Vice President of the Civil Alliance coalition of NGOs, Abdulla Mohamed, has claimed that a leaked document allegedly signed by all then-opposition political parties to commit to toppling former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government is not authentic, and that the signatures of party representatives are forged.
The document, apparently signed and sealed by the parties and the Civil Alliance, purports to be blueprint of a plot to overthrow the government, forcing former President Nasheed to resign, and have the Supreme Court order him to remain away from politics for the rest of his life.
The document is dated December 29, 2011 and features the signatures and seals resembling those of the then-opposition parties Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Jumhoree Party (JP), Dhivehi Rayythunge Party (DRP), People’s Alliance (PA) and the Civil Alliance.
The unauthenticated signatures appear to include those of PPM Vice President Umar Naseer, Islamic Minister Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed (on behalf of the AP), Leader of the DQP Dr Hassan Saeed, Leader of the JP Gasim Ibrahim, DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim on behalf of the PA.
“This agreement, is an agreement agreed by friendly political groups, after having come to the belief that current President Mohamed Nasheed of Galolhu Kenereege should no longer be allowed to remain as the president of this country, to completely bar Nasheed from politics and to eradicate the existence of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who are being influenced by Christianity for the sake of the country’s future, for reasons that include: dishonoring the religion Islam and the laws of this country, openly promoting anti-Islamic mottos, refusing to enforce Islamic Sharia’, indulging in anti-Islamic activities, arbitrarily arresting political opponents, acting contempt of the courts of the law,” states the document’s introduction.
Abdulla Mohamed dismissed the document: “I swear by Allah, that I have never signed an agreement with any political parties both in my personal capacity and in my capacity as the Vice President of the Civil Alliance. Any agreement, had we made one, would have been live on television. I even have the minutes of meetings held with political parties and I will reveal them soon.”
Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, Gasim Ibrahim, Sheik Shaheem and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim have all denied the validity of the document to local media.
“I helped Waheed out of the mess”: Ahmed Faiz
Former Deputy CEO of Maldives Ports Limited Ahmed Faiz – who recently defected to the MDP following his arrest for allegedly attempting to blackmail Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed in a sex-tape scandal – told Minivan News that it would have been “really odd” for the parties to enter into such an agreement without his being a party to it.
Faiz did not dismiss the authenticity of the document, but suggested that GIP may have been deliberately sidelined from the agreement.
“When I looked into the document, one party was missing. President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s party Gaumee Ithithaadh Party (GIP) is missing in the document. I was the one representing the party at those meetings aimed at toppling Nasheed,” said Faiz.
Faiz said he presumed that omitting the GIP from the agreement was possibly due to tensions between Waheed – who was then Vice President – and the group of opposition political parties.
“Their spirit was quite odd. They were talking during the meetings too. Firstly, they planned to oust both Nasheed and Waheed. They had grudges against Waheed after he gave a press conference as Vice President calling for the suspension of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed. However I talked to the opposition parties and persuaded them to exclude Waheed from the plan,” Faiz explained.
Faiz also implied that Waheed had little role during the initial stages of ousting of Nasheed’s government, and contended that a televised press conference and early morning meeting between Waheed and opposition parties a week prior to Nasheed’s ousting had just been “showing off”.
During the press conference, DRP Vice President Ibrahim Shareef “asked the Vice President to save this nation. I would like to call upon the security forces [to accept that] since the Vice President is a person elected by Maldivians, and should the President be incapacitated to perform his legal duties, the Vice President must assume the duties of the President.”
Waheed was not present at the press conference. Faiz told Minivan News, “When the idea of ousting Waheed and Nasheed began floating, I went onto VTV and invited Waheed to join the anti-government protest that had been going on against Nasheed. He got really upset and we both even had a falling out.”
‘Plot’ to oust Nasheed
According to the document, the plot to topple Nasheed’s government was to start on February 24, 2012 – 17 days earlier than the day Nasheed was toppled – following a nation-wide Islamic symposium.
It proposed that Nasheed’s presidency be ended within 24 hours from commencement of the symposium, after giving the president a five hour ultimatum to resign unconditionally.
In late January 2012, 22 days of continuous anti-government protests led by then opposition figures and religious scholars following the controversial detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed escalated into a mutiny by certain elements within the police and the military.
By midday of February 7, 2012, then-President Nasheed had exhausted all his options to establish a chain of command within the ranks of police and military, and was left trapped inside the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) barracks surrounded by rebelling police and military forces along with an angry mob of demonstrators, who had been armed by the rebelling security services.
Within a short span of time, the current Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim – who had been a civilian at the time – entered the military barracks and gave Nasheed an ultimatum to “resign or face the dire repercussions”. At the same time another group of demonstrators and rebelling security forces stormed and took control of the state broadcaster. Nasheed’s subsequent resignation at the President’s Office was aired on the swiftly re-branded Television Maldives.
Vice President Mohamed Waheed then ascended to power.
Mutiny and Vice President’s endorsement
The symposium, the document claimed, would escalate into a violent demonstration on the outskirts of Republic Square with three groups stationed at different locations.
Religious sheikhs affiliated with the movement would address the police barricading the area, and were to convince them that it was haram under Islam to obey the orders of President Nasheed in a bid to appeal for their support. Following the speeches of the religious sheikhs, politicians would take over the stage and then PPM Vice President Umar Naseer was to give the final speech.
By the end of his speech, a lieutenant colonel and a brigadier general from the MNDF would step aside from their duties and would appeal to the remaining military officers to disobey the orders of the president.
By this time, a platoon of Police’s Special Operations (SO) department would rebel against the police leadership and begin protests within Republic Square, creating a distraction that would allow more demonstrators to enter Republic Square and join the rebel police.
According to the document, by this time then Nasheed’s Defense Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu – who according to the document had pledged supported to the movement – would go on to order the MNDF to arrest the protesting police live on state broadcaster MNBC One.
Using this opportunity, the organizers of the movement, by using opposition-aligned TV station DhiTV, would propagate rumors across the country that MNDF had begun brutalising the protesting police and appeal the other police officers to join the protests to help their colleagues.
The document claimed that Nasheed’s Vice President Mohamed Waheed Hassan – the current president – had pledged his support for the movement and would take over the presidency as soon as the Supreme Court ruled that Nasheed had been incapacitated.
It also claimed that Waheed had agreed to form a national unity government with “friendly political groups”, and had agreed not to seek re-election at the conclusion of the presidential term.
Arrest of Nasheed and declaration of incapacity
By the time the demonstrations had escalated into a violent mob backed by police and military, the Special Protection Group (SPG) of the MNDF – tasked with protecting the president – would escort Nasheed to the presidential retreat of Aarah, in the name of giving him protection and security.
Shortly after Nasheed had been escorted to the island, an emergency court case would be filed at the Supreme Court requesting it to rule that Nasheed was incapable of remaining as the President, due to fear of violence and loss of the social harmony of the state as police and military were reluctant to follow his orders.
Then Vice President Mohamed Waheed Hassan would immediately take oath as the President as soon as the ruling was issued. In an another ruling after Waheed assumed power, the Supreme Court would order the imprisonment of Nasheed and bar him from involvement in politics for the rest of his life.
According to the document, leader of the DQP and running mate of resort tycoon and JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim, Dr Hassan Saeed, and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim were lobbying the Supreme Court bench to get its support.
The document also alleged that the PPM has had agreed to have current Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor try to convince Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain to support the petition.
After intense negotiations, the document claimed, a green signal had been given to the movement that the Supreme Court would issue the orders as requested by them.
The document claimed that shortly after Waheed Hassan assumed power, the cabinet of President Nasheed would immediately be dismissed and a new cabinet would consisting of 10 members would be appointed including PPM Vice President Umar Naseer as the Home Minister and Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu reappointed as the Defense Minister.
Similarly, retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim was to be appointed as the Chief of Defence Force and Abdulla Riyaz appointed as the Commissioner of Police.
However, when the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan assumed power in February 7, 2012, the position of Home Minister was given to Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and the Defense Minister position was given to retired Colonel Nazim. Brigadier General Ahmed Shiyam was appointed Chief of Defence Force while Abdulla Riyaz was appointed as the Commissioner of Police.
Dismantling and factionalising MDP
Following the change of government, the document claimed that it was highly important to divide, dismantle and factionalise the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), in a bid to weaken opposition to government.
“It has been agreed among all friendly political groups, that it is very important to influence and overtake the control of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the following actions have been commonly agreed to be carried out in order to dismantle the MDP’s leadership,” read the document.
The schemes to divide the MDP included backing then President of the Party, Dr Ibrahim Didi – whom the document described was politically weak and easily manipulated – while also supporting current Chairperson of MDP MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, whom the document described as susceptible to blackmailed and threats against his business interests.
The document noted that Vice President of MDP MP Alhan Fahmy was the second biggest threat in the MDP as he had the potential to reorganise it in the absence of Nasheed.
The document claimed that the movement would work on promoting Dr Didi as party’s official presidential candidate, financed by JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim.
In a bid to verify the authenticity of the document Minivan News tried contacting all parties mentioned in the document, but with the exception of Abdulla Mohamed from the Civil Alliance, no others were responding to calls at time of press.