Reference No: 65/6/2012
6 June 2012
Government Making a Mockery of Political Party Talks – MDP
Last weekend’s All-Party Talks at Bandos Island Resort demonstrate that the Government has no interest in finding a negotiated way forward or in responding to international calls for early elections, according to MDP’s international spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor. “MDP has been incredibly flexible during the talks so-far”, he said, “however, pro-government parties clearly have no intention of seeing the talks succeed. First they repeatedly refused to sit down, finding ever more far-fetched reasons to suspend the talks. Now, with a six-point agenda finally agreed – and MDP agreeing to the Government’s proposals for the order of the agenda – those same parties are using childish games and demands to ensure that the talks will never be concluded. This is a slap in the face of the Commonwealth, the EU and others which have pressed for talks leading to early polls”.
During the talks at Bandos, facilitated by the UN, representatives of the ruling coalition made progress on point one of the agenda – namely, resolving current political tensions – impossible by presenting the MDP with a list of 30 demands, some of which were plainly farcical, some so oblique as to be apparently meaningless.
The former included:
1. Stop practicing black magic and sorcery
2. Stop conducting illicit activities in public parks after hoisting the party flag.
3. Not make noises that disturb pedestrians and drivers on the streets.
4. Not to keep animals in public areas.
5. Stop the use of sexual and erotic tools.
6. Not make ‘Musaafiruhaanaa’ (a type of bed used by crews to sleep on Maldivian vessels) in public areas
7. Not hang swings that obstruct pavements.
8. Not participate in protests in an intoxicated condition.
9. While coming and going from peaceful political rallies, not to walk in groups of more than 10
Oblique / vague / seemingly meaningless (and thus impossible to implement) demands included:
1. Not defame the country both domestically and locally
2. Not provide false information to the public over TV and radio
3. Not hold trials without submitting to the High Court
4. Not to mislead court actions
5. Stop interpreting laws on the streets
6. Stop calling out filth in public neighborhoods
7. Stop political party leaders making false statements
8. Not conduct business without proper authorisation from the authorities
“Such demands demonstrate that the Government has no intention of taking the talks seriously or of seeing them reach their conclusion” said the MDP’s spokesperson. “They are going through the motions in order to placate members of the international community, but at the same time they are making a mockery of the process”.
The MDP’s representatives at the talks, former Tourism Minister DrMariyamZulfa, also made clear afterwards that the government parties behaviour during the talks betrayed their contempt for proceedings. She noted that throughout the talks, the pro-Government parties were adamant that “under no circumstances would there be early elections” – thus prejudging the agenda item on this point. She also noted that “there was a lot of mockery directed against the MDP”.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs