Colombo, August 29 (The New Indian Express): All conditions, domestic and international, are ripe for bringing about the overthrow of Abdulla Yameen’s regime in the Maldives, says Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, International spokesman of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) led by the ousted President Mohammad Nasheed.
India, the US, and the EU are backing the opposition move to oust Yameen’s dictatorial government by legal means, Ghafoor said here on Monday.
The EU had passed a resolution against the Yameen regime on December 17, 2015. In April this year, the US Senate unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Maldives government to rectify the “injustice” meted out to former President Nasheed and all other “political prisoners.”
The bipartisan Senate resolution expressed “profound concern over the prosecution and conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed without due process” and urged the Yameen government to “take all necessary steps to redress this injustice and to release all political prisoners.”
In May 2015, the Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mona Rishmawi said that the trial and conviction of Nasheed was vastly unfair, arbitrary and disproportionate.
As for the role of India , Ghafoor said India is playing a role but behind the scenes “in the South Asian way.” Asked about Colombo’ stand, he said that Sri Lanka has always been friendly to the Maldivians and interested in their welfare.
“The MDP has been functioning here in Colombo without any problems. I move about freely,” he said.
Asked about reports of opposition leaders headed by Nasheed having a conclave in the Sri Lankan capital to plot the overthrow of Yameen, Ghafoor said that he is not aware of Nasheed’s presence in Colombo.
The media had reported that Nasheed, accompanied by other opposition leaders, had arrived in Sri Lanka from their base in the UK.
“I am not in touch with Nasheed,” Ghafoor stated.
As for his claim that domestic conditions in the Maldives are ripe for change, Ghafoor said that MPs and party supporters are leaving Yameen. The ruling party is split between two factions, one led by former President Gayoom, his son and daughter, and other by Yameen, who is also Gayoom’s half brother. Gayoom’s daughter Dunya Maumoon, who was Foreign Minister, had quit recently, further weakening Yameen. Yameen divested Gayoom’s son of his party post.
Ghafoor said that Yameen’s support in parliament has come down from 48 to 38. He is now short of the absolute majority of 43 in the 85-member parliament or Majlis. The Defamation bill could have been stalled if only 20 MPs had not absented themselves, Ghafoor said.
According to the MDP spokesman, Yameen had completely usurped the judiciary. And yet, recently, he had sent troops to the Supreme Court, indicating a growing insecurity. He has arrested and sacked a number officers in the army and police to browbeat these institutions into submission.
“But the MDP is agitating for change on a daily basis. Since Ramzan, the crowds in MDP’s public meetings and demonstrations have been swelling,” Ghafoor said.