Mohamed Nasheed took the Maldives and rest of the world by surprise when he, in a high profile Skype interview to the foreign correspondents from London, said that he has got the old rival and ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on board to topple his half- brother Abdulla Yameen.
But soon, his claims were refuted, directly and indirectly.
Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), which Gayoom heads, denied his claims and accused Nasheed of lying.
“… (Nasheed is) lying to bring President Maumoon into disrepute and to create discord among PPM members,” Abdul Aleem Adam, the PPM’s deputy secretary-general was quoted by Maldives Independent as saying.
And, Gayoom indirectly via a tweet also indicated his party’s claims and called Nasheed a liar, Focus Maldives understands.
Two days after Nasheed’s claims Gayoom said in his tweet that “Truth will be truth even if you say it once. A lie will be a lie even if you repeat it a thousand times.”
އެއް ފަހަރު ބުންޏަސް ތެދެއް ވާނީ ތެދަކަށް . އެއް ހާސް ފަހަރު ބުންޏަސް ދޮގެއް ވާނީ ދޮގަކަށް .
— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) September 15, 2016
Nasheed, who was jailed more than 20 times in Gayoom’s regime for his criticism, said on September 12 that he was in agreement with the ex-strongman alias Gayoom to fight his half-brother and President Yameen.
The first democratically elected President refused to give any further details but expressed hope that they will work together to bring down Yameen in a “legitimate” way.
“And so the position of the Maldives United Opposition, of which I am a member, is that for democracy to be restored in the Maldives it is essential that President Yameen be removed from power,” he told Colombo-based reporters via Skype from London on Tuesday.
“…He has lost the support of the Maldivian people, security services, international community and his own party. He has even lost the support of his own brother, former president Gayoom,” he was quoted by international news agency Reuters as saying.
Nasheed also claimed that he also was in talks with his faction of the ruling PPM “for a new political alignment” insisting on a “non-military” coup in the archipelago.
Calling “military-coup” illegal, the 49-year-old leader although said that he want security forces to cooperate with him as when the transition through “legal” and “constitutional” means happens.
“The opposition was expecting Gayoom to get a section of his party to withdraw support for Yameen late last month, but for some reason that did not happen,” said one western diplomatic source in Colombo, speaking on condition of anonymity, as quoted by AFP.
“It is not easy for the opposition to organise any agitation inside the country because all their leaders are either in jail or in exile.”
Nasheed is, however, looking to capitalise on the rift between the half-brothers that came out in open over the controversial tourism bill which Gayoom strongly opposed. Not just Yameen’s supporters defied Progressive Party of the Maldives’ leader whip to pass the bill but also rallied against his son Faris Maumoon Gayoom for not supporting the bill in the People’s Majlis.