Saturday, July 28, 2007

?The Judas-Act Again

By Ali Rasheed, 17 January 2007. Published in Minivan News

During the middle of last year, I recall writing in the Minivan website that during the coming weeks and months events would conspire to separate the men from the boys.

Events – testing the mettle of those politicians who stood at the vanguard of the democratic movement – presented themselves, but except for the rare person all dismally failed. The fickle and the weak of character were weaned out. Even those like Mohamed Shihab who claimed to have served in the Peoples’ Majlis for over 20 years failed miserably.

Whilst committed party stalwarts remain steadfast in their pledge to democracy and think nothing of sacrificing their liberty and others brave severe financial hardship, other people have gone down the bankruptcy lane. All propelled by the hope of dismantling a dictatorship hell-bent on systematically bleeding the country dry, the previously buried snakes in the grass of the democracy movement, lifted their ugly heads, conspiring to inject venom into the aspirations of dedicated activists.

By openly coming out in public to condemn a MDP National Council resolution, which they themselves had previously backed by voting in favour, fully aware of the implications of the decision, the majority of the MDP Parliament members, by doing an about-face, have effectively ruined the party's chances of winning the concessions President Gayoom would have been forced to concede.

The 10th November debacle could not have occurred at a less inopportune moment. Even if we of the MDP disregard the direct damages sustained we still have another major hurdle to cross.

Having opted for the Parliamentary system over the Presidential system, we may be in one sense, headed straight towards another yawning chasm, a bottomless abyss from which we may have difficulty in rescuing ourselves.

By referring to the Parliamentary Wing as a single entity, I do realise I may be perpetrating a grave injustice to those members who fought against participation in the plans concocted to derail the gathering of the 10th by certain MP’s and other turn-coats who backed them.

If my assumptions are right, by opting for a Parliamentary system, we are once again placing our fates directly in the hands of the very same people who wrecked the plans for the 10th November gathering.

Speaking for myself (I believe that my thinking is in line with the average party member), I’m prepared to accept any democratic system – whether it be Parliamentary or Presidential – so long as it serves the purpose. That is - rid the nation of Gayoom, who has propelled the nation into a financial black-hole by squirreling away large chunks of public money, the product of years of sweat and toil of our working class.

Furthermore he has put our great-grandchildren into debt too. Even tsunami funds are not exempt. It is allegedly being used to line the pockets of public officials. Public money is spent freely on almost every trivial pursuit known to man including the elevation of the President’s eyebrows which currently stands just millimeters below the hairline.

It shames me to admit ignorance when it comes to discussing the pros and cons of both Presidential versus Parliamentary system and therefore I’d be happy enough to follow the astute advice of professionals. The question may actually be academic by now; if my information is right the MDP has passed a resolution opting for the Parliamentary system, and the campaign, though yet to gather full momentum, has already begun.

To even begin to conceive that it would be in the interest of the elected members of the Majlis to complete re-writing the new Constitution would be indeed foolish. The Majlis members are heavily paid by Gayoom to warm their seats.

The way things stand now, the advantage lies with both Gayoom and the Majlis members. Should the new Constitution be completed, one group of Majlis members would lose their jobs and the perks that go with the job, while the other group, in all likelihood, would have to face fresh elections. The entire exercise at loggerheads with the needs of the public.

If by chance the MDP should fall under the sway of the very same Parliamentarians, who had miserably failed to honour their given word, it would indeed be a sad occasion.

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