Dr Jameel unveiled as PPM running mate: “I remain ever committed to serve this nation”

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was last night unveiled as the running mate of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate MP Abdullah Yameen, ahead of elections scheduled for September this year.

Dr Jameel’s appointment was announced during a ceremony held yesterday evening at Dharubaaruge conference centre in Male’, with local media soon reporting that the President’s Office had called for the minister’s resignation to prevent any apparent “conflict of interest”.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) meanwhile claimed that Dr Jameel’s selection would have no impact on its own campaigning ahead of September’s vote, accusing the current home minister of political opportunism in the hopes of prolonging his time in government.


Following the PPM ceremony yesterday, Home Minister Jameel used his Twitter account to comment on the appointment.

Earlier the same day, PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that the party had selected the “perfect running mate” to contest the upcoming presidential elections alongside MP Yameen.

“We have selected a political candidate who has the best interests of the country,” Nihan told Minivan News ahead of the ceremony, adding that the PPM was one of the few parties in the country currently in a position to be able to announce a presidential running mate.

Nihan said that despite ongoing legal wrangling over the validity of the party’s recent primary vote, the party would continue to move forward with its elections plans with its election manifesto expected to be printed soon.

Shortly before the PPM officially confirmed Dr Jameel as MP Yameen’s running mate, President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad was quoted in local media as calling for the home minister to resign from his position.

Masood told Sun Online yesterday that Dr Jameel’s decision to stand with the PPM during elections would create a conflict of interest regarding President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s own re-election plans.

Foregone conclusion

MDP Spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the PPM’s decision to pick Dr Jameel’s to stand alongside MP Yameen in the upcoming elections was a “foregone conclusion” as far as the party was concerned, adding it would not have a drastic impact on its own campaigning.

“It is not a surprise to us. The appointment will be of no consequence to our election campaign,” he said.

Ghafoor claimed that the decision to appoint a senior member of President Waheed’s government to the PPM ensured that the party would be linked by voters to the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

The power transfer, which saw former President Mohamed Nasheed resign from office after a mutiny by sections of the police and military has been labelled a “coup d’etat” by the MDP.  The party’s allegations were nonetheless dismissed by a Commonwealth-backed Commission of national Inquiry (CNI).

Ghafoor accused Dr Jameel of being one of the main “fragments behind the coup”, accusing him of siding with the PPM to try and prolong his time in government.

Dr Jameel, along with Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim, were last month set to face no-confidence motions in parliament that were later withdrawn by the party, after the Supreme Court blocked the holding of the vote as a secret ballot.

With the opposition party claiming previously it had still not ruled out re-submitting the no confidence motions, Ghafoor said Jameel’s move was a deliberate attempt to “escape impeachment”.

“This is definitely political opportunism. I believe he has leapt out of the frying pan and into the fire with this move,” he said.

Speaking personally on the appointment, Ghafoor questioned the support and respect in the country for Dr Jameel, accusing him of being a “discredited man” and praticing “hate speech”.

Dr Jameel has held the position as Deputy Leader of the government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP). During the DQP’s time in opposition under the previous administration, the party published a pamphlet entitled ‘President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians’.

The publication, described by the then MDP government as a “pamphlet of hate”, accused Nasheed of “working ceaselessly to weaken the Islamic faith of Maldivians, allow space for other religions, and make irreligious and sinful behaviour common.”

The repeated arrest of Jameel by police over his alleged hate speech, and his subsequent releases by Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, led to Nasheed’s decision to detain the judge on charges of corruption and political collusion in early 2012. Protests by the then-opposition in the wake of the judge’s detention were shortly followed by a police mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation on February 7, which he maintains was made under duress.


Umar Naseer alleges PPM primaries rigged, declares “war within the party”

Former Interim Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Umar Naseer, has declared a “war within the party” against the “dark forces” he claimed had taken root within the party and vowed to bring in a “white revolution” to cleanse it from what he alleged included drug lords, gangsters and corruption rings.

Naseer made the remarks during a rally held on Tuesday evening, following his humiliating defeat in the PPM’s presidential primary.

The former military sergeant was at the losing end of the party’s primary held to determine its official presidential candidate, gaining just 7,450 votes – 5,646 votes less than his rival, the Parliamentary Group Leader of PPM MP Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who won with 13,096 votes – 63 percent of the vote.

Naseer – who is one of the founding members of the PPM – told supporters he had to battle the “entire machine” of the party during the primary, claiming that his opponent had every advantage in the race.

“Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s children were with Yameen, the largest gangsters in the country were with Yameen, all the drug cartels in the country were with Yameen, the most corrupted people were with Yameen, the whole elections committee was with Yameen and a large chunk of PPM’s parliament members gathered around Yameen.

“We came out knowing that the referee, the linesman and even the match commissioner along with his 11 players were playing on his side. Our team had the poor and the middle class players,” Naseer claimed.

Even though Naseer admitted defeat, he claimed the party’s election had huge discrepancies including influencing of voters, vote buying and intimidation of his supporters.  He also alleged that many of his supporters were denied the right to vote, claiming that their names had not been on the lists.

“We even witnessed that those who are heavily involved in drug trafficking were present at the polling station wearing Yameen’s campaign caps,” he said. “Not only did they exert undue influence, they travelled to islands with stashes of black money and attempted to turn the votes. In fact they even did turn some votes.”

Naseer further alleged that the hands of the elections officials involved in administrating the elections were tainted and had played a significant part in his defeat.

“On Kelaa in Haa Alif Atoll, they added the remaining ballot papers as votes for Yameen. On Fodhdhoo in Noonu Atoll, they took ballot papers that had my name ticked and invalidated it by ticking next to Yameen’s name. No ballot box was placed on Thulhaadhoo in Baa Atoll, but astonishingly results came from that island too,” he claimed.

“White revolution”

Despite the discrepancies, Naseer contended that he would not take a “single step back” and would remain firm in cleansing it of “dark forces”.

Naseer claimed his team would bring about a “white revolution” within the party, and declared war against corruption and gangs within PPM.

“This battle will be fought within PPM’s grounds and this battle will also be won within the lines of PPM,” he claimed, as supporters roared in support.

Naseer stated that although he had congratulated Yameen regardless of how he had won the primary, Naseer warned that he would not back him should he associate himself with people Naseer believed were corrupt.

Referring to recent remarks made by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim – who claimed that he would join PPM very soon – Umar Naseer expressed his concern over “people who are renowned for corruption” joining the party.

“Remember, I told you about a corruption network. In just less than 24 hours after our colleague Yameen won the PPM primary, the most notorious figure within this corruption network, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Nazim, announces that he is joining the PPM. This is not a sheer coincidence,” Naseer claimed.

“I want to tell my colleague Yameen that he will never get my support if he keeps corrupt people like Nazim behind him. Some people may say that certain things should be done in the party interest, but there are times where this country should be bigger than the party to us,” he said.

“Money money cash cash okay?”

Meanwhile, in an audio clip of a phone conversation leaked to social media, a profession Yameen supporter attempts to buy the votes of Naseer supporters through a person identified in the clip as Ahmed ‘Mujey’ Mujthaba.

Mujthaba – who seemed to have been involved in Yameen’s primary election campaign on Gemanafushi in Gaaf Alif Atol – was given instructions to trade cash for votes on the island.

According to the audio recording, MVR 300,000 (US$ 19,455.25) was wired to Mujthaba, of which he was to distribute MVR 200,000 (US$ 12,970.17) among potential voters while he was to keep the remaining MVR 100,000 (US$ 6,485.08) for himself as “a small reward”.

“Hey Mujey, don’t tell this to anyone,” speaks a voice, who identifies himself as ‘Ismael’ and claims to be one of Yameen’s campaign managers.

“Not even a single person okay Mujey? This is between me and Mujey. This is between us.  What you should do is, distribute the 200,000 rufiyaa. The remaining 100,000 rufiyaa you keep it to yourself. Okay? You should do this very secretly, no one should know about this.”

Ismael is also heard asking Mujthaba to “destroy PPM MP Ilham Ahmed’s family” during the process. MP Ilham – who is the MP for Gemanafushi Island constituency – had supported Umar Naseer in the primaries.

Mujthaba claims that MP Ilham’s brothers in Male’ had called PPM members on the island and had said “they would give them a two-way ticket to India in return for vote”, to which Ismael responded that Ilham did not have the funds to pay such a large sum of money.

“They can’t give that to them now. They won’t have money even close to the amount of money we have. Not even close to ours. They’ll just keep bragging about that. So what you should do is go to their houses. Just go to their houses and wire in the cash and get all the votes. What you can do today is all that you can do, okay? There will be nothing else we can do after today,”

“Hey, you will also get a reward. If we can do this, you will get 100,000 rufiyaa, we have decided that. We have decided to give you 100,000 rufiyaa if you win this vote for us Mujey. Isn’t it a good reward?” he added. “Yes, if you can get the majority from that Island, you will get 100,000 rufiyaa,”

“Money money cash cash okay?” Ismael was repeatedly heard to say.

Minivan News sought to verify the authenticity of the recording, however Yameen and his campaign team were not responding to calls at time of press.

Speaking to Minivan News, Youth Wing Leader of PPM Ahmed Nazim – who is also involved in Umar Naseer’s campaign team – said that he did not wish to comment on the matter.

Translation of the audio clip

ISMAEL: Hey I am saying, everything is going alright now is it?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Yes. It will be alright

ISMAEL: So, how are things with opponents? [Repeatedly asks]

AHMED MUJTHABA: They are also there. They will also work in their capacity right?

ISMAEL: Not too many [people] right?

AHMED MUJTHABA: We are all good here. Not too many [people] working with them.

ISMAEL: I’ve called to arrange some cash.

AHMED MUJTHABA: I don’t think it is going to be very bad.

ISMAEL: Why? We have been getting information that Umar’s people are really weak.

AHMED MUJTHABA: Yeah. Last night, some of his supporters roamed around the island with cash. They even showed us the cash too. I don’t have any guarantee on their success; some people did not even accept the money.

ISMAEL: But for us…

AHMED MUJTHABA: They went to the house with the money.

ISMAEL: Aah…If they accept the money they would obviously vote in that manner. That is a big problem isn’t it? So, we also have to do that from our side, give a little bit more.


ISMAEL: Mujey we can arrange 200,000 rufiyaa immediately if you want.

AHMED MUJTHABA: We won’t be able to get it by today right?

ISMAEL: No. You can get it through Sheesha Ahmed. Isn’t Ahmed’s family [living] there, his wife’s family?


ISMAEL: So when you say you want, handing over the money to Ahmed gets the job done.


ISMAEL: So what should I do?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Well, then let me talk to others and call back?

ISMAEL: No wait, I have a condition too. You will have to destroy MP Ahmed Ilham’s family in the process. Can you do that?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Wait, he was the one who got me a job. He was very upset with me. My family members have called me bull shit.

ISMAEL: Is it?

AHMED MUJTHABA: So destroy these people.

ISMAEL: That is why I have come out with courage.

AHMED MUJTHABA: Yes, this time this family should be destroyed. You have to be able to do this.

ISMAEL: He will be gone this time. This time very sure…yeah?

AHMED MUJTHABA:  This is something you should be able to do. On the other hand, islanders, people from your area are quite stupid. You should be able to control these people.

ISMAEL: I have a big family in this island. Our family is not an ordinary family. All our family members are against him. No one will be there to support them. That’s why, when it became intolerable, they have come out with cash.

AHMED MUJTHABA: Ilham’s brothers in Male have called us and said that they would give two-way ticket to India in return for vote. That is the level they had gone to. So they are very very desperate.

ISMAEL: They can’t give that to them now. They won’t have money even close to the amount of money we have. Not even close to ours. They’ll just keep bragging about that. So what you should do is go to their houses. Just go to their houses and wire in the cash and get all the votes. What you can do today is all that you can do, okay? There will be nothing else we can do after today.

ISMAEL: Then, people in your area are really dumb, isn’t it? Usually islanders are very dumb isn’t it? They have been made dumb and stupid.

ISMAEL: Hey, you will also get a reward. If we can do this, you will get 100,000 rufiyaa, we have decided that. We have decided to give you 100,000 rufiyaa if you win this vote for us Mujey. Isn’t it a good reward?

AHMED MUJTHABA: We will win you the votes from here. I am guaranteeing you that you will get majority from this island.

ISMAEL: Yes, if you can get the majority from that Island, you will get 100,000 rufiyaa. What?

AHMED MUJTHABA: I don’t want money for doing that.

ISMAEL: Yeah yeah…

[Voice becomes unclear as two begins to talk at the same time]

ISMAEL:  Hey listen to this. This money is something that is a secret between you and me. People giving money, this is not related to this. You should not tell this to even your friends.


ISMAEL: Understood?


ISMAEL: This is not something I am giving to your group or people helping you. So this shall remain between us only. This is how the boss as has asked me to do, okay?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Hmm… You called last night as well right?

ISMAEL: Yeah. Yes. Hey bro, [repeatedly calls]. Money money cash cash alright? Understood?


ISMAEL: Money money cash cash okay?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Don’t worry. I am saying you will get majority from this island by the will [of God].

ISMAEL: Yeah…Yeah.

AHMED MUJTHABA: You wait and see at 4:00pm today. I will call you today.

ISMAEL: Ahh…very good.

[Separate phone call]

ISMAEL: Is it Mujey ?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Yeah yeah true, it is Mujey.

ISMAEL: I called you, Ismael.


ISMAEL: Yeah, I said issue with money has been settled and finished. The money has been given to Ahmed. Who would be receiving the money from your end?

AHMED MUJTHABA: I don’t mind giving it to me. You can give this number.

ISMAEL:  Ah okay. So I should give your number right?


ISMAEL: What should I say? You should tell your full name Mujey. Then only isn’t it we can settle it.

AHMED MUJTHABA: Yes. Ahmed Mujthaba. Note it down.

ISMAEL:  Ahmed Mujthaba right?

AHMED MUJTHABA: Yes…Mujthaba. Should I give you my ID Card Number?

ISMAEL: Yes, tell me your ID Card Number [Mujthaba gives his ID Card Number]

ISMAEL: 2881…okay. Hey Mujey, don’t tell this to anyone. [Speaks in a hush voice] Not even a single person okay Mujey? This is between me and Mujey. This is between us.  What you should do is, distribute the 200,000 rufiyaa. The remaining 100,000 rufiyaa you keep it to yourself. Okay? You should do this very secretly, no one should know about this.


ISMAEL: Remember okay?


ISMAEL: Alright then. We will inform the person that you will go to collect the money. Okay, take your ID Card with you.


ISMAEL: Thank you bro!


“Yameen and myself are the two likely candidates in PPM primary”: Umar Naseer

Interim Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer has said that he and Parliamentary Group Leader MP Yameen Abdul Gayoom are the most likely candidates to contest the party’s primary elections scheduled for February 2013.

The presidential Primary of the PPM is scheduled to take place after its congress.  Since its formation in October 2011, the government-aligned PPM has postponed its national congress on three occasions, despite having a charter of regulations stipulating that a congress must be held within six months of registration.

In October this year, local daily Haveeru reported that that the party cited “political turmoil” as the reason for the delays.

Naseer’s remarks about standing in the upcoming party primaries comes at a time when current interim leader of PPM, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has also highlighted the possibility of his running for re-election.

Both Naseer and Yameen Abdul Gayoom was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom told Indian newspaper The Hindu yesterday (December 11) that he may consider contesting in a presidential election presently expected to be held in August or September next year.

“Things change very frequently. So I am keeping my options open,” Gayoom was quoted as saying. “[If I run] it won’t be out of my choice, if ever, it will be out of compulsion. Because I feel I have served the country for 30 years and I feel it is up to other people [now].” Gayoom reiterated that he preferred not to run.

Speaking to local Newspaper Haveeru about the comments, Umar Naseer said that Gayoom had the right to contest for re-election in the next presidential elections – a decision he believed would make the country’s former autocratic ruler the “obvious top candidate” to finish the race.

“I would definitely back Gayoom if he is to contest the elections. He is our ‘ace of spades’. You cannot say that the ace of spades is not the ace of spades,” he said.

Naseer suggested that if Gayoom ruled out his intention to “come back to power”, it would undermine potential public excitement ahead of the primary vote.

“If he says he won’t contest the elections that would mean the ace of spades becoming two of diamonds, doesn’t it?” he added.

Umar Naseer previously contested the 2008 presidential election under the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) and was defeated after winning just 1.39 percent of the vote in the first round – a total of 2,472 votes. Following the defeat, Naseer at the time refused to support another candidate.

President Waheed

Local media and senior politicians have previously speculated that President Mohamed Waheed Hassan could also be a potential PPM candidate to stand in next year’s general elections.

However, Gayoom, in his most recent interview with the Hindu newspaper, suggested that such a development could only happen if the president joined his party.

Gayoom has previously welcomed the prospect of President Waheed competing in a primary for the party’s ticket.

“The president, or anyone else, can join PPM if they want, and if they win the [party’s] primary, they will become our presidential candidate,” he said at the time.

PPM Deputy Naseer has himself echoed similar sentiments about the possibility of the president standing for the PPM whilst speaking at a rally in May.  The comments were made despite previous statements that President Waheed would not stand for re-election.

“Second term”

President Waheed himself, in an interview given to the Hindu, said that he was “contemplating” running for a “second term” in office, but said that a final decision on the matter would be taken at a later date.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed – who defeated Gayoom in the 2008 presidential election with 54 percent of the vote to Gayoom’s 45 percent – said at a rally last month that he believed President Waheed will become PPM’s presidential candidate with Gayoom’s backing.

Nasheed alleged that his former vice president held secret consultations with the PPM figurehead before the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7.

“Dr Waheed has been scheming with President Maumoon for about two years, that I know of,” he said. “Sometimes in an uninhabited island in Baa Atoll, other times in Alivaage [Gayoom’s former residence]. They have been discussing and talking in different places. Anyone who thinks of carrying out a coup d’etat will know that one thing you need for it is a disloyal vice president.”

Uncertainty remains over what potential plans President Waheed may have for the elections presently scheduled for next year.

President of the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) Sheikh Imran Abdulla has previously called on all government-aligned political parties to unite and back a single candidate, preferably President Waheed as an ‘umbrella-candidate’.