Preparing ourselves for the final showdown
A.S.I. Moosa (Sappe'), Editor-in-Chief, Dhivehi Observer, 4 November 2007
After almost thirty years of absolute tyranny characterised by torture, injustice and corruption, many Maldivians are hopeful and expectant that the end is very near.
But, as we enter the last year of Gayyoom's Dictatorship, there are events and experiences of the past from which we can learn to ensure that we do not make any mistakes and be decisive in our actions.
One of the key things to lookout for is to try and get support of the business community. It is absolutely essential to have them on board to ensure that the Dictator is removed from power. Of course there are those businessmen who probably cannot and would not survive without the Dictator. It would be rather difficult to convince them to join the movement. Nevertheless, there are still those who have built up decent business empires on their own without dodgy deals from the Dictator, and will stand to benefit from a proper democratic government. We, the people must therefore try our hardest to convince them to come on board and help us spread the word that the Maldives will be a much more prosperous nation as a democracy and the first step towards that is to vote the dictator out.
We can be certain of one thing. Dictator Gayyoom and his cronies will abuse public funds just like they did in every election to try and muster support for their campaign. So, we the public must be prepared to counter that by carrying out just as much campaigning to counter their efforts. Of course all this will require a lot of money and that is why we need to get the businessmen on board. In addition to that, we must all spare what we can for the cause, financially and also by volunteer work. We must be prepared to sacrifice today for the future of our children.
Moreover, we have to be careful not to be over-confident and assume that Gayyoom will not be able to rig the vote in any forthcoming election. Many of us made that mistake during the public referendum in August. We laid too much faith in the system. But he was able to rig it and despite the public outcry, the vote has been declared official. So, what we must do in any future election is to close all the loopholes that exists within the polling system and safeguard our votes to ensure that the final results is an actual reflection of the public opinion and not engineered by the regime. In this context, we must immediately begin a campaign to replace the current Election Commissioner by a respectable independent public figure that we can trust. Hence, a highly charged campaign against KD Manik must begin soon. He must go in next to no time.
Finally, and the most important of all, we must show a united front. This means that once the candidate is elected by our party to stand for the Presidential election next year, we must forget about all the indifference between the factions and must unite behind the elected candidate. Remember, unlike the Dictator, who announced himself as the candidate without any consultation or even knowledge of his deputies and party members, the MDP has a proper election mechanism to choose their candidate. It is also time that we let go of age-old prejudices against people from different backgrounds. We have to ensure that the person is chosen for the right reasons, and is not discriminated just because he came from a particular background or island. He must be someone who can challenge the Dictator. We must remember that we can give him our support without fear mainly because once a proper democracy is established in the Maldives, the person we chose can be voted out if he does not deliver.
These three key things will go a long way in ensuring that not only this really will be the end of the Dictator but also the beginning of a long-lasting democracy in the Maldives.
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© Dhivehi Observer 2004