Maldives. Thirty years in a dictatorship. Two and a half years of what is known as a budding democracy.
The majority of the Maldivian population is struggling to create a democratic nation; progressive, liberal, just and free of corruption.
Success rate? Minimal.
Who’s to blame? The ineptness of the state. The collective inertia of the citizen.
WHY I THINK THE MALDIVES IS A FAILED DEMOCRACY
Core reason: Leaders working in self-interest rather than in the interest of the people.
1. The State
i. The Executive
President Nasheed was elected on 28th October 2008. As the executive came into being, people's hopes soared. Here was a particularly frank, honest, daring, progressive activist being sworn in as president! Here was a man with promises of an improved, corruption-free democracy for the people. Here was a leader from amongst us, who swore to not forget his roots.
Two plus years into his presidency, the opposition seem to have a better memory of his pre-election vows than he does.
Personally, one of the biggest let-downs for me was when he jeopardized our moderate Islamic lifestyle by empowering radical Islamists simply for the sake of political gain. The establishment of a separate ministry provided them with the platform from which to spread their doctrine and to lash out against those who disagreed. This one act has cost us at least one life, and that's no small thing.
Furthermore, it does not seem wrong to point out that many, if not all, of the President's cabinet, have little expertise in their assigned fields, not to mention little interest. The idea of holding a high-ranking Government office seems to be more appealing to most than the responsibilities and duties that come with it.
With an executive like this, our best hope is to have a responsible legislative and independent judiciary. But, sadly, that hope is in vain.
ii. The Legislative
The Gold-Diggers may seem a more appropriate label at the moment. In any case, as per the Majlis Administration and the Speaker, this parliament has achieved far more comparatively with regard to the passing of bills, and I applaud them for that.
However, as I stated earlier, the core problem lies when self-interest is the highest priority.
Our Legislative branch of the State is the epitome of ego-centric actions.
While important bills like the Evidence Bill and Right to Information Bill and others await the attention of MPs, they are far too busy trying to prove why the Privileges Bill should be ratified. An alarming number of MPs are concentrating on legalizing a framework through which they can claim more of the peoples' money.
One amusing point is that, this particular bill is a rare, if not the only, instance where the various political parties are actually working together!
Having been to the Majlis a number of times within the last month as a public observer, it saddens me to point out the low attendance level, the frequency of meetings being stopped due to not having the minimum quorum of MPs present..
Unless the MPs can work in the public interest responsibly, the Legislative will be undoubtedly more of a hindrance to the nation than a help.
Do we have a judiciary? Do we have a court in which we have the confidence that, as per the constitution, any citizen will have a free and fair trial?
I doubt many of us would feel so.
When the Judiciary itself is acting in violation of the law, what better can we expect from their judgements?
2. The Media
After many years of being under government control and censorship, the media has recently gained the necessary freedoms to work in the field of responsible journalism.
However, contrary to popular belief, the new-found freedoms did not make the media more objective. Rather, it contributed to the formation of a number of mediums via which propaganda and gossip, as opposed to real news, reached the public on a daily basis.
Although there is, in name, a Maldives Media Council, a Maldives Journalists' Association and others, I am reluctant to say that these bodies are fulfilling their duties at all.
Disclaimer: I am neither an expert on state, governance or politics (as you could very well tell from my post :P) nor apt at expressing myself in writing. The above is simply an opinion piece from a fellow citizen.