2008 saw a new beginning for the people of Maldives. Or so we thought. At least that’s what happened when President Nasheed first assumed office. People were free of the shackles of fear, intimidation & dread that had bounded them, some even for their entire lifetimes. But it was a short lived happiness. All that changed when deals within the parliament and out of it, to go ahead with developmental projects, as the opposition then which was today’s government, remained stronger even then than the MDP government, which made it practically impossible to proceed if otherwise. Velezinee’s outcries regarding the judiciary, the composition of the Supreme Court went unheeded, the aftermath of which we are living through, even today.
Fast forward to February 7 2012, a day that marked the beginning of the end of the democratic process that had gained little momentum, and had started its inevitable descent into chaos. It wasn’t just MDP and President Nasheed that suffered in the aftermath that followed. Countless Maldivians who actually believed in the concept of ‘aneh dhivehiraajje’; we all suffered, mourned and were debilitated by the loss of the government we all believed would serve the people than the cronies that surrounded them. Some cried, others held them back because President Nasheed stood up and showed that there was fight still left in him. The people rose, to fight, to get back the rights that they’d fought for so hard, so long, only for it to slip through the fingers just like that.
Commonwealth intervention after the coup brought forth the report by the Commission of National Inquiry set up by Dr. Waheed’s government. Hard as it was to swallow the results of the report, the blatant untruths in it, the sheer audacity behind its justifications, we bucked up and dealt. It was frustrating, it was a blow to the solar plexus of the people who believed. But once again, I believed in the wisdom behind President Nasheed taking the higher road. Just as I’d believed that had President Nasheed not stepped down on the day of the coup, this country would’ve had the blood of its people shed on its soil, something we would never have been able to move past from. And after months of protests, people had to focus their energies on something that’d give them hope. And that was the election of 2013.
Come election time, people were jubilant. Their voice was once again going to be heard, their votes the very thing that’d break apart a government that had been put together by mutinying forces within the police and military. The tick that they’d place on the ballot paper being the one that would smash to smithereens the belief held by the corrupt circle of politicians that had financed and backed the coup that had ousted a legitimate government.
2013 yet again proved to be one that tested the patience and endurance of MDP as well as those that believed in them. Supreme Court’s high handed tactics, all well orchestrated by the people in power today, with the help of business tycoon Qasim Ibrahim who himself is cowering somewhere outside of the country at the moment, is one that continues to haunt us. People were literally and figuratively fed up by the time the last round of elections were held and once more, I believed in the path that President Nasheed chose to walk upon when he conceded defeat and allowed President Yameen to assume office. It irked, it rankled and it put a huge damper on our hopes, the sheer effort that MDP had put into its campaign enough to show who had been the most deserving of the title of Presidency.
Since then, a lot has happened. President Nasheed decided on his own volition that to be born again, one had to die and that he’d face the consequences of the corrupt judiciary that stands ready to legitimize every single unjustifiable deed that is done by the incumbent government. 13 years in jail was what he got out of it, once more a blow to the hearts of his supporters, the people who believed in him. That President Nasheed chose to stand his ground and fight, rather than go into hiding was one that resonated within the hearts of even those that were reluctant to give him any credit. But sadly, today I find myself having difficulty reconciling with what the opposition, MDP, the party whose basic principles I have believed in, how utterly and effectively defeated they seem to stand, the values they’d preached on podiums with vigor all but lying tattered beneath their feet.
As I write this, parliament will be taking the vote that’d decide whether the constitutional amendment which would mean the age of the President and Vice President be capped between 30 and 65 would go through, meaning the current Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed would be ousted and most likely, as rumors have it, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb be brought in as our new Vice President.
None of this can happen without MDP choosing to vote yes, with 3/4th majority of parliament members required to bring amendments to the constitution. What is supposed to be the ‘sacred’ rule book that should govern the affairs of the country is now being amended at whim, to suite the political ambitions of a certain group of people, and MDP is complicit in the very act, at last bowing down to the whims of this tyrannical government that rules and maintains its hold through corruption, coercion and pressing on the pressure points that’d yield them results.
I remain in a state of chaotic contemplation, my mind unable to accept the gravity of MDP’s decision to align itself with this government, the way it so silently folded, in the face of whatever the government dangled in front of them. If one were to deduce things from what has been on the forefront of the news, MDP hopes to secure the release of President Nasheed, and perhaps foresee him contesting in the 2018’s election.
I hold no such hope. In my naivety as some people put it, I see the incumbent government for what it is. A state ruled by the corrupt rich, gangsters a part of its core, the sort of people you never ever sit down to make deals with.
There’s no point in being principled if you can’t walk the talk. There’s no point of honor if you can’t show it to the people when they need to see it the most. And there’s no point of hope, when the very party that acted as the beacon of it has just switched itself off, and not a flicker of it remains to visible to the naked eye.
PS: As I was set to publish this, the amendment was passed with a whopping 77 votes from the 85 member parliament. MPs of Kendhoo constituency Ali Hussain and Galolhu Dhekunu constituency Ahmed Mahloof were the only ones who seemed to have listened to the sentiments of the public that didn’t want the amendment passed. Thank you for listening to the people. Thank you.