Nasheed's Antics - A Never Ending Story

Jul 19, 2012 - 12:11 14 comments
  • Former President Mohamed Nasheed at the MDP "Direct Action' protest on Tuesday night. PHOTO/ IBRAHIM FAID

There is at least one person in the Maldives who appears to know what the outcome will be of the National Commission of Inquiry (CoNI).

by Dr Hassan Saeed

And that’s former President Nasheed.

What other explanation can there be for the fact that he continues to encourage the street demonstrations and violence that are plaguing the streets of Male at present?

Mr Nasheed’s MDP is calling for his Direct Immediate Action Campaign to continue with the on-going protests until the government is overthrown and early elections are called.

How is this behaviour consistent with his commitment to the international community that he will respect the outcome of the CoNI process?

A Commission that includes his own nominated representative and is co-chaired by a Singaporean Supreme Court judge nominated by the Commonwealth and assisted by advisors from the United Nations and the Commonwealth.

Well the short answer is that it isn’t consistent.

But this behaviour is consistent for a man who suspects that the outcome of the Commission’s investigation will not go the way that he wants it. Otherwise he would patiently wait for its outcome. After all, one and half month is not a long time.

As ever, former President Nasheed seems capable of taking two completely inconsistent stances at the same time. On the one hand he tells the international community that he is a true democrat and will abide by the processes that they have helped to put in place and on the other hand he is playing to his local supporters and activists encouraging actions that explicitly seek to pre-empt any conclusions that the Commission might reach.

And as supporting evidence, just look at the activities of his supporters on the social media. Here we see a prolonged and consistent campaign to try and discredit the very judge –Justice GP Selvam - in front of whom Mr. Nasheed was perfectly happy to give evidence earlier this month.

How is it that Mr. Nasheed allowed to get away with this?

Well of course it’s a pattern of behaviour that both his supporters in the Maldives and elements of the international community seem blind to.

Just look at his track record:

In February he gave his promise to the Indian Foreign Secretary to help bring down the temperature in the Maldives by calling off the planned MDP rally. Based on that assurance the government reached an understanding with the Foreign Secretary on early election. But the protest continued. No one expressed concern over the breach.

In 2010 his entire cabinet resigned blaming the Parliament for bringing the government to a standstill. Without any thought he threw the country into a major political crisis.

Nasheed then proposed changes to the system of government as a long-term solution to the problem. United Nations was asked to help. A flurry of meetings took place with political parties and political leaders.  

For immediate solution to the crisis he sought H.E. President Rajapakse’s help to reach an understanding with the opposition. The President obliged and flew immediately. But before the jet-lagged President could even meet the opposition leaders in Kurunba Village Resort, Nasheed re-instated his entire cabinet and carried on life as if nothing had happened!  With that his proposed changes to the system of government also vanished.

In 2006 government and MDP held a series of meetings at Westminster House in Colombo. British High Commissioner, H.E. Dominick Chilcott chaired the talks. A written agreement was reached. Government agreed to drop charges and release a number of MDP detainees - which it did. MDP, in return, agreed to bring down the temperature in the country by calling off street protests. Two days later they were out on the streets! I received a call from a British diplomat in Colombo expressing concern over the way police handled the protest. There was no mention of MDP’s total disregard of the agreement!

Prior to 2008 presidential election international community exerted considerable pressure on the government to drop charges against Nasheed to allow him to contest the election. Once elected, it turned a blind eye to his murky activities – even when he padlocked the Supreme Court and sent military with heavy armours to arrest Members of Parliament and political leaders.

After commencing his presidency in 2008 he stated that democracy in the Maldives would be judged by how well former President Gayoom was treated. When political expediency dictates he reverses this position– including dragging the old man to police headquarters!

When he is in alliance with Adaalath, they are a force for good. When in opposition, overnight they become a force of extremism.

In his recent CNN Interview with Christiane Amanpour he resurrected the claim that the MNDF threatened to kill him and his family and go into rampage around Male if he did not resign. A lie – and one he had previously retracted!

And with regards to his own political party? Democracy is something to be preached not practised. Every leader the party-membership elected, Nasheed has literally thrown out of office.

There are many other examples I could give and I am sure readers can identify even more themselves.

Day by day the social fabric of the Maldives is being stretched and is starting to tear under the pressure. It really is time for all Maldivian citizens (and also for international partners) to consider what contribution an individual who plays so fast and loose with the truth can make to the future of our nation.

Note: Dr Hassan Saeed is currently the Special Advisor to President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik

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