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Commonwealth Against the Coup in Maldives

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has decided to take action against the Maldives. In brief CMAG decided on the following course of action.


  • CMAG has put the Maldives a formal watch list while it learns more about the coup.
  • The Group is unhappy with the warrant to arrest President Nasheed as it could be used as a tool to stop President Nasheed from participating in the presidential elections.
  • The Group called for "an independent and impartial investigation" into the coup without playing delay tactics. The Group is also would like international participation in the internal investigation proposed by Dr Waheed.
  • The Group called for early elections.  The Group urged Dr Waheed and President Nasheed "to commence an immediate dialogue, without preconditions, to agree on a date for early elections, which should take place within this calendar year."
  • The Group is calling on all parties to work together to amend the constitution to facilitate the early elections.
  • The Group agreed that the Commonwealth provide technical assistance to Maldives in capacity building in such areas as judiciary, parliament, Electoral Commission and promote adherence to democratic values and principles.  The group also recommended the Commonwealth to assist in developing a code of conduct for political parties in the lead-up to the next election.
  • CMAG will again  in March 2012 to review progress in Maldives, and to consider at its next scheduled meeting in April 2012 any further measures that may be warranted.
This is a good outcome for the Maldives. CMAG should be applauded for the work they have done uptodate.  However, this is only one step in the right direction.  

The regime led by Dr Waheed will try every trick in the book to delay the election and deny President Nasheed and his party free and fair participation in the electoral process. Some rich and powerful people may not want any formal acknowledgement of the events that we witnessed with our own yes and on the TV screens.

Two out of the three members of Dr Waheed's so called "Independent Enquiry Commission" were ministers of former President Gayyoom whose supporters are alleged to have orchestrated the coup. One of them was his Defense Minister in charge of the armed forces.  The brutality of the armed forces during Gayyoom's era is well documented.  Maldivian have not forgotten their brutality, stories of torture and lengthy detention of people. Vast majority of people will find the membership of the Commission abhorrent and their findings will not be acceptable to them. This is a brazen effort to cover up what really happened on February 7th.  

Dr Waheed has no commitment to involve international participants in his inquiry.  To paraphrase him he says "It is up to the Commission, they have the power to invite internationals,  I have done my bit."  In other words, Dr Waheed is not going to pay much attention to CMAG recommendation.

So far Dr Waheed has not made any serious effort to return the country back to a democracy.  His strategy is to delay, set up committees and blame MDP.  As one of the most experienced diplomats in the country, Dr Waheed knows the buttons to press to keep the international community at bay. "unity government", "terrorist activity", "independent inquiry" etc are some of the phrases that we hear from Dr Waheed. They are designed for diplomats who will play a very big role in deciding whether Maldives will be another Pakistan or a Fiji.

Maldivians need the help of our friends in the international community.  Like many of my friends in the Maldives, I believe that CMAG have listened to the concerns of the ordinary people in the Commonwealth.  Your continued support will be needed for a while to come.

(For the complete CMAG press release please click here.)
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