Now that Ramazan is over, we will be returning to active politics and speculation about the soon to be published report of the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) will reach fever pitch. As I said last week this is part of a much wider process.
by Dr Hassan Saeed
“It is a process of identifying what went wrong. A process of addressing the concerns and avoiding similar mistakes in future. At the end it is a process – a process of healing and national reconciliation.”
However recognising that does not mean one should not contribute and respond at this specific point to the Inquiry. That is why I and the DQP have issued Democracy Betrayed: behind the mask of the ‘Island President’. It refutes the allegations by the MDP of what they have claimed is a ‘Police and Military backed coup d’état’.
Nasheed has demonstrated that he had an excellent propaganda and disinformation machine both at home and internationally. This needs to be countered with an accessible document that explores all the inconsistencies in the story he tries to tell about the events of February 6th and 7th.
Nasheed is such a stranger to the truth and makes such outlandish claims that people often think that what he says "must be true". They can’t believe that someone, in his position as a former head of state of a country would just make things up.
That is why there is a need to set out a full point for point rebuttal to demonstrate that this is precisely what he does. By focusing clearly and specifically on the wild and inaccurate claims of Nasheed and the MDP, the DQP report will complement the CoNI report.
In publishing it I wanted to show that it is not democracy that has failed but Nasheed. My response is measured and backed up by a full range of references that set out all of Nasheed’s inconsistencies. I believe this is how political debate should be conducted. This is in contrast to his hysterical and erratic outpourings.
As I say in the report:
“As an Attorney General for former President Gayyoom, Presidential Candidate in 2008, Special Advisor in former President Nasheed’s initial coalition and currently Special Advisor to President Waheed, I have had a ringside seat for these momentous political events. I observed at firsthand the actions and failures of former President Nasheed which led to the democratic crisis in the Maldives.”
So I think I am in a position to make a detailed assessment of Nasheed in comparison with his predecessor and successor.
I stood against him in an election and got nearly as many votes as him. Recognising his first round result, I supported him in the second round and started off supporting his coalition, so was clearly prepared to give his government, the ‘benefit of the doubt’.
However it was his behaviour – and I should add the inconsistent words that often followed it - that caused me to change my view on him, not any preconceived prejudice.
The mythology promoted by Nasheed and his supporters about the events before and after the February 7this expanding at a rapid rate. Responsible politicians therefore have a responsibility to put a brake on this. We owe it to our people to tell the truth and that is why I have set out events in such detail.
In my report I talk a lot about leadership. After all we elect our President as our country’s leader to represent all our hopes and aspirations and to deal with the challenges they confront:
“A leader must be judged by his or her ability to deal with the inevitable crises that face anyone running a country. It is my belief that far from being able to avert or manage crises, Nasheed’s approach to leadership made crises much more likely. Instead of strengthening our new democracy, Nasheed compounded the weaknesses we inherited as the legacy of President Gayyoom...
...A good leader might have been able to manage these challenges. Instead Nasheed made things worse through his erratic behaviour and readiness to ride roughshod over the legal and democratic systems of our country. The consequence was that he lost the confidence of most key sectors in our society...”
And this serious weakness in leadership meant that Nasheed could not manage the pressure of the role:
“...Perhaps realizing this, in his final dramatic act, Nasheed resigned in the full glare of the media. Yet within a day he was again showing the unstable side of his nature and telling a very different story...”
And I conclude by saying:
“...What lessons does this hard evidence teach us for the future? The most fundamental conclusion of my analysis is that Nasheed is not the right leader for our country. The danger for the Maldives is that if he gets back into power he will believe that his aberrant behaviour of the past has been legitimized. Equally, Nasheed in opposition cannot be allowed to generate further crises for our country in pursuit of his personal agenda. I hope any follow-up actions resulting from the Commission of National inquiry (CoNI) will focus on this.”
The absolute simple lesson I draw from all this is that Nasheed is simply not a fit and proper person to run our country. He must never be elected to power again.
Note: Dr Hassan Saeed is currently the Special Advisor to President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik