Prosecution of lawmakers for entering Majlis: End of democracy in the Maldives?
Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 18 : The democracy in the Maldives has been transformed into sheer autocracy ever since the Members of Parliament of United Opposition submitted a no-confidence motion against the Speaker on July 3.Even after one-and-a-half months, President Abdulla Yameen's government is not allowing the session of people's Majlis to take place.
To begin with, he manipulated the judiciary to subvert the July 24 session, scheduled for taking up the no-confidence motion against Speaker Abdullah Maseeh.
On that day, the Majlis premises was locked down and the parliamentarians were disallowed from entering the building, which was otherwise a constitutionally-sanctified place to be visited by the lawmakers.
Huge deployment of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Specialist Operations (SO) Police personnel was made to ensure that the MPs do not succeed in entering the Majlis.
Does it happen in a truly democratic set up that lawmakers are prohibited from performing their role assigned by the constitution and people's will?
It doesn't, except in the Maldives and a few other similar exceptions.
The Maldivian parliamentarians were not deterred by the intimidating presence of the MNDF and the SO Police personnel at Majlis.
Despite knowing their vulnerability in front of weapons wielding security personnel, the lawmakers had profound conviction in their heart to represent people's will and resist the tyrant at any cost.
They were only asking what was legally and constitutionally permissible - the Majlis session be held to debate and vote no-confidence motion against the Speaker.
But who would have listened to them when the democratic framework of the country was converted to authoritarian regime with connivance of not only the security apparatus, but also of the judiciary and other "independent" organs of the state.
The outcome was obvious! The lawmakers were brutally dealt with to prevent them from going inside the Majlis, which occupies the highest sense of reverence in the minds of the lawmakers.
They were not only beaten up, but insulted and humiliated in order to crush their spirit by the mighty state apparatus, which has been hijacked by President Yameen unconstitutionally from actual stakeholders (people's representatives).
The President is still unsatisfied. He is determined to annihilate lawmakers, not physically, but using legal machinery working at his behest.
Prosecutor General has confirmed that the police have filed trespassing cases against 12 parliamentarians for prosecution. There are other 12 parliamentarians facing some kind of trumped-up charges.
Out of the 85-member Majlis, the Yameen regime is pursuing concocted legal cases against 24 lawmakers to subjugate their will to make them his stooge. Is it not a political war launched against opposition parliamentarians by President Yameen?
Even though it is an asymmetrical war between the two sides with the Yameen government holding all the weapons in its arsenal and the opposition having only its conviction and moral force to fight, the ultimate victory will be of one that represents the people's will.
Upholding democracy is nothing, but establishing the sovereignty of the people. No tyrant has ever been powerful enough to suppress it endlessly.
The end of Yameen will also come one day. That day is not far from now. It is just that the people of the Maldives will have to make a few strides in that direction and that will bring the end of the dictator.