'Nasheed left me to die', says ex-MDP chairperson

Former main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Moosa Manik on Saturday lambasted jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed describing the MDP leader as a coward who left his supporters to die.

"We [Nasheed's supporters] were left to face the brunt of the police crackdown on February 8 [2012]. Police came looking to beat us. When me and Mariya came in between the police and Nasheed we were brutally beaten. But he [Nasheed] ran away leaving us all. That's who Nasheed is. Is that how a champion of humanity should be? He fled leaving us all to die," the deputy parliament speaker said during a program on government aligned 'Channel 13'.

Thousands of MDP supporters took to the streets of the capital Male on February 8, 2012 after Nasheed claimed that he was forced to resign the previous day under duress in a .coup d’etat'.

Dozens were injured during a heavy-handed police crackdown on the protest march.

Manik has since fallen out with MDP and was subsequently dismissed from the party for breaking a party whip line during a parliamentary vote. The outspoken lawmaker has continued to heavily criticism the MDP leadership.

Speaking ahead of the censure vote against him on April 11, Manik said Nasheed should be ashamed to disregard his many sacrifices for the party.

Similar to the censure motion against the speaker two weeks ago, the motion to oust Manik is also headed by MDP lawmakers, the MP faction loyal to deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, former government coalition partners Jumhoory Party (JP) and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP).

Manik said Nasheed teaming up with the alleged people behind the coup now "proved" that his premature downfall was legitimate.

"Nasheed doesn't have what it takes to rule. He only has an unquenchable thirst for power. He lacks sincerity," he said.

Despite expressing confidence of winning the vote against Manik, an opposition victory seems highly unlikely after its failed attempt to remove the speaker.

Before the historic vote, lawmakers voted in favour of taking an individual roll-call vote proposed by majority leader Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik. With 45 lawmakers voting in favour for the roll call vote, it served as a clear marker for the censure vote against the speaker.

Opposition lawmakers had protested the move but the motion was put to vote despite angry opposition lawmakers surrounding the deputy speaker in an attempt to block the vote.

The protests prompted the deputy speaker to delay the vote by nearly an hour. Attempts to resume the sitting was again blocked which resulted in the naming of as many as 13 opposition lawmakers. Some of the lawmakers had to be removed forcibly by soldiers entrusted with parliament security.

After removing the named lawmakers, when it was finally put to the roll-call vote, the remaining opposition MPs had walked out and the motion was defeated comfortably with 48 government lawmakers voting against the motion.

The now united opposition had hoped that the successful ouster of the speaker would pave the way to possibly impeach president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom or force the incumbent president to come to a political consensus with the opposition.

The motion was also designed to test the overwhelming majority the government enjoys in parliament, which has fast-tracked the legislation needed by the government to push through several major development projects and also state revenue measures.