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An alternative view point: The president needs a new strategy
By Fathimath Rasheedha, Saturday 24th July 2004
The government's strategy to label all the short comings in our judiciary and constitution on one individual does not hold water. Through state control media (radio, television, and newspapers) the regime has been working for sometime to discredit former Attorney General (AG) and to identify him as the sole individual responsible for the breach of our basic rights in the constitution. Given the form of governance in our country and the strong grip of power held by the president, his close friends and family, it is realistically impossible for any cabinet member to make any policy decisions without the blessings of the president himself. Especially ministers at key government portfolios like the AG, Justice, Finance, Defence and Foreign Ministry.
The AG is appointed by the president and works for him and his government just like any other member of the cabinet. One of the primary functions of the AG is to protect the government and to act as its chief law maker and prosecutor. This is simply how any government will be set up to function. So it makes no sense for government propaganda machines to work against an individual who held this post as a sworn minister.
Let me present another example here. Last week the Jinai Court announced, with pride, that one of their circulars over rules an article of our constitution. The state controlled media was eager to inform the public that an individual's right to file a case in the court against the government or its chief players has been abolished some years ago by the current regime. Now, my question is, if and when the present Justice Minister is sacked, would the government propaganda machines label him as the sole architect of this bureaucracy and breach of our constitutional right? I will leave it to my readers to ponder about this question.
Dishonouring the character of former ministers to threaten the present and to keep them in line is an old game this government started playing as soon as they allowed the former dictator to leave the country in late 70's. They did this very successfully in late 70's and early 80'against ministers and senior police officers of the former regime. However, times have changed and if the government wants to win over reform activists and sceptics they need better strategies. The days of bribery, back biting and character defamation are over. The general public is more aware of the political climate than they have ever been and it would be impossible to fool them now.
To fight against well educated and organised reform activists the present regime needs new ideas and new techniques. The president can no longer afford to be seen surrounded by the old guards and be intimidated by them. The majority of political analysts now believe that the president no longer has the final say in his own political agenda although some argue they have known it for the past 25 years. The time is ripe for him to prove the majority wrong. If the president wishes to save his presidency, the time has come for him to take some bold decisions. He will have to sack some of his family members from his cabinet. He may even have to force them to stand trial. The courts could pass sentences on his brothers and in laws and he can always pardon them under a presidential decree. We saw him do exactly that to one of his brother in laws a few years ago who has now been reinstated in the cabinet. Moreover, he has pardoned more sinister criminals, crooks, murderers, rapists and even terrorists during his 25 yrs of reign as president. However, many believe it is unlikely that the president will send his brothers and in laws to trail although he knows only too well it could give him a few more years of breathing space to plan a more respectable exit from the office of the president.
It was his family who brought the president to power and kept him there all these years. And, ironically, it could well be his family that will become his ultimate downfall from power. Such is fate. Wallahu Auzam.
© Dhivehi Observer 2004