27 February 2012
One of Dr. Mohamed Waheed’s senior political advisors, the former Attorney-General Dr. Hassan Saeed during Gayyooms administration, has publicly admitted that President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in a coup d’etat, and that Dr. Waheed, who assumed the Presidency following the coup, is “politically, the weakest person in the Maldives”.
Officially the Dr.Waheed regime, made up mainly of people close to the former autocratic President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and hardline Islamic preachers, continues to deny that there was a coup. According to their public statements, President Nasheed stepped down voluntarily and ceded the presidency to Dr. Waheed. In reality, in the days prior to the coup, the-then Vice President Dr. Waheed had repeatedly assured opposition groups that should President Nasheed be forced out, he would step into the breach.
Yet late last week, Dr. Saeed told a group of students in London that the removal of President Nasheed was indeed a “coup” though a “very unique” kind of coup.
Dr. Saeed used his talk with the students, one of whom recorded the meeting and put it on social media websites, to explain why the coup of 7th February was “very unique…a very unique case we can study”. According to Dr. Saeed: “You have a coup [but] within twenty-four hours, the deposed president [Mohamed Nasheed] is campaigning [in the] media” while “on the other hand, the one who came to power [did so] under the Constitution. Therefore this is very unique”.
The President’s Office has since claimed that it has “spoken to” Dr. Saeed whose comments were apparently taken out of context.
It was perhaps a wise move for Dr. Saeed to retract his comments when one considers that three of the men central to the coup – Mohamed Nazim, Abdulla Riyaz and Mohamed Fayaz – are now key members of Dr. Waheed’s regime, holding the roles of Defence Minister, Police Commissioner and Minister of State for Home Affairs respectively.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, spokersperson, international affairs said “its more than clear to us that this is a police and military backed coup. We must hold early elections to give back our people their right to elect a legitimate Government”
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs