The Amendment that Brought the Opposition to its Knees

Placard used in one of MDP's rallies. Brings home the truth? Photo from Haveeru

Placard used in one of MDP’s rallies. Brings home the truth? Photo from Haveeru

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.

The Fear of the Ballot Paper VS Democracy

Where is My Vote?

Where is My Vote?

Practically everyone who gives a thought about the future of this country and its people are waiting with bated breath, even with hope at its lowest, for the Supreme Court to prove them all wrong and vote justly for everyone who cast their votes in good favor on the 7th of September 2013. Just like the sexual harassment issue regarding the President of the Civil Service Commission that unfolded late last year, the Supreme Court’s affair with the voting process has got almost everyone confused and some equally determined to exercise their right to vote. While the Chapter IV of the Constitution is pretty clear on the most important aspects regarding the Presidential Election, the Supreme Court on the other hand seems to be vested with the power to totally annihilate any laws as they see fit.

Moving on from the legal aspect which I certainly am not the most proficient person to analyze and talk regarding, my musings lie in the practicalities of what would unfold and I believe that there are going to be implications in holding the second round of voting this Saturday. If the entire opposition in terms of Nasheed is to judge the havoc these people can create, and if the Supreme Court does NOT issue its verdict by tomorrow and the members of the Elections Commission somehow grow balls of titanium coated with diamonds to even then go ahead with the second round of voting; just imagine the reaction from those who are afraid of this little piece of paper that civilized societies use to elect and reject those that are voted into various offices of the government.

Multiply the likes of Ilham, Riyaz Rasheed, Abdulla Abdul Raheem, Umar Naseer, Marz Saleem, Imran etc and their assisting rabble-rousers by a 1,000 fold plus the different gangs under their control that would certainly be deployed; one can just imagine the mayhem these people can create if you look at the level of vandalism the so-called prestigious members of the Parliament resorted to during the last couple of days.

With the Police Commissioner already vying towards the unannounced decision of the Supreme Court regardless of what the Police Integrity Commission has stated today which was to assist the Elections Commission in the voting process, it seems very likely that most police officers wouldn’t do anything much to uphold the Constitution they so claimed to love and adore when Nasheed was the President. The Constitution that they were devoted to upholding so much so that they could not sleep because of their need to topple the President from his position in their aim to show their respect to the document that forms the basis of all laws of this country. Add into this the various atoll and island level councils that are controlled by the opposition who’d refuse to cooperate with the Elections Commission without which the logistics of holding the run-off elections would be an impossibility.

Now, the question of the hour remains to be what the military would do if & when push comes to shove? Will they assist the Defense Minister Nazim to execute the ‘Operation Black Cobra’ or whatever ridiculous codename that it is called, that was circulating throughout the social media all of yesterday and help remove all vestiges of the democratic processes established in this country by opting for a military ruled dictatorship? Or will they rise to the occasion and for just once, serve for the betterment of this country and its future without being wusses about it?

There were rumors of supposedly a faction of soldiers within the military who believed that the coup was wrong, some whose egos were severely bruised by the extent to which the police force made them stand down so easily. Apparently this faction of soldiers believe in upholding the laws of this country and respecting the democratic process and if word on the street is to be trusted, they’d definitely come out in support of whoever the majority of the citizens of this country vote for and elect as their President for the next five years.

And in the meantime, the clock continues to tick towards the nth hour. And the question continues to loom larger than ever as the time of reckoning draws closer; will they or won’t they come out in support of the people of this country and its Constitution come Saturday, the 28th of September 2013.

Kasauti Hour at Civil Service Commission

sexualharassment

If you all have been following the news today and yesterday, you would know what I am talking about. Though I’d be the last person to advocate for Fahmy on this issue, the latest news reports on the issue has left me wondering whether locking up the doors and throwing away the key is the best way to tackle the issue of Fahmy resuming work at CSC after being on leave.

For one thing, when Supreme Court came up with their verdict, everyone sat on their arses and let him report to work. He was paid his salary, not just for the days he reported to work but the entire period he was away from work; the days between Parliament sacking him and Supreme Court’s verdict.

What we are witnessing today is a total turnaround to these events. While the issue of who the President of CSC is has been settled, the issue of whether Fahmy is a member or not still remains to be resolved. When the Parliament appointed Ms. Reenee as the 5th member of CSC to the position supposed to have been vacated by Fahmy, Supreme Court stopped the swearing in process which effectively bars Reenee from reporting to work. While the President Dr. Waheed has said that he will decide what is to be done with Fahmy in three days time, we are left wondering whether Waheed resides on Pluto on which each day is equivalent to 6 days here on Earth.

Now the question I am struggling with is whether ‘suspending’ Fahmy & preventing him from returning to work by the actions of CSC is the right way to go. What sort of message is all this under the table behaviour driving home? Is this sort of deep ‘under the cover’ power struggle what CSC wants the public to witness? As far as my limited knowledge on CS Act goes, all employment issues related to CSC members will be governed by the Parliament. Yes, Parliament had its say, but then none of this has been resolved and that creates the sense that there is something fishy going on, something that we aren’t privy to that is working behind the scenes. Perhaps a position that CSC should have assumed from the very start of this affair which we are seeing too late might be the reason for this weird feeling that things just don’t add up!

In my opinion what Waheed needs to do is grow a pair or two, buck up and decide once and for all what is to be done so that we can all be done with this drama and move on. This is not healthy for this country and its largest workforce where discontentment practically reeks from all civil servants at large. If not Waheed, then the Attorney General needs to decide what is to be done so that CSC can end this episode of Kasauti and move forward with their designated jobs in creating an effective, efficient and professional civil service capable of serving the public.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer that Fahmy should be sacked for what he did and has done to many a female employee at the workplace and am someone who would always advocate for it knowing all that I know. But this is not how it should be. Or is it? What do you think?