Maumoon’s shame, Asward’s report

Raajje TV journalist Asward [Ibrahim Waheed] was brutally assaulted yesterday morning. He is now in critical condition at a hospital in Sri Lanka. On Wednesday, 20 February, he aired the above report on Raajje TV. It was a response to Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s statement the previous day that Mohamed Nasheed seeking refuge at the Indian High Commission was ‘shameful’. This is a translation of Asward’s script.

Since former President Mohamed Nasheed sought India’s refuge and entered the Indian High Commission, the wisest words so far have come from Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled for 30 years.

As Maumoon Abdul Gayoom—who spent the years in the glory and comfort of being president—said: President Nasheed being in the High Commission should shame all Maldivians.

The President voted in by the people in 2008 forced onto the street, away from friends, family and supporters, in his own country, on his own soil, without safety or protection, isolated inside a High Commission—how shameful an event is this in the life of a nation?

How shameful is it that the country’s justice system and its security forces should stoop to this level?

A large country like India is afraid to hand President Nasheed over to the police—the very people meant to protect Maldivians—because they put his life in danger. How shameful is that for a Maldivian?

The Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled with a 99 percent approval rating for thirty years could not get 51 percent of the vote in 2008. How shameful is the revelation that he had been stealing from the people’s vote for thirty years?

When the people said, “No”, their elected president was toppled against the spirit of the Constitution and replaced with a puppet government. How shameful is the realisation that the backbone of this government is the same Maumoon Abdul Gayoom the people rejected in 2008?

While there is so much talk of President Nasheed failing to heed one court summons, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s brother Abdulla Hameed is hiding abroad, evading charges of stealing from public coffers. How shameful is that? And how shameful is it that Maumoon cannot admit there are multiple court orders against Abdulla Hameed that security forces could not execute?

And what of the shameful exposés of the last few years of Gayoom’s thirty-year golden rule?

While President, he spent 53,328 Rufiya [US$4,134] from Theemuge budget on a pendant and another 11,171 Rufiya [US$866] on a diamond pendant for wife Nasreena Ibrahim. This was spent from the public coffers. Our women can barely afford even a 300 Rufiyaa pendant. Isn’t this also shameful?

And, what’s more shameful than people knowing that the 19,479 Rufiya [US$1510] Nasreena Ibrahim spent on a diamond bracelet came from their money?

While Maldivians travel to other islands, or to Villingili and Hulhu Male’ for their holidays, Nasreena Ibrahim spent over 396,000 Rufiya [US$20,608] on tickets alone for a trip to Britain with friends.  Isn’t this also something to be shamed by?

While Maldivians plead for a pair of spectacles on Aasandha, Maumoon’s son Ghassan Maumoon bought one for 29,000 Rufiya [US$2,254] using the people’s money. Shameful, isn’t it?

While Maldivians, with no access to a sewerage system, dug holes on the beach to use as toilets, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his family were sitting on toilets of gold. Isn’t this knowledge shameful?

What’s more? What about the children made to stand in the sun for hours to greet Gayoom whenever he visited other islands during the long thirty years of his rule? When Nasheed stopped the practise in his three years, those children who had stood on the jetty and on school fields, they must now feel so ashamed.

All things to be shamed by, wouldn’t you agree?


Update: An earlier version of this article gave the price of Nasreena’s diamond bracelet as 19,479 Rufiya [US$19,479]. The correct amount in dollars is US$1510.


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