Komandoo by-election

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The government raining down on the parades of rival Abdulla Yameen’s ‘India Out’ campaign, said it will not be tolerated. In accordance, the police have arrested four persons wearing ‘India Out’ T-shirts.

Education Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Ahmed Ali has also requested Police of Maldives for an investigation regarding the infamous graffiti on the wall of Sh. Funadhoo School that went viral in social media.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Leader of the coalition and Parliament Speaker, Mohammed Nasheed, was the first to declare that the Opposition’s campaign should not be allowed to continue. Jumhooree Party (JP), Adhaalath Party (AP) and former President Gayoom’s Maumoon Reform Movement (MRM) have since come out with strong statements showing in support against Yameen’s campaign.

The question that now arises is, will Yameen led PPM-PNC stick by its one-agenda to precede the way it is now for the presidential polls that is two years away or will they try to add new elements to step up their game.

Yameen has been very actively campaigning for the Komandoo by elections coming up in February 2022. Speaking at a rally held by PPM, he has pledged that an airport will be developed at Dhiguvelidhoo, nearby Sh. Komandoo, in a PPM’s administration. What he is forgetting is that we have all seen him act as the ‘development man’ years ago when he was in power and that did not go down quiet well. There are lists of lies published by his government right before his election cycle and reports of him abusing state resources.

Abuse of state funds: According to the General Act on Elections, it is prohibited for candidates to use public funds to campaign other than the funds allocated to political parties by the EC.

Yameen visited 10 islands in the first year of his presidency, but during his election cycle in 2018, he made 68 state visits. All these state visits to the islands can be clearly seen as blatant use of state resources for campaigning by the incumbent.

Yameen inaugurated at least 133 projects in the last three months of the poll date being announced, in visits to 68 islands. The state visits were organised by the President’s Office and was publicly funded with MVR108 million (USD$7 million) from the state budget.

Many projects inaugurated by the president during the final months before the re-election had already been completed as of 2017.

In Kaafu atoll, Yameen inaugurated a harbour in Thulusdhoo that was completed in March 2017 and a harbour in Guraidhoo that was completed in December 2017. Other findings show that in Baarah, Haa Alifu atoll, Yameen inaugurated a jetty harbour that was completed in 2016.

In some cases, the projects were not finished when they were inaugurated.

Yameen inaugurated a hospital on the island. Mohamed Karim, the council president of Naifaru, Lhaviyani atoll at that time made statement saying “There are no specialist doctors, there has been no doctor for internal medicine for three years. President Yameen did not even go near the building to inaugurate it. He did it from the harbour area.”

The five-storey building was just a building with no scanning or laboratory facilities, and no specialist doctors. Only three floors out of the five were being used by the upgraded health centre when Yameen inaugurated it.

In another instance, the housing project in Gadhdhoo was completed in early 2017, but the housing units did not have electricity when the president gave away keys to some of the housing units.

Former President Abdulla Yameen had made development the catalyst to winning his re-election campaign, bragging about the amount of money spent on infrastructure since he came to power. But all these reports show how lies were framed one after another to gain favour of the public. He rushed the projects inaugural dates, projects that were not ready to use as his leverage to get an upper hand in the election. There were 20 projects that did not exist, 51 projects with delays, 35 projects where work had stopped, 41 projects with reported problems and five projects that were completed under another government.

Yameen was lying when he said there was a government-led development project on every island. He also took credits for achievement that was accomplished by Mohammed Nasheed during his time of presidency which included the 167 houses that were damaged in the 2004 tsunami that were rebuilt and repaired, a project that began under Mohamed Nasheed and was finished under his replacement.

Besides his nonchalant ways of getting away with lying with the public, he also had quite a controversial past. Cases for which he was under house arrest till Dec of last year. Some of the allegations included: –

Illegal dealing of islands: A set of senior officials in the Maldives, with help from President Abdulla Yameen, leased many of the country’s islands through corrupt deals, while keeping tens of millions of dollars for themselves. Reporters gathered details on over 50 islands that were leased out via the scam. A 2016 audit found that state losses amounted to nearly $80 million. It also found that some investors got islands for millions of dollars less than what they would have paid following a regular process.

Feydhoo Finolhu: A undisclosed Chinese company received a 50-year lease for a bargain of $4 million. The island being very close to the capital, Male would be well positioned to monitor traffic to and fro from the international airport.

Kunaavashi, another island nearby was leased for 50 years

People’s trust in the government: In 2014, a government audit found that millions of dollars in tourism revenue had been diverted to private accounts belonging to Yameen’s vice president and others. The then president denied wrongdoing and jailed the vice president. The auditor lost his job and went into exile.

Dr Jameel was his first Vice President of the Maldives serving for two years since 2013, until the parliament voted to dismiss him from his position. The impeachment was orchestrated by the then powerful Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb who succeeded the position later but was charged with embezzlement and money laundering. On June 2016, Abdulla Jihad succeeded Adeeba and became the third appointed VP in Yameen’s five-year term.

Lack of trust & disbelief for his own party: He not only appointed three different VP’s during his time in power but also expelled former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom from the Progressive Party of Maldives, a party he founded and led since late 2011. But Gayoom has remained obstinate despite losing the battle for control of the PPM to his half-brother, withdrawing support for the government and accusing the Yameen administration of authoritarianism and corruption.

Yameen’s regard for international allies: He parted ways with groupings like the Commonwealth in 2016 because of the mounting pressure from the 53-nation group for corruption and deteriorating human rights. Basically, his foreign policy had isolated the Maldives.

During his regime, Yameen barely attended any assembly and rarely made any visits to foreign countries, but several visits were made to Saudi, resulting to the Saudis establishing embassy in Maldives in 2015.

People of Maldives held protest against these growing ties when speculations of plans broke out that Yameen was trying to sell islands at Faafu Atoll to the Saudi Royals. Government critics worried that Saudi influence would foster extremists in the Maldives, where militancy has been on the rise.

Yameen’s tenure also saw jailing of many political figures.

Abdulla Yameen rejected calls to grant Nasheed a pardon saying he will wait on a supreme court verdict. Nasheed’s lawyers had previously said the Clemency Act grants the president wide authority to pardon any prisoner because of a clause that permits leniency based on the offender’s status and circumstances, age, medical status and on humanitarian grounds.Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail on charges of abducting a judge.

A panel of independent human rights experts, who had ruled Nasheed’s imprisonment “politically motivated” called for his immediate release.But once again, Yameen paid no attention to all these and made sure Nasheed was unable to represent MDP in the election for 2018.

Yameen also impeached various draconian laws, amongst which was the very controversial ‘Defamation Law.’

Defamation law: He passed the very controversial defamation bill on Aug 2016. This bill stated that under the law, defamation is a criminal offense, which suffocated the rights exercised by the journalists.

Abdulla Yameen was altogether a very bad example as a leader for a country. He did everything he could in his power to lead his people and his country to jeopardy. And the irony of it is that some people still consider him capable to be in that position of power where he could endanger the lives of Maldives again. Our country needs somebody who is willing to work for its people, not someone who lies about development and takes credit of someone else’s work just so he could gain some momentum for his election. If we were to describe that without being discreet then that’s just pure scam.