President says he is “unconcerned” as Maldives back on CMAG formal agenda

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has decided to place the Maldives back on its formal agenda, “pending the holding of a credible election on 16 November and the inauguration of a new president”.

President Dr Mohamed Waheed is meanwhile quoted in local media as saying, “Let CMAG decide whatever they will” and that his concern is about having Maldivians “approach elections in a satisfied manner”.

CMAG discussed the situation in Maldives in a meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday, three days ahead of the scheduled polling day for the presidential run-off in the Maldives.

According to their official statement, “ministers expressed their deep disappointment that the Maldives presidential election process had not concluded prior to the expiration of the President’s term in office on 11 November 2013”.

As the constitutionally mandated date for the swearing in of a new elected president – November 11 – passed, incumbent President Waheed announced that he would remain in office as per a verdict released by the Supreme Court.

Waheed’s decision – based on a Supreme Court verdict signed by the four judges who had annulled the initial September 7 presidential election – contradicts a parliamentary motion passed to appoint the speaker of parliament as an interim president, citing Article 124 of the constitution as a basis.

“The Group noted that the breach of the 11 November constitutional deadline to inaugurate a new president followed repeated delays to the electoral process, as a result of annulment by the Supreme Court of the first-round election on 7 September and the failure to proceed with three further elections on 28 September, 19 October and 10 November,” the statement read.

“Despite this serious setback to the democratic process, CMAG was pleased to note that domestic and international observers, including the Commonwealth Observer Group, had found the first-round presidential election held on 9 November to be credible.”

“Ministers emphasised the urgency of ensuring a swift conclusion to the electoral process. In this regard, CMAG stressed the importance of the second-round election taking place as scheduled on 16 November, in a credible and peaceful manner, and of the newly elected president being inaugurated promptly thereafter.”

“Election delay is not reason enough to place on agenda”: President

Waheed has been quoted in local media as saying he did not accept that the delay in electing a president prior to November 11 is reason enough for CMAG to place the country back on its formal agenda.

He also revealed today that he would be leaving the country indefinitely tomorrow evening, suggesting that there was nothing he could not handle over the phone prior to his promised resignation on Saturday evening.

“The objective of placing the Maldives on its formal agenda is to push for elections still. To pressure Maldivians to elect a president and swear him in soon,” he said, adding that election preparations are “already proceeding very smoothly here”.

“I don’t think that it is because CMAG says, or Commonwealth says, or some foreign government says that we should do things. We should do things as we feel right, as is in the best interests, and in a way we can achieve the best possible results. In whatever way is best for citizens,” Waheed said.

“This country has been divided into two. None of them can rule this country without the other. Whoever wins will need to talk to the other side, and include them in their work. It must not be done in a manner where half the country rules, and the other half is sidelined. That will never bring peace and fulfillment,” he stated.

He said that it is in the best interests of the nation to hold the second round of elections next Saturday, and regardless of how small a margin the election is won with, the winning candidate must be allowed to stay on.

Maldives was previously placed on the CMAG formal agenda in February 2012 – following the controversial transfer of power, and was removed from it on April 2013.

Today’s CMAG statement concluded urging the presidential candidates, the security services, and other state institutions to extend full co-operation to the Elections Commission so that it is “free to carry out its constitutionally-mandated role and the people of Maldives are able to exercise their fundamental right to elect their president”.


October 19 election date “a huge victory”, Nasheed tells supporters

Former President Mohamed Nasheed rallied supporters last night during a large Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) gathering near the Tsunami Monument in Male’, relaunching its ‘ehburun’ (‘one round’) campaign after 11 nights of protests.

Thousands attended the rally, at which Nasheed hailed the announcement of an election date as a “huge victory” in the country’s “irreversible move towards democracy.”

Nasheed finished first in the annulled poll on September 7 with 45.45 percent of the popular vote, missing out on the ’50 percent plus one vote’ needed for a first round victory.

The Elections Commission has scheduled the new vote for October 19, noting that as a repeat of the first round, all candidates names would have to appear on the ballot as before.

The PPM was scheduled to enter a September 28 run-off against Nasheed before the Supreme Court opted to annul first round altogetherThe 4:3 verdict hinged on a confidential police report – unavailable even to the Election Commission’s defence lawyers – supposedly claiming that 5,600 votes were ineligible due to errors such as address mismatches. The dissenting judges dismissed this evidence as invalid, noting only the claims of 473 ineligible votes – 0.2 percent of the total ballots cast.

“Our rivals wanted to arrest me for a long time. Our rivals want to dissolve the party system. Our rivals want to annul the presidential election indefinitely. Our rivals want the security forces to take over the Maldives’ government,” Nasheed told his supporters.

“Our rivals don’t want a democratic system in the Maldives, they do not want Maldivians to have the right to vote. They want to establish an authoritarian government again.,” he said.

With the first polls declared to be free and fair by all national and international observers, the MDP raised concern over the credibility of the order invalidating the first round of elections “by a Supreme Court bench tainted with allegations of corruption, and scandal.”

“The MDP is further disturbed over the Supreme Court’s comments allowing for an incumbent to remain as President despite the end of the Presidential term. The MDP does not believe that the Constitution allows for anyone to be President after the five year term which currently ends on 11 November 2013. Elections must be held to restore legitimate government and democracy in the Maldives,” the MDP said in a statement.

“The Election Commission stated that the only reason they halted the constitutionally stipulated second round of the Presidential Elections was due to a lack of cooperation by the security services and the Government, resulting in an environment non-conducive for free and fair elections.

“Thus, the MDP believe that the Supreme Court will entertain further spurious and vexatious claims as long as there is no interim arrangement allowing MDP a say in the affairs of the government,” the party added, but said it was “prepared for any election announced by the Elections Commission.”

“The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) firmly believes that all matters relating to the carrying out of Presidential elections must be decided upon by the constitutionally mandated Elections Commission,” the party stated.

“The MDP hopes that the elections takes place as soon as possible under the careful scrutiny of domestic and international observers.”

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has meanwhile announced that it is in discussions with both President Dr Mohamed Waheed and the Jumhooree Party (JP) regarding the fielding of a single candidate for the upcoming repeat of the presidential election.

“The PPM is a party that works with people. I know senior people are calling President Waheed and Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim. President Maumoon speaks to them,” the party’s running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed told local media today.

“If you are for the nation and religion, the first thing you have to do is beat MDP [Maldivian Democratic Party],” said PPM presidential candidate Adbulla Yameen.

“Then decide on who comes to power. We will, God willing, win this election if everyone thinks about this and remains steadfast.”

The Supreme Court case was initially filed by the third placed JP after its candidate and leader Gasim missed out on the second round by 2,677 votes.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, JP vice presidential candidate Dr Hassan Saeed also posited the idea of pooling support.

“We are trying to achieve results in a first round together with as many people as possible. There is talk among us to propose one candidate,” he told local media.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali has already announced that his party – the country’s third largest in terms of membership figures – will support Nasheed in subsequent polling.

Thasmeen had entered the first round as President Waheed’s running mate, however the incumbent leader received only 5.13 percent of the vote.


MNDF introduces regulations against officers inciting ‘upheaval and chaos’

The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has amended its regulations to impose punishments on officers found guilty of inciting ‘upheaval and chaos’, as rumours of possible disgruntlement among military personnel spreads across social media.

The Military Act amendment, which focuses on conduct by officers to support a coup or “chaos” in the armed forces, comes shortly after the MNDF issued a statement of condemnation, claiming that some media outlets had been “sowing discord and disorder in the military.”

Within hours of the amendment coming into force, First Lieutenant Abdulla Shareef was handed an ‘indefinite suspension’ from the service on the grounds that he was found guilty of attempting to cause upheaval and chaos within the military rank.

The new amendment, which came into force on Wednesday (October 3) will be included as the 22nd chapter of the Military Regulation. The document was quickly leaked onto twitter.

The introductory provision of the amendment (Page 1 and Page 2) states: “This is the chapter that defines the ‘upheaval and chaos’ mentioned in the Section 33 of the Military Act which states upheavals and chaos that are incited through speech, writing, action or gesture amongst members of the military.”

Section 33 of the Military Act states – “Any officer who orchestrates a coup, or incites upheaval and chaos within the military, or attempts to commit such an act, or supports such an act, or remains silent whilst having knowledge of such attempts, or delays in informing of such an attempt, is held liable under this act.

The new definition of incitement of ‘upheaval and chaos’ laid down in the new amendment includes:

  • Making demands through petitions drawn among two or more officers
  • Displaying content that could sow discord and disorder amongst military flanks through speech, writing, graphical depictions, photographs or any other means
  • Speech or conduct that amounts to doubts and questions being raised about the legality of an order given to the officers or a group of officers and
  • Incitement of hatred and false allegations towards the upper ranks of the military.

The amendment also states that any officer whose actions or attempts to incite action fall within the ambit of the definition laid down would face administrative action and penalties.

snapshot of the announcement obtained by Minivan News stated that accusations levied against First Lieutenant Shareef had been confirmed by statements from other MNDF officials questioned during an internal investigation.

Therefore First Lieutenant Shareef had been suspended under the section 4(a) of the MNDF Employment Regulation, read the announcement.

MNDF Spokesperson Colonel Abdul Raheem confirmed to Minivan News that the amendment to the regulations had been enforced, as well the suspension of First Lieutenant Shareef.

Letter of concern and resignation of First Lieutenant Mohamed Haleem

On Monday (October 3), senior officers in the MNDF sent a “letter of concern” to Chief of Defence Force Major-General Ahmed Shiyam, following the failure of the country to hold scheduled elections on September 28.

Colonel Raheem – a signatory of the letter himself – has confirmed the authenticity of the letter, telling Minivan News earlier this week that the letter had been intended to inform the MNDF leadership of their “concerns about political turbulence in the country right now and how the military should plan and prepare for it”.

Another officer who signed the letter told Minivan News on condition of anonymity:

“This is not a petition. It is a letter of concern over the Supreme Court’s order to delay elections, the failure of state institutions, and the possible politicisation of the military, and asking that unconstitutional orders not be issued.”

The officer also said that the letter had been signed by ranks including Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Captains, First Lieutenants, Sergeant Majors and Warrant Officers.

A copy of the letter obtained by Minivan News showed that the suspended First Lieutenant Shareef was also a signatory of the letter.

Other signatories included Brigadier General Abdulla Shamaal, Colonel Hamid Shafeeq, Colonel Ahmed Jihad, Lance Colonel Nasrulla Majdee, Captain Abdul Muizz, Lance Colonel Ibrahim Hilmy, Sergeant Major Hassan Fawaz, Sergeant Major Naushad Ali, and Captain Hassan Amir.

Colonel Mohamed Ziyad – who is also facing criminal prosecution for his alleged role in controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed – is also a signatory to the document.

The signature of former Military Intelligence Head Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam– who testified in parliament stating that controversial ousting of former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 2012 had all the essentials of a coup d’etat – is also on the document. Nilam remains under suspension after being relieved of his duties in January.

The first letter – which preceded an internal shuffle, including a marine commander being switched to another unit – was followed by a second piece of correspondence in which First Lieutenant Mohamed Haleem requested resignation from the defense force over “difficulties in executing his duties”.

“I do not believe the security services are currently adhering to the constitutional provisions stated in articles 237 and 238. Also, while the spirit of article 246 of the constitution is, to refrain from political affiliations and to treat equally among the people and different groups, respecting the principles of Islam and human dignity, I do not see this currently happening [within the security services],” First Lieutenant Haleem stated in the letter.

“For the last 23 years [of my military service], I have served this country under a solemn oath taken in the name of Allah, I do not see any way that I can carry out my duties as prescribed in the constitution and the military act, while in this position, therefore I request you to relieve me from my duties,” he concluded.

General Didi appeals the MNDF to uphold the law

Former Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi – regarded as a hero for his exploits during the 1988 Tamil coup attempt – also issued a letter over social media earlier this week.

“Given the sad state of affairs this country has fallen to, as a person who came out to sacrifice my life to protect holy Islam and this nation when required, as a person who would still take any action required in the best interest of this country, people and religion and as a person who has been trained and acquired military expertise at the expense of the public funds, I could not remain silent today. I believe it is a national and a religious duty to say something on the issue,” he wrote.

“My advice to the military officers is: ‘Do not give the opportunity to anyone who plans to rule this country by taking the laws to their own hands and override the constitution and undermine the constitutional framework of this country’,” wrote Didi, who was the Male’ Area Commander during the 7 February 2012 controversial power transfer before resigning “prematurely” from his 32 year career on July 16, 2012.

similar plea was also made by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan in an address to the nation this week, during which he called upon security services to “prioritise the greater interest of this state”.


Foreign parties may take advantage if we undermine our own institutions: President Waheed

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan today vowed to reject any external attempts to intervene in the country’s affairs, which he argued could be avoided if the national interest was put first.

He appealed to the public, state institutions, and the security services to remain calm and patient until the Supreme Court decides the fate of the presidential election.

Waheed said that the greatest right of the people in a democratic society was the right to freely cast their ballot to elect their ruler. He noted that it was an obligation of the state to ensure each vote was counted as valid, and to not allow more than one vote to be cast under the name of any one person.

President Waheed made the call during an address to the state today (October 2) – his first address since being defeated in the presidential polls, finishing with just 5.13 percent of the popular vote.

Finding a quick solution to the problems regarding the elections through the Supreme Court is of utmost importance in cooling down the already heated-up political environment of the country, he noted.

“If we undermine and discredit these institutions, it is always possible that foreign parties may try to enforce alternative ways. Therefore, in deciding Maldivian matters, Maldivians can make decisions only by defending our constitution and the institutions formed under it – by supporting one institution to the other. Not by attempting to destroy one another,” said the president.

Third placed Jumhooree Party (JP) candiate – resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim – filed a petition at the Supreme Court requesting the apex court annul the election, alleging “systematic” voter fraud despite unanimous positive assessments by local and international election observers.

The Supreme Court ordered the Elections Commission (EC) to suspend all efforts to hold a run-off election until it concludes the case.

The EC initially contested the constitutionality of the order, attempting to proceed with the election, before a second court order demanding the security services obstruct the run-off led the commission to declare the current political environment not conducive to free and fair elections.

Following the decision fears that the country was heading into a constitutional void increased, while international organisations and nation states called for the holding of run-off elections as soon as possible.

“If the claims of electoral discrepancies hold any truth, verifying those claims is of utmost importance in calming the situation. Presidential candidates, political parties, individual citizens, foreign organisations and nations are all waiting to see the election being held as quickly as possible and to see the new president take oath on November 11,” said President Waheed.

“Today, our nascent democracy is experiencing a new wave of efforts to strengthen it.  The vote of every individual citizen is his most sacrosanct right. In every election held so far, we have heard of discrepancies in the voting process. So in this election, and those that are to come in the future, taking into account the fact that ensuring that every citizen’s vote is a valid vote is fundamental to strengthening democracy,”  he added.

Foreign intervention and security services

President Waheed also responded indirectly to recent remarks made by the former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed. Shaheed tweeted stating that India should enforce Right to Protect (R2P) Protocol in resolving the current political crisis.

Shaheed claimed that he did not believe that the “constitutional and political crisis in the Maldives will be resolved without international assistance”.

“I strongly condemn those people who are calling for foreign military intervention into our country and requesting foreign assistance in attempts to topple the government. We are not afraid of such calls. We are also prepared to defend our country from those who are to take over the government of the Maldives,” Waheed said.

“We can solve our own problems. Maldivian people are people who had resolved far more complicated issues on their own in the past. However, if issues are not resolved quickly and get lengthened, it would lead to foreign parties wanting to intervene into our domestic problems.

“The reason is, we will have to appeal for foreign assistance to help establish peace and order, in case the situation gets worse and goes out of our own hands. Also, some of those among us are already appealing for the assistance of foreign parties,” he added.

Waheed also noted that “every time our country falls into a situation of chaos, it is door of opportunity opened to foreign parties to intervene and meddle with our domestic affairs”.

“I call upon the police and the MNDF to prioritise the greater interest of this state, to support and assist institutions formed to maintain rule of law, to remain sincere in upholding the law and the constitution,” Waheed urged.

“If we undermine and discredit these institutions, it is always possible that foreign parties may try to enforce alternative ways. Therefore, in deciding Maldivian matters, Maldivians can make decisions only by defending our constitution and the institutions formed under it – by supporting one institution to the other. Not by attempting to destroy one another,” said the president.

He also said that this is not the time for three powers of the state to attack each other and called on them to find a solution through dialogue and discourse.

“This is the time, where we should prioritise the safety and security of our people; this the time, where we should prioritize the national interest over individual political ambitions,” Waheed noted. “This country is not just the country of one person, or one [political] group. This country belongs to all of us. Any damage we incur as a state is a damage incurred by all the people,”

President Waheed also called on all political parties, presidential candidates and the public to accept any decision made by the Supreme Court regarding the elections.

“A president elected through a free and fair election is a president of all of us. I assure you all that I would give all the assistance needed for the presidential elect. Likewise, I am certain that all other state institutions would give us the support to him in that respect,” he said.


Parties to leaked “coup agreement” dismiss document’s authenticity

Read an English translation of the document

Download the original document in Dhivehi

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.

New government

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.

Read an English translation of the document

Download the original document in Dhivehi


MDP allege police investigations are campaign obstruction

Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has alleged that officials in the government were threatening senior party figures in a bid to obstruct the party’s presidential campaign, ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.

In a press statement released yesterday (August 25) on its website, the MDP alleged that recent police summons and prosecution of its senior figures – including parliamentary group members – were part of the government’s plan to obstruct campaigning.

The statement came shortly after former President Mohamed Nasheed’s former Special Envoy, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, was summoned to police for questioning. Zaki’s passport has also been withheld by the authorities.

Last week, the prosecutor general filed charges against six people – including MDP MPs Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, Abdulla Jabir, and former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair – regarding their apprehension at Hondaidhoo island last November, allegedly in possession of alcohol.

Meanwhile, members of MDP MP Ali Waheed’s family – including his mother, father and wife – were summoned to police as part of an investigation into a corruption case concerning the buying of a house in Male.

“The MDP condemns the politicized police summons and prosecutions against during former Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, parliamentary group members Hamid Abdul Ghafoor and Abdulla Jabir, as the MDP’s campaign gathers pace ahead of the presidential elections,” read the MDP’s statement.

The party also alleged that the arrests on Hondaidhoo were politically motivated and were the government’s attempt to influence the now-shelved no-confidence motions filed against then Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim.

Despite the MDP’s claims, Chair of Elections Commission Fuwad Thowfeek told local media that the commission had received few complaints regarding attempts to obstruct campaigning.

Thowfeek said that the commission’s complaints bureau was addressing the complaints filed, and would take action if required.

“Complaints concerning attempts made to influence and obstruct campaigns are very low compared to previous elections. The complaints are very few,” Thowfeek told local newspaper Haveeru. “We expect this year’s election to be smoother compared to last elections. We are only getting very few complaints, even when the election is very close.”

Police investigations

On November 16, 2012, police arrested ten people during a ‘special’ operation on the island of Hondaidhoo in Haa Dhaal Atoll for the alleged possession and consumption of drugs and alcohol. During the raid Ghafoor, Jabir, Zaki, Zuhair, and his wife Mariyam Faiz were all brought under police custody.

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

Police at the time said that they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol after obtaining a court warrant to search the island. The arrests were made “based on information received by police intelligence,” police claimed.

Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef was reported as saying that the suspects were arrested with alcohol and “hash oil”.

Haneef added that police officers at the time of arrest had 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.

Last June, the police sent cases of seven individuals – including the two opposition MPs –to the Prosecutor General’s Office for prosecution. Meanwhile, the case regarding Zaki has yet to be submitted for prosecution as he left the country shortly after being released, only returning two weeks ago.

On February 20, 2013, police declared they were investigating a corruption case involving Ali Waheed in which his mother purchased land in Male’ for MVR 7.938 million (US$514,000) in October 2011.

At the time, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) President Hassan Luthfee confirmed the institution was also investigating a case concerning the Thoddoo MP.

“We have earlier received complaints regarding the MP taking bribes following his defection from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to the MDP. There were also claims that he utilised the money he received as bribes to buy a house. We are investigating the matter,” Luthfee said.

Contacted by Minivan News today, Ali Waheed said he had already commented on the matter through Twitter.

My wife was summoned to police tonight while I am on campaign @ GA. Abdulla Riyaz is mistaken. She is much stronger and better than me!

— Ali Waheed (@ali20waheed) August 25, 2013


Government to offer scholarship in name of late foreign minister

The government has decided to offer a new special scholarship under the name of late Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Samad Abdulla.

Dr Samad passed away this Sunday while undergoing treatment after kidney dialysis at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The 67 year-old died during treatment at 1:05am Male’ time on Sunday morning, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Dr Samad was first admitted to intensive care on August 20 in a critical condition after suffering a severe heart attack. The 67 year-old had undergone heart bypass surgery 15 years ago.

In a cabinet meeting held on today (25 August), the government decided to hold a special ceremony in appreciation of Dr Samad’s services to the country.  Funeral prayers were conducted in every mosque in the country today after Asr Prayers.

Cabinet members noted that Dr Samad was a very honest courageous person and had proven his capacity as the Foreign Minister who had faced the toughest time while in office.


CNI statements made confidential “to protect evidence”: President’s Office

The President’s Office has declared that statements made to the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) concerning the legality of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s controversial ascension to power have been made confidential in order to protect those who testified to the commission.

Media Secretary of Presidents Office Masood Imad told local newspaper Haveeru that the CNI had agreed to protect those who gave evidence to the commission.

According to the government, President Waheed in March issued a presidential decree declared that all materials relating to the CNI would be declared a national secret and kept from the public.

“If the statements [given to the CNI] get published in public, [those who gave evidence to the commission] may face dangers and may be threatened. It is with the recommendation of the CNI panel as well that the statements had been made confidential,” claimed Masood.

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim told the newspaper that according to the presidential decree, the documents will be kept confidential and safely stored for a period of 25 years.

The defence minister said that the decision was made in adherence to Sections 22(b) and 22(c) of the Right to Information Regulation.

According to Section 22(b) exceptions to Right to Information include information which if released could prompt a lawsuit against the government for failing to ensure confidentiality, while Section 22(c) states that exception can also be made to withhold release of information if it would lead to difficulty for the government in obtaining similar information in the future.

According to Nazim, the president had given the defense ministry the responsibility on making the information confidential and keeping the assorted documents, audio, videos and photographs in the ministry’s custody.

“It hasn’t come to our hands as of yet. But we are working on bringing into our custody,” Nazim said.

Change in management

In late January 2012, a 22 day continuous anti-government protests led by then opposition figures and religious scholars following the controversial detention of Chief Judge of 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 anti-Nasheed demonstrators which had been armed by the security services.

The current Defense Minister Nazim – who was a civilian at the time – entered the barracks and gave an ultimatum to Nasheed, “resign or face the dire repercussions”, to which Nasheed conceded and resigned.

Then vice President Waheed subsequently ascended to power.

The following day, Nasheed and the MDP along with thousands of supporters took to the street in protest of the new regime change, but were met with harsh crackdown by what the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) later described as an “emotionally charged” police and military.

The national inquiry

In June 2012, following strong local and international pressure – primarily from the Commonwealth – President Waheed was forced to reformulate the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) to include representatives from the MDP and international community. The national inquiry commission included three members handpicked by Waheed, a Singaporean judge and a representative of former President Nasheed.

The commission interviewed several individuals as well as reviewed photographs, videos and other documents relating to the transfer of power which Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had alleged was a “bloodless coup d’état” that forced the first democratically elected president out of office.

Prior to the release of the commission’s findings, Nasheed’s nominee to the commission Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed resigned in protest from the commission contending that vital information concerning the power transfer was deliberately disregarded in order to achieve a certain outcome.

“I realised it was all going wrong,” Saeed said at a press conference held after his resignation.

In a letter he wrote to the commission’s co-chairs, Saeed cited concerns including the withholding of evidence, non-cooperation from crucial witnesses, non-examination of witnesses, witnesses being intimidated or obstructed, testimonies and evidence that was not reviewed, and organisation by the CNI secretariat.

The CNI went onto announce its finding in which it claimed there was neither a coup as alleged by the former ruling party MDP nor was there any substantial grounds to question the legitimacy of President Waheed’s ascension to power – much to the dismay of former President Nasheed and the MDP.

“In sum, the Commission concludes that there was no illegal coercion or intimidation nor any coup d’état. The Commission has received no evidence supporting or to substantiate these allegations. This disposes the main mandate of the Commission,” read the report. The report and the commission’s website were subsequently taken off-line.

CNI findings flawed

A subsequent legal analysis of the commission’s report on the request of the now opposition MDP by a team of high-profile Sri Lankan legal professionals – including the country’s former Attorney General – accused the commission of exceeding its mandate, selectively gathering and acting upon evidence, and failing to adequately address the fundamental issue with which it was charged: determining whether the former President resigned under duress.

“[The CNI] appears to have abdicated its duty to objectively and reasonably bring its collective mind to bear on whether or not there was duress involved in the purported resignation of President Nasheed,” concluded the detailed report.

The authors included two Sri Lankan Supreme Court attorneys – Anita Perera and Senany Dayaratne – and the former Sri Lankan Attorney General Shibly Aziz.

“The [CNI] Report offends the fundamental tenets of natural justice, transparency and good governance, including the right to see adverse material, which undermines the salutary tenets of the Rule of Law,” it claimed.

Even by the yardstick of ‘coercion’ or illegal coercion which the [CNI] has incorporated for reasons one cannot fathom – given the clear mandate – ex facie the events accepted by the “[CNI] and without anything more, does strongly and convincingly establish the ‘coercion’ or ‘illegal coercion’, the yardstick chosen by the [CNI],” the report noted, in support for the claim of an illegitimate ousting of a legitimate head of state.

Parliamentary scrutiny

A review of the CNI report by Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee – the parliamentary select-committee mandated with overseeing the government and its agencies – led to the announcement by the committee’s chair that the report was “flawed”.

The Committee Chair MP Ali Waheed told local media that many interviewed by the committee claimed it lacked “key information they had given to [the CNI panel]”.

“Some have even claimed their information was wrongly presented,” he said, while others who attended the committee [meeting] “have told us that key information they gave was missing from the CNI report, and said they did not accept its findings”.

Leaked statements

Dozens of statements given to the CNI were leaked to local media. Among the statements included those given by former President Nasheed and statements from senior officials from the military and police.

In one of the leaked statements, MNDF Staff Sergeant Shafraz Naeem – who was commanding ‘Bravo’, one of the Bandara Koshi Battalion riot squads that confronted the mutinying police – told the CNI that he had “lost faith in the institution” after the events.

“I took an oath to protect the country and the president; not to beat civilians or to mutiny. I did not take an oath to follow a mutinous general. I was never a big fan of Nasheed, but it did not matter to me who the President was that day. I would have done the same for any president,” read his statement.

“In my view this was a coup. Why? I could see it from the way they handled everything, their attitude, how cool and calm all the officers were. I could tell from how cool General Shiyam was inside the MNDF. They did nothing. This is not how a uniformed officer should behave,” he said.

Former President Nasheed’s leaked statement read – “In essence, my statement is very small. I was forced to resign. I resigned under duress. I was threatened. If I did not resign within a stipulated period it would endanger mine and my family’s life. I understood they were going to harm a number of other citizens, party members. They were going to literally sack the town. I felt that I had no other option, other than to resign.”


DQP, Dr Hassan Saeed quit President Waheed’s coalition: “too much family, expatriate influence”

The government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) has announced that it has left President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s ‘forward with the nation’ coalition, ending its support for his 2013 election bid.

The decision came shortly after the religious conservative Adhaalath Party left the coalition and joined resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP).

Local media is speculating that DQP Leader Dr Hassan Saeed – President Waheed’s Special Advisor since the controversial February 7 transfer of power – is likely to be announced as Gasim’s running mate.

In a statement released by the DQP on Thursday, the party said its council had unanimously agreed to leave the coalition, and accused President Waheed of being incapable of protecting the interests of his coalition partners.

Instead, the party alleged, Waheed was turning to “family influence” in making key decisions.

“The president dissolved the steering committee established with coalition partners to resolve issues within the coalition and resorted to taking decisions within his palace,” read the DQP statement.

Among other concerns, the party claimed that no key roles were given to coalition partners in the presidential campaign, which were instead outsourced to the president’s “family members and expatriates”.

The DQP alleged that some coalition partners had also breached their initial agreement to work together and were secretly attempting to induce members of other coalition partners to join their party.

The DQP, which has a membership of less than 1800 people, also claimed that president Waheed gave more priority to those who financially backed him over those who supported him with “sincerity and genuineness”.

“Therefore, despite repeated efforts, President Waheed’s failure to resolve these issues” forced the party to leave the coalition, DQP said.

Responding to the statement, a source in Waheed’s coalition told Minivan News that the DQP’s decision to leave the ‘Forward with the nation’ coalition was unexpected, when compared to the departure of the Adhaalath Party last week.

The source said DQP Leader Dr Hassan Saeed was himself in attendance during an official signing event held yesterday by Waheed, who was seeking 1,500 signatures needed to apply for candidacy as an independent. Saeed had been booked to attend another campaign visit over the coming days, the source said.

Despite the defection, the source claimed President Waheed’s campaigning would not be impacted by sudden defection of the DQP in any way.

“The [DQP] is a very small party of around 2000 members so we are not expecting much of an impact,” the source said.

With the departure of both the DQP and the Adhaalath party, President Waheed’s coalition now consists of his own Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali was earlier been unveiled as Waheed’s running mate, although whether the pair will contest on the same independent ticket remains uncertain.

“There are people trying to bar me from competing. I will not be the one to get caught in that trap,” Waheed said earlier this week.

“So I intend to take the form and go on the streets. I will visit houses, carrying the form, during the next two days and ask those who wish to see me remain in this post for another term to sign.”

Dr Hassan Saeed has meanwhile resigned from his position as Waheed’s special advisor, shortly after the DQP announced its decision to side with Gasim Ibrahim.

Saeed was promptly replaced by former Attorney General Aishath Bisham.