MPS raid on MDP headquarters
The Maldives Police Service (MDP) had raided the headquarters of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) mere hours after issuing a statement warning that the Service will crack down on any dissent that harms the dignity of any visiting statesmen (all without mentioning the visiting Saudi monarch by name).
The hours long raid for "banners and other such items" from the office ended up with them carrying out a black plastic bag, and a roll of cloth.
MDP described this as a move to hinder their efforts for the upcoming Local Council Elections.
Parliament round up
Wednesday’s Parliament sitting was delayed so that Members of Parliament and Speaker Abdullah Maseeh from ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) couldattend a PPM membership drive event. If it was something as key as say, releasing a brand new manifesto which fits the current direction of the Party, I would have understood. But this was relatively a cosmetic one, an event that was held to handover membership forms.
It is quite incredulous when scheduled Parliament sittings gets postponed for something of this nature. It tells me a few things. One, having an absolute majority in the Parliament is not beneficial for the public. Two, ruling Party MPs are so caught up in a membership drive at the expense of their legal mandate. So at the end of the day, can we really rely on our Parliamentarians?
The issue of forced memberships into PPM was the highlight of the Parliament this week. The debate was heated and PPM Deputy Leader and Fonadhoo Constituency MP Abdu Raheem Abdullah (Adhurey) indicated that PPM were prepared to bring legal changes so that President Yameen can govern additional terms.
Saudi recap, Faafu atoll protests heat up
Protests went ahead on Friday against the planned sale of Faafu Atoll to the Saudi royal family. Or as the Government calls it “mega development project for Faafu Atoll”. Thing to note here is that the public is not averse to development, but averse to the lack of information.
History has shown us that the Al-Sauds are a shady bunch. Call it whatever you want, a sale or a development initiative, it is the right of the public to know details of what’s happening in their own nation, especially given who is developing that area.
Attacks on journalism
The week began with the trial of our journalist, Adam Zareer. He was fined by MVR 3,000 on charges of obstruction of duties, in spite of the overwhelming evidence in his favor. In typical Zareer fashion, he sarcastically thanked the Government for fining him while he was clearly doing his duty.
RaajjeTV was on the receiving end of death threats regarding the coverage of the sale of Faafu Atoll. The heavily derogatory threats warned the station to keep its crew off the atoll, threatening to ‘kill’ them as soon as they step on. Similarly, two journalists of Maldives Independent already in Faafu atoll were given protective custody over death threats against them.
In all seriousness, a big thank you for the death threats. It is one way we know that our work is being diligently reviewed and we know that our message is effective. Thanks again.
President Yameen ends weeks of speculation
Finally! The Government and President finally ended weeks of speculation over the sale of Faafu atoll. Pardon – the “development of Faafu Atoll”.
President Abdullah Yameen gave a stellar performance, busting out the evils of opposition hindering development and to basically digest this. He said there was no need to panic over lack of information on the Faafu Atoll project, adding that the Government will release information when it was appropriate to do so. In other words, mind your business.
Dr. Shainee returns for an encore performance, Dr. Asim debuts
I really admire Dr. Shainee, with him being the unofficial Spokesperson in addition to being the Fisheries Minister. It takes a lot to go up in front of press week after week and spout things like this.
Think carefully. Those who r passing disrespectful comments towards leader of Muslim world, King Salman r trying to weaken Islamic values.— Mohamed Shainee (@mshainee) March 3, 2017
Another Minister of note, is the Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Asim. He had just returned back from Geneva, from the United Nation’s 34th session of its Human Rights Council. In his address, he had credited the Government for various, various developments in universal human rights in the Maldives, touting Aasandha and medical sector as a success story when this happened over the week.
Officers barred from voting
Spokesperson vs. media
It seems like the Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali (more commonly known as TV Mua) had taken a few lessons from his fellow Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the current US administration. While I would generally classify this as the Government crackdown on journalists, the Spokesperson’s rants needed a separate look into it.
Majority of the journalists who had covered the event at the President’s Office were incensed. Some had even recorded the rant. The Spokesperson criticized junior members of the press, stating that must obey the press moderators and that asking questions after the conference had been concluded was disrespectful.
In that case, please publish a list of guidelines that we can follow.