Opposition MP files four misconduct cases against Judge Abdulla Mohamed

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor has filed four cases of judicial-misconduct against the former Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The MDP in a statement (dhivehi) published on its official website claimed that the four cases filed against the judge had been based upon his misconduct during Hamid’s recent criminal trial.

Last October, Judge Abdulla Mohamed handed Hamid a six-month imprisonment sentence for his failure to comply with court summons in a case in which he faced charges of refusing to cooperate with the police.

However, Hamid’s conviction was quashed on appeal by the High Court, which held that the Criminal Court had not followed the established procedures in attempting to summon the MP to the court.

The High Court, in overturning the case, also reiterated that the Parliamentary Privileges Act at the time of Criminal Court’s issuance of the guilty verdict did not allow an MP to be summoned to court while parliament was in session.

In late November, the Supreme Court annulled several articles of the Privileges Act, including the clause that required all MPs – regardless of criminal conviction – to be present during votes. The Supreme Court’s move had prompted Hamid’s relocation from house arrest to Maafushi jail.

In the misconduct cases filed at the JSC – the state’s judicial watchdog responsible for disciplining judges – the Henveiru-South constituency MP accused Abdulla Mohamed of displaying outright rudeness towards him, stereotyping him as a criminal, publicly defaming him, and attempting to “politically” destroy him.

The MDP’s statement meanwhile added that Hamid intends to file more cases concerning the judges alleged misdemeanors,  including the fact that he had refused to provide a copy of the arrest warrant issued against Hamid.

Ghafoor was quoted in the statement claiming that he had only been able to receive the arrest warrant three day after the expiry of the warrant.

He also accused of the Judge of assisting the police to publicly broadcast his photograph in the media and implying him as a hard-lined criminal on the loose.

Controversies surrounding Judge Abdulla Mohamed

Shortly after the case, the JSC announced the transfer of Judge Abdulla from his position as Chief Judge of Criminal Court to the Chief Judge of the Drug Court as part of the commission’s shuffling of nine superior court judges.

In January 2012 Judge Abdulla was taken into military detention during the final days of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration after then-Home Minister Hassan Afeef had accused him of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”.

Nasheed’s administration listed 14 cases of judicial misconduct concerning the judge that included obstruction of police duty – including withholding warrants for up to four days, ordering police to conduct unlawful investigations, disregarding precedents set forth by higher courts, deliberately holding up cases involving then-opposition figures, and barring media from corruption trials.

He was also accused by the Nasheed government of releasing of suspects detained for serious crimes “without a single hearing” and maintaining “suspicious ties” with family members of convicts sentenced for dangerous crimes.

The controversial judge was also thrust into the media limelight after he released a murder suspect “in the name of holding the health minister accountable”. The suspect later went on to kill a witness to the case.

The JSC earlier in November 2011 found Judge Abdulla guilty of violating the Judges Code of Ethics by making a politically biased statement in an interview he gave to private broadcaster DhiTV.

However, the JSC’s attempt to take action against him ended in vain after the Civil Court overruled the decision – later supported by the High Court.

Minivan News was unable to get a confirmation from the JSC regarding Hamid’s case – Secretary General Abu Bakuru was not responding to calls at time of press.


MP Easa withdraws bill reducing penalty for refusal to provide urine

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Easa has withdrawn a bill reducing the penalty for refusal to provide urine from a one year jail term to 15 days in jail.

Easa proposed the amendment to the Drugs Act after the Criminal Court sought to prosecute MDP MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamid Abdul Ghafoor for refusal to provide urine when they were arrested on Hondaidhoo Island in August 2012.

If convicted with a one-year jail term, the two MPs may lose their parliamentary seats.

At the time, the MDP accused the judiciary of “purging” MDP MPs from parliament in order to influence the party’s simple majority in parliament ahead of several no-confidence motions against ministers of former President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

Easa said he had withdrawn the bill due to criticism from his own party and because he believes the police will be more professional with the election of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The Criminal Court’s Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed has sentenced Hamid to six months in jail for disobedience to order after he refused to obey court summons to attend a refusal to provide urine trial.

Hamid contends the court summons were issued in violation of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act which prohibits the judiciary from scheduling hearings during Majlis work hours.

Hamid had sought refuse inside the People’s Majlis when the six month jail term was issued. The MDP then amended the parliament’s standing orders to allow an MP convicted of criminal acts to continue to attend Majlis sittings.

The Home Ministry transferred Hamid to house arrest in mid November and Hamid has now left the parliament after four weeks.

New Home Minister Umar Naseer has said enforcing Hamid’s jail sentence would be difficult as the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Department (DPRS) does not have the facilities to transport Hamid back and forth from Maafushi Island jail to Malé.

“We have to arrange a speed boat to bring him to every single session if he is kept in a jail outside Malé. We may have to bring him two or three times a day,” he told local newspaper Haveeru.

Furthermore, Naseer explained that incarcerating Hamid in the Malé City jail was not an option because the jail was at full capacity.


Two MDP MPs among suspects facing prosecution over Hondaidhoo alcohol arrests

Police have submitted the cases of seven individuals, including two opposition-aligned MPs, to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) after they were arrested on the island of Hondaidhoo last November on suspicion of possessing drugs and alcohol.

A total of 10 people were taken into police custody on November 16 after police raided and searched Hondaidhoo with a court warrant. Officers alleged they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol upon searching the island.

Seven of the suspects, including Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs Hamid Abdul Ghafoor and Abdulla Jabir – a member of the government-aligned Jumhoree Party (JP) at the time of his arrest – are among those whose cases have been forwarded to the PGO this month.

Police confirmed that cases had also been submitted against former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to the former President, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz. Jadhulla Jaleel and Hamdan Zaki also face charges.

Two Sri Lankan nationals named Raj Mohan and Anoor Bandaranayk as well as a Bangladeshi named Suhail Rana were taken into custody following the island raid.  Their cases have not been filed at the PGO.

Police Sub-Inspector and Media Official Hassan Hannef said at the time of the arrests that officers requested all suspects taken into custody on Hondaidhoo to provide urine samples for a routine examination. However, only Hamdhaan Zaki and the three foreign suspects complied with the request.

According to the Drug Act, Sections 123(a), 161(a) and 161(b), any person arrested on suspicion of having abused alcohol or narcotics has an obligation to comply with police requests for routine urine examination by promptly providing urine samples, and failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable with a one-year jail sentence.

Previous submission

Police previously submitted cases against “some” of the ten people arrested during the raid on Hondaidhoo to the PGO in January this year.

However, the case was returned after the investigation was deemed to have been incomplete, according to Sun Online.

The MDP has maintained that the arrests were a politically-motivated attempt to disrupt parliament ahead of a no confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, and a proposed amendment to voting procedure to allow such a vote to be held in secret.

In April this year, Parliament’s General Purpose Committee rejected procedural amendments to allow secret voting for no confidence motions, such as one previously scheduled to be heard against President Waheed.


Group disrupts MDP rally in Henveiru

Additional reporting by Ahmed Naish

A group of about a dozen young men with placards and a megaphone disrupted a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) gathering in the Henveiru ward of Male’ last night (June 24) and “actively tried to incite violence”, the MDP has claimed.

The youths, who appeared to be in their 20s, entered the MDP rally held in Henveiru Park shortly after it began at 9:45pm, carrying placards with anti-MDP phrases and shouting.

The group was “actively trying to incite violence”, claimed MDP Spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor. “We suspect the [rival parties] paid the children.”

“It exposes them as thuggish. They are probably thinking ‘We lost [the elections] so we might as well disrupt [the MDP],” said Ghafoor.

“The young men were aggressive and wanted to scare people off,” Gahfoor continued. “They were kicking the shins of the MDP supporters in attendance and issuing thinly veiled threats. That’s what was most disturbing.”

Ghafoor explained that the young men kept moving through the crowd of MDP supporters and crowding the front of the podium.

“To show their impunity, one young man came up to the podium while [former MDP Chairperson and MP] Mariya Didi was speaking, picked up and drank her bottle of water,” said Ghafoor.

“He then hit the mic with a flourish and one of the young men declared ‘no one can hold a meeting without Bosnia City’s consent’,” he continued.

Some of the MDP supporters in attendance came to stop the youth from causing further disturbances at the podium and pushed him away, explained Ghafoor.

“The crowd of a couple hundred did not leave, but they were not happy with the disruptions and ‘boo-ed’ the youths, which caused them to back off a bit,” he said.

“The young men actively wanted to incite violence. That didn’t happen, but the crowd did shout [political slogans] at them saying things like ‘ehburun’ (one round),” he noted.

Ghafoor explained that the MDP speakers at the rally patiently appealed to the young men to let the meeting continue and told the youths they could protest peacefully without disrupting the rally.

“Two of the protesters’ placards claimed MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik and Vilma Rasheed swindled money, which is not true,” said Gahfoor. “They also claimed to not have been treated well by Nasheed’s government.”

Ghafoor referred to their efforts as “amateurish” and “rather silly”.

“They were not savvy about what they had to say,” he added.

Ghafoor said he suspected the youth group consisted of displaced children – since large numbers from the islands relocated to the capital after the tsunami – rather than Male’ residents.

While being heckled during her speech “Mariya Didi said ‘This is why MDP is campaigning, we don’t want displaced children to be used by people’,” explained Ghafoor.

Some of the speakers planned for last night’s MDP rally were unable to participate because “there was so much commotion” and ultimately the meeting ended earlier than planned, he added.

While Ghafoor was not aware if anyone called the police he was surprised at their lack of presence because “they are usually all over the place” during political events.

“[It shows] the police are supportive of such acts headed by the [government] mutineers and that this is how they are getting ready for the elections,” he alleged.

“Instead, the police should do everything to ensure elections are free and fair,” he added.

Given the disturbances at last night’s MDP Henveiru rally and the property damage done to a MDP meeting hall in the Manchangoalhi ward of Male’ on Sunday night (June 23), Ghafoor believes more disturbing incidents “are likely to happen again”.

“In which case we will contact MDP members to combat these types of disturbances with sheer numbers, rather than have a confrontation,” said Ghafoor.

Rocks and eggs

Meanwhile, a rock and some eggs were thrown at a party meeting hall in the Manchangoalhi ward of Male’ on Sunday night (June 23) and “late last night (the early morning hours of June 25)  the door was smashed at the same jagaha (meeting hall),” said Ghafoor.

In his speech after opening the hall later Sunday night, former President Mohamed Nasheed – who is currently campaigning in the southern atolls – asserted that MDP members would not retaliate with violence.

Two men on a motorbike reportedly threw the rock at a glass window of the meeting hall at about 7:45pm on Sunday night.

According to internet news outlet CNM, MDP activists were inside the hall finalising preparations for the opening ceremony scheduled for later that night. The rock however did not completely shatter the glass.

MDP presidential candidate Nasheed was due to open the meeting hall designated for supporters from the atolls of Shaviyani, Raa and Laamu at 10:15pm.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nasheed said MDP’s opponents were resorting to violence as it was becoming clear to pro-government parties that they lacked support from the public.

As long as “traitor” Abdulla Riyaz remained Commissioner of Police, the country could not be at peace, Nasheed said, alleging that the police chief was one of the “main architects” of the “coup d’etat” on February 7, 2012.

Abdulla Riyaz, a former Assistant Commissioner of Police dismissed in the early days of the MDP government, was among three ex-servicemen that entered military barracks on the morning of February 7 to negotiate on behalf of mutinying police and soldiers at the Republic Square demanding Nasheed’s resignation.

Upon emerging from the military headquarters in front of the Republic Square, current Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim – flanked by Riyaz and current State Minister for Home Affairs Mohamed Fayaz ‘FA’ – declared that Nasheed had been told to resign within the hour “without any conditions.”

The demand was “non-negotiable” and “not up for further discussion,” he added, before declaring that he was now in charge of the military and would soon appoint senior officers.

The three ex-servicemen then accompanied President Nasheed to the President’s Office under heavy military guard, where he announced his resignation at a televised press conference with the three former National Security Service (NSS) officers looking on.

Speaking at the jagaha opening on Sunday night, Nasheed said that the collective “hope and passion” of the Maldivian people were “more powerful than all their batons, pepper spray, iron armour and rubber bullets.”

“God willing, not a single MDP member will lift even the little finger in anger,” he said, adding that the party hoped to open eight meeting halls in Male’ in the near future.

As “every other house” in the capital would become a MDP jagaha before September, Nasheed claimed, “there are not enough rocks in Male'” to target all the meeting halls.


“Some” cases from Hondaidhoo alcohol arrests sent to Prosecutor General

Police this week have completed an investigation into “some” of the 10 people arrested in November 2012 for alleged possession and consumption of alcohol on Hondaidhoo Island in Haa Dhaal Atoll, according to local media.

Upon completion of the investigation Tuesday (January 29), the cases were forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office, newspaper Haveeru has reported.

The identities of the accused and the nature of the cases sent to the PG have not been disclosed.  However two Parliament members – Kaashidhoo constituency MP Abdulla Jabir as well as Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson and Henveiru South constituency MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – were among those arrested in November 2012.

In addition to Jabir and Hamid, former opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) President Ibrahim Hussain Zaki and former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair, his wife Mariyam Faiz, Zaki’s son Hamdhan Zaki, Seenu Hulhudhoo Reefside Jadhulla Jameel, two Sri Lankans and a Bangladeshi were among the ten people arrested from Hondaidhoo.


Cases against MDP MPs Jabir and Ghafoor to be forwarded to PG’s Office this week

Cases against MDP MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamid Abdul Ghafoor are to be forwarded the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office this week, Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has said.

The commissioner told local media the cases to be forwarded to the PG’s Office are in regard to both Jabir and Ghafoor’s refusal to provide a urine sample after they were arrested under suspicion of drinking alcohol in November 2012.

Police Commissioner Riyaz was quoted as saying that the case against Ghafoor is also in relation to a previous occasion whereby he refused to provide urine sample after being arrested for obstructing police duty at a protest.

The Drug Act states that the punishment for a person who refuses to provide urine sample when requested by the police is imprisonment for one year, local media reported.

Jabir and Ghafoor were arrested on suspicion of alcohol consumption during a special operation carried out on the island of Hodaidhoo in Haa Dhaal Atoll. Both MPs were subsequently released by Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court.


High Court concludes hearings of state’s appeal case over MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor’s arrest

High Court has concluded hearings of the appeal filed by the state following the release of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor by Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court.

MP Ghafoor was arrested along with Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Abdulla Jabir and several senior opposition figures on the uninhabited island of Hodaidhoo on November 16, for alleged possession of drugs and alcohol. Police in a statement released following the arrests claimed that 10 people were arrested during a ‘special operation’ on the island.

Police claimed they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol during the raid and stated that the arrests were made “based on information received by police intelligence”. Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef earlier told Haveeru that the suspects were arrested with alcohol and “hash oil”.

State requests order to re-arrest MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor

During Sunday’s appeal, the state prosecutors requested an order to re-arrest the MDP MP and invalidate article 202(d) of the Parliament Regulation that bars the police from arresting an MP ahead of a no-confidence motion in parliament.

The state prosecutors argued that Ghafoor should be kept under police custody or else he may “influence” the witnesses that the state wished to present to the court. They also claimed that some of those 21 people arrested might also have evidence.

State prosecutors said that police had informed them that Ghafoor possessed an ‘intoxicant’ when he was arrested but had refused to provide urine to police to conform whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, Ghafoor’s lawyer Hisaan Hussain said her client denied the charges levied by the state.

She also contended that Ghafoor did not possess the capacity to influence the witnesses by the state arguing that the only witnesses the state had produced were the police officers who made the arrests.

She also claimed that according to an earlier rule established by the Supreme Court, an institution cannot in their own capacity decide to not to adhere to a section of a law or a regulation on the grounds that it contrasted with the constitution, unless a court of law ruled such a section invalid.

She therefore challenged that police could not decide for themselves that the article 202(d) of the Parliament Regulation was invalid, and that thereby the arrest of MP Ghafoor was unlawful.

During the hearing, the judges posed several questions to the state prosecutor, Aishath Hana.

In one such question, the panel of judges questioned whether the court could decide on the validity of the article 202(d) of the Parliamentary Regulation, in an appeal that concerned extension of a detention.

Responding to the question, the state prosecutor said that the request to invalidate the article of parliamentary regulations was made because Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court had also referred to the same article in releasing the detainees.

Chair of the judges panel, Judge Abdul Ghanee Mohamed, responded stating that the court will consider Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court’s decision to refer to the concerned article when issuing the verdict.

However the court rejected the state’s request to invalidate the concerned article stating that the request was filed in contrast to the established procedures of the court.

The panel of judges also inquired about the progress of the investigation of Ghafoor’s case, to which the police who had been present in the hearings said that statements from all the officers involved in the arrests had been taken.

Police during the hearing also stated that while Hodaidhoo was an uninhabited island, it was questionable as to whether alcohol had been found on the island.

The court concluded the hearings and stated that a date would be announced later on which it would decide on the case.

“Attempt to frame” – MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor

Speaking to Minivan News, Ghafoor claimed the case was an attempt by the government to “frame” opposition politicians for attempting to impeach the President.

“I am a parliament member who is working to bring an end to this government through legitimate means. Now they want to frame me for possession of drugs and sentence me so that I would not be able to do that,” he said.

Ghafoor described the current developments as a “desperate” attempt by the government to unseat MPs opposed to the current government.

“After the coup, we have been working on ways to defeat this coup government through the parliament. Now we see even political parties that initially opposed us starting to support us. They  have started to work with us as well. This is what this government fears most,” he explained.

Ghafoor claimed that the government had been monitoring each and every move of their political opponents including himself, and alleged that their phone calls are “continuously recorded”. This, he added, was what led the police to arrest them on the island of Hodaidhoo, where they had gone to “discuss our concerns about the government”.

“I don’t see it any other way. This is clearly a politically motivated case,” he contended.

Meanwhile, the MDP also claimed the arrests wer politically-motivated and stated that it was an attempt to disrupt parliament ahead of a no confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, and an amendment to voting procedure to make such votes secret.

Last week an amendment to voting procedure to make such votes secret initiated by the opposition MDP MP Ahmed Shifaz was defeated in the parliament floor by 34 to 39 votes. However, MDP MP Ibrahim ‘Bondey’ Rasheed has again re-submitted the amendment to Parliament’s Privileges Committee.

“It is such a coincidence that whenever the Waheed government wants to frame those critical of their government, they come up with trumped up charges and very often it is something to do with alcohol,” said former MDP Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi, in a statement.


PG appeals Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court decision to release arrestees in Hodaidhoo raid

The Prosecutor General (PG) has appealed the decision made by the Kulhudhuffushi Magistrate Court to release those arrested during the raid of the uninhabited island of Hodaidhoo in Haa Dhaal Atoll .

According to local media reports, the PG filed the appeal with the High Court on Monday, but it remains unconfirmed as to whether the court has accepted the case.

Speaking to Minivan News, an official from the PG confirmed the appeal was filed but declined to provide any details as the case was pending in court.

Spokesperson for the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) Latheefa Gasim was not responding to calls at time of press.

The Maldives Police Services (MPS) on last Thursday night arrested two MPs and senior figures in the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), for the alleged possession of drugs and alcohol. Police in a statement released following the arrests claimed that 10 people were arrested during a ‘special operation’ on the island.

Among the arrestees wre ruling coalition Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Abdulla Jabir and MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – also the party’s international spokesperson – along with former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to the former President, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz.

The others arrested were Jadhulla Jaleel, Hamdan Zaki, two Sri Lankan nationals named Raj Mohan and Anoor Bandaranayk as well as a Bangladeshi named Suhail Rana.

The island of Hodaidhoo was leased to Yacht Tours for resort development in January 2003. According to Haveeru, it was previously inhabited but the population was relocated to Haa Dhaal Hanimadhoo in 1997. Kaashidhoo MP Jabir is Chairman of Yacht Tours.

Police claimed they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol upon searching the island with a court warrant.

The arrests were made “based on information received by police intelligence,” police said. Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Haveeru that the suspects were arrested with alcohol and “hash oil”.

Following the arrests around midnight, the suspects were taken to Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal Atoll, and Zaki was hospitalised.

Despite a police attempt to extend the detention periods all suspects including the two MPs were released by the Kulhudhufushi Magistrate Court, with the exception of Hamdan Zaki.

The arrests were met with severe condemnation by the opposition MDP and the former Human Rights who both claimed that the arrests were politically motivated ahead of the parliamentary vote to make impeachment votes a secret ballot.

MDP claiming the arrests were a politically-motivated stated that it was an attempt to disrupt parliament ahead of a no confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, and an amendment to voting procedure to make such votes secret. A second no-confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel was withdrawn this week pending the outcome of the secret vote amendment.

“It is such a coincidence that whenever the Waheed government wants to frame those critical of their government, they come up with trumped up charges and very often it is something to do with alcohol,” said former MDP Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi, in a statement.

Wife of Jabir and former Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, who was sacked from her ministerial position following the outburst, claimed that the arrest was politically motivated to threaten MPs ahead of the parliamentary vote.

Saeed along with her husband gave a press conference following the release where she demonstrated through role play, the exact manner in which the police had brutalised her husband, acting out how and where the police had hit him.

“In my career, I have always had to take the side of the police and defend their actions, although I have never found it easy to accept their brutality towards citizens. But this time, I have seen too close the violence they dealt out. No one should be beaten up, regardless of what the charges for arrest are.” She said.

Meanwhile the Jabir claimed that the arrest seemed more like a “terrorist killing operation” that was intended to finish off the MPs who opposed the views of the government.

“We had gone there to have dinner and spend the night on the island, but at about 4:00am, when most of the group were asleep, we were confronted by hundreds of police. They said we were drinking alcohol, so I asked them to show a warrant and they didn’t have one. They then started hitting and beating us, they wanted to kill us,”

“This did not feel like a police operation, it felt like a terrorist killing operation and it should not be acceptable anywhere in the world,” Jabir told Minivan News at the time.

However, police maintained that they handled the operation very “professionally” and had not brutalised anyone while making the arrests. Police also released a video of the operation to the media.


MDP to take no confidence votes against Party President and Vice President as internal rift grows

The national council of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will take no confidence votes against the party’s President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President MP Alhan Fahmy, at the council’s 104th meeting scheduled for today.

The no-confidence motion is the second to be forwarded against the party’s leadership this month.

According to a statement from the party, the motion was put forward by the newly-elected Secretary General of the Party’s Parliamentary Group and International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, and was seconded by Mohamed ‘Ziyattey’ Ziyaadh, the former Executive Services Secretary of the President’s Office.

The MDP stated that the motion had been raised because both Didi and Fahmy had been making public statements contrary to a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted by illegitimate means through a coup d’état. The MDP  maintained that as the transfer of power was illegal, former President Nasheed and his cabinet should continue to sit in the National Council as senior members of government.

Facing pressure following its controversial ousting from power on February 7, the MDP’s founding leadership has come up against its ambitious new leadership, elected during the party’s internal elections in May 2011.

Ghafoor alleged that some senior figures were trying to bring about a coup within the party.

“I forwarded the resolution because [Alhan and Didi] have been making malicious statements intended to incite chaos and conflict among ordinary members of the party and the party activists. Making such statements at such a fragile time is damaging to the party,” Ghafoor told Minivan News.

A similar motion was forwarded earlier this month by the party’s Chair of Elections Committee and former head of National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), Ibrahim Waheed, calling for a “confidence assessment” of the party’s current senior leadership.

“I submitted the resolution in accordance with the MDP Constitution. The reason for the submission was that some of the party’s leaders have been issuing statements and interviews against the MDP’s Constitution, after the coup on February 7,” Waheed told Minivan News at the time.

However, the National Council at the last minute decided not to proceed with the vote.

Didi’s response

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP President Dr Ibrahim Didi stated that he did not believe such a motion could be taken. He questioned the authenticity of the scheduled National Council meeting, claiming that it was in conflict with previously set precedents.

“As a principle, the National Council is usually held in consultation with the party leadership. The reason for holding a council meeting and its agenda has to be discussed with the Party President or Vice President. Especially at such a fragile time, they did not do so,” he said.

Didi claimed said that the courts of the country had recognised him as the legitimate leader of the MDP and referred to a recent court case in which the MDP’s legal team sued the government for dismantling its protest camp at Raalhugandu in Male’.

Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon dismissed the case stating that it had been filed at the court by the Interim Chairperson of the party, MP Moosa Manik, who she contended did not have authority to sign on behalf of MDP according to the party’s constitution.

The case was subsequently resubmitted under Didi’s signature, and is proceeding.

“Even the courts have recognised the authority of the party leadership and I do not believe the National Council can vote me out because I am elected from a direct vote,” he said.

Didi also said that he would not participate in today’s scheduled meeting even though he was able to sit in the council as a member of former President Nasheed’s cabinet.

“I do not believe that the cabinet is legitimate because the party constitution states that the Party President has to form the party cabinet,” Didi added.

Ghafoor argued that he had proposed the motion in accordance to the party’s constitution, article 30 clause (f) which states that the National Council is able “to debate and assess the confidence of the President of the Party or the Vice President of the Party or the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson, if the members of the party submits a complaint disapproving their actions.”

Despite Didi’s claims, Minivan News observed that Didi was present and participated in the national council meeting held on February 8 in which the party passed a resolution recognising former President Nasheed and his cabinet.

Internal rifts

Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, the pressures of sudden opposition have deepened existing internal rifts between senior figures of the party.

The MDP has already decided to take action against its MP, Shifaaq ‘Histo’ Mufeed, after he voted against party whip-line in the parliament session held to approve the new cabinet and vice-presidential nominee Waheed Deen.

The MDP had earlier decided to boycott the session arguing that the session was illegitimate, since the party did not recognise the legitimacy of the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, and repeating the party’s allegations that Waheed came to power in a coup d’état. The party argued that the session could not be legal because it was held to approve a government that came to power by illegal means.

However, despite the party’s whip-line on its MPs to not to take part in the session, MP Mufeed participated in the session and voted in favor of approving both the cabinet of President Waheed and Vice Presidential appointee Waheed Deen.

President Waheed’s cabinet and the vice presidential appointee Waheed Deen were approved by the remainder of sitting MPs unanimously by 45 votes of the usually 77-strong chamber, including MP Mufeed’s vote.

MDP Parliamentary Group Leader, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told local media that the parliamentary group would take action against MPs who went against the party whip-line.

Speaking to Minivan News, Ghafoor said that action will be taken against Mufeed in accordance with rules set up to take action against those who break the party whip-line.

“I assure that the party’s parliamentary group (PG) will look into the matter and ensure that necessary action be taken against [Mufeed] in accordance with the party constitution, if he is found to have broken the party whip-line,” he said.

“Shifaaq [Mufeed] has been a subject of controversy, even before the February 7 coup. He has been repeatedly gone against the party line,” Ghafoor alleged.

“For instance, while we were in government, during the meetings of Social Services Committee of the Parliament where he and I both sit as MDP MPs, he had supported the centralising of Thalassaemia treatment while the party had earlier approved a bill decentralising it,” he added.

While Ghafoor did not reveal what kind of action the party would be taken against the MP representing mid-Fuvahmulah constituency, he stated that if Mufeed wanted to “switch parties” he should stop “acting like a child” and “be man enough to say that the party policies no longer appeal to him”.

However, Mufeed maintained that he did not intend to switch parties but he was trying to highlight the flaws within the party leadership, and was quoted in the local media as saying that the party’s leadership was “in a coma”.

Along with MP Mufeed, other senior party figures such as MP for Nolhivaram Constituency Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed along has become vocal in criticising the party leadership, stating that the party should let go of its “militant tactics”.

Spiritual leadership?

Along with Mufeed and others, party vice president Alhan Fahmy has implied that former President Nasheed was a “spiritual leader”, and that he would not support such a leader within the party.

However, Ghafoor told Minivan News that there was no way Nasheed could be labelled a “spiritual leader”, as the National Council of the party had agreed that he was brought down illegally and was technically still the elected president.

“I don’t believe that Nasheed is a spiritual leader. Structurally he still is the elected president, and the party has agreed that he was brought down by illegal means under a resolution passed on February 8. The party’s national council has agreed that he is still technically the elected president, through the people’s vote,” said Ghafoor.

Minivan News tried contacting MP Alhan Fahmy for his comments but he had not responded at the time of press.

The National Council was scheduled to meet today 4:00pm at Dharubaaruge. Minivan News understands the no confidence motion is to be opened for debate.