Today, the island country surrounded by clear waters is losing its shimmer when the sun overheads its beaches. The beauty of any nation is validated by its people living in peace and harmony but ironically, the beauty on the outside remains in Maldives but on the inside, the political shift has made the shimmer go pale.
A common morning in the Maldives brews with the news sites , the social media talking about the shackles of the Yameen’s government. The hardworking broker of democracy is tiring himself to sell the freedom at any cost. The news that flashes everywhere nowadays is the unconstitutional appointment of Mohamed Hussain Shareef ‘Mundhu’ as the ambassador of Maldives to Sri Lanka. As we trace back a few months, starting from the termination of the former President, Nasheed followed by a propaganda against him, Yameen’s winning the Presidential elections, the imprisoned of the opposition party leaders who were in favor of Democracy, impeachment of the ex-vice President to appoint as his puppet to playing with the constitutional amendments in order to keep himself safe. He has crossed his limits and violated his powers.
The rule of law, as we call it the supreme thing to abide by in a democratic nation but the current government has disrespected it.
The following details will take you on a corrupt journey of the honorable President till date :
Maldives foreign land ownership Bill : President Yameen amended the Land reform bill which previously prohibited foreign ownership on any part of the land in the country. The President ‘liberated’ the bill by saying in his defense that it will shoot up the foreign investment but in reality, he used the amendment to fatten his own pocket instead of using the so called foreign investment for the country’s development.
Anti-terrorism Bill : 1990 Prevention of Terrorism Act was replaced by the new anti-terrorism bill which is used to restrict citizens to hold any rally or peaceful protest against the government for it is considered a terrorist activity.
Freedom of expression is under threat as the home minister has the power to apply monicorn to conduct surveillance on anyone suspected of terrorism which in turn could charge ‘journalists’ and opposition party leaders speaking against the government, under terrorism act. The implementation of the law put First Democratically Elected President Nasheed , Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla, behind the bars as he conducted a mass anti-government demonstration. Independent Leader Ahmed Mahloof ,Jumhooree Party (JP) deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim, and JP council member Sobah Rasheed were charged with terrorism,too.
Unconstitutional appointments and impeachments :
Former Vice President, Hamid Jameel was sacked on the basis of incompetency. He denied the allegations and said he was carrying out his duties well. He was replaced by 33 years old then tourism minister. The parliament passed a new age related amendment according to which the minimum age to be a vice president was decreased to 30 from 35 and the maximum age of a President was increased to 65, this was a plan to exempt the other leader’s Who Participated in next presidential election .
The People’s Majlis was hijacked by the soldiers in plain clothes, the representatives of the people were protesting outside while the illegal voting was being carried out in the favour of Mohamed Hussain Shareef ‘Mundhu’ as an ambassador of Maldives to Sri Lanka. He got only 27/85 votes which wasn’t enough for him to appointed , yet he got appoint against the rule of law. Article 129 of the Constitution states that other than the vice president, all members in the cabinet must be approved by the parliament whereas, The Secretariat confirmed that no parliamentary vote was given in the favor of Shareef’s appointment. What makes it more unconstitutional is that he was not a minister of a government body approved by the parliament, but rather a ministerial level staff member at the President’s Office.
Recently, Department of Judicial Administration suspended 54 lawyers who raise their voices against the unlawful practices going on in the country. Many cases under trial are now stuck, many lives are suffering behind the bars, many lives are waiting for the justice, which is delayed…or we’d rather say-DENIED.
The Maldives speaker outlived an impeachment against him, illegally. There was a no-confidence motion scheduled against him. The Majlis was under military control and 13 opposition law makers were manhandled and dragged by the use of force outside the premises.
Maldives quits Commonwealth : Maldives was a member of commonwealth since 34 years. The commonwealth democracy watchdog said that the country is violating its rule of law again and again. The government couldn’t handle the pressure and thus resigned. Maldives will fall behind getting the benefits of many scholarships and fellowships programs provided to all its members. Being a member of the commonwealth, the island nation enjoyed participations in discussions related to climate change and development. It has lost many allies to save them if in case any calamity, natural and unnatural fall upon the country. Moreover, they already lack a good foreign policy as they do not have good international relations with any neighboring country.
Amendment related to Arrest Warrant : Ahmed Nihan, a Maldivian judge issued an arrest warrant against Yameen. He accused him of embezzling the state funds. Later, his allegations were considered fake and he was put behind the bars. After the incident, Yameen amended in the constitution that only the Supreme Court judge has the right to issue an arrest warrant the President. Ironically, Mohamed Nasheed was arrested on terrorism charges when he got a judge arrested. Why there was a coup against him back then?
It’s all a game for him, he changes rules according to his conveniences.
Defamation law: To give someone derogatory remarks must be an offense but in Maldives the defamation law was clearly passed to stop media persons, public and opposition party leaders giving any anti-state remarks. Those found guilty of breaking the law will be fined between 50,000 Maldivian rufiya ($3,200) and 2 million rufiya ($130,000) or face a jail term of between three and six months. The very basic right of freedom of expression has been suspended in a so-called democratic regime.
UNDP REPORT : According to a recent UNDP report, 71% of the Maldivians prefer to settle disputes outside the court as they do not have faith left in the judicial system.
‘Legal and Justice Sector Baseline Study 2014
The increased crime rate, extremist violence, poverty, more political instability is peeping through the beautiful sky of Maldives. The dark clouds are clouding over and its already midnight, where the voices are silent.
No matter what the situation is, the screams for the right should be heard. We are not the plastic lions of the zoo of Maldives, our roars must echo!