Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon resigns

Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon has given her letter of resignation to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), reports Haveeru.

Shujoon, a founding member of Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), was recently re-elected to UN subcommittee on the prevention of torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment.

Earlier this month, the seven member Civil Court bench condemned the removal of two Supreme Court Judges, including the chief justice, saying the JSC was “forced” to deem the two judges unfit for the bench through an “unconstitutional” amendment to the Judicature Act.

A subsequent case challenging the decision was removed from the Civil Court’s jurisdiction by the Supreme Court.

In February, JSC launched an investigation into Shujoon after she announced on state television that she was once offered a US$5 million bribe, which she refused.

Source: Haveeru; Sun Online


Nasheed calls for Waheed to resign, transitional government to oversee elections under Speaker before Nov 11

Former President Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have called for President Dr Mohamed Waheed to resign, allowing a transitional government under the Speaker of Parliament to oversee elections.

Police yesterday surrounded the Elections Commission in the early hours of the morning and forcibly prevented it from proceeding with the scheduled election, in the apparent absence of explicit orders to do so from either the courts or the executive. Police had previously obstructed run-off elections due to be held on September 28.

Chief Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz told press yesterday that police had “made the decision ourselves” after “seeking advice” from, among others, President Waheed and Attorney General Azima Shukoor. Nawaz did not respond to questions as to whether police had the authority to halt the election, or whether they accepted they were stepping beyond the boundaries of their mandate.

“After we won the first round of elections handsomely on September 7 it became clear to our opponents that they don’t have the support of the people of the country, especially Dr Waheed, who ended up with five percent of the vote,” Nasheed told foreign reporters in Male on Sunday morning.

“We do not now feel it is possible to have an election with Dr Waheed as president, Mohamed Nazim as Defence Minister, and Abdulla Riyaz as the Commissioner of Police,” he said.

“It has become very evident that they have obstructed these elections, and very evident that they are trying to take this country into an unconstitutional void, and then capture long term, unelected military power,” he added.

Asked by reporters whether the MDP would take part in an election without President’s Waheed’s resignation, he confidently replied: “If he doesn’t, you can rest assured that there won’t be an election. They might announce it, but there won’t be an election.”

The government yesterday was pushing the Elections Commission to reschedule a third attempt at elections next week on November 26, however Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek said it would take at least 21 days to re-register the tens of thousands of voters returning home after the Eid holidays.

Thowfeek did raise the possibility of elections on November 9, just two days before the end of the presidential term on November 11 – the deadline for constitutional and potentially international recognition of the present government’s legitimacy.

“We believe that the only prudent way forward, and possible solution for the situation, is for Dr Waheed to today resign and the Speaker of Parliament to take over government before November 11 and until the election,” said Nasheed.

“We want elections to be held under this [environment], and not under the unelected, unrepresentative rule of Dr Waheed. This is our view. We don’t see any reason why there should be any more negotiation on an election date or any such issue, but rather we feel Dr Waheed should resign, and Abdulla Shahid take over,” Nasheed said.

“We feel this must happen in the next few days as time is running out.”

President Mohamed Waheed raised the prospect of resignation himself in an interview yesterday with The Hindu, stating that while it was not in the interest of the country “to have an election forced on it”, he had no interest in remaining in power beyond November 11.

“I am not comfortable to stay on. It would be my preference that there be an elected President. And it would also be my preference that if this is not possible, then there would be some other arrangement made,” Waheed told The Hindu.

Waheed – who has withdrawn from the election – said he was confident he would be able to convince all candidates to participate by threatening his resignation. If they did not, “I will tell them I will resign, and then, so will the Vice-President. After that, the responsibility will fall on the Speaker [to assume office],” Waheed said.

Speaker Abdulla Shahid told Minivan News: “It’s quite clear from the statements made by the police and executive that they halted yesterday’s scheduled election. The President has to take responsibility for that.”

“The constitution is quite clear on the responsibilities of the Speaker [should the president resign]. As speaker I will always carry out my constitutional duties,” he said.

Protests and international assistance

Sit-down protests that sprang up across Male yesterday following the police obstruction of elections were not planned by the Maldivian Democratic Party, Nasheed said.

“The people came out. It is going to build up. If the MDP doesn’t give leadership to these protests, we will soon see them get out of hand,” Nasheed said.

He dismissed the prospect of the MDP encouraging violent protests, noting that “of the 40-odd struggles for democracy across the world in the last century, only four have succeeded through violence.”

“I think it is very evident that a capacity for violence is not necessarily going to give us the success or democracy that we want. I think the capacity for resilience, and to withhold, will give us better results. We will have that struggle,” he said.

“We will go for direct action and peaceful political activity. We will beg the international community to assist us. We will always request well-wishers to be party in the democratic struggle in the Maldives,” Nasheed added.

Many rank-and-file members of the police and military were supportive of the MDP, if not the democratic process, he observed.

“The rank and file are well with us. There was one ballot box specifically for police and military, in Addu Gan. We got 70 percent in it. The vast majority of the police and military are voting for us,” Nasheed said.

He said the party was not interested in instigating a conflict between the security forces, noting that this would have a “a very serious effect on Indian Ocean stability.”

Nasheed appealed to the international community to step up its assistance with election logistics.

“I don’t think asking for an election to be secure is asking for an invasion or meddling with the internal affairs of the Maldives. We are simply asking for assistance with the logistics of holding an election. If you see this as foreign intervention, then that is a reflection on how xenophobic you yourself are,” Nasheed said.

“The international community have assisted with other logistics such as printing and IT. All in all the US has spent US$3 million, about the same as the Commonwealth, and probably the Indian government. We only asking them to assist the Elections Commission with logistics, and distributing and safeguarding ballot boxes.

“What more honourable request can a country make than asking for help with an election? We are not asking the international community to bomb anyone. We are simply asking them to look after the boxes, and left the people decide what they want,” Nasheed said.

He said he also hoped for “more robust international engagement to make sure that these important transitional arrangements are made. We don’t think we ourselves alone can overcome this.”

“We must isolate Waheed. He was the main instigator of the coup and he got away with toppling an elected government. He has nullified the first round of elections, nullified a very successful second round election, and yesterday nullified a repeat of the first round. The list goes on,” Nasheed said.

The MDP would be meeting on Sunday afternoon to decide on specific action to take, he noted.


Fuvamulah MP Shifaq joins Jumhoree Party

MP for Fuvamulah Shifaq Mufeed has resigned from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and signed with the Jumhoree Party (JP) led by business tycoon and Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim.

Shifaq Mufeed held a press conference at the JP office after the signing ceremony and told the media that he did not have any issues with the PPM.

Mufeed said he had met with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and informed him of his decision to leave the PPM, and the reasons for his decision.

He claimed that the JP was established with knowledge and wisdom and that he believed development could only be achieved by joining it.

Mufeed also said that he had not joined the JP to gain any political benefits, and praised Gasim saying he wanted to join someone trying to bring changes to the nation.

He criticised Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) policies its manifesto, claiming that the MDP had failed to implement its pledges while in power.

On May 5, several weeks after the controversial transfer of power, Mufeed resigned from the MDP and joined the PPM.

At the time he publicly criticised the MDP, saying that its leadership was “in a coma” and disputing its call for early elections.

Mufeed also went against the MDP party line, attending the Majlis session in which the government’s nominees for the Vice-Presidency and the cabinet were confirmed by the coalition parties.

PPM presidential candidate Abdull Yameen described Mufeed’s departure as “irreparable”.

“Shifaq was active, sincere to the party and worked diligently for the election. He worked in our team without being weary and also worked hard for our party in parliament. It is an irreparable loss, even personally,” Yameen said, according to local media.


Summary: Former President’s testimony on February 7 transfer of power

This article first appeared on Dhivehisitee. Republished with permission.

On 4 July, 2012, Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives until  February 7 that year, testified at the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) on how his government came to an end. Present were co-chairs of the Commission Justice Selvam and Ismail Shafeeu, members Dr Ibrahim Yasir, Dr Fawaz Shareef and Ahmed Saeed. Observing for the international community were Sir Bruce Robertson and Professor John Packer.

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.

Despite CoNI being a national inquiry looking into the highly suspicious end of a government elected by the people, all testimonies collected have been kept from the public. Having come into possession of a copy of the transcript of Nasheed’s spoken testimony to CoNI on 4 July, I have summarised its contents and shared it with you here. What is contained here is not Nasheed’s entire testimony that day, but only the parts concerning the last few hours of his presidency. Care has been taken, however, to ensure no information has been taken taken out of context, added, or deleted from the text and to remain faithful to Nasheed’s words as contained in the transcript.

President Mohamed Nasheed arrived at Bandaara Koshi at 5:00 am on 7 February 2012. Operation Liberty Shield was supposedly underway, but the place was almost deserted. About 300 personnel in total, most of them in plainclothes, milled about lethargically. There were several generals present—Chief of Defence Moosa Jaleel, General Shiyam, General Nilam, General Ibrahim Didi. The military HQ was on red alert, but most of the generals looked as if they were on holiday.

From the late evening of 6 February, Nasheed had been busy trying to control the situation from Mulee Aage, his residence. Judging from police behaviour during protests on the preceding days, the President was convinced the police must be removed from the scene. He knew plans were afoot to have his government illegally overthrown in a coup. A week earlier, he received a seven page letter from military intelligence. It outlined in detail a plot to illegally overthrow the government.

Attempting to control the situation on the evening of February 6, he had two major concerns: the police might attack MDP supporters, and they might attack the military. On hindsight, the president would come to see that he could also have arranged for MDP supporters to disperse. Other actions would have led to other consequences. But, at that moment in time, he trusted his supporters to maintain order more than he did the police. He was assured by the MDP MP leading the protests there would be no disruptions.

He ordered the police to be removed and for the military to takeover.

Seven hours later, the military was yet to take any action.

The President felt he must go to the scene. He needed to see for himself, assess what was happening. That is the kind of person he was.

Before he left, he checked with the military personnel inside the headquarters.

“We have the capacity to bring out a 1000 troops,” they assured, beckoning him.

Nasheed walked to the HQ. What he found were the generals who looked as if they were on vacation, and no plan of attack. He had suspected as much. As a history enthusiast, he had studied in detail every coup that took place on the islands in the past 200 years.

He could read the signs, he knew when a coup was brewing.


Inside, Nasheed met with his Home Minister Afeef, Defence Minister Tholhath, and Commissioner of Police Ahmed Faseeh.

“What should I do?” he asked them each individually.

Each replied the police must be restrained, arrested.

Twice, the military advanced only to retreat shortly afterwards. They treated the police with kid-gloves, there was no command. As the situation deteriorated, Nasheed rang the Chief Justice and the Speaker of Parliament. He felt that all organs of the state should be present at such a crisis. Both men agreed to come.

Nasheed also rang various MDP MPs, requesting their help at the scene. And, he made several attempts to contact the Vice President.

“But, of course,” those attempts were futile.

“The Vice President should be behind the President at a time like this,” Nasheed thought. “He should have come on his accord to be here.”

Waheed did not come. Nor did he answer the phone. Perhaps he was asleep? He was still up at 2:00 a.m. in the morning, Nasheed knew. The Vice President had appeared on television then, with a statement on the events.

Incidentally, Nasheed’s wife Laila and Waheed’s wife Ilham shared the same make-up artist. Whatever the whereabouts of Waheed, through his wife’s beautician, Nasheed would later learn that by 7:00 am of 7 February, Ilham was groomed for a special occasion.

In the early hours of 31 January, Waheed had met with the opposition in his home. Nasheed sought him out in the intervening period, but Waheed avoided him. The Vice President provided the President with neither advice nor assistance. When quizzed by Ministers in their government, Waheed refused to share any information about his meeting with the opposition.

Speaker Shahid and Chief Justice Faiz never turned up.

Some MPs did respond to Nasheed’s call for help. From his vantage point inside the military headquarters, Nasheed saw how each were beaten up. The attacks on individuals soon became a barrage, spreading across the entire area. It was to continue for the next two hours.

“In the net”

Inside the headquarters, the President’s phone had very little reception. It was not because the signal was jammed, although it should have been. Jamming the signal and providing him with another phone would have been a good strategy, Nasheed thought. He saw General Shiyam on the phone, sending a constant stream of text messages and receiving many phone calls. “Who but the President should Shiyam be in touch with at that moment in time?” Nasheed wondered.

Despite the bad reception, from time to time, President Nasheed received updates from members of his government and MDP. He heard about MNBC One being under attack. He heard police and military had taken over the airport, had control of the immigration counters.

He also heard Gayoom was up all night, co-ordinating the anti-government efforts from Malaysia. According to reports Nasheed received, on receiving news that he was at the military headquarters Gayoom said, “He is in the net.”

For all intents and purposes, Nasheed was now a captive, falsely imprisoned inside the military headquarters. His security detail, the Special Protection Group [SPG], were guards, not protectors. Their leadership was changed the day before, a man called Rauf replaced the former Chief. Rauf was in charge of protecting the President and his family, but, all day he languished outside the gates. No assurances of safety were forthcoming from him.


Through the course of the next two hours, Nasheed went up and came down several times. He saw MP Mariya Didi being attacked. It was astounding. He saw the Deputy Minister being attacked. He saw other MPs assaulted. He saw the police headquarters being attacked.

[Between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning] Nasheed went outside to speak to the mutinying police. His Police Commissioner no longer believed they were police, and refused to negotiate with them. Nasheed’s attempt was in vain. He could not agree to their demands for a pardon. It was not that he didn’t have the power or the authority.

“But”, he thought, “who am I to pardon before an investigation?”

Still, he promised them he would do his best for them. His promise went unheeded by the mutineers.

Inside the military HQ, he tried to talk to the soldiers. He had tried to do the same earlier, when he took a walk inside the premises shortly after his arrival. Some of the soldiers were playing chess, he noticed. Before he could conclude his walk, General Shiyam had intercepted him.

“They don’t want you to be walking around here,” the General said. He did not give a reason. It was possible soldiers of lower ranks had been told not to obey the President’s orders.

This time he met with about fifty soldiers from the lower ranks.

“You are taking the country to the dogs. You must do something,” he wanted to tell them.

“My wife is being attacked by MDP supporters,” one of them replied.

“A policeman has been murdered,” said another.

“That is not true. We don’t do that. We are a party in government and we govern,” the President responded.

“Will you come out with me to restrain a rebellious force?” he asked.

“If even 10-20 people agreed, I will lead them out,” the President thought.

Only one of them was willing. The rest said the President should resign.


Nasheed saw police re-enforcements arriving in Male’ on speedboats. The boats belonged to Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa company.

“Strange,” he thought. Never in his position as Commander in Chief had he ordered the security forces to use Gasim’s vessels. All of them were in uniform.

“We will lynch you. We will hang you,” Nasheed heard them. They had ropes.

The violence escalated to a level Nasheed had never imagined he would see in the Maldives.

“I am going to die right now if I don’t resign”, he thought. Naseem [former foreign minister Mohamed Naseem] arrived.

“Mohamed Amin was standing right here when he was lynched,” Nasheed remarked. Amin was the first president of the Maldives. His bloody end in the hands of an angry mob is described in the recently published Orchid, reminding the public afresh of violence past.

Nasheed contemplated his options. He could go out and face the crowd, leave the rest to God.

“Please don’t do that,” Naseem pleaded with Nasheed. The Minister was crying. Both of them had grown up listening to the stories of Amin’s lynching. MP Riyaz joined Naseem’s plea.

“You are being silly. You don’t need to die today. There will be a tomorrow.”


“Back off! We are opening the gate!” the President heard.

Nazim, Riyaz and Fayaz walked into the HQ when the gates, earlier shut under a direct order from the Presdent, were opened. There was no reason for them to be in the building, no capacity in which they could legally enter the premises.

The President knew when Nazim had arrived, he had heard the uproar with which the man’s presence had been greeted. Through the walls of the second floor room in which he was in, the President also heard Nazim address the crowds through a megaphone. He never met Nazim or the other two men inside the military HQ. Nor did he know which part of the building they were in. Once they arrived, Nasheed could not move without being restrained by someone.

“You cannot go there,” General Shiyam said when he tried to go upstairs, to the second wing. The General, whose lack of uniform at a time when the military was on red alert appeared to Nasheed as a sign of desertion, was categorical in his order. He offered no explanation.

“Someone else…someone from the opposition…Nazim? Umar Naseer? Someone was there”, the President would later speculate. “Someone was controlling operations from the other wing of the building.”

Twice the SPG, under new chief Rauf’s command, physically restrained the president. When Nasheed heard about MDP Haruge being ransacked he felt it was his duty to go. Faisal, now a major, held him back. Their excuse was that it was not safe for the president.

They checked his belongings. He had to ask their permission to use the toilet.

“Am I under arrest?” he asked.

Nasheed realised how foolish the question sounded. “I cannot be under arrest”, he thought. “But, of course, I am,” he countered himself.

Jailed several times during Gayoom’s regime for dissent, once detained in solitary confinement for 18 months, the President was familiar with arrest procedures. If he were to use the toilet without permission, they would break in. He had experienced it first hand twice before. His current guards had ‘Forensics’ written all over them.

Among them were faces he could never forget—they belonged to individuals who had interrogated and tortured him before. Soon after Nasheed’s first child was born and while he was expecting his second, one of them had ransacked his home. The man had meticulously gone through every single toy belonging to his young daughter.

“He wants to re-enact that,” Nasheed thought.

He knew these people well. He knew Abdulla Riyaz, was aware of the type of person he is. These people were not searching for anything in specific. The President knew it was an attempt to undress and demoralise him.

“They are trying to make you capitulate,” Nasheed thought. He knew torture and punishment were their preferred tactics.

“People outside are shouting and calling for you to be lynched”, they told him.

“You are going to lynch me from the inside,” he retorted.


The President made the decision to resign at the precise moment he heard the gates ofBan’deyri Koshi being opened. He could hear the din of the baying crowd right outside.

“Mr President, if you don’t resign, they will kill you. They will sack [sic] Male’”, General Ibrahim Didi had told him earlier. The General sincerely believed it was his duty to defend the President with his life. Now, he was failing miserably. Twice the military had advanced and retreated. General Didi, an honourable man, offered to resign. Nasheed observed with concern that it was not beyond the General to contemplate suicide.

“I have only a few minutes to live”, the President now thought. The situation was dire, the country was under threat. Both his life and that of his wife, Laila, were in mortal danger. Laila had no protection in Mulee Aage, she had been forced to leave with their children. He was also convinced MPs Mariya, [Ahmed Easa] and Ibu [Ibrahim Mohamed Solih] had been killed.

But, Nasheed knew it was not safe for him to resign inside the military headquarters. Once the attack on the HQ began, four large bricks were thrown into the second floor room he was in. His precise location was no secret to the attackers outside. The bricks had left large holes in the glass. Shooting into the room through those holes would be easy.

Nasheed was aware there were guns all around him. The generals had guns, he was convinced. Even if the armoury was locked, they had the keys. As Nasheed would later come to understand, guns were moved that day from Coast Guard ships, from other barracks. There are pictures showing some of the movements. He heard KK [Kalhuthukkalaa Koshi] troops were going to join the police in their mutiny. He saw the troops. He heard that when the renegade police and military took over MNBC One earlier, they used guns and were in possession of firearms.

The President knew he must leave the building. He agreed to resign.

“But”, he said, “it would be better if I do not do it from here. I must have fresh clothes, a shave.” He was looking for an escape.

It did not work. His captors had the clothes and toiletries delivered to the HQ.

His resignation speech was to be made at a press conference in the President’s Office shortly.

Resignation: “The biggest rogue letter was written by me.”

Nasheed was taken the short distance to the President’s Office in a car. A large mob, composed not of the public but of police and military personnel, surrounded the car. They were screaming. They were banging on the President’s car. There was no security, no decorum.

Nazim, Riyaz and Fayaz were already at the President’s Office.

“These people should not be here,” he thought.

The President’s staff made several vain attempts to stop the three men. Defying everyone’s wishes and all protocol, they got into the dedicated President-only lift with Nasheed. Within the enclosed space, in the presence of Riyaz and Fayaz, Nazim dictated the words that should be in his resignation letter.

In his office, the President did not put the words on paper. It did not occur to him that he should, for he had never had any intention of resigning. For him, the agreement to resign was a ruse, a way of escaping death and leaving the military headquarters.

“The Speaker wants the letter,” Nazim told him. The President hesitated. He went to the window and looked outside. The situation appeared even worse than before. He looked at Nazim. There was a tell-tale bulge in his trousers.

“He has a gun,” Nasheed was convinced. He would later make out its outlines in a picture of Nazim with his back to the camera, taken after the resignation press conference.

“You cannot back out now. You have to go all the way,” Nazim said. The President knew clearly that his life was under threat, that he would not be allowed to live.

He began writing the letter. Twice he broke down. But he knew that if he did not remain composed, if he did not maintain decorum, there would be chaos. He took care composing the letter, including only the bare minimum of what Nazim had dictated. He would only write enough to keep Nazim happy. It was all an act. Theatre. A lie to save his life.

“The biggest rogue letter was written by me,” Nasheed would say later. He was baffled when Speaker Shahid accepted the letter, it followed none of the required official documentation processes. Nasheed wrote the letter himself. There were no reference numbers, its only nod to officialdom was the emblem on the presidential notepad he used.

Shahid is the type of person who takes pride in receiving letters. Normally, he would have telephoned Nasheed on receipt of the letter. On this day, he was silent. There was no contact. Official documentation rules require proof receipt. No such record exists for President Nasheed’s resignation letter.

Before the press conference, Nazim dictated to him what he should say in his resignation speech.

“Tell the people to keep calm and remain at home. Tell them no one should come out on the streets. Ask Moosa and Mariya to remain silent. Tell other party members not to say anything. Don’t say anything about me. You must say nothing about duress. Say that you are doing it of your own accord. Of your own free will,” Nazim dictated to Nasheed.

As with the letter, Nasheed did not say what Nazim wanted. Instead, he took Nazim’s ideas and polished them up and said the bare minimum needed to save his life and country. He did not state that he was resigning of his own free will. He did not include any instructions for Moosa Manik, Mariya Didi or anyone else to stay at home.

For Nasheed resigning was not the best option. It was the only option.

Dr Azra Naseem has a PhD in International Relations

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


Islamic Minister Dr Bari resigns

Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari has resigned from the position after pressure from the Adhaalath Party.

He confirmed to Minivan News today he that he had submitted the resignation letter to the President’s Office.

”I resigned out of respect for the decision made by the Adhaalath Party to break its coalition agreement with the government,” Dr Bari said. ”I sent the letter today and they have not responded yet.”

Dr Bari said that although he had resigned from the position as well as the Chairmanship of Adhaalath Party’s Religious Council, he would “remain active in politics.”

Recently, Dr Bari and State Islamic Minister Sheikh Hussain Rasheed Ahmed were asked by the Adhaalath Party to resign, however Sheikh Rasheed issued a statement explaining his refusal to do so.

Dr Bari had earlier resigned from the Chairmanship of Adhaalath Party’s Religious Council.

Today he told the media that he had resigned from the council’s chairmanship after the council issued a statement against his view on Imams, reciting Bismi aloud and permanently reciting Qunoot in Fajr prayers.

The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair confirmed to Minivan News that Dr Bari had submitted his letter of resignation, but said President Nasheed had not had a chance to read it yet as he had been out this afternoon observing the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).

Zuhair said he was “surprised” by Bari’s decision as he had “worked patiently and in accordance with the government’s policy” prior to his resignation.

“Even with the religious unity regulations, he worked patiently with the government in a non-partisan way, and he had the last word before it was published,” Zuhair said, noting that Bari had chosen the government’s side in 2009 over its previous alliance with the Jumhooree Party (JP).

Zuhair added that the President valued Dr Bari’s contribution and “patient and academic efforts” as Islamic Minister.

It was too early to speculate on a replacement, he said. However speculation today was that Sheikh Rasheed was among the most likely candidates.

Sheikh Rasheed did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


DRP Deputy Leader “disappointed” in party, considers resignation

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed may resign from his post, reports Haveeru.

MP Ilham Ahmed, of Gemanfushi, is allegedly disappointed with some of the DRP’s internal matters. Ilham told Haveeru that party leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali appeared to be too close with the government, and said tax reform was one area of concern.

Ilham said he would decide whether to resign in the next 2-3 days.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who Ilham allegedly supports, has given the same deadline for his announcement of a new political party.


Ali Waheed resigns from DRP, while MDP plans signing ceremony

Deputy Leader and MP of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ali Waheed has submitted his resignation letter to the DRP Office this morning, amid rumors that he is about to join ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Relevant sources have confirmed to Minivan News that Waheed submitted his resignation to the DRP Office this morning, and that the MDP will hold a special ceremony tomorrow night where Waheed will sign with the MDP.

Ali Waheed has not been responding to calls from any media since rumours of his decision began to circulate last weekend. He has so far only said that if he makes a political decision, he will make it publicly to the media and the people.

A senior MDP official speaking on condition of anonymity told Minivan News that Waheed will join MDP tomorrow night, “along with two other DRP MPs.”

He also claimed that the MPs were not joining the MDP for money, as claimed by the opposition’s Gayoom faction MP Ahmed Nihan earlier this week.

”They decided to join the MDP because of the internal conflict in their party,” the source said. “The MPs feel worried and insecure, so they are moving towards a direction where they have a future,” he said. ”Due to this internal conflict in the party the MPs on the side of DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali in particular are very concerned. Those MPs did not shift sides for cash, they are very loyal to Thasmeen.”

He said that Thasmeen and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom will try and hold the remaining MPs in the party, but said that the MPs were “very concerned and worried about their future.”

”If Gayoom wants to run for the presidency during the next elections, he will have to do it right, according to the party’s charter,” the source said.

DRP Deputy Leader and Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef recently told Minivan News that rumours of Waheed’s impending departure were “propaganda to try to discredit some of us in the party.”

“Ali Waheed is a rising star with widespread support, and it would be a great blow to the party if he were to leave,” Shareef acknowledged.

Thasmeen meanwhile told Minivan News that he would not believe Waheed had joined MDP until he saw it actually happen.

Changing political landscape

The recent election of another former opposition MP – Alhan Fahmy – to the deputy leadership of the ruling party may be a key factor in luring ambitious MPs from the troubled opposition. However if rumours of money changing hands proved true, several MDP members have privately expressed concern that this risked unsettling grassroots members loyal to the ruling party from the beginning. Further discontent is likely on the islands among those constituents who voted for a party, rather than the MP.

The MDP also risks importing potential skeletons into the party along with the MP, such as the case with former Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Hassan Adhil who is currently under house arrest and facing charges of child molestation.

Furthermore, the departure of MPs loyal to Thasmeen’s faction will place further pressure on the more prosaic side of the opposition, limiting its ability to resist the leadership ambitions of Gayoom’s far less compromising ‘Z-Faction’ and risks greater destabilisation of the opposition.

The MDP has however struggled to pass legislation in the opposition-majority parliament, and is fervently seeking to tip the balance in its favour and gain control of the legislature to push through difficult bills such as the revised penal code, evidence bill, and income tax for people earning over Rf30,000.

Control of parliament would also give the MDP levers with which to address the challenges facing the judiciary and independent institutions in the country.


Parliament is corrupt, alleges government

Former Attorney General Husnu Suood, who resigned yesterday together with the rest of President Nasheed’s cabinet in protest against the supposed “scorched earth” politics of opposition MPs, has confirmed that the government has arrested two MPs on charges of corruption relating to vote buying in parliament.

When asked if the government has solid evidence to substantiate these allegations, Suood replied that “there are reasons to believe that some corrupt activities have taken place.”

Suood said “there are statements given by certain individuals that these activities have taken place. Based on those statements, and complaints, there are reasons to believe that corrupt activities have taken place. On that basis the government is proceeding.”

Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, also the MP of Maamigili, and leader of the People’s Alliance (PA) Abdulla Yaameen, the MP for Mulaku, were arrested last night.

“If there is an allegation [of bribery] it could lead to loss of confidence in a state institution,” Suood said on TVM last night. “Selling votes for money is something the president has to investigate. Otherwise there will be no respect for the Majlis (parliament),” he said.

Suood said he was confident the government’s evidence would stand up to scrutiny: “I think the evidence will stand,” he said.

Gasim and Yameen appeared at the high court today following a police appeal against the conditions of the warrant issued last night by the criminal court.

Speaking at a press conference this morning at the President’s Office, Suood expressed strong concern at the amendments to the Financial Bill proposed by the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), highlighting article 7: “Any state asset should be given, sold or leased or any subsidy or aid to any person only under legislation approved by the parliament”, and article 10(a): “any aid given by the state to any persons or to a specific person should only be given under legislation approved by the parliament.”

If the Financial Bill was ratified and parliament gained the authority to dictate aid and subsidies, “it will [jeopardise] all sorts of subsidies and aid the government provides to people, except for the elderly allowance,” Suood claimed.

Former Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Ibrahim Didi said that the bill would also jeapordise subsidies for fisherman, which was ”unacceptable.”

”We do not want salaries from the people if we cannot provide the services we want to provide them.” said Dr Didi.

Suood added that the government could not resort to the Supreme Court to overturn parliamentary rulings, “because we filed two cases in the Supreme Court, and they ruled it was not the position of the government to file cases in the Supreme Court.”

”I do not believe that the Supreme Court can rule fairly.”

State institutions had failed, Suood said, senior officials of the judiciary were “irresponsible”, and the independent commissions were operating like “small governments.”

“All of this has brought the government to a standstill,” he said.

Parliament deadlocks over detained MPs

Meanwhile, parliament this morning was also brought to a standstill after DRP MPs insisted that parliament could not go ahead without the presence of the two arrested MPs, as legally mandated.

Speaker Abdullah Shahid read out a letter to parliament from Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh, which stated that the MPs could not be released for the sitting or to attend committee meetings as required by parliamentary rules due to “security concerns”.

DRP MP Ali Waheed said there was “no rule of law” remaining in the country after police refused to comply with the court order to bring the MPs before court.

That court order was issued after midnight after a request by former Attorney General Azima Shukoor, lawyer representing the two opposition leaders.

The Attorney General’s Office has appealed the court order at the High Court this morning.

Speaker Shahid was unable to finish reading the as the chamber erupted in acrimonious arguments between MPs of the opposing parties. He briefly appealed to Ali Waheed and DRP MP Ahmed Nihan to sit down, before calling the sitting to a halt.

The mood in parliament  today was “very nervous,” said Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

“I don’t think the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and DRP were even able to talk to each other. I was very frustrated that people we are normally quite jovial with – such as [MDP MPs] Mariya Didi and Eva Abdulla – are not even able to make eye contact.”

He said the letter from Commissioner Faseeh and a second from the Chief of Defense had angered the opposition MPs, who argued that the Chief of Defense “should not be dictating when parliament should be held – it is not his business and we are not under ministerial rule.”

On the subject of the vote-buying allegations against MPs Yameen and Gasim, Nasheed said he did not know “why the Attorney General is singling them out with allegations of vote buying.”

Nasheed said many parliamentarians were aware of past discussions concerning situations where “independent MPs had been approached by sources related to the government in a bid to increase their strength and try to gain a majority.”

He confirmed that parliament has a standing order preventing an MP from being arrested “while a no confidence motion is in place against the President, the Vice President, a cabinet member, head of an independent institution or the Speaker. But the arrests happened after cabinet has resigned, cancelling the no-confidence motion,” he explained.

“I think there is a political strategy behind all this – it is to direct attention away from GMR-Malaysia Airport Holdings [signing to manage] Male’ International Airport, an issue of serious national concern,” Nasheed suggested.

“I have also heard from a highly reliable source that the president has been considering a cabinet reshuffle and will use this opportunity to appoint new ministers, and remove non-MDP cabinet ministers in the new arrangement. That, and threats and intimidation.”

Nasheed said he hoped parliament would be able to resume next week when the matter of Gasim and Yameen’s detention had been resolved.

“Much will depend on whether the court rules for the detention [of Gasim and Yameen] be extended,” he said.

“I think this is a serious impasse caused by an overly dramatic and excessive reaction from the cabinet,” Nasheed said.

“It is a very sad development. If Nasheed felt so strongly about the Financial Bill, he could have returned it to parliament and his party could have prevented it from being passed. The President has the power to veto bills, and parliament could have tried to override his veto.

If that had happened, the President could have challenged it in a court of law. For cabinet to resign saying the bill is unconstitutional is unreasonable.

Coalition collapse

While Gasim and Yameen were taken before the criminal court last night, the MDP Council resolved to to terminate its coalition agreement with Gasim’s Jumhooree Party.

The MDP Council claimed that “Gasim Ibrahim, without cooperating with the government, has prioritised his personal agenda over national agenda and has collaborated with the opposition, and has appeared in the media [with the intention] of objecting to the implementation of the national agenda,” according to newspaper Miadhu.


Sporadic and small-scale protests against the detention of Gasim and Yameen broke out last night across the city, but rain, roadblocks and the World Cup kept the crowds thinned.

This morning police dispersed a group of protesters who had gathered in a secure zone outside parliament, clutching hastily-written signs with slogans such as ‘Save us from the robbers’.

This afternoon there were reports of MDP-led protests against parliament near the tourist street of Chandanee Magu, the crowd including a number of former ministers as MPs Eva Abdulla and ‘Reeko’ Moosa. The opposition is reportedly planning a protest later this evening.