Male: Ex-Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has said he will be approaching the country’s Supreme Court for justice following a coup, which he claims was engineered by then vice president Dr Mohammed Waheed Hassan.
In an article for the New York Times, Nasheed said: “I believe this to be a coup d’état and suspect that my vice president, who has since been sworn into office, helped to plan it.”
He said his decision to stand up to an influential judge over what he termed a controversial decision was a right one and that he had no choice but to take action to prevent the country’s democracy from being strangled.
“The problems we are facing in the Maldives are a warning for other Muslim nations undergoing democratic reform. At times, dealing with the corrupt system of patronage the former regime left behind can feel like wrestling with a Hydra: when you remove one head, two more grow back. With patience and determination, the beast can be slain. But let the Maldives be a lesson for aspiring democrats everywhere: the dictator can be removed in a day, but it can take years to stamp out the lingering remnants of his dictatorship,” Nasheed said.
“Dictatorships don’t always die when the dictator leaves office….I learned this lesson quickly. My country, the Maldives, voted out President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, its iron-fisted ruler, back in 2008, in historic elections that swept away three decades of his authoritarian rule. And yet the dictatorship bequeathed to the infant democracy a looted treasury, a ballooning budget deficit and a rotten judiciary,” he adds.
He said that in his nearly three-and-a-half years in office, he had worked to cut the deficit, build a modern tax base, and ensure that democracy achieved a firm footing for the first time in the history of the Maldives.
He also used his article in the NYT to criticise the way the previous regime had handpicked the country’s judiciary, and how these powerful judges had provided protection to the former president, his family members and political allies, many of whom are accused of corruption, embezzlement and human rights crimes.
Simultaneously, he said, a new force in Maldivian politics, Islamic extremists, abused new laws guaranteeing freedom of speech.
He said that he had approached the United Nations to help his government probe judicial abuses and excesses, especially by Abdulla Mohamed, the chief judge of the criminal court.
He said that in the end, police officers and Army personnel loyal to the old government mutinied and had forced him, at gunpoint, to resign.
He said that he resigned to avoid bloodshed.
First Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 11:28