Local television station DhiTV has leaked an audio clip appearing to involve former President Mohamed Nasheed discussing the opinions of several Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) members concerning February’s transfer of power.
In the recording, Nasheed is alleged to have said that three Commonwealth foreign ministers sent to investigate the controversial power transfer had determined that the events on February 7 did not amount to a coup.
Foreign Ministers from Bangladesh, Barbados and Australia visited the country in February concurrent with the body’s remit to investigate potential violations of the organisation’s political values.
In the clip, Nasheed appears to be recounting his discussions with the CMAG members.
“I asked them, if they decide that that’s what happened, what will I do next? The entire opposition of this country will go to prison,” Nasheed appears to claim in the clip, reported to be an excerpt from a thirty minute-long recording.
MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Minivan News that he doubted the clip’s authenticity.
“It’s difficult to believe that Nasheed would talk about it publicly. I feel it is a fabrication,” said Ghafoor.
After sending its investigative team, CMAG announced that it had not been possible to determine the constitutionality of the transfer of power.
The group, therefore, recommended that an independent investigation, with international representation, be conducted.
The Maldives, which since 2009 was a member of CMAG – the Commonwealth’s eight nation watchdog group – was subsequently suspended from the body after being placed on its formal agenda.
Continued pressure for inter-party dialogue and early elections from the Commonwealth led to strong criticism of the organisation from local politicians earlier this year, before resulting in the eventual reconstitution of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).
The CNI is scheduled to publicly publish its findings on August 30.
Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has suggested that he and his ministers be reinstated should the investigation find evidence that a “coup” had taken place.
The party also promised its acquiescence in the event that the CNI find no evidence of illegal activity whatsoever, a likelihood Nasheed does not anticipate.
Meanwhile, the government, which has steadfastly denied it came to power in a “coup d’etat”, has officially refused to speculate on the possible fallout from the CNI report.
Leaders from the minority leadership party in the Majlis, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), have said that they would challenge any results which disputed the legitimacy of the President Waheed’s unity government.