Maldives United Opposition expresses alarm over President Yaameen’s announcement of one-man rule and his insults against democratic nations

Male’ 26 July 2016 – The Maldives United Opposition (MUO) expresses alarm over and strongly condemns Maldives President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom’s  announcement of one-man rule and the audacious insults against democratic  nations in his Independence Day Speech.

Among the most ominous remarks he made is his declaration of one-man rule, saying that “Countries introduce democracy after their institutions have been developed. We introduced them before we had become a viable state, which had hindered our development.” He added that he was now developing a viable system that will allow democracy to function. The implication is that he will do away with democratic institutions until such time that he is ready for them, if ever.

The Maldives United Opposition strongly condemns and is highly alarmed by these remarks as they are indicative of more repression and strong-arm tactics to stamp out political opposition.

It is also alarming that in his Independence Day speech, he gave a chaotic vision of a country, referring to sections of Maldives youth as disruptors of peace and harmony, where friendly scuffles between minors and escalated to the point in which warfare is publicly declared, offering himself as the savior.

In a last ditch effort to hang on to power, which he referred to as “to prevent such uncivilized behavior”, President Yaameen is doing what a many a tyrant have done in Islamic history – fostering his own interpretation of hardline Islam.

In his speech, President Yaameen insisted that the death penalty has to be implemented because the Quran says so, and therefore, that it cannot be stopped. It is very alarming that President Yaameen is hell-bent that the first execution of a convict since 1953 will take place under his watch, as a reiteration of the Maldives’ Islamic credentials.

It is of high concern to the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) that President Yaameen sees implementing the death penalty per se, even despite irregularities, as a clear commandment in Islam. He said that as the leader of the nation, the responsibility to implement the death penalty was bigger on him. “Islamic Sharia and the legal structure under the Constitution, excludes the President from this narrative. In Islam, capital punishment is mandatory for all murderers. This is clearly stated in the Quran. Therefore implementing the death penalty is a must in order to maintain the rule of law”, he said.

The Maldives United Opposition also condemns in the strongest terms his impudent defilement of democratic nations, saying “The numbers of parties envious of our 100% Islamic nation are many…..Every day is of warnings and caution over the implementation of Islamic Sharia and the teachings of Islam. There is a faction of traitors working with foreign nations as abettors, bent on damaging the nation’s peace, stability and progress”.

Meanwhile President Yaameen’s regime had submitted a revised Bill on Defamation to parliament on 19 July 2016 which imposes severe restrictions on free speech and Press freedom. Given the voting patterns of the PPM’s coopted majority in parliament, it is feared that the bill will ultimately become law in its current form.  Many Maldivians and journalists believe the primary purpose of the bill is to protect President Yameen Abdul Gayoom from allegations money laundering and corruption over the unprecedented theft of nearly US$80 million from state coffers. In March, ten editors joined by colleagues warned in a joint statement that the proposed law “will prevent citizens and journalists from speaking out over serious accusations of corruption and the integrity of state officials”.

The Maldives United Opposition appeals to all concerned authorities and institutions, at home and abroad, to prevail over the Maldives government to respect international treaty obligations, to facilitate an environment conducive for multi-party politics, uphold democratic values and institutions, and usher in an interim administration to ensure free, fair, credible, transparent and inclusive elections.