by Azra Naseem
“Nasheed was planning a massacre on the night of 6 February so that he can resort to emergency powers”, the President’s Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza has said.
I know I’ve already talked about Abbas Adil Riza and his habit of denigrating Nasheed and routinely describing him as ‘a terrorist’ on social media platforms. But, what he’s telling people now, as the President’s Spokesperson, makes Abbas Riza’s words worth pondering over again.
First of all, as the President’s Spokesperson, he’s speaking for the President. We are all agreed on that, aren’t we? He explains to the general public, through the media, ‘the official position of the administration on current events or political issues.’ In the absence of Abbas’s Job Description, have a look at what the White House spokesperson does. [Why not? We know the Maniks are tremendously enamoured with the Obamas, don’t we?]
Anyway, given the role that a President’s Spokesperson is expected to play, when Abbas Riza opens his mouth in public it can rightly be assumed that he’s talking for Waheed. When Abbas Riza tells a public gathering that Nasheed was planning a massacre, we can–and we should–understand it as the official view of the President.
This raises a very important question about Waheed and what he thinks of CoNI, the institution that he himself set up to find out what really happened on 6-7 February. Does he believe in it at all, or does he think so little of it that he is willing to put forward his own views–laying the blame solely at Nasheed’s door–to the public when CoNI is just beginning its work in earnest?
Looks to me like Waheed set up CoNI because Commonwealth left him no option, but that’s all it is to him. A way to save face with the international community. Now that he has set the facade up, he feels free to tell the public that ‘it was him, Nasheed. He did it.’
We know from private emails exchanged between Waheed and Nasheed’s Energy Advisor Mike Mason that emerged in the local media this week that Waheed personally thinks Nasheed was ‘on something’ when he resigned.
Now we know he has also concluded that Nasheed intended to murder a large number of people that day. At least that is what he wants people to think. Abbas Adil Riza, Waheed’s spokesperson is quite openly describing the actions of the police and MNDF officers who directly disobeyed their Commander in Chief that night as patriots.
Nasheed was unable to successfully carry out his plan for a public massacre only
because a large number of people in the police and military who love the country objected to it and stopped the armed MDP supporters of MDP.
Here is how he explained the rationale behind the so-called ‘Massacre Plan.’
They had a very cunning plan behind the massacre. That plan was to declare emergence in the Maldives, abolish the courts, abolish the People’s Majlis, and make the Constitution obsolete. What bigger coup is there than this?
Abbas was speaking at a campaign event Friday night on the island of K. Dhiffushi for Jumhooree Party Gasim Ibrahim’s presidential candidacy. According to local newspaper Haveeru [in Dhivehi], it was a crowded event where people from islands in the vicinity of Male’ had been brought over in boatloads for the occasion.
Quite apart from the disrespect shown to CoNI by peddling premature conclusions, what is being deliberately conveyed to the public is disinformation. The person disseminating it knows full well that it contradicts facts contained in both investigations into the coup published so far. The Timeline by CoNI itself states twice that Nasheed refused to use guns throughout the crisis, stating categorically that ‘no guns should be used under any circumstances.’ Why feed the public such lies?
If Waheed doesn’t share his spokesperson’s view, he should either muzzle him or fire him. If Abbas Riza continues to make statements that construct all protesters as thugs with Nasheed as the lead ‘terrorist’, and if he continues to provide disinformation to the public regarding the events of 6-7 February while the CoNI investigation is still going on, I think what Abbas Riza says should be taken down and considered as evidence in the ongoing CoNI investigations.
If Waheed’s role in the coup is to be investigated properly, it matters what his official mouthpiece is saying. And Abbas Riza is saying a lot that explains a lot.