Former President Mohamed Nasheed has rejoined his party’s ‘Journey of Pledges’ in the southern atolls following his release from custody on Wednesday.
Prior to his original departure last week on the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) campaign trip, Nasheed was placed under a travel ban restricting his movements to the capital.
The Department of Judicial Administration have confirmed that Nasheed had requested permission before leaving the Male’ area to rejoin his party. The Foreign Ministry observed in a statement that Nasheed was no longer under a travel ban.
He has since flown south and rejoined his party which is currently in Fuvamulah in Gnaviyani Atoll, continuing its door to door programs and policy workshops in order to gather information ahead of the next election – scheduled for July 2013 at the earliest.
Nasheed had been returned to Male’ on Monday after the Hulhumale’ Magistrates Court ordered the police to produce him at the first hearing in the Judge Abdullah Mohamed detention case on Tuesday.
Nasheed’s lawyers asked the three member panel of judges to give them a time period of 30 days to study the evidence and prepare a defence.
The judges however gave a period of 25 days. They announced that the next hearing would be held on November 4, 2012.
He will fly back to Male’ after the completion of the campaign at the Equatorial Convention Center in Hithadhoo on Saturday October 13 while the rest of the five boat flotilla returns separately.
President of the MDP’s Youth Wing, Shauna Aminath, said that the trip had been extremely useful in gathering specific information on the situation in the atolls.
A similar trip is planned for the northern atolls before the end of the year.
Shauna said that the party had been made aware of the deficiencies in public service provision in a number of areas.
“At almost every island, people have said that since February 7 they have been having problems receiving benefits for single mothers and for those with special needs,” she said.
Shauna also noted a failure to provide consistent public transport as promoted under the Nasheed administration.
“Almost every island said the ferry system had been stopped by non-MDP councils,” said Shauna. “People have grown to appreciate the need for public transport – we found a way around the problems but the people who have the passion and commitment are not there.”
Shauna said that some ferry services were refusing to take small numbers of passengers while others even asked passengers to provide fuel for the service.
She also alleged that the party had gathered information regarding the sacking of MDP supporting government workers since February in what she described as a “witch-hunt”.
The seeming reversal of decentralisation policies observed in the trip – such as those concerning local health workers – was reminiscent of the “old style” under the 30 year Presidency of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, said Shauna.
In April the government announced its intention to annul provincial health and utility corporations in an attempt to streamline and improve service delivery.
The Local Government Authority (LGA) has said that it intends to revise the current system of local governance which it has described as prohibitively expensive for the country – which is said to cost US$12 million a year in salaries.