Former regime behind Maldives’s president resignation; a lesson for Malaysia

Dictators like Hitler, Ceausescu, Marcos, Ghadafi, have all died either by execution or exiled far away to rot and die and their ill-gotten money returned back to their countries or frozen. When this happened their countries will be able to turn over a new leaf and start afresh. But if they were let to live or stay around, things would not improve.

They were power crazy leaders and were so brutal that they had ordered mass murder of entire villages and clans. Beating, solitary confinement and all sorts of torture were normal and the well written book War for Civilisation by Robert Fisk the renown British war journalist based on his own experience described in detail the contraption used by some of the dictators to torture their own people and the extent of brutalities the dictators had done, especially military dictators.

Unfortunately for the Maldives, an island archipelago nation of 400,000 inhabitants, their former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who was a dictator is still around and has gained inroads to return back to power. Gayoom was ousted through the first ever truly democratic election when Mohamed Nasheed won the election in 2008.

Nasheed had been spent six years as a political prisoner in the 1990s. He was kept for spells in solitary confinement, tortured and beaten by Gayoom regime that ruled over this idyllic nation for three decades.

Presidential officials initially attempted to play down the threats to Nasheed’s administration and said he would stay on in power. But after some defections in the army as well as the police, Mr. Nasheed realized he had no option but to resign on 7th February 2012 and handed over to his deputy Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, who is already weakened by now, but is likely to remain in power until presidential elections, which are due next year. Then Gayoom will make a comeback, win the election and continue his dictatorship.

When Nasheed became president he tried to put things right and dug into the wrong doings of Gayoom resulting in the arrest and detention of a prominent senior criminal judge Abdulla Mohamed who had refused to step down following a ruling of gross misconduct by a constitutional body that oversees the judiciary. Nasheed has investigated Mr. Gayoom on allegations of corruption while he was in office but has not charged him. Mr. Gayoom denies wrongdoing.

Though he crested into the Presidency on a surge of democratic optimism, Nasheed has faced months of political paralysis, sparring with opposition parties, including Gayoom’s DRP, as well as Islamists in the country’s fledgling parliament. Economic reforms that Nasheed argued were necessary to compensate for the yawning deficit left behind by Gayoom proved unpopular with the public.

But most recently, tensions centered on the Nasheed government’s arrest and detention of the judge, accused of “political bias” and corruption has divided the country whereby even the police and military were divided. It appears that the upheaval has been inspired in part by those still loyal to Gayoom, who held power in the country for thirty years through sham elections and a strict, repressive police state. Police defectors, possibly part of a squad once loyal to Gayoom, apparently assaulted the party headquarters of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party on Monday night. Aides close to Nasheed have dubbed the uprising a “coup by the former regime.”

This is a sad story for Maldives and for democracy. The same thing is happening in Malaysia whereby unseen hands are meddling with the running of our country and political activities. 

So if PR wins the next GE-13 and able to form the Federal Government but there are still a lot of supporters of the BN in the government especially the police, other enforcement bodies, judiciary and the civil servants in the government departments, the change in government from BN to PR would be short-lived.


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