How to plan the perfect coup: Huffington Post

In 2006, in the Pacific island nation of Fiji, troops overran the capital city, threatened the Prime Minister, forced his resignation, placed him under house arrest, imposed censorship on the media, and the coup leader, in the form of the head of the army, went on television to declare himself the new ruler of the country, writes former President Mohamed Nasheed for the Huffington Post.

In 2012, in my country, the Indian Ocean island nation of the Maldives, mutinying police and soldiers overran the capital city, gave me, the President, an ultimatum to resign within the hour or face bloodshed, placed me under effective house arrest, raided the headquarters of the national broadcaster, and the coup leader, in the form of the Vice President, went on television to declare himself the new ruler of the country.

In the case of Fiji, the international community swiftly condemned the coup, blackballed Fiji from the club of civilized nations and suspended it from the Commonwealth. In the case of the Maldives, a report drafted by a Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) which was dominated by hand-picked appointees of the coup-installed government, and endorsed by the Commonwealth, has just whitewashed the coup, declaring it a perfectly legitimate and constitutional transfer of power.

Fiji and the Maldives’ contrasting experiences provide useful tips for coup-plotters everywhere. When planning your coup, remember that first impressions count – so don’t dress like an obvious coup leader. The man who takes over from the democratically elected leader should not wear military fatigues, as Commodore Frank Bainimarama did in Fiji; instead wear a lounge suit, as former Vice President Waheed Hassan did in the Maldives.

Secondly, get your messaging right: never, as in Fiji, publicly state you are overthrowing an elected government; instead, as in the Maldives, announce that the President’s resignation is a run-of-the-mill and Constitutional transfer of power.

Finally, have patience: if you follow steps 1 and 2, sooner or later the international community will tire of political upheaval and accept the new, coup-led political order, regardless of outward commitments to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

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Male’ City Council decides to give ‘Usgandu’ to MDP for three months

Male’ City Council has given the area behind Dharubaaruge to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to conduct political activities, after the police dismantled ‘Justice Square’ (the Tsunami Monument area) on Monday.

Deputy Mayor of the Council Ahmed Falah today confirmed to Minivan News that the land has been given to the MDP for three months to conduct political activities.

‘’We gave the land because last Monday terrorists attacked the Justice Square at the end of Lonuziyaarai street,’’ Falah claimed.

Male’ Mayor ‘Maizan’ Ali Manik said he did not wish to say anything about it because several media outlets had been misquoting him recently.

Former President Office Undersecretary Ibrahim Rasheed ‘Hoara Ibbe’ told Minivan News that tonight there will be a MDP rally at the ‘Usgandu’.

‘’MDP will be continue having meetings and conducting other political activities in any land we get and we will do it peacefully,’’ he said.

He said he regretted that police superiors have been sending low-ranking officers to attack MDP properties and persons and later blaming them, saying that their superiors did not know anything about it.

‘’They brought this day through a coup, and they are creating more violence to uphold the coup they brought,’’ he said, referring to the actions of the police.

Rasheed also said he was expecting that the suit against the security forces will be concluded next week.

The Justice Square or the tsunami monument area was also used by the MDP with the authority of the council.

However the current Attorney General Azima Shukoor declared that the land was not under the council and that it was under Housing Ministry.

A while after her statement, hundreds of police and military officers with batons and tear gas guns appeared in the area in full riot gear and ordered everyone in the area to leave immediately.

The area was then completely cleared of all trace of the MDP, from yellow flags to political graffiti on the sea wall.  Police have been monitoring the area and occasionally ordering people visiting to leave.