Joint Opposition Condemns Police Fear-mongering to Pre-empt Crackdown ahead of Elections

10 September, Male: The Joint Opposition notes with deep concern the statement made by the Maldives Police Service today. Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Ahmed Shifan, in a press briefing held today, announced the Police had received reports of a plot to carry out “dangerous acts.”

The Police said the acts are carried out to “raise questions “about the independence and fairness of the election,” and that such acts threaten the stability of the country.

The Spokesperson also said they had information that people will carry out “dangerous acts depending on the election result.”

The Spokesperson said the reported attacks would be similar to the attacks on Government buildings on 8 February 2012, referencing the attacks on Government building following the unlawful toppling of the Nasheed administration in February 2012.

The Police based their announcement on a so- called internal “intelligence report.” The Maldives Police has used “intelligence reports” to arrest and sentence any political opposition to President Yameen. Former President Maumoon Abdul Qayoom, former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb, former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, former Minister of Defense Colonel Mohamed Nazim, and the mass arrests leading to the mass demonstration of March 2018 were based on so called “intelligence report,” which have later proved to be falsified.

The Police statement comes just 13 days before Maldivians go to the polls where President Yameen stands against a common candidate, fielded by all the opposition parties, and is a tactic to terrorise voters ahead of the vote, to stop voters from exercising their democratic right.

The Joint Opposition believes that the Police statement is part of the narrative created whereby President Yameen can engineer any outcome he desires: either derail the elections or create a scenario whereby a ruling dispensation can prolong the Yameen rule, regardless of the popular franchise. The Police are warning the people of a crackdown for when the Elections Commission announces a falsified victory for President Yameen.

The statement is also not an isolated incident, and is part of President Yameen’s campaign of fear mongering, ahead of the vote. On 4 August, the Minister of Defense announced “reports of a plot to incite unrest and destabilise the nation.” The Minister made the announcement on his private Facebook page. The security forces have not revealed any official information since then. President Yameen has also reportedly warned of plots to conduct violence ahead of the elections, laying the groundwork to derail the elections if he requires.

The Police statement today proves that the Police are pre-empting election results, regardless of the actual outcome of the vote. The Joint Opposition believes the Police are preparing for the Elections Commission to announce a win for President Yameen, and is deeply concerned the Police are preparing, in conjunction with President Yameen, to create pretexts for a crackdown.

The Police statement follows a momentous rally by the opposition campaign where a record numbers of supporters, including civil servants, state employees turned up despite the intensified Government intimidation, in a clear show of victory for the joint opposition’s candidate MP Ibrahim M. Solih’s.

We, the Joint Opposition, on behalf of the people of the Maldives, urge the Maldivian security forces to honour and uphold their pledge to the constitution, which includes the right of people to choose their own government, in a democratic manner. We ask the security forces to protect the will of the people, and to not continue to buttress one man’s autocratic rule, over the Maldivian people.