February 2018

The February issue of Hardnews dwells on the ongoing political turmoil in the Maldives, looks at the crackdown initiated by President Abdulla Yameen against dissenters and scrutinises the funds coming in from China in the form of big-ticket projects.

Cover Story and Featured Stories

President Yameen’s attack on judiciary and political parties is driven by his attempts to prevent free and fair elections and a democratic scrutiny into his money making ways abetted by China

In the Maldives, the shelf life of Vice Presidents is very limited. Muhammad Jameel Ahmed was President Abdulla Yameen’s running mate and later Vice President. He was impeached in absentia on charges of terrorism. Hardnews spoke with him as he emerged from a gym in London, where he has been living in exile since 2015. Jameel was scathing in his criticism of President Yameen and how he had subverted democratic institutions to facilitate mass corruption. The former Vice President also said that Yameen was closer to China as they collaborated in his moneymaking enterprise and did not exert any moral pressure on him. These activities were difficult with a democratic India.

In the backdrop of an escalating political crisis and a purge initiated by Maldives’ President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Former Speaker of the People’s Majlis, Abdulla Shahid, speaks to Hardnews about the island nation’s growing proximity to China and the plight of its democratic system. Shahid, who played a key role in the Maldives’ transition to democracy in 2008, sounds an ominous warning for Maldives’ current regime which is indulging in a dangerous power play by pitting India against China. He also deliberates on how parliamentary democracy is being smothered in the Maldives, recounting his own experience of being prosecuted for entering Parliament, and stresses on the role the Opposition can play in challenging the prevailing narrative. The interview was conducted before Emergency was declared.