A five-member disciplinary committee will decide the future of Umar Naseer in the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Thursday (April 25), according to local media, following the lapse of a seven-day period for Naseer to ‘reform and realign’ with the party’s charter or face expulsion.
Umar stands accused of violating the party’s charter or regulations by levelling serious allegations against PPM presidential candidate MP Abdulla Yameen at a rally held shortly after he was defeated in the party’s presidential primary.
The rally was organised without the approval of the PPM council, which contended that it was held in violation of the party’s rules mandating support for the presidential candidate after the primary.
Umar went ahead with the rally despite pleas for unity by the party’s leader and figurehead, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Umar alleged at the rally that primary winner MP Abdulla Yameen was backed by the Gayoom family and the PPM parliamentary group, controlled all of the party’s organs, including the council and election committee, and had “rigged” the primary by ballot stuffing, falsifying the count and “pouring black money” to buy votes.
He further alleged that criminal gangs, convicts and drug smuggling “networks” were part of Yameen’s campaign team.
“Less than 24 hours after my brother Abdulla Yameen won the primary, the foremost person in the Maldives’ corruption network, Deputy Speaker of the People’s Majlis Ahmed Nazim joined the PPM,” Umar said, declaring that he would not back Yameen if he contests the September presidential election with “corrupt people” in his team.
Yameen, who is also half brother of former President Gayoom, denied the accusations, while the PPM later asked Umar to apologise for his remarks or face disciplinary action.
Following his refusal to publicly apologise or defend himself at a subsequent disciplinary committee hearing, Umar’s case was sent to the PPM council and he was given an ultimatum to “come back into the party’s charter” and “reform” himself within seven days.
Umar however remains defiant and addressed supporters on Saturday night in front of his “Command Center” campaign office in Male’.
Umar advised his supporters not to leave the party even if the PPM council or disciplinary committee decides to expel him.
The former PPM deputy leader said he would not cease “speaking the truth” even if he was either dismissed from the party or “hung upside down.”
Umar said he made the allegations of the primary being rigged to inform PPM members of how the election was conducted.
“But we must remain with PPM. We have spoken the truth. We have not lied or deceived,” he said.
Umar asserted that he would prove his allegations of wrongdoing in the primary in court.
PPM member Rahma Moosa, an Umar supporter, filed a case at the Civil Court last week challenging the results of the primary.
Umar also warned that the PPM would face the same fate as the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) in 2008 if the party contested the presidential election in September without a “broad coalition.”
Umar revealed that discussions were ongoing between Jumhooree Party (JP) presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim and President Dr Mohamed Waheed to reach a power sharing agreement beneficial to both parties.
If the talks were successful, Umar said an invitation would be extended to the PPM leadership to join the coalition.
“If our parties face MDP [formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party] in this year’s presidential election without forming a broad coalition, [they] would have to eat sand like DRP did in 2008,” Umar said.
“MDP cannot be defeated without such a broad coalition,” he added. “If it is every one for himself, every one going their own way separately in the first round, I am certain that there is the danger of MDP coming back.”
Umar urged all parties to compromise in order to reach an agreement on forming the alliance.
While former President Gayoom was a “truthful and trustworthy” person with integrity, Umar said the same could not be said of PPM presidential candidate MP Abdulla Yameen.
Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference yesterday (April 21), Dhunya Maumoon, state minister for foreign affairs and PPM council member, said the party was not worried about the coalition forming around Dr Waheed.
Compared to the smaller parties, Dhunya said, PPM had more members as well as parliament seats.
Former President Gayoom’s daughter suggested that other parties were worried because they were “certain” that PPM would win the election.
PPM MP for Laamu Fonadhoo, Abdul Raheem Abdulla, meanwhile claimed that the party would face the election with 70,000 or 80,000 members.