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Maldives: Gayoom Takes Charge – Analysis


By Dr. S.Chandrasekharan.

“It is a new sort of Coup”- Dr. Hassan Saeed, Adviser to President Waheed.

Former President Gayoom, who many suspect was behind the ouster of President Nasheed, returned to Male from Malaysia on the 6th of March.

Soon after arrival he ruled out snap elections and said that both the President and the Vice President were lawfully elected and that if the President resigns, then the elected Vice President takes over automatically as President. His step brother who engineered the coup from within echoed the same views and on the same day.

Gayoom’s and son and daughter have both been appointed as ministers of state, with both being given important portfolios- the daughter with the foreign affairs and the son with the lucrative fisheries ministry.

With Gayoom having said the final word and with all his faithfuls in important positions it is doubtful whether President Waheed would ever agree or will be allowed to agree for any interim elections before the scheduled one towards the end of 2013.

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai made an unscheduled visit on 28th February to ensure a road map for amendments within a month and elections before the year end. This is unlikely to happen even if Mr. Mathai makes many more trips. Gayoom has said the last word.


What is more, there will be more efforts to denigrate former President Nasheed and charges real and imaginary are likely be framed against him. Already Gayoom’s party has filed two cases against Nasheed- one- for locking up of Supreme Court gate in 2008 when unqualified judges were surreptiously made permanent and two- (India to note)- for leasing Male Airport to the Indian company GMR for fifty years. There is a pliant judiciary to help them. My fear is that Nasheed will be made ineligible for contesting the next elections.

More serious- Nasheed needs physical protection. It is only the pressure from the international community that could help.

The CMAG Visit:

The Commonwealth Action Group which returned after a visit to Maldives had recommended the following:

1. An independent and impartial investigation of the events of 6-7 February should be completed in a transparent manner within a reasonable time frame.
2. Recognised the need for healing in Maldives. Called on concerned to show restraint and mutual respect.
3. Urged President Waheed and former President Nasheed to commence immediate dialogue without pre conditions.
4. To agree on a date for early elections within the calendar year.
5. For a dialogue to facilitate the opening of Majlis on 1st of March that would lead to the passage of necessary constitutional amendment for holding early elections.
6. Have noted the assurance of the new government that Nasheed would continue to receive protection provided in the constitution.
7. Commonwealth to ensure that technical assistance is provided to Maldives for capacity building in areas like judiciary.

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth appointed a special envoy Sir Donald Mckinnon to Maldives. His task is said to be

1. Promote consolidation of democratic culture and institutions.
2. To ensure commonwealth values and principles.
3. To encourage an inclusive agreement among political leaders on a way forward for the current political situation.
4. Oversee future commonwealth support including new technical assistance programmes and principally to strengthen the judiciary.

Pious objectives indeed but the state actors in the country are in no mood for reconciliation!

The Road Map and the Enquiry Commission:

After an initial hiccup, a “road map” meeting convened by President Waheed and coordinated by Ahmed Mujtaba met on the 29th to agree on seven items in the agenda. Interestingly the MDP was also represented by veteran MDP leader Ibrahim Mohamed ‘Ibu’ Solih. The items agreed upon included

1.Which laws have to be amended, and what new laws are needed.
2. Discuss and determine the changes that need to be brought to independent institutions and independent positions in the Constitution
3.To discuss amendments that need to be brought to the Constitution
4.To determine a date for the next Presidential elections
5. Find out the present condition of the budget How to have the March 1
6.Majlis opening to proceed in a peaceful manner .
7.How can to tackle and solve the present discord in Maldivian society?

The MDP agreed for the road map and a peaceful solution to the crisis but placed an early election date as a pre condition to continued progress in the talks. This was not accepted and sure enough the MDP legislators blocked President Waheed from addressing the Parliament on the 1st of March. Their contention was that Dr. Waheed had no right to address as an “illegitimate” President. Surely, the MDP should have allowed the President to address as it was his constitutional duty.

It looks that the “road map” is dying a slow death. Two parties one of Gayoom (PPM) and the other of Thasmeen Ali (DRP) have withdrawn from the road map talks on the excuse that MDP had blocked the parliament proceedings. The Coordinator of the road map Mujitaba has also gone out of the country for a private visit.

President Waheed has formed a “Commission of National Enquiry” and to be headed by Ismail Shafeeha with two other members – Ahmed Mujitaba and Dr. Ibrahim Yasir to enquire into the events that occurred between 14th January ( the day the Chief Criminal Judge was arrested) to 7th of February when President Nasheed was ousted. Shafeeha was said to be incharge of Home affairs when a prisoner in Mafushi jail- Evan Naseem was killed in custody -an event that triggered the democracy movement in 2003.

The Commission cannot do justice to the developments if it does not go back to the events of 23rd December when all the opposition parties, the Islamists and the radicals started a mass rally to oust Nasheed.

MDP has called for international involvement in the investigations.

President Waheed called on former president Gayoom at the latter’s residence and is said to have expressed his happiness for the support of Gayoom and his party to the new regime. He must have also conveyed the good news that he had abolished the “Presidential Commission” created by Nasheed to investigate corruption and human rights abuses under Gayoom.

Nasheed Realises too late in the day: History is full of such instances.

Nasheed in one of his speeches said – I quote-“ Let the Maldives be a lesson for aspiring democracies everywhere: the dictator can be removed in a day but it can take years to stamp out the lingering remnants of his dictatorships.”

Too late in the day he has realised it. He should have slowed down instead of going headlong against everyone- the civil service commissions, the judiciary , the security forces and his own coalition partners- all at the same time.

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SAAG is the South Asia Analysis Group, a non-profit, non-commercial think tank. The objective of SAAG is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding.

12 thoughts on “Maldives: Gayoom Takes Charge – Analysis

  • March 12, 2012 at 3:15 am

    India has no influence in Maldives at the moment. The reason being the widely perceived involvement of Mr. Mullay, Indian High Commissioner in Maldives, with the coup leaders. The current Administration in Maldives does not have the support or mandate to govern, from the people. They are not responsible to anyone and do not have any pledges to fulfill. Whatever they have done including the swearing in of Waheed is in violation of the Constitution and the laws of Maldives. I.e. The President and vise President must be sworn in a meeting of the Peoples Majlis (parliament)!

  • March 12, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Dear Sir,

    I have read your in-depth review on the political status here in our country, and find it pretty undesigning.

    I am just another local fighting for democracy and a sophisticated nation correspondingly. Evidence and facts that the first democratically elected president was outed by a coup is emerging briskly. And undeniably a majority of the people of Maldives, are protesting and resisting the current government as illegitimate, and so being inhumane, evidence of which are available.

    However, endurance to the (slightly) tender calls of international community, especially India, UK and CMAG, is being disdained or responded to with an entwined hypocritical exhibit.

    Hence, outstretched and escalated media involvement, especially that of international, like yours, in calling prominent countries like India and organisations like Common Wealth & UN is auspicious and crucial, to at least conduct a stringent and an independent investigation of the alleged coup d’état which took place on the 7th of February here in our country.

    We all would be much grateful and indebted to you, if you could help us all, and put in your best efforts to bring this to a serious attention of anyone who can do something as to this matter and challenges we are confronted here.

    Thank you and best regards,

    Mohamed Shiyam,
    CEO, Nine Eleven Networks,
    A Pro-Democratic.
    Mobile: +960-999-4664

  • March 12, 2012 at 3:47 am

    the writer of this story, Dr. S.Chandrasekharan does not know qayyooms son was appointed as a minister of state for youth ? or fisheries.! when i read this i feel it is totaly one sided, because this was not a coup. former president nasheed resigns infront of all the maldivians, n said ” my resignations is for the peace n prosperity to our country. “. the writer shud also know in his three yrs government most of our Uninhebited islansds were given to his party members without public bidding to build resorts. is this the way of democratic rule.? he ( former president Nasheed ) has orderd to difence force to lock our supreme court n he did it.! can u pls tell me will u say ” democratic rule” to this type of dictators.? also in his time, he has stolen chief judge of criminal court. he used our defence force to taken him. when the supreme court orders to release him immediately. president Nasheed never responded. is it call a ” democratic government” ?. we need see the boath coins of ur stories because it gives a fair or blance views of any story.

    • March 12, 2012 at 5:43 am

      Yea! It is one sided. It is on the side of democracy.The majority of Maldivian are one sided. Their side is not with you. The number of people protesting on the streets of Male’ and othe major population centres is an attestation on whose side they are.

  • March 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Poorly written, biased and lacks the analysis that I hoped for.

  • March 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Gayoom has said the last word that there will not be an election until latest by 2013. Gayoom and his associated tycoons has stated ripping off country’s wealth. Jabir, Gasim and Shiyam seem busy with collecting trophies.

  • March 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Dear Sir/Madam
    The last para above ‘Too late in the day he has realised it…..’, sums up how inexperienced he was with politics. Maldivian political parties need people of much higher caliber and more of them….

  • March 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I would take this opportunity to highlight that the rule of law, adherence to constitution, human rights are vital values, we as Maldivians always want to indulge and it is the sole reason why we have voted and toppled the 30 year old regime of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. We have bestowed our trust to our first democratically elected president, then, HEP Mohamed Nasheed. However, the end-result that we’ve inherited was nothing, but despotism, and a president who overtly say to his people that he will show his ruthlessness to anyone except his own party members, a president who threats the judiciary and even barred in one instance, a body that guarantees its independence and autonomy in the constitution of Maldives like any other democracy, a president that distort every promise that he made to the general public and a president who disregard the concern that raised by the civil society. The evidences of this wrongdoings are out in the media.

    Nasheed administration has barricaded the basic rights of many Maldivians stipulated in the constitution and as a result many are fear to exercise these rights as Nasheed does not give a second thought to use his military, police and thugs to oppress these Maldivians. However, I still believe that Nasheed’s political party could play a vital role to build and strengthen the fledgling democracy that is derailing in the Maldives and this could only be accomplished if Nasheed and his corrupt, selfish members give way to the intellectuals in MDP.

    As a Maldivian, who have lived many years in a full fledged western democracy, it is always my sincere wish if Maldives could indulge a political climate where conflict is resolved non-violently, voters avoid accepting bribes and make rational decision when voting, and sentiments towards political leaders are determine by the acts of these leaders rather than judging the charisma of the politicians. I have good faith that Commonwealth could play a critical role for Maldives to pursue this arduous endeavor.

    I call upon the writer to do a fair observation in the Maldives as this would reveal who is spreading and urging violence and hatred in this fragile situation and even in the normal instances. Despite the animosity inherent in-between the political rivalries in the Maldives, it’s time to reconcile, however; I am less sanguine if this could be attained if Mohamed Nasheed leading his party, MDP.

  • March 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Quite true to the point except the ministerial post ( does the youth of this country happy about this coup? ) given to Gayyoom’s son ( heir to the throne ) However it had been made clear by a comment here by someone trying to justify the coup by talking nonsense.

  • March 13, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I do not agree that this is a coup. Also I find the writer totally biased and the article with factual errors.

    I would like the writer of this dubious think tank to think when such reports come for credibility else the intelligentsia will doubt the outcome.

  • March 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Delivery by a government of Maldives to its people has never been as rapid and promises by a government in the Maldives has never been achieved in the entire history of this country ever better than the government of MDP. Now “SB” and some of other locals perhaps overlook more than fewer milestones triumphed by the said government.
    Read about few of those which I have furnished here as an aide-mémoire for the inconciderates!

    Ponder the fact that the supporters of Democracy & MDP believe in a System of Governance that promotes the values, virtues and the prosperity of the Human Being, the PEOPLE, and such a system was being delivered by MDP’s government;

    –> A Nationwide Transport System,
    –> Affordable Living Costs & Affordable Housing
    –> Affordable and Quality Healthcare for ALL the Maldivians
    –> Prevention of Narcotics Abuse and Trafficking
    –> A self-sufficient Nation;

    Good Governance
    –> Rule of Law and Justice
    –> Public Sector Reform
    –> Regional Development and Decentralisation
    –> Eliminating Corruption
    –> Foreign Policy

    Economic Development
    –> Development of Tourism Industry
    –> Development of Fisheries Industry
    –> Development of Agriculture Industry
    –> Development of Small and Medium Enterprises
    –> Development of Employment and Human Resources
    –> Strengthening & Addressing Environmental Issues & Challenges
    –> Building & Expanding Water and Sewerage Services in ALL the islands
    –> Building a more efficient Energy supply
    –> Land Reform & Build
    –> Development of Communication, Science and Technology
    –> Implement Social Justice
    –> Protection of Islamic Faith
    –> Benevolent State (Social Protection)
    –> Strengthen the Education System
    –> Youth & Sports Development
    –> Strengthening Family Ties (Child & Family Protection)
    –> Develop & Re-build Information, Arts and Culture

    –> Develop & Build Trade and Investment
    –> Strengthen Disaster Risk Management
    –> Strengthen National Security

    All these objectives are being met so rapidly, hypocrites among us, greedy-crooked & corrupt businessmen AND power-hungry politicians were ashamed & felt pathetic for themselves, AND started to have nightmares of being incarcerated!

    And then you know what happened?

    THE COUP D’ÉTAT WAS EXECUTED….proof of which are emerging precipitously and which strains for an independent rigorous military investigation!

    Think about why there is resistance for such an investigation by the current regime….

  • March 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Dr. S.Chandrasekharan concludes

    “Too late in the day he has realised it. He should have slowed down instead of going headlong against everyone- the civil service commissions, the judiciary , the security forces and his own coalition partners- all at the same time.”

    Going “against” here, amounted to the reform and restructuring necessary to consolidate the democratic gains achieved through the new constitution after beating a 30 year old Dictator Gayyoom in open elections in 2008. One must agree that this is an unprecedented feat when you know that violent coup d’etat’s are the norm in transferring political power in the Maldives.

    Yes, the speed was breathtaking to say the least. A tax base was created, government debt was restructured, a social protection net was laid down, with 100,000.00 per head per year. A national transport network became a reality in a mere 3 years. A public housing scheme was in full gear. Drug abuse, a direct manifestation of Gayoom was on the decline. National income soared from 6 billion in 2008 to over 11 billion in 2012. Tourism jumped by 20% and climbing.

    The only thing that President Nasheed did not do in haste was to restructure the Police, the Military and the Judiciary, the machinery of repression which was the illegitimate child of an illegitimate Gayoom dictatorship. And strangely enough that was in the name of “national unity”

    Dictator Gayyoom is back and it is high time the Indian Foreign Secretary had a one on one with their High Commissioner Mr. Mulley, strangely enough, still residing here in Male’.


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