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Aishath Aniya

PPM Falls Apart On Its 5th Anniversary But Twitter Is Excited About The Cake

in News by

ppm-cake

PPM’s fifth anniversary cake took center stage on Thursday even as ex-President Maummon Abdul Gayoom withdrew support from President Abdulla Yameen-led government.

The cake, which was earlier reported to have spoiled by police forces, was later cut by Maumoon with his wife Nasreena.

As the PPM Crisis took unprecedented turn on Thursday, Twitter could not stop obsessing about the cake to take dig at the Gayoom brothers.

Three Observations On Maldives By Willy Matunga That Did Not Go Well With Maldivians

in News/Politics by

Expectations soared when Dr.Willy Matunga, former Chief Justice of Kenya, was appointed as the Special Envoy to the Maldives by the Commonwealth. He was given the duty to aid the process of constitutional and political transition of the country.

Mutunga


Crippled by its political turmoil- with majority of leaders either in jail, or in asylum- Maldives had pinned its hope from Matunga to initiate the much needed “dialogue” between all the stakeholders.

Matunga who arrived here on Sunday began crucial meetings with top officials of the government and opposition to initiate a dialogue.

“The overarching mandate is to support a sustainable political dialogue process leading to a stronger climate of pluralism and inclusive elections in 2018,” Kenyan media quoted Matunga as saying.

But, on the 4th day of his visit to the Maldives, Matunga received flak for ignoring the crisis in the archipelago and tweeting about “clean water, malaria and presidential motorcade.”

He, then, added…

But, these tweets did not go well with the Maldivians who were expecting concrete outcomes from his visit and within minutes reactions started pouring in.

And, this is not the first time when Matunga seemed impressed by Maldives. He had, earlier, tweeted about having good time in the Maldives.

2 Years Of Ahmed Rilwan’s Abduction; Suspects Freed; An Epitaph Of Govt’s Failure

in News by

It’s been more than 700 days. It will be two years on August 8 since the time Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan is missing. On the 713th day, two suspects- who were arrested in connection with the abduction- were freed stirring anguish among people at a time when the country is already reeling under international denunciation of clampdown on press.

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The demand to find Rilwan has gained momentum once again after the release under the hashtag #FindMoyameehaa

Meanwhile, a Twitter user even asked ex-President and PPM leader Mumooon Gayoom to help find Rilwan amid the power play with his half-brother Yameen.


Two Suspects Freed, Mastermind Absconded!


rilwan cctv

Criminal Court released the two suspects held in Rilwan’s Abduction on Wednesday while the mastermind abducted long back for which the family members of Rilwan held police responsible for discrepancies in investigation.
Two suspects- Ahmed Aalif Rauf and Mohamed Nooruddin- were arrested on April 5 by police for allegedly abducting Rilwan in September 2014.

29-year-old Aalif, a resident of H. Hilton, Male’ and 31-year-old Noordaddin, a resident of Karankaage, G. Dh. Vaadhoo were allegedly abducted Rilwan in a red car on the orders of Mohamed Suaid- who fled the country after being released by criminal court in November 2014.

Both the suspects were on remand of the police and were also transferred to house arrest for a brief period of 10 days.


Police Investigation


 

Police after investigating the case in April this year established that Railwan was abducted at knife point and said that members of Malé’s Kuda Henveiru gang were involved.

The gang followed Rilwan for over two hours in the red car- owned by Aarif- that was brought to Hulhumalé on August 1 and brought back to Malé in mid-August that year.

Police also confirmed that the abduction was well planned in advance but declined any political connection to which Rilwan’s family, friends and supporters strongly objected.


What Really Happened That Night?


On August 8, 2014, around 12.44 am Rilwan was seen taking a ferry at Hulhumalé terminal. He reached suburb island after 25 minutes upon which he did not take a bus according to a eye witness who was a fellow passenger with Rilwan on the ferry.

It was between 1.30 am and 2.00 am when Rilwan’s neighbours saw someone forcing Rilwan in a car at knife point in front of his apartment. The abductors dropped the knife that night which was later recovered by police, Rilwan’s friend claims which police declined.

Rilwan was 28 years old when he was abducted on that chilling night and was a target of many religious and extremists group for his reports. “Rilwan had received numerous death threats for his criticism of religious extremist groups and had reported being followed by a man suspected of involvement in a near-fatal attack on a blogger in 2012,” one of his friends claimed.

“We believe he was abducted but we’ve not got any leads,” The Independent quoted his brother, Moosa Rilwan as saying. “We believe he was abducted by people to stop his freedom of speech; to stop him writing about politics and radicals.”


UN’s Intervention & Govt’s Indifference


The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID), taking cognizance of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) request to intervene in the case, summoned government to respond to the case filed regarding Rilwan’s abduction and government’s involvement in the case.

The government, however, rejected any such claims and said “rejected any suggestion that it is responsible for the disappearance of Rilwan or that it has had any involvement as alleged or at all.” and claimed that it was police’s “highest priority” to investigate his case and the perpetrators will be brought to “justice”.

The government also stated that the “initial delay” of the crucial first five days in the reporting of the disappearance and certain other challenges affected “prompt investigation into such a complex matter”.

But, soon after government’s claims, Zaheena Rashid, the editor of Maldives Independent lashed out government for telling “lies” to the UN and claimed that his Rilwan’s neighbours reported the abduction minutes after the incident.


The Possible Nexus Between Rilwan’s Abduction, Dr Afraasheem Murder & Humam’s Hanging


This is Shamoon ‘Lucas’ Jaleel, a close friend of Rilwan, who has alleged several times that he was killed as he knew the finest details of murder of religious leader and a member of Progressive Party of Maldives Dr Afraasheem.

Dr Afraasheem was the possible threat to President Yameen’s candidature in 2013 Presidential elections, conspiracy theories claim as some allege that he was killed by a contract killer 24-year-old Hussain Humam Ahmed on the promised amount of MVR 1.6 crore.

Interestingly, Humam is almost on the death bed and will become the first Maldivian in 60 years to receive President Yameen endorsed death penalty if he is sentenced as ruled by the Supreme Court.

Like Rilwan, Humam is also under international body scanner for not receiving fair trial as he even after confessing the murder, retracted it saying that he was pressurised to take the responsibility of the murder.

The rights body questioned that why no investigation on the “mastermind” who asked Humam to murder Afraasheem was done and why Humam’s mental condition- which his father claimed was not stable- taken into consideration.


In Pics: The Struggle To Find Rilwan


Close to two years and no sign of Rilwan yet his friends and family members are hopeful of his return and pray for his safety and security while they also share some pictures as part of their memories with Rilwan.

 

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First Lady, Saudi Arabia And The ‘Dates’ That Didn’t Go Well

in News/Politics by

It all started with the dates that went the wrong way. It is the holy month of Ramadan and the first lady distributed dates to people which carried the message “With the best wishes of the Sadagat Foundation”.

“Gift from the government of the custodian of the two holy mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,” the note added.

dates
Photo Courtesy: CNM

Now, Sadagat foundation is an NGO owned by the first lady is also being labelled by opposition as a campaign office run by the first couple in Malé.

The controversy is not that the first lady distributed dates on behalf of her NGO/Campaign office, but the controversy is that the dates that first lady distributed was a gift from Saudi Arabia. “Best friend” Saudi donates 50 tonnes of dates to the Maldives every Ramadan and the dates that are gifted by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for generations were distributed in the name of her NGO.

yameen malaysia


According to a news website CNM, the finance ministry ordered to handover 10 tonnes (500 boxes) of dates to the NGO run by first lady.

As the matter escalated, in no time Saudi Arabia- for whom the Maldives is believed to have severed ties with Iran- issued a statement backing the action of the first lady.

Saudi Arabia defended first lady by saying that she has been “selfless” in her work to help needy and poor and disable people of the Maldives.

The statement released by the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Male’ said that they are “proud” to see the gifted dates distributed by an NGO run by the first lady.

It also urged people of Maldives to refrain from using “token of friendship negatively.”


The quick response from Saudi Arbia, however, broke Twitter with sharp criticism.

Meanwhile, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party also expressed concern stating, “The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has been gifting the Maldives people dates for generations but this year the gifts have been labelled as gifts from the foundation run by the First Lady, and have been stocked and distributed from a NGO roofed under President Yameen’s personal 2018 presidential campaign office.”

MDP said that it “disappointed” that Saudi Embassy would comment on the “internal matter”, and especially defend the First Lady’s “corrupt” actions.

The government out-rightly denied allegations of stealing but the Anti-Corruption Commission has pledged investigation into the matter.

Brothers Power Play: Gayoom And Yameen Play Maldivian ‘Godfather’

in Opinion by

author band aishath

The current Maldives President Abdulla Yameen is the half-brother of former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, often referred as “Asia’s Longest-Serving Dictator” by international media for his 30-year regime.

yameen maumoon gayoom

Just before he was made the presidential candidate of the current ruling party – Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Yameen added his father’s name – Abdulla Gayoom to his name.

The name Gayoom must have been magical. In the absence of a credible reputation he not only got the party’s ticket but is now the country’s President.

Though Yameen filled many top positions in his brother’s administration and has been a parliamentarian for at least 15 years, most people did not expect him to become the President. He has always been invisible, unpopular and antisocial.

It was understood nobody would find any place or position of prominence in the party run by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom without the former dictator’s blessing.

There is no doubt Maumoon wants his children to lead the country. His eldest children are twin daughters – one of whom is the current Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon.

The eldest son replaced the parliamentary seat vacated by Ahmed Nazim who was imprisoned for life last year. Nazim was also Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Yameen’s right hand man. Maumoon’s youngest is Ghassan Maumoon. He was appointed as a Minister in the President’s office.

It was understood nobody would find any place or position of prominence in the party run by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom without the former dictator’s blessing.

So why did Maumoon choose Yameen – a man nobody really knew for President? There are many speculations.

Firstly, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom needs to do a major clean up to remove all the elements unfriendly to him and return the political environment to pre 2000 times. For this, he needed to destroy the democratic structure embedded in the 2008 Constitution and reactivate his network within the Judiciary, Security establishment and the Independent Institutions that were established by the 2008 Constitution. He also needed to subvert the Rule of Law.

Secondly, he needed to assure his supporters that only he or his children could do what he did best for them all. Even Yameen does not figure in his stratagem.

Thirdly, he needed more time to groom his children for the Presidential seat. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Dunya becomes his number one choice. She is the most visible among all his four children.

Dunya Maumoon, upon her return from studying overseas, worked in UNFPA and was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister during Maumoon’s last few years in power. She held her post even in the aftermath of the coup by Waheed during his time in power.

When Yameen got elected as the President, she moved up the rank to become his Foreign Minsiter.

For Maumoon, having his daughter as President would not only put his family back in power, it would bring him the strongest ever recognition.

Maumoon has often argued that he is the man of political and social reform.

He claims he is the father of democracy and came to power 6 times through democratic elections. He also claims that the 2008 Constitution was his work. One of the three major amendments in the Constitution is that it allows women to become the President. With Dunya as President, Maumoon can reclaim to walk his talk.

With Dunya as President, Maumoon can list Maldives among SAARC countries having women as nation’s leaders.

India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh all had women head of states. Historically, Maldives did have women leaders, but wouldn’t it be great for Maldives to have a woman in the contemporary times?

With Dunya as President, Maumoon could claim to be the beacon against extremism and Islamism.

With Dunya as President, Maumoon would also be a man of equality. The darling of Feminists. The instrument for gender parity.

However, dreams are dreams unless they are realized.

Some people believe Yameen has turned his niece into a political prostitute.

For Maumoon, having his daughter as President would not only put his family back in power, it would bring him the strongest ever recognition.

Abdulla Yameen is using all his power to demonstrate that he calls the shots, not his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Yameen’s wife Fathimath Ibrahim is campaigning to expand Yameen’s support. It is common knowledge that Fathimath Ibrahim and Dunya Maumoon don’t even talk to each other.

So the question that arises, is Maumoon Gayoom still strong enough to make a move before the next election? What would be his move?

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FocusMaldives.)

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