The ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has publicised a document listing a series of text messages allegedly sent to Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim’s phone following former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation on February 7.
The retired colonel was a central figure in Nasheed’s downfall. Video footage on February 7 show Nazim addressing police and military officers gathered in Republican Square, saying he had delivered an ultimatum on their behalf demanding Nasheed’s resignation.
Nasheed subsequently held a press conference at 1:30 pm on February 7 and publicly announced his resignation. Video footage shows Nazim accompanying Nasheed into the press briefing. Shortly afterwards former Vice-President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan was sworn in as President. Nazim was among President Waheed’s first cabinet appointments.
Nasheed later claimed he had left office “under duress” in a coup d’état orchestrated by remnants of the former dictatorship, funded by several resort interests and carried out by mutinous police and military units.
The text messages, publicised on Sunday night at a MDP rally at Usfasgandu, were allegedly sent to Nazim’s phone between 9:52 am and 4:44 pm on February 7. They appear to offer congratulations from security forces, family members, prominent businesses including tourism tycoon Ahmed Nazeer of Crown Company Pvt. Ltd., and prominent politicians including Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer. The document also claims Majlis Speaker Abdulla Shahid sent a message to Nazim at 1:42 pm stating “Need to talk urgently.”
Nazim declined to comment to Minivan News, stating that his lawyers were in the process of verifying the document’s authenticity. Minivan News’ cross-check suggests a match between the phone numbers and their registered owners as listed on the document.
According to the document, three phone numbers registered with the Crown Company Pvt. Ltd offered congratulations to Nazim. Tourism Tycoon Ahmed Nazeer allegedly said at 1:28 pm: “Congratulations. Once a soldier, always a soldier. Keep up the good work, but don’t go overboard. Thanks and regards, Nazeer.”
A Malaysian number which the MDP claims belongs to retired MNDF Lieutenant General Anbaree Abdul Sattar at 4:39 pm said: “Heartfelt congratulations. I pray Allah gives you the patience and wisdom as you proceed to be magnanimous and be mindful of the vow you have made to uphold the constitution and the constitution of the Maldives, Anbaree.” Anbaree had also served as former President and ruler of 30 years Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Ambassador to India.
Deputy Leader of PPM Umar Naseer at 2:51 pm allegedly says: “Extremely grateful for your service in saving this country and its religion, thank you, Umar Naseer.”
Speaking to Australia’s SBS journalist Mark Davis in February, Naseer had said Nazim had called him to request permission to negotiate with Nasheed on behalf of the then-opposition. Naseer also said he had been working from “a small command center where we do all the protests.”
Several security forces personnel also allegedly sent text messages to Nazim thanking and congratulating him for his role in Nasheed’s resignation.
A text message from retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Abdul Shakoor Abdulla said: “Allah Akbar Allah Akbar Akbar Alh’amdhu Lillah. Congratulations! Abdul Shakoor Abdulla Rtd. Dy Com of Police.”
Abdulla Junaid, an MNDF Sergeant, allegedly texted: “Was very happy to see you among the soldiers. Congratulations sir. Regards Junaid,” whilst a number registered with Lieutenant Colonel Zakariyya Mansoor reportedly sent a text message saying, “Congratulations, Mansoor.”
Another text message from a man identifying himself as “Riya” from an unlisted number said: “Moosa Jaleel’s 15 year savage reign is now over. I was one of those forced to resign. I am really proud to say I’m done STF with you in same platoon. Congratulations, Riya, five rises.” Moosa Jaleel was Chief of the Defense Forces under Nasheed. He resigned shortly after President Waheed took his oath of office.
Two text messages also appear to discuss details of then VP’s movements and logistics for a press conference. A number registered with the MNDF at 2:51 pm says: “Sir vp getting ready to move to majlis,” while a man identifying himself as Colonel Adurey at 3:21 pm asks when media briefing should be scheduled.
Family members also appear to have texted Nazim on the day. A number belonging to Abdul Majeed Ahmed says: “Dear nazim, Most welcome n prosperity I am proud of you. regards, Bappa [father].”
MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Gafoor said the texts were evidence that the “coup was pre-planned and executed to stakeholders’ satisfaction.”