Prospective presidential candidate of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Umar Naseer, has said the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012 happened as a result of the failure of all state institutions and the then largest opposition party, Dhivehi Rayiithunge Party (DRP).
“The HRCM (Human Rights Commission of the Maldives) had become an entity which was only good for releasing vague reports. We saw that only the PG was effective in that he did some work and made some strong, solid statements,” Umar said, speaking at a rally titled “In celebration of reclaiming the people’s government”, held by the PPM in celebration of the first anniversary of the change of power.
“The police and the MNDF had their hands tied by [former President Mohamed Nasheed], and could only do as he instructed them to. I’d describe the judges as having been kept kneeling on the ground. Even DRP’s leadership had failed at the time. This is why we had to leave them and form another party. But what I am saying is that at the time, even the opposition had failed,” Umar continued.
“As a result of the failure of all these institutions, the people came out, struggled through tear gas and rubber bullets, and finally succeeded in bringing Nasheed’s government to an end.”
DRP MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom told Minivan News that the party “did not wish to comment on baseless, empty rhetoric.”
Umar told the approximately 600 people gathered at the rally that February 7 had been a result of “the hard work done by PPM members for the three years since November 11, 2008.”
“After having scored the golden goal and winning the match on February 7, our people bore many injuries when they went back home,” Umar said.
“Our people made their way through rubber bullets. Our people were hit by rubber bullets. Our people were admitted to hospital. Some of our people broke arms and legs. Many of them were arrested,” Umar stated.
“Many said to our people: ‘You won’t be able to do this’, but our people ignored these pessimistic remarks, ignored the pain they were in, and went forward to succeed.”
Citizens, police, MNDF changed government: Umar Naseer
Naseer alleged that had Nasheed’s administration not been toppled on February 7, Nasheed would have set in place “plans he had made to completely destroy the judiciary on February 8.”
Naseer alleged that Nasheed had planned to sideline the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and instead replace it with a self-appointed Judicial Reform Commission.
“The President’s Office has a copy of a circular that Nasheed had signed and prepared for release. This circular shows that he had made up a Judicial Reform Commission to which he had appointed Mariya [Ahmed Didi, former Chairperson and MP of MDP] as head, and other party officials who would do his bidding. He planned to have judges take oath in front of this commission instead of the JSC, and to declare that any judge who did not would no longer be allowed in our courts.”
Naseer compared the events of February 7 to other historical events in the Maldives.
“The day was similar to when the Portuguese tried to force alcohol down the throats of Maldivians. Bodu Thakurufaanu and his allies had come to Male’ and saved the country then. February 8 was about to become a day like this, but the people saved the country by toppling Nasheed on February 7,” Umar suggested.
“Even the Chief Justice was scared and apprehensive, not knowing just when Nasheed would send security forces to arrest him,” he alleged.
“The most ordinary people of this country came out and changed the government a year ago. They included police, MNDF soldiers and general citizens,” Naseer stated.
“February 7 didn’t happen due to any greatness of ours. It was a victory granted by the Almighty Allah. Of course, Allah only grants victory when some humans put in an effort, which is what we did.”
Legal action against Nasheed must be hurried: Naseer
Naseer further said that the state institutions were “once again leaning back on their hind legs” and failing to take legal action against Nasheed.
“The arson attacks on February 8 were the largest of their kind in the country’s history. It must be called the ‘big flame’. That day wouldn’t have come if this government had taken strong action against Nasheed. We would have been able to save so much then,” Naseer said, criticised the current government of which PPM is also part.
“But then, our government was very new at the time. It had suddenly ascended to power and had a lot of matters to settle. Maybe that’s why they failed to take necessary action.”
Naseer then said that the institutions were once again failing to function as mandated, citing their “failure to take action against the MDP who are orchestrating street protests and yelling near houses.”
“Mohamed Nasheed still comes out onto the streets. He does as he pleases. He says what he pleases. He goes to foreign countries. He is even destroying our tourism. He is calling out for various action to be taken against us. He is able to do all this, in my view, because our institutions continue to fail us. Please don’t let this happen,” Naseer said.
“Remember that this victory is only temporary. We will only have fully succeeded when we win the 2013 elections. PPM will do all possible to ensure this,” Umar said.
“But as our party does this work, I call on all state institutions, the Attorney General, Prosecutor General, judges in all the courts, to keep in mind the ‘big flame’ incident of February 8 and take necessary action against its perpetrators,” Naseer said.
“Most importantly, I call on them to very quickly look into Nasheed’s arrest of Abdulla Ghazee [Abdulla Mohamed, Chief Judge of the Criminal Court] and to take whatever possible legal action against him soon,” Naseer said, concluding his speech.
President’s Office Spokesperson Ahmed Thaufeeq was not responding to calls at the time of press. HRCM Vice President Ahmed Tholal and Prosecutor General Ahmed Muiz were also not responding to calls, as was MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor and MP Mariya Ahmed Didi.