Commonwealth workshop promoting dialogue between government and opposition begins in Malé

A Regional workshop promoting dialogue between government and opposition begins in Maldives on Monday.

The 3-day workshop jointly organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which is the first workshop of its kind in Maldives brings together members of parliament and other senior politicians from ruling and opposition parties from Commonwealth countries in Asia.

Parliament Speaker Shaahid speaks at the opening ceremony at the Ballroom of Traders Hotel

A broad range of issues will be discussed during the next three days reflecting the fact that government and opposition parties are the fundamental building blocks of a strong and effective parliament.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba said Government and opposition have to see themselves as partners.

“Government and opposition parties therefore need to find ways of working constructively together. It is important to remember that today’s government may be tomorrow’s opposition. Political parties represented in parliament need to see themselves as partners in the development of the democratic process” said Ms. Mmasekgoa.

The Speaker of the Maldives People’s Majlis (Parliament) Abdulla Shahid, who also spoke at the opening of the workshop, called on the government and opposition to rise above their differences to offer hope to citizens.

“We need to live up to their expectations and aspirations. Our role is to carve out a better life for our people through the laws we design. Our duty is to hold the government accountable by upholding the Constitution. In short, our role as the legislature is to enforce democracy, not fail it,” said Mr Shahid.

He stated that democracy is in a state of infancy in Maldives and acknowledged that it is the responsibility of Members of Parliament to consolidate young democratic institutions to serve the interests of the people by paving the way for social justice and equity.

Mr Shahid said Maldives faces challenges in consolidating democracy and expressed appreciation for the Commonwealth’s support in promoting democracy, good governance and institution building.

Representatives of Maldives governing MDP and main opposition parties are attending the workshop.

According to Commonwealth Secretariat the workshop is also attended by selected resource persons, civil society representatives and observers from regional and international partner organisations of the Commonwealth.

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Monkey’s justice for DRP problem

Stalemate between DRP’s honorary leader ‘Gayoom’ and its leader ‘Thasmeen’ over its control hasn’t bring anything better for their party, as day by day the differences are widening — creating deep division between two factions. Consequently, their dreams for 2013 are apparently in jeopardy. It is seen vital for them to stay together if they really want to defeat MDP in 2013 Presidential Election. But the current scenario may not win through any hopes for them.  And ruling MDP could take immense advantage from ongoing infighting between the rival factions of DRP, the Gayoom’s ‘Z’ faction and Thasmeen’s ‘T’ faction.

During our childhood we used to read a very famous story among kids “The Monkey’s Justice for two cats”, what if current political game of the country also end up similar to the plot of this story, where two friendly cats saw a piece of butter and fight for the ownership of it as a cleaver wicked monkey approaches them and in an attempt to solve the problem taken it all.

I wonder some time, why politicians don’t take lessons from such tales?  I believe somebody has to distribute such kindergarten stories to them or else force them to be back in school. All what I know is that they all are fighting for one thing, one noble post, Chief Executive of a sovereign land.  But then they have forgotten to adhere to democratic values and thoughts, deeming to what they see near them and act as if never tend to see the broader picture of things might occur in the years to come, due to just making one mistake decision.

It is said the main reason behind the division in main opposition DRP has started because of bigoted standards carried out by both rival leaders. Without paving way to end the differences DRP candidate is unlikely to get most popular votes during 2013 presidential election. Each side has to show restrain to move forward without much delay, if both leaders genuinely are hoping to see ample votes in the election to get the office of President.

Last night’s Z-DRP rally was seen with peculiar flavor. For the first time after a long break its current honorary leader, former party leader and former president who ran this country for more than 30 years appeared at the site of the gathering, bringing an end to a plea of many of his loyalists. President Gayoom was accompanied by his spouse, former first lady Nasreea Ibrahim, who has been under medical treatment in abroad ever since the fall of his regime.   However, on this occasion he didn’t give a speech to his supporters, and he left them early before the gathering came to a close. May be his intention was to show them that he is enough capable and energetic to play a pivotal role to solve the problems within DRP.

Earlier, he called on party members on a televised address, to solve the current crises if they decide to hold a National Congress he will most welcome such a verdict by members. In response to this Thasmees-faction has denounced Gayoom’s remarks saying that Gayoom is trying to create division in the party in an apparent intention of coming back to power adding that party council has the sole right to convene the National Congress.  Since the Council is in the grip of Thasmeen this may not be easy to do through DRP council. This is a clear indication that none of them are willing to give up, making it impossible to solve this impasse.

How long these two people will keep on quarreling…? Already in the wake of differences ruling party cunningly took over two of their MPs and they have lost significant parliament majority. DRP is in a life support system. Without independent members and other minor parties’ help they won’t be able to do anything on their own in the parliament.

Last night’s rally was said to be the largest opposition gathering to take place in many months.  The attendees might be die-hearted fans of former president or may be the stronger part of so called ‘real’ DRP. However, it is evident that Thasmeen’s DRP are unable to draw this kind of crowd since the separation of both leaders.