Deposed Vice President of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), MP Alhan Fahmy, today announced that he would be launching a campaign to “free” the party from former President Mohamed Nasheed, and to advocate reform of the party.
Speaking at a press conference this morning, Fahmy alleged that Nasheed was behind his ousting, and the ousting of Party President Dr Ibrahim Didi.
On Monday MDP’s National Council declared a lack of confidence in the party’s leadership and removed Didi and Fahmy from their positions, in a near-unanimous vote: 69 of 73 votes cast (almost 95 percent) were in support of the no-confidence motion for both Didi and Fahmy’s leadership. Four members abstained from voting for either motion.
The motion was proposed by MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, who alleged that Dr Didi and Fahmy had made public statements contradicting the party’s official position on the illegitimacy of the new government and Dr Waheed’s presidency, a position passed in a resolution on February 8.
Fahmy today stressed that the motion of no confidence taken against him was in contrary with the party constitution, and referred the move as a “coup” within the party.
“This [motion of no confidence] was a pre-planned attempt to defame certain figures of the party instigated by former President Nasheed and those who blindly follow him,” Fahmy told the press. “Nasheed is behind all this,” he claimed.
Fahmy criticised Nasheed claiming that the MDP could not be saved or liberated if members of the party allowed Nasheed to ‘rule’ the party according to his wishes, and sit back applauding him.
He also alleged that Nasheed had not once entered the party office since his fall from the presidency, and that he had been driving the entire party from his own residence at Kenereege.
“When you start running the party inside Kenereege, that is not democracy. No single person can take the fruit from the hard work of many like that,” Fahmy claimed.
Fahmy further alleged that Nasheed had given statements to the international media which were contrary to Islam and Sharia law, and that allowing Nasheed to become the party’s presidential candidate would “destroy the party”.
He further claimed that he would have challenged Nasheed in the presidential primary party if he had been old enough to compete.
He also claimed that Nasheed was the only MDP member permitted to meet President Mohamed Waheed Hassan or the Vice President, Waheed Deen: “When a certain person wants to he can, but if we do so, it becomes a huge problem,” Fahmy claimed.
However, Fahmy acknowledged that Nasheed had contributed a lot to the democracy of the country during his tenure as President.
Fahmy’s campaign began this afternoon at 4:00pm in the Raalhugandu Area near the tsunami monument. A small group of 15-20 of the MP’s supporters were quickly outnumbered and heckled by a large group of MDP members, as they made their way to Majeedee Magu.
One of Fahmy’s supporters told Minivan News that the campaign would call for the party to be “freed” from forces that had “hijacked” it.
“The MDP is the largest political party in the country, and it is also funded by the state like all other parties. No one person or a group can hijack a party like that. We are coming out to call for the party to be freed, and reformed,” the official told Minivan News.
Fahmy was elected as a Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP, but switched sides in early 2010 after facing the DRP’s disciplinary committee for voting against the party line in a vote of no confidence against then-foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed. The DRP had accused Dr Shaheed of fraternising with Israel.
Speaking to Minivan News, the party’s international spokesperson, MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, said he was “disappointed” by the Fahmy’s comments.
Responding to the claim that Nasheed was behind his ousting from the deputy leadership, Ghafoor said that MDP was “full of people who can think for themselves” and Fahmy’s comment was “outright disregard”.
” The MDP is full of people who can think for themselves, in fact I am the sponsor of the motion and I can assure you that I forwarded it in my own capacity and nobody had any influence on me,” said Ghafoor.
In response to claims that Nasheed was driving the party from his personal residency, Ghafoor stated that the party secretariat still worked in the party office and that for security reasons, when there was an issue that had to be discussed with Nasheed, members came to his residence.
Ghafoor also added that MDP was run by committees and some committees met at venues other than the party secretariat office, because it lacked space.
Regarding Fahmy’s claims that Nasheed made ‘unislamic’ statements to foreign media, Ghafoor claimed that this was “just the usual rhetoric” to discredit political opponents on religious grounds “when one switches ship.”
“It seems like Alhan [Fahmy] has taken an Islamist position. It is not something new to the Maldives. The rhetoric of religion and foreign influence has always been played down in the Maldives for political reasons. It is not something we worry too much about,” Ghafoor said.
“Let’s see the political weight of that event. It is rather ironic for someone to believe that they have room within the party to call for room after they’ve been voted out with such large majority,” Ghafoor told Minivan News.
” MDP is always in process of reforming and will continue to do so. All I’ve got to say to Alhan [Fahmy] is ‘good luck’,” added Ghafoor.
The MDP has maintained that as the transfer of power on February 7 was illegal, former President Nasheed and his cabinet should continue to sit in the National Council as senior members of government.
The motion was forwarded by Ghafoor, citing that the issue was “political” rather than “personal”.
The ousting of the party’s leadership was “a solemn occasion and I took no pleasure in it,” Ghafoor said. “But it was a good day for the party and a good day for democracy. We have shown that the largest party in this country can act democratically,” said Ghafoor.