The ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said it does not recognise the Committee of National Inquiry (CNI), in response to the committee’s call for cooperation on Thursday.
President Mohamed Waheed Hassan charged the CNI with looking into the legality and legitimacy of the transfer of presidential power on February 7. The MDP alleges former President Mohamed Nasheed was deposed in a coup d’état and have called for early elections.
The CNI told local media all political parties have complied with request for statements except for the MDP. But the committee said it believed MDP may cooperate if the CNI addressed the party’s concerns, local media reported.
The MDP has raised concerns over the committee’s composition. The CNI is chaired by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Defence Minister Ismail Shafeeu. The MDP has also called for strong international presence on the commission. The EU and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) have supported the call.
The CNI did not appear to commit to addressing MDP concerns, but instead requested dialogue.
However, MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Gafoor said, “We do not recognise the CNI. How can the people who instigated a coup investigate the coup? There is no validity in the process. How can we give any weight to it?”
Gafoor also noted that the CNI had not requested for statements from officials of Nasheed’s administration.
According to local media Sun Online, committee head Ismail Shafeeu said, “[The MDP] have told media that they are dissatisfied with the commission. They have said the same to us.”
Further, CNI member Mohamed Fawaz Shareef had said he believed the MDP may cooperate if the CNI addressed the party’s complaints. The CNI have now requested for dialogue with the party, reports Sun Online.
According to Sun Online, the CNI also said although the UN had assured the committee of assistance, the committee had not heard back from the UN. The CMAG has offered assistance to the investigation, but the government said it favors UN assistance over that of the Commonwealth.
The CNI have requested for statements or videos to be uploaded to its website if witnesses are uncomfortable with submitting statements in person.
The CNI has said its inquiry is not a criminal investigation, but that the final report will consist of the three members’ opinions on the events of February 7.
Minivan News tried to contact the CNI for further comment, but the committee said it did not speak to the media except during its biweekly press briefings.
The committee is expected to complete its inquiry by May 31.
Dr Waheed Hassan told local television station Villa TV (VTV) he would resign and reinstate ousted President Nasheed if the CNI established the February 7 transfer of power to be illegitimate.
The MDP has criticised the lack of cross-party consultation in compiling the committee and the lack of international experts on the committee.
“It has been conceived and imposed by those parties allied to Dr Waheed without any consultation with MDP. It does not include any eminent international experts. And the inclusion of individuals who held Cabinet posts during the autocratic government of former President Gayoom, including the appointment of a Chair – Mr. Ismail Shafeeu – who had held various ministerial posts under former President Gayoom including the position of Defense Minister at a time of widespread human rights abuses in the country, suggests that no effort has been made to ensure independence and impartiality,” the MDP said in February.
The EU, Commonwealth, India, UK and the US have called for an impartial investigation.
Local NGOs Transparency Maldives, Maldivian Democracy Network, Maldives NGO Federation and Democracy House have called on the CNI to seek cross-party support, international assistance and have asked for observer status.
According to the CNI’s website, its members held meetings with the Adhaalath Party, the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM). The CNI has also met Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon, the UN’s Mediation Expert, and three NGOs. These are the Maldives Democracy Network, Transparency Maldives, and Democracy House.
It has also met with media outlets, the Attorney General’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, Communication Authority of Maldives, Police Integrity Commission, Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, the Civil Service Commission and the Prosecutor General’s Office.