Saturday, 31 October 2015

President of Maldives, bomb blast, political purging!

The events of the past month when a supposed bomb exploded on the speed launch of the President of Maldives, Yameen Abdul Gayyoom (YAG) has imploded a political bomb as well. The presidents own vice president, Adheeb Abdul Gafoor, is currently under arrest and the main suspect. The VP's friends and business partners are also being detained and questioned. The President's own party, PPM, is now divided and in chaos.

Is this a real threat on the life of the president by a greedy VP? Or is this a ploy to purge the government and party of all opponents and threats to the current president YAG?

The more 'evidence' the Police and Military 'find' the more scary they make it sound. The recently discovered guns (apparently stolen from the Military store) and ammo and grenades and plastic explosives suggest that there could be a deadly scheme. The Police claim the search is ongoing and that there is no threat to the public. The president in his address to the people said that there was a threat and to be careful on the streets. These two contradicting statements along with the contradictory statements by the Presidents Office (which claims it was a bomb blast on the launch) and the Foreign Minister who told the international community that there was no evidence of such; there is even more controversy and mystery now than before. The unraveling isn't of the true culprits of the Bomb blast but rather of who sides with president YAG and his half brother (the long time dictator Gayyoom ) within his party and government.

The FBI who were called in for the investigation has not concluded that there was a bomb blast on the launch. The Saudi Arabian report of the blast says there was one. Nothing seems certain.

What ever the blast may be, a threat on the life of the president or a ploy to distract and create an excuse to rid those who threaten his power, this situation seems to have created a vacuum for the opposition to play wisely with. Only time will tell how this ;investigation' will continue and what more will be revealed. Prominent businessmen including Hamid Seytu are now under arrest. It just seems like at least now there is a political purge ongoing!

Monday, 21 September 2015

FEAR; inhibiting rights and freedoms of the Maldivians

Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm according to modern dictionaries. It is an emotion that allows us to do a lot but also refrain from doing somethings. Fear is the tool the oppressor uses to suppress those who threatens his power. Fear is an emotion like many other that we choose to experience and can learn to overcome. Though fear is an important emotion to protect one in times of dangerous paths it can also inhibit one’s own rights and rightful gains.
Since the reign of Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom (1979-2008) in the Maldives, Fear towards the public institutions was instilled rigorously with arbitrary detention and torture in the jails. Fear was first used by the old National Security Service to deter persons from not crime but political activities. There is clear evidence and this is something that simply cannot be denied by anyone. The fear of the institutions and the government worked very well allowing Gayyoom to rule over the Maldives for a long period of time without much challenge.
Then, the fear from Gangsters and drug cartels was the second reign of fear that arose within the Maldivian society. Though Gayyoom did suppress and ‘control’ the gangs and the streets of the capital Male’, was relatively safe during his rule; the moment he was toppled, the gangs roamed free. They were up for the highest bidding. The gangs used intimidation, knife attacks, beatings and theft to reinstall a new form of fear. Now the people once more ‘needed’ the government to protect them from these gangs. The gangs are ‘used’ by all sides of the political spectrum. The gangs that are made up of the young unloved children of Maldives who only seek to be loved and belong.
The next question is, who are these gangsters? Simply put, they are the UNLOVED CHILDREN of a society that is a by-product of a supposed democracy with religious connotations within a fragile constitution. The society that hides sexual abuse and incest and other heinous crimes within families, in fear of being punished by the state and in fear of being shamed by the public. A society that is so sick that it sends their children to a known paedophile to educate them. A society that allows their children to be abused by the religious teachers and afraid to say anything against the teacher since they are ‘religious’. A society that learned nothing but to sweep everything under the rug and live a charade of a life pretending all is good and dandy; because of FEAR!
Does not the Quran the book of the Muslim people of Maldives as per our constitution state, that It is only Shaitan (Satan) that suggests to you the fear of his Auliya' (supporters and friends)? Why should we fear these persons of Gangs and the State when they amount to far less in numbers and power as a whole compared to the society? It is only when we shed this fear of the evil persons and embrace them with love and when required stronger strength in numbers, shall we see a true good change. As long as we shop from these businessmen who finance and use the gangs to do their bidding including money laundry and drug trade, we are only financing our own demise. Unless we as an individual begin to change ourselves we will not experience and peace and unity in Maldives. Unless we learn exactly when to be merciful and when to be strong we shall continue to fall on our faces while trying to change the society.
“…Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” 13:11 Surat Ar-ra’d.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Maldives says "What Democracy?"!

First of all Congratulations to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for surviving 10 years in the Maldives as the only party with even the slightest stance towards democratic change :) 

Ex-president and leader of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Nasheed is now under house arrest (though for medical reasons), the leader of the religious party that recently left the government coalition, Adhaalath Party (AP) is still locked up on charges of inciting to bring down the government and refusing the orders of the Police. Other opposition persons are self exiled in the UK and Gasim Ibrahim (the rich businessman who basically owns the political party Jumhooree Party,JP) has not been heard of since he left abroad. 

The supposed 'deal' between the opposition MDP and the Regime that is to allow Nasheed to stay at home rather than complete his jail sentence in jail (for the dubious made up charges of terrorism and a 13 year sentence). Then last week we heard the MDP say that it is now ready to work with the regime to change the system of governance to a Parliamentary system under the conditions that current president Abdullah Yameen remains as president and his party, the PPM, will elect the Prime Minister and that the current parliament will remain as it is unchanged. Though no one has clearly said that there would be no public referendum on the decision of a new system, it seems like there wouldn't be any. The PPM and MDP worked together last week to change the age of Vice President from 30- 65 years of age (reducing the age from 35) and are publicly campaigning on social media for the current Minister of Tourism and the ever notorious Ahmed Adheeb to be the new VP. The current VP Mohamed Jameel has also gone to the UK though the PPM has said they will go ahead with the vote of no confidence against him even if he was not in Maldives. 

The question that arises now is if PPM wishes Adheeb to be VP how can they change the system of governance to a parliamentary system and have a ceremonial President elected by the people with a Prime Minister elected from the parliament; then allow for Adheeb to be the PM? Will one of the MP's simply give away his chair for Adheeb since the agreement is for the current members of parliament to remain as they are? What gains does the MDP receive by this decision? Do they hope that the split between the ex-dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom (the head of PPM) and the current president, his half brother will be further emphasized and brought up by pushing Adheeb to a higher position (whom Gayyoom is not a supporter of)? If MDP is betting the change of the constitution so rapidly merely on a whim that PPM will fall into internal chaos if MDP supports Adheeb, then it is one huge bet with the public to loose everything. 

One might get criticized by MDP supporters for creating such doubt over their decision but it is the ability of a party to communicate and involve larger amounts of persons in their decision making that makes them more democratic. When the few elite tell the public that they will do everything in our interest and merely carry out decisions that the lay public are left feeling confused and disillusioned then there is something wrong. Not everybody will understand the games and moves of a political party but what everybody does understand is that the elite of the party work FOR the people and not the other way around! I Pray we see something positive within the next few weeks.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Ex-president Mohamed Nasheed’s Arrest and days ahead:

The Maldives has seen radical changes within the past 7 years. From a 30 year old dictatorship to a elected democracy to the toppling of that government to a Supreme Court that is way too powerful than it should be. 

My two cents on the arrest of Nasheed are as follows. Firstly, he is being charged under the Terrorism Act for the “Kidnapping” of a Criminal Court chief judge, Abdullah, which happened in 2012. It has taken two years, and sudden call for street protests with government coalition parties abandoning the government to support the opposition MDP, for the government to suddenly arrest him. The Criminal Court issued an Order to the Police to lock him up for ‘he might flee”. This is a clear political decision. In fact, this now means there will be no free, unbiased investigation or court case with regards to the arrest of the Judge by Nasheed. 

Secondly, the government, especially the President Abdullah Yameen, is quite rapidly alienating himself and backing himself into a corner. Parliamentarians are defecting and leaving his party as well (while it has to be acknowledged that one MP has signed over form opposition JP to PPM, the governing party as well). The opposition coalition will hold a street protest on the 27th to show their strength. These are ploys by Nasheed, who says that the CONI report, done with support from the Commonwealth to investigate his own “forced resignation”, has legitimized the methods that the opposition will utilize to over throw the current government. The government has played into their hands by arresting Nasheed and being intimidated by the oppositions ‘show of strength’. Nasheed has clearly stated in an interview to a leading newspaper that while MDP accepts the CONI report they do not believe it is how things happened and that there was a Coup on February 2012. Nasheed seem to have to do very little, since the government has manged to entangle themselves in their own personal agendas. The Defence Minister is being tried under the Terrorism Act and being accused of trying to “Kill” certain government officials by smuggling in a pistol and three bullets, which the Police found at a midnight raid of his apartment. The Home Minister who commands the Police has not been heard of nor have we seen or heard from the Vice President as well. The only Prominent minister is the Tourism Minister and the rest are either unheard of or keeping themselves out of the politics. The government organized a street rally with Gang Members with their faces covered and this probably lost them a lot of public sympathy. Nasheed is now once more locked up, and so is the minister of Defense, Nazim, and the new Defense minister, Moosa Jaleel, of the government is being tried for being part of the Nasheed government and for ordering the Military to take up arms during the whole events of the day of Nasheeds resignation. It is like a Hindhi Drama, the Defense Minister Nazim who is being tried now, was the one who was key to stand against Nasheed and lead the Police and Military to riot against Nasheed’s government; but now the current government has him locked up. The newly appointed defense minister, Jaleel, (who is also a war hero as close to it as it gets in Maldives) was the one who stood with Nasheed back in 2012. The roles have been reversed so badly I am certain that these persons themselves at times forget which side they are on. 

Future of the country is full of chaos but it is not hopeless. With current rumors that Nasheed will not compete for presidency but lead the movement to change the current government is good news. It means the MDP will now have a chance to provide a new leadership that is open to any of its members. Nasheed also could set an example and precedence for the rest of the old dinosaurs of politics in other parties to step aside and let a new generation take over. Some people say this conflict is the worst in our history. I say that there is much more hardship ahead with more refining required of our constitution and our models of governance and economy. There is much more work that will be required after the government has changed. For we have seen how the first elected government of MDP, with president Nasheed, failed after toppling the dictator. We need to elarn from the mistakes of the past. We need more educated persons involved in societal change and development. We need more educational opportunities and increase our local food production and agriculture, reduce our dependency on imports and tax the rich and provide opportunities for the poor. We need to lead the youth away from gangs and drugs and violence and confusion by providing jobs. Island councils need to be of the people and accountable to the people and the utility companies be owned and run by the people. The unhealthy competition created by the privatization of utility companies has been a bad experience. Nasheed was successful in so many ways as a champion of free speech and a democracy activist and much more. I would hold much greater respect for him if he pushes new people to lead his party and praise him for his humility. The future looks stormy but there is always new growth and life and fertility after the rains. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Regime Defection's Once more!

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is the largest political party by public support and activism for one party. They are the first democratic political party to come to be in the Maldives. Now people raise questions on how democratic the party is today. 
ISSUE 1: the regime defections of old political elites of the ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s government, when MDP formed, was the first such incident. The members were confused as to support these defections to the party. There would be some who had been wronged and rights violated directly by these people. Some members justified the acceptance of the defections as a necessitous action to allow the MDP to stay a movement with a lot of support from non-members as well; towards the change of the 30 year old regime. The party and its members accepted the defections simply to keep the movement strong, to defy Gayyoom. It has to be said the defections had some level of power and public support to MDP and disappointment and defeat for the regime. 
ISSUE 2: MDP had to make a coalition to win the election in 2008, and it also pushed for the rush to complete the new constitution. These two issues combined would later come to test the resolve and strength of MDP government and president, from the day of his election in the first multi party election in 2008. The coalition would be dissolved soon after taking over, and they joined the old regime elements to stand up against the MDP government. They raised the issue of illegitimacy of the government after breaking up of the coalition and also claimed President Nasheed was supporting non Islamic ways. Nasheed by then had appointed his close friends and activists of the party, to key political positions and his government was facing issues of corruption and mismanagement. Some of his power elites included old regime members as well. 
ISSUE3: After being removed from power via a Coup De’etat, MDP faced the issue of holding its members together and uniting against the new ‘elected’ government lead by the younger brother of the old dictator. MDP had to elect a new party president, and no one contested against Mohmamed Nasheed. As an onlooker it seems to depict a ‘yes sir’ attitude towards Nasheed rather than a democratic process within the party. This was exactly one issue that MDP raised against the old dictator. MDP lost many of its Council members and Parliamentarians, who switched too quickly to the government party. Some of these members who switched, were ones whom Nasheed had himself campaigned for their election. 
ISSUE 4: after the government of MDP was overthrown, the CONI, report supported by the Commonwealth stated there was no Coup and MDP accepted the report and reduced their street protests but maintained that there was a Coup in their opinion. Then the key figures of the Coup, who included the new Defense Minister and the Commissioner of Police, are removed from the newly ‘elected’ government of the Progressive Party (dictator’s party). Then these Coup leaders, now have joined in coalition with MDP against the current government. Is MDP going to justify that these members of the very Coup that they had criticized and ridiculed before can now be their partners? Then again is this any different from the situation when they first began? They could be accepted if MDP believes that the current government need to be overthrown and changed before its constitutional term; then it is once more a movement for change rather than a political process. Should they not decide which of it it is? Can MDP hold on to Democratic values and refuse acceptance of such defections, stay strong to their convictions? 
CONCLUSION: the current system of Politics that is in Maldives, is where we will accept all those whom we hate and despise, if we see fit they can be ‘used’ to gain more power. It is all about power, with little regard for the constitution or education and empowering the public and upholding their rights. If they do in fact, involve and allow the public to realize and accept the situation we face (which is quite dire), then would not the public once more come together against a new regime? Or do we really need the support of colluded and despised defecting members of the current regime to support us? Is MDP so weak that it needs their support? The public are not STUPID nor BLIND, but a lot of them are apathetic to the Politics and disillusioned. Independent institutions and bodies need to have more teeth and the ‘unions’ stand up for their members and the Journalists mature and be more responsible.The disappearance of the Journalist and Blogger and Rights activist Ahmed Rilwan, showed how the various entities used the issue to their own needs. Will it be another mistake to rush and make a change or are we in such a dire state we need to do it? If so the public needs to know for they are the most powerful of all institutions and bodies and entities of the nation! 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Sports in Maldives!

We are a nation surrounded by oceans and the most beautiful beaches in the world. Our population is scattered to tiny islands, but the one sport we really seem to excel at is Football. That does not mean we do not have opportunities with other sports. We as a society was 'encouraged' by the governments to play more football. We have had past successes with badminton and cricket and carom. People might laugh it off as why does the government even care about such petty games? Well it is the healthy thing to do! Literally! 
Recently we had the spectacle of our teams not being exceptionally good but remarkably good at the Asian Games, and the popular government TV channel host Shakeeb making fun of the expenses on teams for sports and how we do not produce results. Well first of all sports keeps our youth away from drugs and many other unhealthy habits for it engages the mind and the physique of a person as well as takes away their free time that they might use not so usefully. Sports is a solution for many social issues and when one such 'celebrity' on one of the longest running TV programs, criticises the efficacy of utilising money on sports; the joke is on him. As a 'journalist' or 'TV Presenter' he should not assume things and cast such a controversy over such an important component of society without any basis or realising that the funds for most of our sports activities are in fact from international sources. 
Then again, like most of our 'professionals' why should we care about facts and figures and the truth? Let us all politicise it and call it a political statement. Maybe it is, but the society needs to realise the implications are rather more damaging to society as a whole! It is a a very wrong message to the community and the youth! We all know not to trust the government, please, we do not need Shakeebe' telling us that! Then again is he also not paid by the government? So is he biting the hand that feeds him? Maybe the politics of sports associations and politicians is so far rooted we need a legislation or a societal response! No more Sports Politics!!! Do not let any political entity hijack the sports we love! It should be one of those things that brings us together not breaks and divides us! If the people want they can play other sports as well....let us bring on more water sports maybe...or rather build a damn swimming pool for our swimmers so they can practice before the games; before we call them 'disappointing'. Your shameful negative attitude and 'afraid of loosing power' belief system should not get in the way of the youth! We are not all politicians!

LIFE in Maldives!

P.S This article is based on authors own assumptions/observations and naive interpretations of what he sees in our society.

SOCIETY TODAY: Maldivian society today is a healthy one of many subcultures and denominations that are more often misread and ignored and dismissed by the larger majority. The sub cultures based on religious beliefs and political beliefs and scientific beliefs work in their own cliques within the society. We may choose to say we are 'united' and 'one religion' and are 'peace loving' citizens. That would be factually and evidentially wrong; and a downright lie! Our society is based on few rich people who own the resorts and major businesses to smaller businesses funded by the richer Old Guard and politicians who are financially supported by the same old dinosaurs and a society that lacks proper knowledge and basic life skills. We believe the epitome of life is to own a big smart phone (emphasis on big rather than high technology) and a flashy motor bike or car and with numerous visits to restaurants and cafĂ©'s every day. We are the definition of an MTV generation that has continued its apathy towards real life issues and focussed more on the flashy magazine life styles. We put down our books and play games on tablet devices. We preach religion to cover our own guilt and label another as a Kafir way too often, while never looking in the mirror ourselves. We forgot that religion can only unite when we actually wanted to unite. The biggest problem of all is kids having kids! Our youth, in their prime, with degrees and international undergraduate education, get married and have kids, while they themselves have yet to throw down their own bibs, and contribute to society. The spoon fed population that the 30 year dictatorship created has rooted itself through the non-functional educational system. We eat and drink and spend what we do not have and desire what we never really need. Basic facilities or health care and transportation have not developed as the society is actually quite content with what it has right now! 

DEMOCRACY AND REVOLUTION: we never had a revolution since the times of Mohammed Thakurufaanu! The democracy movement was halted and the revolution grasped for its final breath with the first multi party election. The roots of the Old Guard run deep and strong and within all political entities in the country. This counteracts any democracy loving statesmen or politicians. Then again how will we have a revolution when the people do not really need one? They are engaged in extra curricular activities through out the day and night and are quite content with their situation. Unless there is a deep rooted desire and necessity there shall be no revolution. Democracy? Well we first need to know and understand what it is. I am not surprised there still are people who think democracy means we vote in parliamentarians that make the biggest promise and that is it. 

DRUGS, GANGS AND JUDICIARY: Heroine, Cocaine, Hashish, Weed, Alcohol, LSD, Meth, Horse tranquillizers and sleeping pills and so much more is abundant in the Maldives. The UN reported that the illicit drug trade is a billion Rufiyaa per year industry. It employs more politicians and gangs and judges than the government!Judiciary? Well when the highest standard of education of a Supreme Court Judge still stands at basic diploma or less and at times judges do not know Islamic Law nor Common Law; the basic tenets of our judicial system and laws. Some barely speak or read English language; I wonder how they even go through complex banking and financial documents in cases. Judges do not need to have a specific educational qualification of higher standard, but basic literary skills, knowledge, experience, morality, ethics and other such qualities seem far more important; at least for this lay person it seems so. The Gangs always win their cases and it is not uncommon for most of the criminal law practising firms in Maldives benefit highly from criminal cases. It is a vicious circle.

EXTREMISM: another one of those terms i find hard to define. We have extremists at all areas and angles and mix and matches as well. Some say religious extremism is the problem, i say lack of education and politicising of religion is the Problem! The educational institutions that the government accepts for religious studies need to be revised! Religion is not the problem but those who practice it to the point of using it as a tool to suppress and again to be popular. The scholars of religion at times seem to be like celebrities! Why not show and lead by example? Volunteer at hospitals to show compassion; teach the Koran to show the support for education; write and discuss and argue over contentious issues amongst the scholars! Well when the society does not demand choice, but rather follow for it is the easier choice, this is where we will be.

TOP IT ALL: i would reiterate that the biggest problem still is Kids having Kids! While we are unable to feed, care or give proper education, we seem to have children. Of course this benefits the consumerism culture created by the financial/capitalist Old Guards. Socialism is a taboo subject! The culture of loans is now on! Home loans, electronic equipment loans to students loans! I myself am guilty of one! We do things just for the sake of doing! Our doctors are doctors because it pays more or was the easiest choice to get a scholarship. Our students aim to achieve top grades so their parents can boast about it amongst their friends! The children have children themselves because that is what their parents did. Learning from example! Yeah allow the youth to marry young to hold back their canal desires or what not, but don't encourage or force them to have kids, while they have not matured enough themselves! Is it all bad? NO!! It is good that we have not come to the breaking point of a revolution! It means we are still capable of healing ourselves! Who knows i might just be talking all crap while sitting at a coffee, with my expensive motorbike parked outside and typing on my brand new orange tablet! I hope the best contribution of mine to the society is not a fertilization of my biological specimen with another to produce another consumerist, sugar crazed, face on the tablet, following, spoon fed, entity! Good Night all you beautiful people; just go read a book
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