Would have resigned had Nasheed asked: ex-pres Waheed

Former President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik on Sunday revealed that had then-President Mohamed Nasheed asked him, he would have resigned as Vice President of Maldives when Nasheed stepped down as president on February 7, 2012.

Speaking on AVAS “Fashamaa” talk show, Waheed, who took over administration following Nasheed's resignation said it was President Nasheed’s own decision to step down as president.

Nasheed won the first democratic elections in the Maldives in 2008 after all political leaders in the archipelago backed him in the run-off against the then strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who had been in power for three decades.

However, Nasheed controversially stepped down in 2012 on the back of a police mutiny three years into his fiv- year term after the coalition was dismantled soon after the election.

While Nasheed, who is the present Speaker of the Parliament has always claimed he was ousted in a coup orchestrated by his then deputy and eventual successor Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, a Commonwealth led inquiry commission had quashed the claims ruling that Nasheed's resignation had not been forced to step down.

President Waheed said President Nasheed was taking decisions without involving him since he assumed office, and did not discuss or consult him on anything with then Vice-president Waheed. Dr Waheed said if President Nasheed had discussed the issue of February 7 and his intention to resign and requested Dr Waheed to resign, he would have also resigned with President Nasheed.

President Waheed said many assume that Nasheed had requested him multiple times to resign and that he had refused. However, that is not true, said President Waheed. He added that he was not asked to resign even when all the cabinet ministers resigned together during Nasheed’s administration.

No reason to investigate Nasheed’s resignation

President Waheed said the change of Nasheed’s administration was investigated by an independent commission, and no influence was exerted on the commission by either the government or himself.

The report prepared by the commission clearly stated that Nasheed’s administration was changed within the law. While the report has been accepted by all the political parties and foreign countries, even Nasheed's MDP had accepted the report, said Waheed.

President Waheed said since Nasheed now has powers within the parliament he can investigate the issue, but that there is no reason to investigate such a clear issue.

“There is no reason to reopen the case and spend extra time on it by those who are paid and fed with the public’s tax money. I do not mind them investigating the case”

President Waheed said he formed a presidential commission and vested power in the commission because he was prepared to accept any outcome that may arise from the investigation. He was ready to resign if the change of administration was due to his fault or if it was a coup, said Waheed. That was made clear to the chairperson of the commission on the first day itself, President Waheed further explained.

During the interview, the former president addressed the statements of parliament members of MDP who have been asserting that President Waheed ruled the country without a proper election. He said those members are ignorant of how a presidential system functions.

Oil report a ruse to divert attention

President Waheed responded to allegations made by parliament members representing MDP accusing him of hiding a report about illegitimate oil trading of government owned company State Trading Organization (STO) in Singapore during the tenure of President Maumoon Abdul Qayyoom. Waheed described the allegations ‘imaginary’ tales, and added that it would be impossible to link him to the case in question.

“How can they find something that does not exist? Something that has never existed?," questioned President Waheed.

President Waheed said since Anti-Corruption Commission has stated on Saturday night that the case will be reviewed, he does not wish comment further on the matter at the moment.

“I am not involved in oil trade. I did not obtain any commission or payment from oil trade. I do not have any interest in it.”

Parliament assuming all powers

President Waheed said efforts to bring about democracy in the Maldives had been a challenging and a tough endeavour. The public is aware of who worked to bring democracy to the Maldives, and it is evident to the public that the people who are today trying to gather all the powers together were not the people who worked to establish democracy then.

Waheed said the separation of powers of the three branches of the state are threatened, and said it is questionable whether the three branches are functioning separately at this point. This in turn threatens democracy, said the former president.