Civil Court rejects Umar Naseer’s request to overturn dismissal from PPM

The Civil Court has ruled that it has no reason to issue an injunction to halt a decision made by the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s disciplinary committee regarding Umar Naseer, and have rejected his request.

The Civil Court ruling stated that Umar Naseer has the opportunity to appeal the decision of the disciplinary committee with the party’s own appeal committee.

The court referred to Umar’s accusations that the party’s disciplinary committee was under the influence of certain figures within the party, and said that he was not able to prove these accusations.

The Civil Court said that unless this was proved otherwise the court had to consider that the disciplinary committee and appeal committee of the PPM were functioning as stated in the party’s charter.

The ruling was issued today by Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon.

Although the court ruling on the request for injunction came today, Umar Naseer has been already dismissed from the party.

In April, Umar Naseer submitted a case to the Civil Court seeking a ruling that he was dismissed from the party against the party’s regulations.

In May, Naseer resubmitted the case at the Civil Court to try and invalidate the outcome of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) primary vote.

Umar, who contested the PPM presidential primary against the party’s Parliamentary Group Leader and eventual winner MP Abdulla Yameen, has since been removed from the party after accusing his rival of rigging the vote to secure his victory.

The previous case seeking to invalidate the PPM primary was submitted by party member Rahma Moosa, who alleged that thousands of voters were not officially registered with the PPM at the time they cast votes on their preferred party candidate.

Rahma Moosa reportedly filed the case claiming that 8,915 people who were not officially registered as members of PPM had been allowed to vote in the primary. She contended that the move contravened the Political Party Act and compromised the rights of all general members of the party.


PPM MP Mahlouf’s shop vandalised

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahlouf’s clothes shop was vandalised last night by unknown assailants.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Mahlouf said he believed that the attack came in retaliation for the protest the opposition and coalition of religious NGOs have decided to conduct next Friday.

‘’It is in connection with the protest we have planned. Ever since we planned these protests I have been warned and threatened that if the protest is conducted I will suffer the consequences,’’ Mahlouf claimed.

Mahlouf said police attended the area would have collected video footage captured by the shop’s cameras.

‘’I think police will be able to find out the culprits using the footage,’’ he said. ‘’It is regrettable that those who oppose us have started vandalising property.’’

Mahlouf alleged that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) officials and senior MPs had threatened him “with consequences” if the protest was conducted.PP

‘’They have sent me texts and threatened me that there will be consequences if the protest is conducted,’’ he claimed, further alleging that the MDP was “paying gangs” to disrupt the protest on Friday, but would not state which MPs he believed were involved.

‘’Not many gangs have cooperated with MDP because it is a religious thing this time,’’ Maulouf.

Minivan News sought response from MDP Parliamentary Group Media Coordinator MP Mohamed Shifaz, MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, MP Ahmed Easa and MP Ali Waheed, but none responded at time of press.

MDP MPs Mohamed Musthafa and Ahmed Hamza refused to comment on the matter.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that the incident had occurred and that police were investigating the case.

The religious NGO coalition and opposition political parties are planning a protest on Friday in which they claim 15,000 citizens will attend.


“We have not forgotten your 30 years”: MDP to Gayoom

Leaders of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) launched vitriolic attacks against former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom at a rally Tuesday night, following his departure from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to lead the newly-formed Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

In a series of fiery speeches, MDP MPs and party leaders dubbed PPM “the property inheritance party” created to “set up a family dynasty” and condemned the former President’s return to active politics.

“We thought the person who ruled this country for 30 years was finished, but we’re now seeing the formation of the Private Property of Maumoon,” said MP Ali Waheed, former deputy leader of the DRP who defected to the ruling party in May. “We stayed quiet but it was Maumoon who picked off one teeth after another from DRP and now he’s saying DRP is toothless and forming PPM with people who need false teeth.”

The MP for Thohdoo added that he “came to the MDP to put a stop to this”.

“I want to call on [DRP Leader] Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and [Speaker of Parliament] Abdulla Shahid today, if you’re toothless, come to a party that has teeth and bite Maumoon,” he said.

Ali Waheed claimed that in the wake of MP Alhan Fahmy’s dismissal from DRP in late 2009, Gayoom sent a text message to DRP MP Ahmed Nihan’s phone from Singapore asking Waheed to call Fahmy “a rat.”

On Gayoom’s stated reasons for forming a new party, Ali Waheed said that the Maldivian constitution protected Islam and national sovereignty, neither of which required the the former President’s protection.

Ali Waheed accused Gayoom of undercutting young leaders of the DRP, predicting that “at the last minute” the former President would ask Umar Naseer and Abdulla Yameen – potential contenders for the PPM presidential ticket – to step aside to make way for his presidential bid.

Meanwhile after verifying the required 50 application forms, the Elections Commission (EC) approved the PPM’s request to register the new party today with Gayoom’s son Farish Maumoon as the party’s temporary liaison. Gayoom’s four children, along with half-brother MP Abdulla Yameen and nephew MP Hamdhoon Abdulla Hameed, were also members of the Z-DRP council formed after the ‘Zaeem’ faction’s split from the DRP.

“We have not forgotten”

In her remarks, outgoing MDP Chairwoman Mariya Ahmed Didi criticised Gayoom for refusing to rule out an attempt to return to power after inviting “educated youth” to join his party.

Mocking Gayoom’s request to reporters at Monday’s press conference to ask only one question at a time “because I might forget,” Mariya said that “[Gayoom] might have forgotten how [he] ruled for 30 years, the Maldivian people experienced those 30 years and remember it well.”

President Mohamed Nasheed told her that if the government arrested Gayoom or sought retribution or revenge, said Mariya, it would discourage the emergence of strong opposition parties.

Nasheed explained that “we have come out for a bigger picture and must be patient and lower our hearts,” Mariya said, expressing gratitude to MDP member for “the patience you have shown.”

“We are seeing that when the public has been very patient, some people mistakenly thought that people have forgotten the experience of 30 years,” she continued. “I want to tell President Maumoon, we do remember. We remember the brutality, we remember Evan Naseem and those who were killed with him.

“We remember what happened to our ballot boxes, how island chiefs sat on it and replaced ballot papers to get 98 percent [in previous presidential referendums] so that you could say ‘I’m the President.’ I want to tell Maumoon we have not forgotten how you destroyed our young generation with drugs so that they will not oppose you. We remember the level of corruption in this country in the past.”

“Access Denied”

AlhanMP Alhan Fahmy – who was dismissed from the DRP for voting against the party line in a no-confidence motion against Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed – meanwhile argued that the fledgling democratic system in the Maldives would not allow Gayoom to stage a come-back.

“There is only one way an autocratic ruler can come back,” he explained. “That is, the ruler can return to an autocratic government. Today our system is a democratic system. That means when Maumoon tries to enter the system, it will flash in big letters: ‘Access Denied’.”

Alhan said the “message MDP wants to send Gayoom” was that – as recent events in the Middle East have borne out – deposed autocratic regimes could not return to power.

“I have a two year-old child and whenever anyone asks him ‘what happened to Maumoon?’ he will immediately reply ‘he fell’,” Alhan continued, adding that presidents in democratic countries are not toppled from power but leave after completing their terms in office. “When you fall, you can’t climb back again. You have to stay on the spot where you fell.”

Meanwhile in his speech, President Nasheed asserted that there was no possibility of Gayoom returning to power.

“It is not something we should be concerned about in the least,” he said. “We know the history of this country and what happens to former rulers. [But] because what we want to see from this country is a different reality, we still keep saying ‘lower your hearts in victory’ and this is what we will keep doing in the future.”

Gayoom should be offered “the respect and honour due to a former President,” said Nasheed, assuring supporters at the rally that Gayoom’s political activities would not cause them “any harm whatsover.”

“That is not something that will happen in this country anymore,” he insisted. “Before concluding I do however want to tell you what happened to Ali Rasgefaan [Sultan killed in battle with an invading Portuguese garrison in 1558]. When he reached Maafanu [ward of Male’] and looked back, there were only two people behind him. He was buried there with those two. The Prime Minister of Andhiri Andhiri [Portuguese overseer] was Thufasha, who was Ali Rasgefan’s Prime Minister. Nothing new will happen in our country. This is a very ancient island. We are living with a thousand of years of history. Do not be worried at all.”


Z-faction formed new party “after failing to gain control of DRP”: Thasmeen

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom decided to form a new party because “particular individuals” were not elected to leadership posts at the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Congress in March 2010, and “because they failed to gain control of the party”, DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali told press today.

Flanked by DRP council members and leaders of coalition partner Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) at a press conference this afternoon, Thasmeen denied the former President’s claim that he was forced to quit the DRP because of a lack of internal democracy and inadequate efforts to hold the government accountable.

The breakaway Z-faction opted to form a new party after “they failed to influence the different organs of DRP,” Thasmeen said, accusing the ‘Zaeem faction’ of undermining the DRP leadership with “baseless allegations.”

“They have not provided any reason for the Maldivian people to believe the allegations made over the past year or so,” he said. “I have definitely never voted against the DRP whip since the party was formed. I have never failed to attend a vote in Majlis for any reason. And I have never failed to say what I must when the current government does something that is detrimental to the people.”

After months of factional strife and a litany of grievances aired in the media, Gayoom withdrew his endorsement of Thasmeen in March this year, accusing his successor of “acting dictatorially” and violating the party’s charter in the controversial dismissal of Deputy Leader Umar Naseer.

On allegations made by Umar Naseer that Thasmeen accepted a US$1 million bribe from Indian infrastructure giant GMR – which took over management of the Male’ International Airport under a concessional agreement last year – the DRP leader noted that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had “investigated thoroughly” and cleared both Thasmeen and Speaker Abdulla Shahid of any wrong-doing.

Thasmeen argued that there was “no reason to accept” the Progressive Party’s claim of “being an exemplary democratic party” as the Z-faction had disregarded the DRP’s charter, openly refused to accept decisions by the party’s organs and “worked in a way detrimental to the party that was worse than our political enemies.”

The minority leader of parliament also noted that the Z-faction had been functioning independently “as a separate party with a separate council, with a separate parliamentary group lately.”

“There’s no reason to believe they can do something they failed to do over the past year with just the name of a political party,” he said, adding that the Z-faction MPs had not informed the public about the shortcomings of the government’s proposed economic reforms.

Thasmeen insisted that “a substantial number of members” would not leave DRP for the Progressive Party: “We are calling the party’s leadership in the islands, the party’s councillors and heads of island branches,” he said. “Based on information we are getting, we are certain that a substantial number of people from DRP will not go to this new party.”

Local daily Haveeru reported today that 500 members have so far applied to leave the party. Thasmeen however expressed confidence that the DRP would remain the largest opposition party.

The DRP leader revealed that the party would conduct internal elections “in the next three months” for DRP island branches or chapters. The elections were last held in 2006.