The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has responded furiously to President Abdulla Yameen calling imprisoned former President Mohamed Nasheed “the most autocratic or dictatorial leader in recent history.”
In a speech at the closing ceremony of a symposium held to train “campaign leaders” on Saturday night, Yameen said Nasheed had ordered the arrest of opposition politicians without court orders, undermined democracy and rule of law, and used the military to unlawfully detain a judge.
The “troubled Maldivian psyche” during the past ten years was like a “piece of driftwood” at the mercy of the waves of the Indian Ocean, Yameen said, whilst the state was “rudderless” and the country’s sovereignty was severely compromised with foreign powers meddling in internal affairs.
The economy was “irreparably damaged” and the social fabric was in tatters, he added.
“We saw that the Maldivian state became its own worst enemy,” Yameen said.
Responding to the remarks in a statement last night, the MDP described the current administration as “tyrannical, unjust, and corrupt.”
“In a short period of time, [Yameen] has infused his government with ‘mafia’ characteristics and drowned the whole nation in fear and despair,” the MDP said. In contrast, the statement added, President Nasheed’s three-year administration had ushered in “revolutionary” changes in democracy and development.
The MDP in alliance with other opposition parties had launched an anti-government campaign under the ‘Maldivians against tyranny’ banner earlier this year following the arrest of Nasheed and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim.
The statement noted that the pair’s subsequent imprisonment after rushed trials were widely criticised by the international community, whilst Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla remains under police custody without a trial.
The MDP contended that corruption in the government and state institutions have reached “extreme” levels while violent crime, intimidation, and drug trafficking are on the rise.
The government “deliberately” refuses to investigate such crimes and “encourages criminals,” it added.