MDP via the report by Sri Lankan lawyers before officially accepting the report. One clear advantage President Nasheed and MDP has is their legal team, especially when it comes to international law. They opponents in terms of legal advisers are Kutti Nasheed and Azima; both educated in Malaysia and a limited world vision on top of being full time Golhaas, a.k.a. Gayoom loyalists who campaigned tirelessly to block the legalization of political parties in the first place.

  5. we shall seriously learn how to 'hajamu' digest bad news. In this case MDP has to digest the fact they lost the plot in this case. they lost lots of love from peaceloving people by the arson attacks which cost 1/12th of our gdp in two days. if this amount of damage was caused in any other country there will be total war.
    so here is the advice.
    learn to digest bad news and get on.
    hajamu by all means!

  6. @jamalul, better migrate to arabia.. this country is definitely on the path to change.. and those who are driving it is MDP

  7. @ arab
    ON the contrary ! If MDP is driving this country to change, why has its Party's supreme leader called for a boycott of all the tourist resorts of the country ?

  8. @CitizenMale

    What is it with us maldivians... are we so used to lying on an every day basis that we cannort separate fiction from fact any more?

    When DID President Nasheed call for a boycott of ALL resorts? he called for the boycott of the resorts owned by the politcal leaders who have bankrolled and supported the events that led to his resignation on February 7th.

  9. The Commonwealth challenged the impartiality of the composition of the CNI as it was initially set up by the post-coup regime leader and it was restructured allowing a member representing president Nasheed, and other members as a co-chair and two advisers. These members apparently were nominations of the Commonwealth.

    Similarly, the Commonwealth must challenge the impartiality and legal correctness of the CNI report particularly in concluding that president Nasheed resigned in his free will, and take steps for an early election to give the people a chance to choose their leader.

  10. I urge sibly aziz to concentrate to ur own issues, which is far worst than any other country in this region.. A bloody war which killed more than 1000s of tamils by Sri lankan soldiers, would be more important to investigate than poking ur nose in to neighboring countries political issue.. Thank you

  11. Former Sri Lankan Attorney General Shibly Aziz is a freelance contractor involved in many projects in Maldives.

    Price range: 1500 USD per project.

  12. "Why would any individual spend their cash on commissioning a report if it was not required to meet their own needs. So the so-called legal review does not have any worth or value unless the Ex-President was required to prepare his case for a trial."

    Very true!

    This is the reason why Waheed once in power, formed CoNI by decree! To save himself and the "stakeholders" who motivated him to agree to topple the government where he was VP.

    Once international community intervened, Waheed brought in the "Singapore Abdullah Ghaazee".

    Because those who were monitoring and advising were not "reigned in", the process was extended by another month.
    And then it worked!

    I hope Don McKinnon would not be a part in killing the rights of a people who believe in a Commonwealth of Nations, democracy, and the Rule of Law!

  13. anybody staying at Bandos is subsidizing baghee Waheed but most international tourists dont know it. MDP should prepare a list of Gayoom aligned resorts to publish in the international media.


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