So all the talk of the town during the past month or so has come to its fruitful conclusion. A new Vice President was sworn in just yesterday, none other than Ahmed Adeeb, our former tourism minister, who practically swore that he wasn’t looking to fill in the position of the Vice President. He is the man behind the ousting of the former Auditor General Niyaz. The most corrupt youngster that we’ve seen in the Maldivian political scene in recent times. PG Leader Ahmed Nihan hails him as the man who collects “fees” from businesses to keep their party PPM (Progressive Party of Maldives) afloat. I call it blatant corruption.
I’ve got so many things I want to say about what has gone down within this week. Nothing nice, mind you. About how MDP (Maldivian Democratic Party) got into bed with the devil & seemed not to care an atom’s worth of what the public’s sentiments were on the matter. I’ve ranted so much on Twitter this afternoon about this that I felt like I should just take a break from all this & let this wash over me. Like I’ve done when encountered with every disappointing facet of Maldivian politics in recent times.
For one thing, the sheer audacity of the MPs who’ve been supporting every amendment that has been proposed left & right by the governing party aka PPM has been nothing short of nauseating. The response from most MDP MPs has been that ‘this is for the common good’ or ‘you wouldn’t understand this right now’ or the mother load of excuses ‘the only thing that matters to MDP right now is freedom for President Nasheed’.
And then there’s this. The confrontational mindset which refuses to back down even when they themselves know what they are doing ain’t right. ‘Why don’t you come out to the streets & protest?’ Or ‘Why don’t you elect some other person to represent you?’ Or ‘We are your elected representatives. So let us make these decisions for you’ or so it goes. Basically, all this boils down to one simple statement. We, the elected representatives aka the upper echelon know better. You, the stupid constituents know not what you’re talking about.
There’s also this group of supporters that rally behind MDP saying this. ‘This is the result of selling off your votes for MVR 500. So why blame MDP now?’ I mean seriously? There’s shifting blame & there’s blaming the constituents for the shit that MDP has been wading through ever since they lost the 2013’s presidential election.
For whatever reason, the how’s & why’s behind President Yameen & co winning the election of 2013 is a topic that requires a separate discussion. President Nasheed opted to accept the election results when they were finally announced, wanting to lead by the democratic example. It is not even two years since President Yameen took office & so many things have gone wrong since then that one can hardly keep count.
The latest fiasco began with the transfer of President Nasheed to house arrest from prison, where he was carrying out the sentence on terrorism charges that was meshed out by the Criminal Court of Maldives. Don’t even get me started on the sheer injustice of the “trial” that was carried out. I’ve ranted about it enough, written about it on the blog itself enough for people to know that I would never believe that justice was the basis of President Nasheed’s entire trial.
The story of the “deals” that went behind the scenes is what got the people, well, people like myself at least, all riled up this time around. The deal that would see the Constitution amended to allow the Vice President & President to be a person between the ages of 30 – 65; previously the starting age being set at 35 with no capping on the other end. Rumors were afloat by then that the Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb was the one who was going to come on board as the Vice President. But for this to happen, the then incumbent Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed had to go. With him not in the mood to give in & resign, of course it meant that the ruling coalition had to resort to a no confidence motion at the parliament (People’s Majlis) against Dr. Jameel, which too required that MDP be on board.
With the game fully set in motion, MDP & some of its supporters & people like myself who have supported the principles upon which the party was founded upon & believed in them, well lets just say that it was inevitable that not everyone was on board with “let’s save President Nasheed at the expense of the rest of the country” plan. Couple of months back, in celebration of President Nasheed’s birthday, MDP came up with a video narration of sorts entitled “Hayaatheh Jaluga“, loosely translated into “A life in prison”, which when I look back upon was perhaps the foundation upon which the aforementioned campaign was based on.
President Nasheed certainly never has used his horrific experiences at the prisons during President Maumoon’s regime as a campaign tactic. So even back then, when this video first came into existence, me being the second guessing sort of person I am, questioned the move by MDP. Although I am all for people learning what President Nasheed has been through & his sacrifices for the country, I am just questioning right about everything that MDP has been doing up till now. Guess that is what inevitably happens when the trust breaks & you begin looking for problems where none exists. But I believe I am not alone in feeling this way. Betrayed & utterly & thoroughly depressed.
The final straw was the bill that PPM put forward hastily on 21.07.2015, the bill that would see to foreign land ownership in the country, this being right after the session that saw the vote that ousted Dr. Jameel from the position of Vice President. Because of the grudge that MDP holds for Dr. Jameel, who has few or more like zero friends left in the political sphere, not many thought anything of the haste and unjust manner in which PPM speedily executed the no confidence motion put forward, with the help of members of MDP of course.
Without researching into the ramifications, the results & effects that a foreign land ownership bill would mean to a country such as ours, an “emergency” parliament session of sorts happened just that night. Debate that took place saw most MPs in favor of the bill, which of course wasn’t surprising. The uproar amongst the people however was certainly huge. You only had to look at the chatter on the social media to understand that people’s frustrations were at an all time high & that MDP acceding to the bill would perhaps become the final straw.
While people were still trying to grapple with the bill that had been put forth by the government, President Yameen appointed his new Vice President, Ahmed Adeeb, swore him in with the Supreme Justice present & of course on the same breathe sent the decision to parliament for approval just yesterday (22.07.2015). Before the day was through, Adeeb had been accepted as the Vice President (70 out of the 84 said YES) & the foreign land ownership bill had also passed through (70 out of the 84 said YES), both with flying colors.
Meanwhile diehard MDP fans & supporters refuse to acknowledge the fact that all this could not have happened without MDP being part of the package, that MDP could have actually walked the talk they have been preaching left & right since they came into existence. For instance, today’s free whip line still managed to garner the votes required for the foreign land ownership amendment, which would still have been the case had MDP opted for a free whip for the age amendment, both being amendments to the constitution. That would have at least meant that MDP “wanted” to uphold its principles but given the circumstances, left it up to individual members to decide how they wanted to vote. That, I believe would’ve showed the public just who & who in MDP are part of the ring of “corruption” that runs rampant in our parliament today.
For a party that celebrated its 10th anniversary just recently, it is a bit disheartening & disappointing that they don’t have an alternative leader in place to lead the party & contest in the 2018 presidential elections. Betting all they have on President Nasheed as the only candidate that they would like to see become President is unrealistic given the volatility of Maldivian politics & public sentiments across the board. My opinion, as irrelevant as it maybe is that this country would no longer give President Nasheed the chance to govern it again, come 2018 or even later on.
If you ask me, President Yameen has proved himself to be a brilliant politician & strategist. What he has achieved since imprisoning President Nasheed has been nothing short of remarkable. With this last piece in place, President Yameen has managed to severely cripple the trust members of MDP & rest of the public have placed in the party as the “savior” that works for the common good of the people. Perhaps as usual, we might forget what has happened today, tomorrow. But I believe that these ripples of mistrust would continue to gain strength, if something weren’t to give in the near future.
As always, what will happen now remains to be seen. There are talks of a new party cropping up, a “Common People’s Party” that would stand & fight against corruption that is rampant in the country, I’d say the root of all our problems to begin with. Like President Nasheed said in an article in New York Times, “The Dregs of Dictatorship“, dictatorships don’t always die when dictators leave office. To root out the corruption, to put to rights the rotten to the core judiciary of this country, perhaps that is what is required now, a third & somewhat different an ideology from mainstream ones. A party that could stir the masses into action, that would be able to walk the talk & perhaps, just perhaps, lead our country into a place where we could experience even a semblance of tthe benefits of a unified & developed nation.
My prayer, as always is that we as a country be able to prosper, without the corrupt dragging us down along with them. Amen!