Sunday, April 03, 2011


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. 


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.

          iii.The Judiciary
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.


  1. As an elderly person who witnessed thre presidents, let me frankly tell you that the Maldives was not a dictatorship in the last thirty years, we saw the maximum development taking place in the 80's and 90's and we felt looked after. Previous era was sadly neglectful of the criminal justice system....and as a result opposition propaganda like DO was able to"label" and create a fallacy of a dictatorship. I see more elements of a dictatorship in today's governance, especially when they are claiming to be the democrats and holders of rights etc.....

  2. totally agree with this piece- perhaps one reason why it is such is that there are still people who blindly refuses to believe that the last 30 years was not a dictatorship like the one above. Unless one comes to accept the truth of the past; one cannot face the reality of today and move on. The torture that took place in our jails; the repression of freedoms, especially that of free speech; the fact that no political opinions were allowed; and people still claiming it wasn't a repressive regime!

  3. It's a dictatorship when you can get arrested for just saying 'kiru dhalhu' to a friend on the street (it's a reference to maumoon's alleged affair with a tv presenter).

    it's a dictatorship when you can be put in jail for months, because you wrote a letter to amnesty international

    it's a dictatorship when MPs can be arrested for not having a 'baththi' on your bicycle

    Can you see the pattern above? yes, no rule of law. maumoon's command was supreme. Therefore, it was a dictatorship. QED

  4. Great article Ehju! Though you aren't an expert on state and governance; I, as a ordinary citizen, find this more sensible than all those blabbermouths advertising themselves day and night on the local channels.

    PS: For those who say the past 30 years was not a dictatorship, I'm sure he/she must be kidding!I think it's ok even if I don't state the obvious here because if I do, I dont think there's gonna be any room left for other comments.

  5. it is a very sad situation the Maldives is in. You are correct

  6. Totally agree. I wish, there were more sensible people like you. Personally I'm a lot more dissapointed with the majority of public who doesn't give a damn for what's right and wrong. Great blog.

  7. Totally with you. But, what do we do about it? We brought this upon ourselves so, there must be something we can do to rectify the situation.

  8. One thing we can do, with regard to our Legislative, is to voice out against the Privilege bill. Just got back from majlis. MDP Mahchangolhi Uthuru MP Maria withdrew the amendment regarding the 20000RF. Are we going to sit back, watch the drama, and then regret our inaction? Or are we going to actively oppose the ridiculous demands in the privilege bill?

  9. Democracy is a failed system.

  10. Totally agree with the article. Great work. This is a start. Keep going. but i must say in Maumoon's 30 years, 25years was a dictatorship, then again we cannot say that this is democratic presidency either. freedom of speech my ass.. no such thing here, no freedom of press.. anyone who express honest opinion about how things are going.. or say anything openly against the current presidency gets crucified, and if you say there ain't no violence in the jails or no corruption you surely are blind.Only one thing changed from the past 30years, it was the face. Modern democracy is a joke.

  11. We can only get around with our problems once we flush out the rudiments of dark 30 years. it was run by a self-made king who imprisioned citizens at his will and sets free persons at his will. there was no justice.
    My uncle built a resort using his hard work of nearly 25 years and when the issue reached court during Maumoon's presidency, all the courts ruled in favour of my uncle (because it was so obvious). Yet right after then high courts' rule, Maumoon's presidential decree gave the resort to Maumoon's freiends and his half brother Yamin Abdul Gayyoom.
    We can take thousands and thousands of these sorts of cases (in principle).
    So, I say to the people who revere Maumoon that they do so, because they have been rewarded with millions of dollars (beloning to others) by decrees from Maumoon. And they have what they have because Maumoon used state funds to pay for these thugs.

  12. Rejuvenated me

    Are you sure that you are a fellow citizen? I thought Sunni Muzzies alone were supposed to be citizens of the Maldives..

  13. Haha! i guess that's what the constitution says. But then, it also says no Maldivian can be stripped of their citizenship, so hey yeah, I guess I am a citizen after all :)

  14. Freedom of speech simply doesn't exist in tbe Maldives. Maldivian Muslims or true Citizens are a bunch of psychopaths who do not care about people with different beliefs.

  15. Agreed. That sums up an alarming number of Maldivians. There's not much anyone can do to challenge it as long as the constitution is as it is. I for one, would definitely rejoice on a day that Maldives has freedom from religion, not just of. I do not believe that law, or the constitution, can control an individual's beliefs. All it achieves is squeezing people into a position of hypocrisy and sometimes even self-delusion.

  16. Evidence shows that religiosity declines with the more educated people get. Maybe when Maldivians get more educated, we can look forward to secularism and freedom from Religion.

    The education system is in a mess. Islamic studies consists of hearsay, myth and pseudoscience. Also Biology teachers teach against their own subject and tell kids to believe in creationism, even when there is overwhelming evidence for Evolution.

    Maldivians should go back to the dark ages because they are so Anti Science.

  17. very articulate and informative...i think u r looking at the situation from the right perspective...i really wish to take a LSD trip with a mind like urs..its gonna be one of the best learning experiences i guess..cheers and waiting for more posts from u..