The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) appeals committee has ruled in favour of the party’s decision to expel Majlis Deputy Speaker and Hulhu Henveiru MP Reeko Moosa Manik.
Although Moosa has described the disciplinary committee’s decision as “discriminatory”, the appeals committee found no evidence that any other MPs had defied the party whip more than once, claiming that Moosa had done so on five occasions.
The party’s decision to expel Moosa was prompted by his failure to attend the Majlis for the vote to remove two Supreme Court judges last month. Five other MDP members who failed to follow the party’s instructions to vote against the removal were asked only to issue a public apology.
The appeal committee’s report’s noted that Moosa had violated the parliamentary group’s three-line whip on four other votes in December, listing them as: voting to consider and then to accept amendments to the Judicature Act, voting to pass the 2015 state budget, and voting to amend the Import Export Act.
Moosa admitted to all but one of the charges investigated by the committee. He denied having received the whip notice for the Import Export Act vote.
Moreover, the report stated that harsher penalties in accordance with the frequency of the offences cannot be considered discriminatory or unfair and that Moosa had admitted to intentionally violating the three-line whip regarding the removal of Chief of Justice Ahmed Faiz and Supreme Court Justice Muthasim Adnan in his appeal letter to party Chairperson Ali Waheed.
The five-member appeals committee – comprising Fareesha Abdulla, Mohamed Mahir Easa, Hassan Zahir, Nazil Afeef, and Hassan Latheef – unanimously agreed there was no basis to bring any changes to the decision taken by the disciplinary committee with regards to Moosa.
Moosa was dismissed on December 22 after the MDP National Council had asked the party’s disciplinary committee to take stern action against MPs who violated the three-line whip in the vote in the controversial Supreme Court judges vote.
The Majlis decision has been deemed unconstitutional by multiple local and international groups including the Maldives’ own Civil Court.
According to the decision by the disciplinary committee if Moosa wishes to rejoin the party, he is required to issue a public apology and obtain 50 new members for the party, but he will be barred from standing for any leadership position or contesting in party primaries for five years.
Responding to the appeals committee, Moosa said that the decision to expel him and to bar him from contesting in the MDP’s internal elections is in contradiction of articles 26 (b), 90 (a) and 109 (a) of the Constitution.
Article 90 states that “No member or other person shall be liable to any proceedings in any court, and no person shall be subject to any inquiry, arrest, detention or prosecution, with respect to anything said in, produced before, or submitted to the People’s Majlis or any of its committees, or with respect to any vote given if the same is not contrary to any tenet of Islam”.
Article 26 defines the rights to vote and contest in elections, and Article 109 defines the requirements of an individual intending to run for the presidency.
Moosa reiterated his belief that the real reason for his dismissal from the party was his announcement that he intented to contest the MDP’s presidential primaries in 2018.
Also former chairperson and parliamentary group leader, Moosa has previously stated that he does not trust the party’s appeal process, but that he would not contemplate taking the party through the courts.
Reeko stated that he would proceed with the matter further after a decision by the Elections Commission, with which he has also lodged a complaint.
When asked previously why he chose to appeal the disciplinary committee’s decision through the MDP’s internal mechanisms despite having stated that he does not trust the party’s appeal process, Moosa asked: “What else is there to do? I would never take MDP to court, I would never do that”.
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