The timeline of events made public by the former Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) last week “proves that former Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik participated in the coup d’etat that took place on 7th February 2012,” the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said, calling on President Waheed to offer his resignation.
In a statement yesterday, the MDP contended that facts included in the CNI timeline proved Waheed’s involvement in the alleged coup and established that former President Mohamed Nasheed “was forced to resign under duress.”
The CNI timeline referred to representatives of the December 23 coalition meeting the then-vice president at 1am on 31 January, where they pledged allegiance to Dr Waheed and urged him to take control of the executive.
The MDP argued that Waheed’s assurance to the opposition leaders that he was prepared to fulfill his responsibilities was in violation of the constitution.
“Article 117(a) of the constitution states that the Vice President’s responsibilities are those which are delegated to him by the President,” the statement explained.
“Thus, when the Vice President met with opposition leaders plotting to overthrow the government and told them that he was ‘prepared to fulfill his constitutional duties’, these duties were in fact those delegated to him by the President. By participating in the government overthrow, Vice President Waheed clearly defied the mandate given to him by President Nasheed, and it is clear that Waheed’s actions were not in accordance with the Constitution.”
The CNI timeline acknowledged that police officers in uniform entered the MDP haruge around midnight on 7 February, the MDP statement noted, where they vandalised the premises and assaulted supporters inside the camp.
However, point 90 of the timeline stated that Vice President Waheed issued a statement via opposition media shortly after the attack on Haruge “characterising the police protest as peaceful, without condemning these violent actions.”
“In the statement the Vice President said: ‘I fully support the peaceful activity that many Maldivians are carrying out,'” the MDP statement noted.
The former ruling party observed that the timeline confirmed that “police were mutinying in Republic Square, which is an area where gatherings are prohibited, calling for the resignation of the President and senior officials of government.”
While the President, Home Minister, Defence Minister and Commissioner of Police were all advising the protesting police to vacate the square, the MDP noted that “the Vice President’s statement via the media encouraged them to carry on their rebellion.”
Moreover, points 158 through 166 of the CNI timeline stated that “the mutinying police and civilians were conducting an uninterrupted assault on the headquarters of the Maldives National Defence Force.”
Point 156 meanwhile acknowledged that police officers at the square charged and attacked MDP protesters on the morning of 7 February, resulting in “serious injuries” to party members.
Points 167 and 168 confirmed that weapons and shields from the police headquarters were distributed to civilians at the Republic Square, the MDP observed, which was “under the control of mutinying police and the civilians that had joined them.”
Moreover, point 207 stated that according to media reports, an announcement was made at the square that President Nasheed was detained inside the MNDF headquarters. Minivan News journalists at the scene on 7 February heard the announcement at about 10am.
The CNI timeline also referred to current Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim emerging from the MNDF barracks to inform the crowd that he had demanded the “immediate and unconditional resignation” of the President, adding that the demand was “non-negotiable.”
Nazim, a retired colonel, was a civilian at the time.
“During all these events, point 170 of the timeline reveals that Vice President Mohamed Waheed did not go to the President’s Office despite it being an official government day and the day of the regular cabinet meeting,” the MDP observed.
The MDP statement went on to note that the timeline confirmed the presence of Nazim and current Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz inside the President’s Office after Nasheed was escorted there under heavy military guard, “despite having no official capacity or status.”
Points 236, 241, 242 and 244 of the timeline revealed that Nasheed’s resignation letter was not delivered to the Speaker of Parliament by official dispatch, the statement added.
Photos emerged on 7 February of Nazim and Riyaz carrying the resignation letter to parliament.
“The biggest revelation from the timeline released by the Commission of National Inquiry, and as proved by the points listed above, is that power changed hands on 7th February 2012 through a coup d’état conducted by the police and military with the support of opposition political leaders and Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed,” the MDP statement concluded.
“Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has repeatedly stated during meetings with diplomats and international partners that he would resign if it were proven that the events of 7th February 2012 were a coup d’état. Given these statements, the Maldivian Democratic Party calls on Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik to offer his resignation.”
In an interview with the BBC last week, Dr Waheed said that should the CNI “find out that I had a role in bringing about a coup, then I would definitely resign.”
He however added, “But if I have no role – if somebody else has done it – it doesn’t mean I have to resign, according to the law of the Maldives.”
Contacted by Minivan News for a response to the MDP statement today, President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said the government had “no comment”.
Riza however noted that the MDP was “not an investigative body.”
Points noted by the MDP from the former CNI’s timeline:
- Point 14: Vice President met with some leaders of the [Opposition] Coalition on the night of 30 January 2012 at Hilaaleege, his residence. He was asked at the meeting whether he was prepared to carry out his legal responsibilities. He said he was ready to do so. Coalition leaders held a press conference after the meeting to announce their endorsement of the Vice President [for President].
- Point 17: Following Coalition discussions, protests began at Artificial Beach on 2 February 2012. At the protest, Adhaalath Party leader Imran Abdulla calls for police to arrest President Nasheed within five days [by 8 February].
- Point 27: At the protests Adhaalath Party announces that its National Council had unanimously decided President Nasheed was not a worthy leader and had declared their full support for Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.
- Point 29: Home Minister asked Police Commissioner to remove police from the area where protests were being held.
- Point 34: President Nasheed called the Commissioner a second time and ordered him to remove the police from the area, saying confidence in the police has been lost.
- Point 41: When the military officers asked the police to leave the area, the Police Commander said they would not leave unless replacements arrive. President Nasheed phoned the Deputy Commissioner to say he was not adequately carrying out his responsibilities, and asked him to stay at home.
- Point 47: On receiving the order from President Nasheed to have his officers removed from the area, the Male’ Area Commander considered the situation and, seeing the atmosphere as uneasy, gave the order for them to move to the Saw Mill area instead of the HQ. He thought they may have to return to the Artificial Beach soon if they left.
- Point 113: When President Nasheed entered the main gates of Bandaara Koshi, he addressed some military officers gathered there and said police out there had mutinied and needed to be arrested. He then went inside and into the Defence Minister’s office.
- Point 143: Suddenly, without consulting with the military, President Nasheed went to the Republic Square and began addressing the police. In addition to the bodyguards who accompanied him, Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Forces were with him. When he spoke, some MPs were also beside him.
“I am still talking to the Maldivian police. I think you have done something wrong. I accept that given the way things happened you may not have properly realised what you were doing or where you were going. But, it is still my wish that you hand yourselves over to the police station or to the military. I assure you that I will not allow anything bad to happen to you.”
- Point 144: Police refused to accept President Nasheed’s proposal to hand themselves over to the military.
- Point 145: President Nasheed called over to him one of the policemen who he sent over to the military. When he called a second policeman, even though he came over, returned to sit with the police who had started protesting.
- Point 156: As the police were finishing their recital, a group of MDP protesters holding hands approached the police from the back. Police and Coalition protesters confronted them and dispersed them. Several MDP people and police were injured during the attempts to stop the confrontation. Rumours spread among the police that one of their members had been stabbed in the neck with steel rod.
- Point 158: When the noise outside the main gate area of Bandaar Koshi became very loud, members of the military who were waiting to meet with the president ran towards the main gate assuming that people were trying to force their way into the military headquarters.
- Point 163: From here onwards police released a lot of gas. A large number of the military and public at Republic Square dispersed from the area as a result. The way the wind was blowing that day, all the gas travelled south towards Bandaar Koshi. Shortly afterwards, the police moved forward spraying tear gas as they approached. The police and the public threw at the military anything they could get their hands on. The confrontation on both sides was intense and the public, military and the police sustained varying degrees of injuries.
- Point 164: Public and the police confronted the military and pushed them back as far as their main headquarters. As the military retreated, they were firing riot guns.
- Point 165: Once most of the military on retreat had entered the headquarters, the main gates were shut. Some members of the military could not get in and had to remain outside.
- Point 166: Police and public were throwing bottles and various other things in the whole area. Chairs and various other household equipment were also thrown onto the streets and into the Bandaara Koshi from within the building.
- Point 167: Windows on the first floor of the military headquarters were opened and shields were distributed to military personnel and the public.
- Point 168: All areas near the Republic Square were brought under police control. The area was under the supervision of the police and the public.
- Point 170: Cabinet Secretariat notified all cabinet members via SMS, except Vice President, that the cabinet meeting was on that day. Although the Vice President’s secretariat was aware of the meeting, Dr Waheed did not receive the message. Two senior members of the Vice President’s secretariat did not report for work that day.
- Point 207: Media reports reported members of the public at the Republic Square as saying President Nasheed had been arrested.
- Point 210: After Abdulla Riyaz and Nazim conducted their negotiations inside Bandaara Koshi, Nazim emerged to address the Republic Square. He said he had made two proposals.
“Assalaam alaikum. I hope everybody is okay. Yes, I have just met with the Defence Minister and all high-ranking military personnel and made a proposal of ours. The proposal was that the President should resign without condition. And, after that, to transfer all powers to the Vice President. Our second condition was that the Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh and both his deputies resign at once. We told them these are non-negotiable conditions. These are not things up for further discussion. We assure the beloved Maldivians, military and police who are with us that, God willing, these things will happen this way by the deadline we have set for 1:30 today. When I entered the military headquarters I was given a very happy scene. Everyone within the military lifted me up and very completely revealed their support for me. God willing, things will happen today as we want. I ask the military, police and people to patiently remain with us.”
- Point 228: Minister of Defence and National Security, Minister of Finance, Minister of Transport and Communication, Special Envoy to the President, Chief of Staff at the President’s Office, and Cabinet Secretary were in attendance [at the cabinet meeting].
- Point 229: At the meeting the President said he had to resign and gave his reasons. He said under the circumstances he saw it best to resign.
- Point 232: While he was at the Ghaazee Maalam, Nazim, Fayaz and Riyaz also came in.
- Point 233: Nazim told President Nasheed that Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid had enquired after the resignation letter President Nasheed was sending to the Majlis.
- Point 234: President Nasheed asked the Cabinet Secretary about the resignation letter who replied that it had not yet been prepared. The president asked him to bring a pen and paper. When the President’s official Letterhead paper and a pen were brought, President Nasheed wrote the resignation letter in his own hand and signed it. He was standing at a podium in the room.
- Point 236: President Nasheed announced his resignation himself, in the presence of the cabinet members, in front of the media, live, at 12:57 p.m.
“Beloved citizens of the Maldives. I see that if I were to continue as President of the Maldives a lot of harm may befall Maldivians and the Maldives. Therefore, as of today, I am resigning from the post of the President of the Maldives. I have never wanted to rule by force. I came to this decision because, in my opinion, I sincerely believe, that if this government is to be maintained, it would require the use of extreme force and cause harm to a lot of citizens. Also, in my opinion, if attempts are to be made to maintain this government, it is very likely that the Maldives will become susceptible to foreign influences. I have always wished the best for Maldivians and will continue to do so in the future. I have made the decision today to resign for the benefit of Maldivians, with sincere respect and keeping in mind the high levels of support Maldivians have shown me. I hope that Maldivians will see a more prosperous tomorrow and I pray our lives will be good now and in the hereafter.”
- Point 241: Before he left, the military arranged a three-line strong cordon to reinforce security in the area.
- Point 242: Riyaz and Nazim accompanied President Nasheed. Riyaz had the President’s resignation letter in his hand at the time.
- Point 244: Speaker of the Parliament received President Nasheed’s resignation letter at 13:43.