Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Coming out of the closet

When MDP's official press Minivan News announced that Mohamed Nasheed, or Anni, was quitting as chairman of the party to enter the presidential rat race, nobody was surprised. It's well known that Anni was always a closet presidential hopeful and, as the only thing keeping his disintegrating party together, this may be the right and inevitable move. Unfortunately, Anni is not the exciting political upstart he was in the early 1990s and his speeches and tactics no longer resonate with the populace as they did, say, even three years ago.

He is, of course, a better choice than Munavvar or Zaki, but Hassan Saeed and Ibra?

Hassand Saeed is courageous in the way he stands up to the religious right, genuinely seeming to embody liberal views, but he is yet to come clean on his part in Gayoom's crackdown on dissent. Ibra is charismatic, and a great orator, but as the founder of a party that calls itself the social "liberal" party, his lack of support in the constitutional assembly for gender equality leaves much to be desired.

Anni should be credited with much of the change taking place in the Maldives now. He played a crucial role in mobilising international intervention against Gayoom's atrocities, his courage and fighting spirit have been an inspiration for the younger generation, and he may be the sole force holding together the country's largest opposition party.

But his inability to take criticism, his patronising attitude towards people, and his distortion of the truth for political convenience need to be taken into consideration. His lazy responses to questions regarding MDP policy, or the lack of any, are also a bit of a joke. "Get Gayoom out" seems to be his policy for everything. 

It's taken Anni a long time to come out of the closet. Ironically, in that time, he may have grown more like the man he wants to get rid of.

The Maldivian hunt for an Obama is still on.



amir said...

Hassan Saeed a better leader than Anni? On August 12, 2005 Anni was sitting peacefully on Republic Square, when a gang of Star Force arrived and dragged him to the police station. That night NSS forces demolished MDP's gathering place, Haruge in Male'. Dr Hassan Saeed appeared on state TV and said government will never give Haruge back again to MDP. How can Dr Hassan Saeed say this absurd thing, and how can he justify forceful NSS invasion of a private property? Hassan Saeed tried to restrict freedom of assembly through presidential decrees, while Anni used every available opportunity to exercise the right. This is the difference between Anni and Hassan Saeed.

You seem to think that Munavvar is not an ideal person for president of Maldives. Since Munavvar is the President of the most popular party in Maldives, you must give reasons why Munavvar is not suitable, rather than just saying he is from the Old Guard.

amir said...

Dr hassan Saeed is courageous in standing up to religious right? The NDI report, which advised Maldives on introduction of political parties, clearly said parties should not be formed on religious grounds. But Hassan Saeed ignored this warning, and did not include a clause in the regulations, thus paving the way for the formation of Adhaalath. Today we hear that Adhaalath is not nominating a candidate but supporting Dr Saeed. One wonders if this former Attorney General who is also a graduate from Salafiyya Aboobakr (a religious madrasa in Pakistan) is really against religious right.

dissidentmaldives said...

Good points, lets hope more people contribute to fuel this debate.

A few clarifications though, I did not say Hassan Saeed is a better leader than Anni and I've clearly said he has some explaining to do. Nevertheless, he did publicly state his belief that there was a need to combat fundamentalism, while the spineless MDP never came out in the open on the issue. Indeed, under the advise of its Islamic Consultative Council, made up entirely of misogynistic right wing 'scholars', the party failed to protect its former assistant-secretary Aishath Aniya's right to expression on the buruga issue, or to condemn the death threats she received.

You're right I wouldn't even consider Munavvar for the post and you'll find my main reasons in the post "MDP's double stanadards" and the comments, one post down. I'm currently reviewing Hassan Saeed's alliance with the Adhalath Party and what are probably its impacts in his manifesto. The reference to his education in a Pakistani madrasa, however, is probably insignificant, much like the accusation that Obama once attended a madrasa.

Anonymous said...

While, I agree Anni was a great opposition leader, I too am getting quite tired of his "get mauomoon out" answer to everything. Anni has not been able to demonstrate that he can transorm himself from an "activist" to a head of state. Anni should seriously consider whether this this is the best cousre of action for the opposition..

Anonymous said...

Dr Munavvar has said that as the president of the MDP it is his moral obligation to run for presidency. He said the people have given him a clear mandate. While you don't consider him for the post, do you think majority of MDP members were wrong in their decision?

dissidentmaldives said...

the majority of mdp members that i know bitterly regret letting munavvar slide his way to the party's top job, and are now putting all their support behind anni's bid to oust him.

i wouldn't take any politician's words at face value nor, to answer your question, draw on the latest mdp thinking to form an opinion.

but many thanks for sharing your thoughts oand i'll certainly have a look at the link you've provided.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Hassan Saeed is no better than Gayyoom. He was described by a senior, well respected, and educated Maldivian as "still new to Maldives. Hassan Saeed doesnt even know the streets of Male, and the name of Islands. He has been away from Maldives for a long long time. Starting at a very young age in Pakistan in Salafiya, then in Malaysia, where he got his malay-wannabe first lady, and in Australia, with favor from his elder bro got PhD, and jumped to the chief judge of jinaee court, and Attorney General. Dr. Hassan has not seen the true Maldives, nor understand the real pulse of a Maldivian. He can best be described as an opportunist. He joined the government and got the AG title, got friends with many diplomats, and when he knows gayyoom is getting weak, jumps to the other boat, and wants to fool people. Hassan Saeed is not a genuine reformist, and he can never be in the position of Anni."

Anonymous said...

"malay wannabe first wife" and "with favour from his bro got a PhD"....hmmm telling signs that...slagging off hassan saeeds wife and trying to discredit his obvious scholarly attributes is not really "evidence" of him being "no better than gayyoom"