Welcome to a new decade. The first year of democracy has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. It saw a huge role reversal as government turned to opposition, and opposition turned to government.
This column is thus dedicated to the heterodoxy in the new political environment – for so long it was just about one man. Now, there are many different voices.
As this is a new year, Aboohéra will gaze into his crystal ball and see what the future holds in store. Here are some predictions for the year- in ascending order of likelihood.
Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed becomes leader of DRP
The MP for Kulhudhuffushi South wants to shake things up. But he does not appear to be sure how. For the past year he has been vacillating, unable to take a firm decision on how he will spend this parliamentary term.
Indeed, he has been unsure of his affiliation with the DRP. He first contested the seat as an independent candidate but did not leave the party. After waiting for several months, he left the party.
Winning the presidency in 2013 is said to be his ambition. He will realize that contesting the election on the DRP ticket is his best chance of success. He will rejoin the party before its Congress due in April, and will pull a surprise victory over the infinitely better funded and better organised Thasmeen.
The DRP congress delegates will shock the country by their decision, as they demonstrate that DRP members do care more about rhetoric than cash.
Adhaalath party declares a ceasefire in their war on discotheques
Last year the party that controls the Islamic Affairs Ministry took a tough stance on discos. They issued an edict against them and directed the police to clamp down on them during the last two New Years Eves.
They have also banned a barbeque that was to be held at Holiday Inn during the upcoming solar eclipse. This has led to some degree of unhappiness amongst young people who like to dance and eat grilled sausages (though not necessarily at the same time).
This year, the party will come to the realisation that there are far greater threats to the religious unity of the country than discos. They will also accept that young people need sources of entertainment.
The freedom to dance and be entertained is better than getting holed up in dingy little apartments and doing brown sugar. The minister will retain the title DJ Majeed, but no longer in an ironic sense.
Former president Gayoom wins the Nobel Peace Prize
Former president Gayoom did not have a good year. Apart from having to suffer the ignominy of being taken to the police for questioning, all his achievements on the environmental front have been forgotten. The international community has forgotten all about how Gayoom stood up to global warming and how well he handled the influx of aid after the 2004 tsunami.
The year 2010 will rectify all that. The international community will accept that the new government’s entire climate change policy was based on Gayoom’s vision.
It will be revealed that carbon neutrality was actually first laid out in the Vision 2020 document. They will recognise that the current MDP government was standing on the shoulders of a giant and they will belatedly award Gayoom the prize that had until now eluded him.
This accolade will quench the former president’s thirst for the limelight. He will gracefully retire from public life and assume the role of respected elder statesmen. He will turn down an offer to become the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Dr. Hassan Saeed makes a spectacular political comeback
The only politician that has had a worse year than Gayoom is Hassan Saeed. He resigned his position in government after a hundred days. His party only won two seats in the parliamentary elections. They ignored his whip on Dr. Shaheed’s vote of no confidence that resulted in an open split in the ranks.
In effect he no longer controls any seats in parliament. And to cap it all, President Nasheed has announced that he will not hold a mid-term election that Saeed had pinned so much hope on.
This year, the Gaumee Party’s relentlessly negative campaign will finally pay dividends as people come to the decision that it’s expose of government expenses on overseas trips are the real reason for the nation’s economic woes. As this realisation dawns, their support will extend from the current narrow base of middle-aged women in Feydhoo.
In 2010, Hassan Saeed will once again become a relevant force in Maldivian politics.
And so there you have it; some predictions for the New Year. Hopefully at least two or three will come true.
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