By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan
The report submitted by Judge Selvam to President Waheed on 29th morning, declared that the change of government was “legal and constitutional” and that the events of February 6-7 were in large measure reactions to the actions of President Nasheed.
Additionally, the Commission found that:
- The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will. It was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation.
There were acts of police brutality on 6,7 and 8 February 2012 that must be investigated and pursued further by the relevant authorities.
- There appears nothing contestable in constitutional terms under the generic notion of a ‘coup d’etat’, which is alleged to have occurred and that the constitution was precisely followed as prescribed in the change of government.
Nasheed’s representative Saeed resigned from the CNI denouncing its credibility and alleged that the final report excluded testimony from key witnesses as well as crucial audio and video evidence.
President Waheed in his address to the nation said:
- It is time to move forward and work together for the betterment of the country with renewed spirit of unity, friendship and cooperation.
- Appealed to the people to respect the principles of Islam and to work in the spirit of maintaining peace and stability of the nation.
- It is now clear that the transfer of power on February 7th was legitimate. Therefore, it is time to stop questioning the legitimacy of the government. It is time to stop illegal activities that go against generally acceptable social norms.
- It is time for political leaders to show their leadership and the time to put nation’s interest before individual interests.
- Would commence the consultative process that he had initiated earlier and go for administrative and legal reforms as advised by the two reports of the CNI and that of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives.
The address of President in no way was conciliatory to either former President Nasheed or of his party the MDP. In effect it said -accept it and be done with it.
It is ironic that both the coalition of the parties supporting the government and the MDP did not expect such a result and both must have been taken by surprise!
President Waheed said as early as June 6 to the BBC that “even if the CNI found evidence of a coup, he will not resign, unless it was proved that he had a role in it.”
Umar Naseer declared on the 15th August that even if the CNI declares it a coup, they would take it up to the Supreme Court. Another spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza while awaiting the report said that CNI report is not final and that it would only assist the relevant independent authorities to take legal action. The Defence Minister on 17th told the security forces that he will not take any action against the army personnel in relation to the report. President of Adaalath party had said that regardless of the outcome of CNI Report, Nasheed should be charged with terrorism.
The initial reaction of Nasheed was one of anger. In his speech on 29th before the official publication of the report was to call on the people to take to the streets and to topple the government as there was no other choice other than “direct action.” His argument was that if the CNI was legitimizing the overthrow of the government, he was ready to change the government in the same way.
Most of the international organisations including the Common wealth and the European Union and the United Nations as well as countries like US and India have said that the report of the CNI should be respected.
Even before the publication of the report, the National Steering Committee of the MDP decided that:
A. To reinstate the MDP government if the report concluded that the government was toppled by a coup-de-tat.
B. If the CNI decided that the unlawful activities had contributed to the downfall of the MDP govenment- to go for presidential elections and bring the perpetrators to justice.
C. If the transfer is legitimate – contest the scheduled elections in 2013.
The MDP has no other option but to follow C and work for the elections promised to be held in July 2013 which is just less than an year away. Calmer counsel should prevail and Nasheed needs all the patience in his command to avoid any more “direct action” and work for the elections.
As I had noticed earlier that was no attempt on the part of the government for any reconciliation. There will be attempts to prevent Nasheed from contesting the next elections.
Time and age are with Nasheed. The people are also with him. He should bide his time and go for peaceful protests where necessary and ensure that his people are kept from harm’s way.