MDP questions legitimacy of leaked security force reform proposals

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has questioned the legitimacy of a paper leaked on social media allegedly detailing plans to transfer and reform police and military powers should it win the upcoming presidential election.

MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the party was not aware of having produced any document outlining police reforms as mentioned in local media, despite pledging a ”transitional arrangement” to reform security services in line with recommendations in the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report.

Sun Online reported today that a policy paper, alleged to have been assembled by the MDP in collaboration with former defence chiefs, had been leaked on social media detailing efforts to “neutralise the powers” of the police and military .

Among the proposals said to be included in the paper are the transfer police to the authority of city councils, similar to the US model, while salaries and allowances of officers would be provided through the Local Government Authority (LGA).

The draft is also said to favour creating a national intelligence agency run from the President’s Office, replacing the current police intelligence department, while police forensic activities would be undertaken at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’, according to Sun.

Additionally, the draft reportedly calls for limits to powers granted under the Police Act by limiting the number of branches within the MPS and “dramatically” reducing officer numbers to a force capable of controlling traffic and protests. Local media reported that the report had been compiled to address fears the entire police institution was “anti-MDP”.

MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said he had seen media coverage of the report, but was not aware of efforts within the party to draw up such a document, suggesting its content had been “fabricated”.

He claimed the MDP was presently focused on campaigning for the presidential election scheduled for September 7, while also overseeing what the party called voter protection measures through the use of observers and registration programmes.

While dismissing knowledge of the leaked reform paper, Ghafoor said the party had considered the need for a “transitional agreement” for reforms of the country’s security forces based on recommendations raised in last year’s CoNI report.

“Coup” allegations

The MDP has continued to accuse the country’s security forces of helping orchestrate a “coup e’etat” on February 7, 2012, leading to former President Mohamed Nasheed controversially resigning from office and being later replaced by his then Vice President Dr Moahmed Waheed.

The resignation came after sections of the police and military mutinied against the president on February 7 – a development rejected by the CoNI report, which concluded that the administration of President Waheed had come to power legitimately and not through an alleged coup.

With the CoNI process concluded, Ghafoor accused the Commonwealth and the wider international community of failing to ensure reforms to strengthen democratic institutions called for in the report’s findings were met.

He alleged that the Maldives Police Service (MPS) had failed to fully be transferred from a militarised to civil institution dating back to the administration of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s before the country’s first multi-party democratic election in 2008.

“Gayoom had moved to separate the military and police into different bodies. In the end, he failed to do this adequately,” Ghafoor said.

Despite pledging to reform the police and military, the MDP said it was not planning a “witch-hunt”.

According to Ghafoor, the MDP was instead focused on trying to secure a “huge election majority” in order to carry out reforms with the mandate of the public.

“This will help solve everything,” he said.

Minivan News was at time of press awaiting a response from Police Integrity Commission (PIC) Director General Fathimath Sareera Ali Shareef over the allegations and reforms within the police since last February’s power transfer.

Internal investigations

In June this year, the PIC announced it had concluded investigations into allegations of police brutality against demonstrators of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on February 8, 2012, submitting six cases for prosecution – recommending administrative action by the home ministry against those officers.

However, the police disciplinary board later decided not to take any administrative action against five officers facing criminal prosecution.

According to a status update from the PIC on June 6, the commission had investigated 29 cases of police brutality before forwarding six cases for prosecution.

PIC Vice Chair Haala Hameed told parliament’s Government Oversight Committee on June 4 that the commission had urged then-Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed to suspend the accused officers immediately.

However, Hameed said that the request was not adhered to and at least one of the accused officers was promoted.

Hameed said the commission had failed to identify the police officers in five of the remaining cases while 11 other cases lacked supporting evidence.

Former PIC Chair Shahinda Ismail – who resigned citing failure to hold police accountable for human rights violations – explained to Minivan News in September 2012 that article 44 of the Police Act allows the home minister to ignore PIC recommendations if the commission is informed in writing.


11 thoughts on “MDP questions legitimacy of leaked security force reform proposals”

  1. This looks very real considering how much the MDP hates both the military and police.

    But it will be very dangerous to put forward and implement such a change. considering the already extremely polarized councils.

    Even Male' city council works like a separate government with its President more powerful than the President of the country.

    Taking example from the US model is a big joke, we are not even close to that.. It will take two more generations for the common Maldivians to understand the true values of Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law.

    Moreover, the young democracy is already facing serious challenges from radical islam within the country.

  2. By the way, the Sun Online Report link given on this article doesn't work.. correct link is below.

  3. Nasheed ultimate objective is to abolish the MNDF and Police and sell the country to India.

    This is no surprise and this is a genuine documents and this is why we need to ensure this idiot not even possible to get the smell of the Presidency .

  4. There are several changes necessary in the current police procedure used in court.
    The investigating officer in court swears by the Holy Quran that information supplied to him by second and third parties are true. How could people like Judge Sameer condone such farce and be a party to the swearing in when he knows the police investigating officer had not attended the scene of the crime? And where is Sheikh Imran and the Adhaalath party, champions of Islam in the Maldives?
    If justice were to be properly served the courts would have to throw all prior cases out of the court for contravening Islam which forms the basis of the Constitution.
    Hope someone follows up on this. It would help to descredit the entire judiciary for not adhering to Islam and mabe even get the judges sacked for incompetence.

  5. I fail to see a justification for the existence of the current MNDF! What do they provide? Who are they protecting us from? Let's take a look at potential threats:

    (1) Piracy in the Indian Ocean. MNDF or rather its Coast Guard branch has no capability to monitor even a fraction of our territorial waters.

    (2) Terrorist attacks on local infrastructure. Thankfully, we have not been so far tested on this one, but clearly MNDF are ill prepared to defend even the tourist destinations in Male atoll.

    (3) An external attack. Highly unlikely and in the event of such an attack, MNDF will be vastly outnumbered and incapable of defending the Maldives.

    We should save the money and reduce this over manned and over budgeted institution to a Coast Guard unit capable of monitoring our fishing grounds.

    As for the Police force, disbanding the centralised structure can only be beneficial in the long term. Local police forces should be answerable to local councils and to the local population. Community based policing should be the norm rather than the exception.

  6. I might also add that we could follow the Japanese model and let an external power handle our external security concerns. Such a power could be one of the current global powers such as the United States or regional ones like India.

    The truth is that spending money on ballistics, rockets, sophisticated artillery etc is a total and lunatic waste of the precious little foreign currency we get. There will never be an occasion to use those for real, and even if such an occasion did arise, it would be a futile effort in confrontation.

  7. If it is yours, own it up. Else reject it on grounds of slander.

    Otherwise you are no different to the Supreme Court Judge.

  8. Of course the MDP wont reject it ! The paper was authored with their hidden intentions in mind !

    They want to level the Police and MNDF institutions and reduce it to nothing more than garbage collectors for the City council !

    Can you believe that ?

    Hundreds of graduate holders in the police and armed forces personnel with military training workings under idiotic Councillors who don't even have O-level educational standards ?

    Funny isnt it !

  9. @Individual on Wed, 24th Jul 2013 2:35 PM

    "Hundreds of graduate holders in the police and armed forces personnel with military training workings under idiotic Councillors who don’t even have O-level educational standards ?

    Funny isnt it !"

    Yeah, funny how you cannot write English to O-Level standards!

    Fact of the matter is, MNDF is a bloated over staffed and over budgeted institution sucking millions of Rufiyaa each year for absolutely no benefit to the country. What does their expensive military training do for us? Go, on Mr O-Level, enlighten us.

  10. "Among the proposals said to be included in the paper are the transfer police to the authority of city councils, similar to the US model, while salaries and allowances of officers would be provided through the Local Government Authority (LGA)."

    This a sound and sensible reform proposal, I believe it was even called for in popular forums right after the coup, which suggests popular support for such a move. Restructuring the salary system and appointing regional commissioners might be a way forward.

  11. Ann seems worried that a council elected by the people has more power than an unelected president and his illegal occupational regime. How very democratic of him.

    And kuribee seems to be very confident that his pack of thugs used to beating up and groping unarmed civilians can stand against the might of a nuclear-armed nation's army.

    We're talking about cowards who needed India's help when they were attacked by a hundred or so mercenaries from the LTTE. Except for some true heroes from NSS and MNDF (martyrs and truth-speakers), the rest of them are perverted drug-users who couldn't fight a war against an evenly matched opponent.


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