Government’s statement that McKinnon endorsed independence of CNI “misleading”: Commonwealth

The Commonwealth has condemned as “misleading” a statement issued to international media by the Maldivian government, claiming that Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon had endorsed the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) as “impartial, credible and broadly acceptable”.

The offending statement was circulated on May 25 using the PR Newswire service, which PR agencies subscribe to in order to widely distribute releases to publications all over the world.

“We welcome Sir Don McKinnon’s support for the Committee of National Inquiry and are delighted that all the concerns expressed by the Commonwealth will be resolved,” the statement quoted President Mohamed Waheed Hassan as saying.

The Commonwealth Secretariat issued a statement on Saturday in response: “Sir Don has not stated that the Commission of National Inquiry as currently constituted is ‘impartial, credible and broadly acceptable’.”

Instead, the government’s efforts to implement a commitment made to the Special Envoy, to strengthen the powers of the CNI and broaden its composition with an international co-chair and nominee of former President Nasheed, “are still ongoing”.

“Indeed, [Sir Donald McKinnon’s] efforts while in Maldives, and since his departure have been focused on achieving that objective, so that a truly impartial, credible and broadly acceptable Commission of National Inquiry can be put in place within the agreed time-frame,” the Commonwealth stated.

‘Coup’ inquiry

The CNI was established by President Waheed to investigate the controversial circumstances that brought him to power on February 7, following what the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party claimed was a coup d’état orchestrated by members of the former 30 year autocracy.

Police and military officers joined opposition demonstrators in an assault on the country’s military headquarters on the morning of February 7, before storming and taking over the state broadcaster.

President Nasheed subsequently resigned on camera, but later claimed this was under duress. In an audio recording obtained by SBS Australia and aired soon after the events, Nasheed is heard pleading with members of the armed forces for the safety of his wife and children.

The day after Nasheed’s resignation, police launched a brutal crackdown on thousands of protesters, in front of Al-Jazeera and other international media.

President Waheed appointed a three member panel to inquire into the legitimacy of his presidency, including Dr Ibrahim Yasir, Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef and Chair Ismail Shafeeu, Defence Minister under former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The panel was derided by the MDP as lacking independence, a view subsequently shared by the Commonwealth which gave the government a four week deadline to change the composition of the commission to include both a foreign co-chair and a “suitable” nominee to represent Nasheed.

The government agreed to a new June 1 deadline, and then immediately rejected nine of Nasheed’s nominees on the grounds of their “unsuitability”. Conditions imposed by the government included requirements that Nasheed’s appointee not have served in a political position in the past two years, not taken a public stand on the transfer of power, and must “be of good behavior and integrity”.

On Saturday the government issued a second statement – also circulated on PR Newswire – rejecting Nasheed’s latest appointee, Lt. Colonel Zubair Ahmed Manik, whom it argued “does not meet the basic requirement of having an undergraduate degree as per the agreed terms of reference.”

The government expressed “disappointment at former President Nasheed’s continued inability to nominate an appropriate candidate who meets the agreed criteria for inclusion on the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).”

“The repeated proposal of generally unacceptable candidates by the former President Nasheed suggests a lack of seriousness and willingness to cooperate. The administration has already agreed to change the original terms of reference of the CNI following advice from the Commonwealth and to agree on including a foreign judge as co chair of the CNI,” the government said.

“I suspect this is Ruder Finn at work,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, commenting on the statements put up on PRNewswire. The New York-based PR agency was recently hired by the Maldivian government to counteract negative international media, in a deal thought to be worth US$150,000 a month.

Ghafoor said the MDP had initially demanded equal representation on the CNI panel, and the evening before the announcement was made, had been expecting two: “We got one, and gave up on co-chairing it,” he said.

The conditions imposed by the government were paternalistic and a stalling tactic, he suggested.

“Nobody of sane mind thinks the transfer of power wasn’t suspicious,” Ghafoor said. “This government does not have the moral high-ground to paternalistically prescribe conditions.”

While the situation might appear calm during the negotiations, Ghafoor said tensions on the street and during protests remained high, and that it would not take much for it to combust – “I’ve started seeing signs of impunity [on behalf of police],” he said.

“We are under threat – right now, the Commonwealth is the only thing stopping us from all being arrested,” Ghafoor claimed.


18 thoughts on “Government’s statement that McKinnon endorsed independence of CNI “misleading”: Commonwealth”

  1. What is wrong with the following statement ?

    "We welcome Sir Don McKinnon’s support for the Committee of National Inquiry and are delighted that all the concerns expressed by the Commonwealth will be resolved,” the statement quoted President Mohamed Waheed Hassan as saying"

    This article was completely misleading. Government had never launch any crack down of any protesters but only they arrested people who have started put the fire and start to damage the government offices and building.

    Of course no on e has the right to burnt down buildings and those people who are responsible need to be borough to justice.

  2. Who cares what DO or CMAG say, Maldives never a colony of bloody British Bastards and their associates, we always had tuna and coconuts, we can live with them, back off from Maldives, JJ and Co

  3. Hamid A Ghafoor and MDP said that the commission was now independent following the decision to allow Anni to appoint a representative to the commission.

  4. Minivan news quality of reporting has gone down the drain!

  5. Who in Waheed's regime care about "Manners", "Honesty" & "Justice" ? Whenever people have asked for Justice we have given them coconuts...for 30 solid years we did it and Maumoon's government always made sure that there was enough Tuna in the sea. Now Waheed is making sure that there is enough salt water for your wounded heels. MDP can go to hell....All is well in Waheed's heaven.

  6. If this was originally posted by ruder Finn what kind of corporate ethics is that. To get paid by the Maldivian government to spread false news.

  7. The proposed panel of inquiry set up by the Waheed-led government is not credible. It is really incredible. The Maldivian government under-estimates the intelligence of Commonwealth leaders.This is also incredible.

  8. Ah, so this where the PR money is going! The regime is spending millions of dollars on a PR campaign and paying to publish lies. Nice work, but international institutions are more than aware of such tricks.

    "Following a fact finding mission in Maldives, Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Don McKinnon has endorsed the Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) as "impartial, credible and broadly acceptable".

    That's as big a lie as it gets, so big that the Commonwealth had to intervene to disagree with that statement.

    What a disgraceful act. The regime will now try to deflect the ineffectiveness of the dysfunctional CNI onto Nasheed! You see, the regime was never sincere about an inquiry. The CNI is a ploy to deflect attention and delay any meaningful investigations into the illegal transfer of power on the 7th of February.

    Furthermore, this one is just hilarious:
    "... and highlighted the important role that the CNI would play in facilitating democratic progress in Maldives."

    How can a three man band hand picked by the head of an illegal regime "facilitate" any form of democratic progress?

  9. This is typical bullying and misleading behaviour from a dictatorship. Their "heads we win, tails you lose" approach is insulting to the CW, the MDP and the common man on he street.

    Ruder and Finn should be ashamed of thems elves too = blood money.

  10. Someone tell me, ref this coup investigation, why do the govt. get 3 people and the alleged victims here get 1 ? Am I missing something obvious here. Someone please explain???? How can this fair?

  11. Shooting down minivan is just shooting down the messenger, the reaction of those who cannot tolerate the truth. Good work,jj and minivan. Keep it up!

  12. Read the CW press release, it is far stronger and to the point against Waheed!!

  13. Its not that much important what CMAG say but rather more important what the people of Maldives says.

    Remember that Maldivian are not only MDP members but others are also citizens of Maldives and people need to respect their views also.

    Anni lost his presidency due to his incapability of running the nations and his arrogant attitude and for taking our constitution into his own hand and get it translated to his now terms.

    Anni had violated our constitution many times. As a result of this , he lost his job on 7th. This is the fact and no matter how hard MDP thugs try to twist the storey, it will never changed.,

    Anni had over 3000 political posts during his regime who are being paid over 40,000 rufiyaa a month. This people along with thier family embers are the people who are behind Anni and trying to show the international media that the entire Maldives is opposing this change.

    If you look at the lats 8 election since 7th Feb. non of those seats were able to win by MDP and that speaks itself.

    Guys wake up and talk with facts

  14. For those still insisting on "facts" - here are the simple facts, put fairly simply, facts we have seen and heard and witnessed ad nauseum.
    1. Our democratically elected president was overthrown by an undemocratic minority, who have a stunning 30 year track record of their inability to evolve while systematically looting the nation.
    2.Now,armed with their stash and having bought themselves a coup d'etat (thanks to a puppet V-president) they have been busy bribing and buying whoever else they can, thus just managing to secure 2 by-elections and some dodgy MPs, to declare that they are "legit".
    3.To add insult to injury, they have channelled some of this cash to a slightly flaky PR firm in an attempt to whitewash their stuff and delay what they should do - have early elections.
    4. So far this image laundering is money down the drain:n.b. the nation's money. No one sane is buying it, including most Maldivians (who are tired of thinking), plus the Commonwealth and those who can muster the courage/energy to raise their heads from the sand that is the desert of the world we live in.
    5. Desert sands move and change. Illusion (and money) can only go so far. The truth will win, often later vs sooner.(Um.. 3 facts in one)
    6. Stats are not facts but often propaganda tools - and we are sick of them already, already in just over 100 dreadful days with this lot and their mumbo jumbo.
    7. Perhaps, the people who need to "wake up" are the very people who hide behind so-called "facts". Face the truth- ideally before it outstares you.Seriously, it ain't so bad you know, in fact its quite empoweringly good:) Try it. Today.You won't look back.

  15. If this what you call 'independent' reporting, then Maumoon did a better job.


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