At a ruling party rally on February 27, billed as a show of support for the police and military, President Abdulla Yameen railed against “traitors” in the judiciary and police who are alleged to have plotted with opposition leaders to remove him from office.
The following are translated extracts from the speech.
Lessons for the police and armed forces
[Speaking metaphorically of the tense standoff after the Supreme Court order of February 1]
The captain is tasked with guiding the ship safely to shore and ensuring an easy and smooth passage. If the captain can’t do it, it’s not only the ship that will be destroyed, it’s all the crew as well. The captain will have no interest in destroying the ship when it’s caught in such a storm.
Questions are only raised about the captain when he violates the constitution or if he loses a condition [of eligibility] for election. For example, questions should be raised if the captain loses his mind. But questions shouldn’t be raised because the captain is building a 25-storey hospital.
So all crew members should have respect and faithfulness towards the captain. When something happens to the captain while travelling through a storm in rough seas, crew members won’t ask what’s in the law. There won’t be democracy in there. This is how it is in the military and police.
The oath taken by the security forces is to protect the nation and religion. The nation is symbolised by the elected president. There won’t be a nation where it doesn’t have a government…No doubt Supreme Court justices will know laws much better. So they’ll know how to adjudicate and make judgments much better than the president. But the security forces, too, should think about the judgments that come out. Just as the constitution gives powers to the Supreme Court, these two security forces are also created by the constitution. The constitution says the military and police should comply with lawful orders.
So the question the security forces should ask is whether this is a lawful order. No need to run around to enforce the order. That is the lesson that needs to be taken. There is a person elected by the people to command them. He is the one who looks after the state of the nation. So they should seek his opinion on what’s happened.
This time, the military showed so much steadfastness in this. And likewise, even if it was after some time, police too showed this with much steadfastness.
On traitors and how deep the coup goes
But the lesson we need to take today is that it’s not just the person who calls to bring a foreign military who betrays the nation. No doubt they are in high posts in the ranks of traitors. Anyone who out of greed works to bring the nation to a bad situation gets this label of traitor. That is legally prohibited for him to do. No one has the right to change the government of the whole Maldives.
What happened on February 1 is a coup…So the real traitors aren’t the top politicians. No doubt they have found space on the honourable list of traitors. But in this case, for me, the biggest traitors are those who abused their positions and worked to topple the Maldivian state or ummah into this dangerous state.
[National heroes in the past] became such personalities because they stood against [foreign invasions]. At each of those times, all of those people were heads of state. We don’t question today whether they committed treason. So why should we imagine today that the president has committed treason while in office?
I said the other night I don’t know the depth of this, how far it sprawls. No, I do know. But I don’t want to talk about it. That’s something everyone knows now. So those who brought the Maldives to such a dangerous state are truly traitors. Those in [state] positions who aided it are traitors. The others in political parties are hiding because they’re afraid of what a Maldivian might say at them. So they won’t have such courage. Their courage is their money.
On the purge of the police command
What happened there? Because those within the police obstructed police duty during the unrest that happened that night [February 1]. Such people won’t remain in service under my government.
Those are really the people in this team of traitors. If they had gotten more time [to enforce the order], the Maldives would have been plunged into a more dangerous state.
They might have a history of service. But no one has the right to throw the Maldives into this dangerous situation. That was the wrong that was done. So soldiers and police of all levels, not just commanders, should believe that, before acting to protect the interest of the state, they must accept there is someone who commands them. Doubtless, on that night and the days that followed, I received supreme assistance from the security services. It’s because of that that Allah saved us.
On opposition leaders seeking power
[Power should be won] in the way it’s laid out in the law, not by taking to the streets and inciting unrest, creating a situation or opportunity within the military and police for all sorts of wrong thinking, or confusing them, and the resolution brought about by people coming out to fight.
In that state, that place becomes a war zone. In a war zone, you won’t gather everyone and take a vote for democracy…So both security forces must give space for the president’s thinking. If the security forces start to think and act alone, contrary to the president’s opinion, the nation will drift away.
Photos: President’s Office