Commonwealth Special Envoy visits following MDP allegations of “coup cover-up”

The Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Don McKinnon, is presently in the Maldives as part of a visit that will conclude tomorrow (January 27).

“A key objective of Sir Donald’s visit will be to discuss efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and processes in Maldives, and how the Commonwealth can further assist in this regard,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma in a statement.

McKinnon’s visit follows the publication last year of a report by the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) into the controversial transfer of power on February 7 2012.  The report concluded that there was no mutiny by police or the military, and that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation was not made under duress.

The CoNI was subsequently disbanded by President Waheed and the website containing the report was taken offline. The report is downloadable here.

“The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) noted the CNI report’s conclusions about the transfer of power. Going beyond that, CMAG highlighted the need to investigate acts of police brutality, and welcomed the government’s commitment to reform and to strengthen the independence and quality of key institutions. These remain core concerns and priorities for the Commonwealth,” Sharma stated.

“The Commonwealth continues to work towards consolidating multi-party democracy in Maldives. The year 2013 will be a critical one for Maldives, given the forthcoming presidential elections,” the Secretary-General said.

“It is essential for democracy in Maldives, and for lasting national reconciliation, that this year’s elections be both credible and inclusive. The Commonwealth expects there to be political space and a level-playing field for all candidates, parties and their leaders.”

McKinnon’s visit follows a recent parliamentary inquiry into the CNI report, during which senior military and police intelligence figures gave evidence to the Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) alleging that the transfer of power on February 7 “had all the hallmarks of a coup d’etat”.  The same sources also claimed that the final CNI report had not reflected their input.

Those figures included Brigadier General Ibrahim Didi, Commander of Male’ area on February 7, Police Head of Intelligence Chief Superintendent Mohamed Hameed, Chief of Defense Force Major General Moosa Jaleel, Head of Military Intelligence Brigadier General Ahmed Nilaam, Chief Superintendent of Police Mohamed Jinah and Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh. All six have since resigned or been suspended from duty.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) subsequently accused the Commonwealth Secretariat of complicity in a “systematic government cover-up designed to subdue testimonies from key witnesses to the coup d’etat”.

“The CNI, established by [President] Waheed shortly after he came to power, was originally made-up of three people – all well-known sympathisers of former President Gayoom – and chaired by President Gayoom’s former Minister of Defence,” observed the MDP in a statement.

“After an international outcry, the government was forced to agree to reform the CNI. The Commonwealth Secretary-General’s special envoy to the Maldives, Sir Donald McKinnon, was subsequently sent to the Maldives to mediate an agreement, but eventually gave-in to government demands that President Gayoom’s former Defence Minister must remain as Chair, and that the other two members must remain in-place.

“Unsurprisingly, the CNI’s final report claimed that there was absolutely no wrong-doing on the part of the opposition or Gayoom loyalists in the police and military. This was despite widespread evidence to the contrary,” the statement added.

“The testimonies of all the main witnesses summoned to the Committee demonstrate a remarkable degree of consensus about what happened in early 2012, and a common understanding of the legality of the change in government. All witnesses stated, unequivocally, that the change in government bore all the hallmarks of a coup d’etat.

“All named the same individuals as being central to the coup – with foremost among these the current Commissioner of Police and the current Minister of Defense. All made clear that following a meeting between opposition leaders and the-then Vice President, Mohamed Waheed, in the weeks preceded February 7, those planning the coup swore their loyalty to him and thereafter he was fully implicated in the plot.

“All saw widespread evidence of collusion between elements of the police and army loyal to former President Gayoom and the main leaders of the coup. All had seen evidence that the plot to remove President Nasheed included the possibility that he would be assassinated if he did not leave willingly. And all claimed that the evidence and testimony they presented to the CoNI was either ignored or misrepresented,” the party claimed.

MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the 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 this week that the CoNI report was a “transparent” process undertaken by “qualified Maldivian people”.

“Because of this, the CoNI 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.


14 thoughts on “Commonwealth Special Envoy visits following MDP allegations of “coup cover-up””

  1. In what way is SIR Don McKinnon planning on insulting us this time?

  2. It'a a nice job if you can get it: travel around the world, paid for by the Commonwealth Secretariat and have tea with some of world's most notorious dictators and rub shoulders with con men from oppressive regimes.

    Who can blame him eh? Just look at the smile on his face; it's not the political climate of Maldives that brings on that smile.

  3. The British colonial rule still exist and we in the third world are still colonized. The visit is a shame, a disgrace and upto strengthening the negative agenda of cover ups.

    Shame on the commonwealth for playing a role in the downfall of a legitimate democratic government!!!

  4. now commonwealth , UN and US and India is part of bringing Waheed government , what a joke?

    Anyone who does not agree with Nasheed and his associates are traitors ? Only Nasheed and his associates need to live in this country.

    Hope this comments will get published and my earlier comments had never got published.

  5. Here is how it went: India at the time wanted to try and appease Waheed so their foriegn service lent on CW Sec Gen. Kamalish Sharma, himself a former Indian foreign secretary. Sharma told McKinnon to let Waheed off the hook, so he ensured the CoNI was rigged and was a whitewash.

    Now India has changed it's mind and want Waheed out. So presumably McKinnon is here to insist Nasheed can stand in elections.

    That's is how pathetic and independent the Commonwealth is.

  6. This is a very different tune these yellow bastxxds are singing now. Previously it was the heaven-sent Common wealth, with full might of British power behind them coming to the rescue.

    Now it is hell-sent...well what else can you expect, this is Maldesh after all.

  7. MDP is nothing, but a rag bag as previously said by Dr.Shaheed ( Janaazaakudey) They always cry for spilled milk. This is same sir Don few months back MDP and its cult leaders and followers almost praying for him.

  8. Sir Don McKinnon failed at his job to investigate the fall of first democratically elected government of Maldives by a military and police coup, so what is he doing here in the maldives. Duped by the coup government in Maldives, commonwealth members needs to reevaluate how membership money is spend to doctor the CONI report and to legitimize a coup government.

  9. Mohamed Nasheed was forced to resign. Whether he was at gunpoint or its a coup detat or crucification, nobody knows. But he was the president and he didn't want to resign. He resigned because he had no choice. What do you call that? willingly? under duress? gunpoint?
    Anyway, this is old news in a country where nothing is too important to last in our memories for more than a few weeks. So it doesn't matter really. We have an illegitimate government. Life goes on.

  10. Sir Donaldduck, where's the retarted & fully corrupted Selvam judge from Singapore Comsec hired? We dont need the Commonwealth!
    And the name should be changed to Commonwealth of dictators!!

  11. Who TF cares?

    MDP may have the glorious democracy on their sheets. In practice, it was hell loose on all practices and corruption was rampant.

    It may very well be forced resignation. But IT is what it is. He resigned. Legitimate or not is not the question now. For anyone to hang on to this question would try in vain. The current ones on the throne would do everything to last until november.

    Would we be better off with MDP or DRP? or PPM? Very unlikely. What the country needs now is a joint cross party coalition, without the corruption, without the unfit, without the wealthy toying with the parliament.

    Is it likely?? Hell No.

    So, would I want to recognize the coup? acknowledge forced eject? NO. Never! And just so everyone know, I voted for Anni before, convinced atleast 4 of my friends to vote for Anni then, BUT not any more.

    If MDP comes with a clean guy, I will still vote for MDP candidate!


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