Gayoom attempts to reform his party

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for the first time in months addressed his supporters of opposition DRP’s Z-faction on Wednesday evening, reiterating his calls for the need of reforming his very own party.

Marking the seventh anniversary of the democratic reform package which he announced in June 9, 2011, he went on to say that even way before he came to power there wasn’t any such thing called democracy in the country adding that unfortunately even today it’s the same.

Former President Gayoom addressing the gathering held to mark 7th anniversary of his democratic reform package

Gayoom said the main aim of establishing and strengthening the democratic institutions are to refrain citizens from deliberate act of political intimidation adding that it is a system that gives guarantee to all that no one will have to face any form of threat or punishment from the regime as long as they abide by the law.

“[in a country] where citizens kept in fear cannot be regarded as a democratic system“, Gayoom said.

Separation of power, establishing independent judiciary, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech along with forming political parties were some of the fundamentals of his reform package.

However, he says, some of the democratic reforms which he tried to thrive during the later years of his regime since has derailed from its track and its pillars are now in ruin. In his speech he highlighted some of the oppressions carried out by then President Ibrahim Nasir’s regime and went on to exemplify how he was given a sentence of four year banishment to a remote island after having been convicted for simply expressing political views inside his residence in Malé. He said during early days of his 30 year old regime he concentrated on two main elements of development, educating the people and build a vibrant economy. He insisted by saying from the very outset he has started institutionalizing government’s structure in line with democratic principles.

Highlighting some of the difficulties facing his own party, he said, “there is a great need of democratic reforms within DRP, members of the party has to decide whether to hold a national conference to restructure party leadership and if they decide so I will be also ways with the party members in support of holding such a conference”.

“Handing over the [party] leadership [putting] on a tray is the biggest mistake I have made. Now I am not going to repeat the same mistake”, Gayoom said recalling how he handed over party’s leadership to present leader Thasmeen. He said things didn’t went that smartly and smoothly ever since Thasmeen took the leadership. He went on to say how party’s rules and regulations were put aside to expel one of the deputy leader Umar Naseer and claimed that party council is totally controlled by leader Thasmeen.

“In many democratic parties elsewhere, we see party leadership and party ticket being given through a popular vote of party members.  We also have to taking up similar principles giving way to reform the party through democratic consolidation”

“No matter who gets the party ticket for crucial 2013 election – my support will always stay with him”, said Gayoom. He stressed that this time he is not going to repeat the mistake by pointing out  a particular person to support.

A contradicting view of Gayoom’s comments later shared to press by DRP’s Thasmmen faction. Officials from DRP-Thasmeen faction told a press conference that Gayoom has no right to call for a national congress and, only the party council which was elected at the last congress has the sole power to decide on its future.

Commenting on Gayoom’s address, later President Nasheed’s Press Secretary blamed that former president is trying to make a comeback to active politics.

Opposition MP Ali Waheed joins MDP

It was not an ordinary evening for ruling MDP supporters. Hundreds of supporters, party activists alongside with President Nasheed and other senior government officials were enthusiastically waiting at the party rally held in the artificial beach on Friday evening to welcome the defected politicians from main opposition DRP joining their party.

President Nasheed welcomes former DRP Deputy Leader, MP Ali Waheed to ruling MDP

The rally commenced stating that 9:47 is going to be a very special moment for MDP. After a while that moment has come.  Every one stands up clapping with jubilation to see the new faces. Peeping through one edge of the huge crowed, stunningly, everyone saw the huge figure of MP Ali Waheed making in to the center of the crowd.  Until yesterday, he was a vocal critic of the President Nasheed’s policies and a deputy leader of the main opposition DRP’s Thasmeen Faction. He was given a flamboyant welcome by MDP supporters and as he tried to walk to the center of the crowd supporters gets around him, shaking his hands and cuddling with him. One spotlight picture published on local media shows once political enemies, President Nasheed and Ali Waheed embracing each other.

Ali Waheed is attributed as the drive force of the opposition in the parliament. He made the choice while some of his vehement debates in the parliament against the government policies were still fresh in the minds of opposition supporters.  At a personal level he had criticized some of the actions and odd behaviors of the President Nasheed and MDP Parliamentary group leader Reko Moosa Maniku. In the parliament floor he accused President Nasheed of having chipped alcohol during one of his official trip and blamed Reko Moosa fathered a baby out-of-wedlock to a film star known as Mariyam Nisha and the poor baby is looked after in a Indian orphanage.

After all, quitting DRP by joining ruling MDP its members have either forgotten or forgiven Ali Waheed and in the joy they bear him on their shoulders and carry him in to the crowd. MDP supporters no longer want to remember what Ali Waheed uttered to them in the past but they want to go ahead with him, cause at this juncture his presence with them is much important than anything else to weaken the opposition control parliament.

In front of hundreds of supporters Ali Waheed, signed up the party alongside DRP activist Ahmed Assad ‘Adubarey’ and DRP Sports Wing Head, Hassan Shujau who was last week given a government post of State Minister for Housing.

Here comes the end of a rumor spread by local media for days. This move is seen as a beginning of series of such events to take place in a bid to win the absolute majority of the parliament for the ruling MDP government. There is growing rumor that Abdulla Abdu’ Raheem of Maafanu Uthuru constituency are also going to join MDP.

Government accuses that they being unable to fulfill their pledges mainly due to the blockade of opposition controlled parliament, so as Ali Waheed said after joining MDP, “government has a plan but the opposition has no plan other than rejecting government plans…, they never let know how to overcome the dollar shortage of the country, protesting alone would not solve the problems”.  For the first time standing on yellow podium Ali Waheed said, “Boom, Boom, Boom . . . I came here to get passengers to my flight, because it is only available, here”.

He admired MDP’s policies to strengthen democratic values within the party and went on to criticize DRP saying there is no political prospect for him as its members are spooling around two major party figures Gayoom and Thasmeen respectively. He said former President Gayoom is mainly responsible for factional division in DRP.

Speaking in the rally President Nasheed noted that it is a step taken forward to gain full control of the Parliament while some other speakers shoots verbal attacks on Zaeem-DRP’s leader former president Gayoom, calling for his arrest.

Some local analysts say at this crucial time party transfer market is high as MDP allegedly offering huge sum of money by taking advantage of the fragmented main opposition, DRP.

MDP hopes to fetch four more opposition members to get absolute majority of the parliament while opposition’s members says soon or later some MDP members may take side with them as well. However, Ali Waheed’s transfer is seen as a blow to the main opposition party. Along with him if Abdu’Raheem joins MDP it will be difficult for opposition to play a pivotal role on the floor.

MDP thugs impedes into anti-government protests in Malé

Third straight night of peaceful protests in the capital Malé ended with much violence on Monday after alleged ruling MDP thugs intervene to stop it.

Unlike previous two nights’ riot police gave their warning to clear the area much early, before 12 midnight as around 50 of MDP supporters along with some leading figures of the newly elected leadership marched from Majeedhee Road towards the junction where opposition demonstration was holding up. These MDP members came out of a frenzied gathering held in their Jagaha or meeting compound near Imaadhudheen School. Local Media reports say they approached and escalate the scene by throwing stones on peaceful protesters while police did nothing to stop them.

demonstrators holding up in the Junction square

The government is discontent over the allegation put forward by the protesters. The organizers known as Maldivian “youths” who were acting largely with the support of main opposition DRP’s Maumoon Faction joined by Jumhooree Party, Qaumee Party and People Alliance are calling to lower the high living cost and demanding president Nasheed’s resignation. They were protesting government inaction in controlling rising prices, alleged mismanagement and wasteful spending. Last month president Nasheed declared to enforce pegged dollar exchange rates and country’s exchange rate jumped from 12.85 Mrf to 15.45 Mrf which is a 20 percent increase. As a result prices of goods in the shops and services went up.

On Monday MDP’s newly elected President Dr. Didi defiantly told local media that opposition rallies should come to a halt and if necessary MDP members will act to prevent it from happening. Later his comments were criticized by the opposition saying Dr. Didi is simply inciting violence. They said this shows his reluctance to listen outcry of public.

Few MDP activists outside their Jagaha during as the protests went on

“It’s a clear message of intimidation,  ruling MDP government is declining to accept right to freedom of express and freedom of assembly”, one opposition MP told the local media.

Windscreen of a police vehicle is broken which is blamed on gang groups active during the protest

By 12:00 mid night ‘Junction Square’ was cleared by riot police as clashes escalated between protesters and alleged MDP thugs. At that time some unidentified group of young boys between the ages of 14 – 19 were spotted in the opposition crowds who were later blamed for much of the violence and damages given to public property.  They lit fire in several areas and damaged a police vehicle parked near Maafanu Police Station.

After dispersing protesters from the ‘Junction Square’ they regrouped near MMA building. They were actually trying to congregate in heavily guarded Republican Square known as Jumhooree Maidhaan where headquarters of Armed forces and police are located. However, riot police backed by armed forces used all means of forces including armored vehicles to deter the protesters. As usual tear gas and pepper spray was used against protesters while more than 55 arrests took place. Some casualties were reported  during the confrontation with police.  Protesters went home around 3:00 am following widespread disruption caused by suspected gang groups.

Protesters lit fire on the streets

Later opposition MPs who were leading the protests went in to the Police headquarters  and was thought to have complained of alleged gang groups sent by MDP had to take the responsibility violence that took place during the protest including use of patrol bombs and setting fire on the streets near local market.

DRP MP Mahloof told local media they are simply expressing their concerns in a peaceful manner and they would never encourage any violence.

Organizers say they will continue their protests every night until government positively respond to their demands.

It is believed that so for police detained over a 150 people in connection with the protest. However police told a press conference they have extended the detained period of 13 suspected notorious people who damaged public property or who showed civil disobedience.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, suspected MDP members went near PA leader Yameen’s residence during the protest and damage a window by throwing stones while he did not appear in any of the ongoing protests.

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Photo curtsey: http://www.sun.mv    /    www.haveeru.com.mv

Terrorist arrested for planning World Cup attack ‘of Maldives origin’: Malik

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Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik has claimed that the terrorist arrested in Colombo, who was planning an attack on cricketers during the ICC World Cup 2011, is of Maldivian origin.

The seven-member terrorist group had also been busted on the information of the arrested terrorist, he added.

Malik, who was speaking to the media after attending the inauguration of a passport office at Gujar Khan in Rawalpindi, said that the government was cooperating with the Interpol to cripple the terrorist network in Pakistan.

However, he made it clear that this particular network was operating from Afghanistan and not from Pakistani territory.

“These terrorists had links with some militants of Northern Areas,” The Nation quoted Malik, as saying.

He had confirmed on Thursday that the country’s security forces had arrested an alleged terrorist who had made plans to launch an attack at the World Cup venue.alik, who did not identify the nationality or the affiliation of the alleged terrorist at that time, made the revelation at a joint briefing with Interpol chief Ronald Noble, saying that the International Police Organisation had helped in uncovering the plot.

New Delhi had been informed of the plot, said Malik as he also claimed that the Taliban had spread its tentacles to India and that he had warned the neighbouring country of this menace.

“Let’s not forget that terrorists have got no boundary or religion. There are several indications that the Taliban have started their activities in India,” Malik said addressing the joint news conference with Noble.

“I am saying this on record and I have also informed India. We must work together to stop the work of terrorists,” he added. (ANI)

All About: Rawalpindi, Taliban, International Police Organisation, Interpol