What will happen tomorrow?


It appears that we are heading to another political showdown tomorrow as the opposition party claims it will do all it can to block Dr. Waheed from giving his presidential address. The military and police have also announced that they will block 15 sensitive areas from Male’ in time for the address. These are hardly news that the world expects from the this peaceful holiday maker’s country. But who is calling the shots and why? Is there logic behind the ‘decisions’?

If there are reasons they clearly are  obscure and it might involve some deep thinking to find it out. So let’s give it a try.

[Disclaimer: the following sequences of events is for imagination only]

  1. 09:30 local time. Resortworkers team manages to secretly insert a camera to parliament chambers to record the happenings inside. 🙂
  2. 10:00 Dr Waheed arrives in parliament in the official black car with first lady and hundreds of armed guards.
  1. 10:05 The parliament speaker announces the day’s agenda and introduces the president.
  2. 10:20 Dr. Waheed starts “Bismillah…(In the name of Allah)…” [and then all hell broke loose… parliamentarians start making noise, throws furniture at each other, yells and shouts obscenities…]
  3. 10:47 Dr. Waheed tries to continue… but ultimately too tired and frustrated, he steps down from the podium and takes a seat near the speaker of the parliament.
  4. 10:53 The parliament speaker names a few members of MDP to be evicted from the parliament chambers… [some parliamentarians are now indistinguishable from street hooligans… some even shirtless and most engaged in real physical violence against opponents!]
  5. 11:03 In other places around Male’ a few arson attacks were started by unknown assailants at the same time as the presidential address was going on and fire lorries were seen rushing to scenes of carnage!
  6. 11:07 Resortworkers team manages to hack in to the servers of local media stations (Dhi TV, Raaje TV, TVM, Haveeru, Aafathis… [with Anonymous’ help] of course!) and quickly discovers what is already known: That other than Raaje TV and Minivan News, all other media outlets are trying to downplay the situation while the above two media outlets are deliberately misleading the public by exaggerating the events unfolding in Male’.
  7. 11:37 The southern most atolls Addu, Foa Mulah and Huvadhoo declares independence from Maldives and names Dr. Didi (MDP chairperson) as the president. Kulhudhuffushi island council is said to be in talks with Indian high commission to join the Indian federation!
  8. 11:42 Dr. Waheed announces abolition of parliament to the cheers of Srilankan high commissioner and the Chinese envoy. [dunno why! 😦 ]
  9. 12:03 BBC announces that US 7th fleet is headed towards Maldives (from wherever it was based!) with a fearsome armada of ships, destroyers, submarines and at-least two aircraft carriers! [getting scary now!]
  10. 12:59 CNN reporting that a platoon of crack-commandos descended on the parliament house in broad daylight, overpowered the security forces and snatched Dr. Waheed and first lady and escaped via a radar-evading helicopter to…. somewhere…
  11. Resortworkers team signs off after a momentous day in history!
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Parties in self-destruct mode

Dr. Waheed in campaign
Dr. Waheed in campaign

Our political parties (the active ones at least) seems to be working in auto-pilot self destruct mode. One would be forgiven for thinking that enough has happened in the last 5 years for politicians to realize what aught to be done or said (or not) would have been grasped by now. But this doesn’t seem to be the case even now. They are doing the same mistakes they have done AGAIN! Let’s enumerate the mistakes of the ruling coalition first.

  • Appointing discredited people to important positions (ministers, directors etc). Let yesterdays paper be yesterday’s news.
  • trying to redo the same thing again (like reverting back to the tourism  sunny-side logo again)
  • copying the same tactics for different political campaigns. (originality would be better)

Where the yellow shirts are wrong.

  • Foul mouthing MNDF and police, because whatever happens they will stay. The party may change or the leadership may change, but institutions like police and military do not change. So its no use to call them names. Former defense minister Ameen Faisal tried many times to raise this point. But his voice doesn’t seem to be audible at the policy level.
  • Associating with violence or condoning such behavior. The effects of violence will serve as a powerful reminder of all that was wrong within and will be useful ammo for the yellow shirt’s enemies. Playing it cool with  politeness and respectability will win more hearts and minds.
  • Appear to benefit from influence. The recent decision by Male City council to award Lonuziyaaraykolhu to MDP’s “journey to justice” campaign was universally despised if Haveeru ( a relatively moderate paper) comments are a good measure of what people thought about it. The yellow shirts shall refrain from being seen as receiving an advantage from its position. The opposition’s chances will be better if they play the victim part.
  • Appearing to be secular and aloof from the religious voice. Every party needs religion and religious scholars to show that they care about religion and people’s belief. Even the atheist North Koreans tried to show that heaven was involved when their great leader passed away. So yellow shirts aught to do some soul searching here. Selling the middle of the road brand in religion has been proven not to work in Maldives politics.

Striking thoughts… (Add yours below)

A strike in its abstract sense is an amazing social organism. It has its own heart and beat, and most likely will be  unpredictable. Nor will its goals be clear or targets definite.

It could be like fire,

mist or snow

or anything for that matter

(forgive the poetic part)

but its hard to define. 🙂

At least that’s the sort of past 45 or so strikes that has happened in various resorts in the country to various degrees. But of course there are rules to follow. TEAM (tourism employees association of Maldives) is forever at pains to stress this point that employees shall always play by the rules. But who is TEAM when the employees rights are in jeopardy? Its like the perpetual battle between the parents and the children. The children puts on tantrums, win or loose their cause and ultimately falls to the protective umbrella of family. Likewise, even though most resort employees are not paying members of TEAM, they are always ready to help when an employee is thrown out of a resort for a strike. Anyways…

Incomplete info, or superiors deliberately raising workers expectations such as that of a yearly bonus or the next month’s service charge to motivate the team for a full season etc, are all fine ingredients for a destructive strike. The potent wisdom in this situation is to deliver as much was promised. The language barrier is also another factor which contributes a lot to misunderstandings which develops in to full scale riots.

The perception that others are crooks (especially the accountants) have connotation with the ghastly belief that ghosts predominantly live in dirty places such as cesspool etc! But objectively thinking, one can can arrive at the absurdity as to why ghosts shall live in such places when we loath such places. So it could be our conscience or the inverse of that function that makes us believe that only we are clean and others are dirty. This is not about exonerating the class of people called accountants but it won’t harm to be a little generous as to believe that people can actually be honest.

And then there are the leaders. Some lead not by knowing they are leaders but it takes others to realize who is leading whom in a strike situation. In a basic primitive sense, a leader must have strong vocals chords to be able to lead the sheep over the din of dissenting voices. In this situation the leader needs not to have coherent ideas or grand plans, but a high decibel voice to command and shout back at dissent. Its not about answering point by point, but rather thwart discussion by noise!

The utility of having a docile spokesperson to liaise with the management or owners is a very prominent need for a runaway strike as its leaders use such a person for such use!

Arriving at the value of a withheld service charge or a defrauded bonus in a resort situation is a possibility if people are willing to use their brains. A resort works like a clock with many cogs and wheels turning in their routines. Each cog and wheel is bound by its design parameters (in this case things like confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement etc). However short of stealing company’s data to justify a strike, employees can achieve the same result like by following the narrative of the three blind folks who tried to describe the elephant! Forgive the round about way we describe this but, each was wrong individually but collectively they were able to describe the thing they never saw! Likewise, a simple collaborative spreadsheet model (on Excel for eg) could provide some limits to what can be expected for a given period of time, with such and such occupancy, room rates etc. But where is the utility of going through all this when we have a better hunch? But then again, is a hunch good enough when enough is not enough? 🙂

MDP big demo underway…

TMDP big demo underway in Male'

MDP’s long planned big demo is underway in Male’ with thousands of MDP supporters. The demand for now is for incumbent president Dr. Waheed to announce a date for a fresh referendum or else! 🙂

Actually our sources in the demo reports that the temperature is quite cool yet and there is possibility that further demands may be spawned as the demo goes on. The only worry for now is that the police forces might intervene to stop the demo at midnight which might lead to confrontations. However, its equally likely that the police will play it safe this time because it would be in the interest of incumbent government now.

streaming of demo is available @ www.newdhivehiobserver.com

So, what do you think? Could the recent power transfer from Anni to Dr. Waheed be called a coup?

So, was it a coup or not?

military person looking at the remnants of his base

The recent change of administration in the country raises a lot of interesting questions. Already the vanquished MDP party has determined that the former president Anni was unseated by a military (or a civilian?) coup. The opposition claims otherwise. So who is telling the truth and who is lying? Or could it be that this situation has also joined the philosophical realm where both truth and falsehood are somehow intertwined?

So we leave our friends and fellow resort workers to answer these questions below. If they are pro MDP then they may answer the “If so” questions. The rest may answer the “If not” questions…

If so

  1. Who are the coup leaders? A few private police boys cannot hide after doing such a big thing.
  2. What were the motivation? Over work? Fatigue? Could be because there has been almost constant nightly demonstrations  prior to the fateful day.
  3. Are the police and military same minded? Remember, there is only HQ for all our forces.
  4. There are allegations that police and military were bribed. But they are also highly paid, so who would have financed the big bribery campaign? How much could be the tipping point for a serviceman/woman? We understand that the average monthly salary of our armed forces personnel is higher than 1000$ per month.
  5. Why did it took a huge MDP congress meeting to realize that it was a coup?
  6. Why did the MDP congress hastily pass a resolution to block the line of communication with the current administration and called it illegitimate?
  7. Why did the police allow massive damage to their facilities in the islands? We understand that more than 9 regional police and military facilities were torched by angry MDP mobs. More than 30  police and military vehicles have also been torched in Addu alone, most of them have only recently been donated by China for the SAARC summit.
  8. Did the command structure broke down after the coup? Does that happen after the military  win? After they win why did they gave command again to an unpopular president and an even more unpopular and ineffectual opposition coalition?

if not

  1. Why did the police use excessive force to breakup the first strike after Anni was unseated?
  2. Why did they (who?) changed the official TV channel (MNBC1) to its former name (TVM)?
  3. Why did they hastily gave ownership of all government media to opposition media regulatory body MBC?
  4. Why did the criminal court issue an arrest warrant for former president Mohamed Nasheed (Anni)?
  5. Why is the parliament (still on vacation) uncharacteristically quiet when these massive developments happen? MDP has the majority even in the parliament now  and yet they seem to unable to cut their all important holiday short– when the country is literally burning.

Any questions?

President Anni resigns, what next?

Dr. Waheed, the new president of Maldives
Dr. Waheed, the new president of Maldives

Lets first congratulate Dr. Waheed, the new president of Maldives. Dr. Waheed is a quiet, soft spoken, extremely polite figure who has worked in UN diplomatic missions for quite some time. Dr. Waheed is generally looked upon to be impartial and fair and he retained the trust of both MDP and opposition parties even in the height of political tensions these last few days. We wish the new president well and hope he will be able to bring the country to working order in a near future.

Former President Anni and former president Maumoon still have sizable support of the people and what is not known yet is weather there will be a race between the two in the near future. For Maumoon its very much anticipated that he will not enter again to politics but for Anni there is every reason to anticipate a fighting political campaign ahead for him. Its interesting to note that the major 3 political parties in the country had experienced splits in the last 3 years and only MDP is left because it was the ruling party for the last few years. With Anni out of power it is likely that, the bindings that kept the party from splitting will cease and break out. If MDP were to split it would be a split in two, with the ‘countryside’ faction headed by DR. Didi who would be the majority and a Male’ faction lead by aristocrats from Male’. This has been quite anticipated for some time the media and there are already signs that the MDP’s self examining process will make it real. During the last three years, Anni seemed to have ears only for the Male’ faction on important policy matters which was probably the undoing of the party. Unpopular issues like licensing liquor sale in inhabited islands were advanced by the MDP’s Male’ faction with probable self interest in the issues. On a personal level, if the cases of bottles of liquor recovered from president’s residence were proved to have been for his Excellency’s consumption, there will be a very slim chance for him to get elected again.

links:

shakenshpere

maldivestoday

www.maeed.com

nafix

mymaldives

Police joins protesters– (now this is serious stuff!)

Maldives police joins demo

 

In a quickly changing atmosphere last night saw for the first time in the history of the country, police taking sides against the government in the on going demonstrations. Our sources in Male’ tells us that this could be the result of the military high command not being seen to be balanced in the orders and the police just revolted to show their disagreement with the top brass. The revolt started when MDP activists confronted the opposition protesters and pelted them with stones and the police tried to intervene. The police apparently got orders not to intervene. However when the intervened and arrested some MDP activists the military confronted the police and asked them to release the activists the police had apprehended or to hand them over to the military. The police did not obey this time and openly started siding with protesters. All this happened in the early hours of the morning and since then the police had changed the venue of the protests to the main square of Male’. Negotiations are on going with police and senior commanders and the president’s effort to speak to the protesting police seems ineffectual yet.

 

The developments in the last few hours has brought Male’ to a standstill with a number of arson attacks and attacks at business and private properties from both camps of the politics. The atmosphere is tense and opposition is calling for the vice president to take over the country.

 

The government if it needs to survive this latest development needs to seriously align the policies with the desires of the people and to listen to many untold reasons why its fast loosing credibility. This could start with making an effort to appear to dispense with justice and fair in arrests or detention. Even yesterday police gave a statement that there are difficulties pursuing an investigation against a prominent member of ruling party’s family member who was caught with a large stock of alcohol in his home. The said person was suspected with the same kind of contraband two years ago and the investigation was stopped short mysteriously.

 

 

The resort workers authoritative political review:

judge Abdulla gazi
Judge Abdulla

Even foreigners ask about Judge Abdulla.

It has become a standard talk starter and its even a question Maldivians have been asked in foreign countries. There are instances where Judge Abdulla is asked by police officers in India who have read the news about the ongoing saga of the abduction of Judge Abdulla by MNDF and the ensuing protests. But who is Judge Abdulla and what made him so special that the democratic president had to have him arrested despite seemingly universal opposition?

Velezinee

  • Velezinee was right even though she looked wrong!

To some, Judge Abdulla might be a victim of injustice but to others Judge Abdulla symbolizes everything that’s wrong in the judicial system and they might be just right! This was the same judge who remarked on a murder case verdict that he was letting off the suspect in the case to hold the health minister responsible. Perhaps this was the finest hour of the Judge and the suspect did not waste much time after that and only a few days later was involved in another murder. The same Abdulla had a disciplinary case against him when he was sworn in for lifetime in an almost clandestine ceremony amid heroic opposition by Ms Velezinee who made quite a scene for herself in protest at the judicial circus that was unfolding at the time. Ms. Velezinee at that historic moment would not have looked right but she did stood up to an important principle.

The major players of the current situation are the ruling MDP and a coalition of parties in a forced marriage of convenience.

  • Adhaalth
    • Adhaalath played the erudite Islamic scholar part in first few years and people mocked and scoffed at them for being scholarly and religious. Next they joined the pioneers of democracy the MDP. MDP repaid them by forcing them out of parliamentary elections by pitting strong MDP members against Adhaalath member who again lost. So Adhaalath party has rightly aligned with the left like just another real political party hoping to make their mark on the political landscape.
  • Ppm
    • PPM is the Maldivian equivalent of congress party of India and whatever happens is the party is going to stay. The party has lots of potential and talent and only seems to lack a replacement leader of the exact caliber for the former president Maumoon. Former president Maumoon however he was depicted was an accomplished politician.
  • Drp
    • DRP if it was human shall feel like going through a divorce after the formation of PPM following the leadership split and the future does not seem at all bright. The split of the party left DRP with a broken financier in Thasmeen Ali and few reform minded mps here and there who could not show enough obeisance to the house of Maumoon. The voter base of the party was of course all works of the former president and could be likened to a cut and paste version of the id card database at the time!

    yamin

    Pa

    • PA is a for its founder (The right honorable Yameen) what is normal business attire for a businessman. Its simply a platform, a prestigious title for its patron and a useful self made, political position to give press conferences etc. The voter base of the party is not even worth mentioning and the ideology is blank.

    Dr.-Hassan-Saeed

  • Np
    • National of (Gaumee) party is headed by Dr. Hassan Saeed and Dr. Jameel who were credited to have played important roles in the early years of power transfer from the last president to the current one both against and with MDP on various issues. However their influence is marginal at the moment after Dr. Hassan’s failed bid to presidency in the last presidential elections.

    Gasim Ibrahim

  • JP
    • JP is very much like PA except that Honourable Gasim is also very much like what is Sylivio Berlasconi is for Italians except for the allegations of mafia connections! Despite all his eccentricities (everybody has them!) Gasim is much more a favored figure than other contenders in the current climate for his generous philanthropic works.
  • the possibility of a formidable coalition
    • in the next upcoming presidential elections there is a real possibility of a serious threat to current president and the ruling party if the opposition comes under a strong coalition. There are already signs that such a coalition might take place and various parties will be assigned various functions to work in tandem to change power. One such plausible configuration would be like:
      • PPM: for political activism- providing the muscle
      • Adhaalath: for spiritual leadership
      • JP: the financier – for campaign financing
      • DRP: sleeping partners in business -for increasing numbers
      • Np: Gaumee party – for managing public relations
  • MDP’s miscalculations
    • If somebody is at the center of attention his or her even smallest acts will be noticed and MDP was no exception. Upon becoming the ruling party they tried everything to appear ‘nice’ to everybody and nothing seemed to work. MDP tried the positions of :
      • the adamant protester (the iconic picture of Anni being dragged away by MNDF)
      • the darling of media (TVM or MNBC until very recently tried to balance reporting— now sadly given up)
      • the liberator of religion (at first Adhaalath scholars were quite free to do whatever they wanted with Islamic ministry, which is not the case anymore..)
      • introducer of new concepts (started tax regime, transport regime, health insurance regime, pension regime etc)
  • The SAARC idols
    • The latest SAARC summit hosted in Addu just turned out to be like a a show or a performance (worth around 800 million Rf) as Addu city does not seems to have benefited from aught except a mention in history that this so and so city hosted this so and so summit and no more. To add salt to injury, the government stubbornly kept their stand with stone commemorative idols (souvenirs of SAARC summit) which were universally despised by the people of Addu.
  • Spa closure or brothel closure?
    • The government unwisely ordered spa closures throughout the country in response to growing demands by opposition protesters to close brothels in Male’ which operates under names of spas. This knee-jerk reaction by the government was interpreted very negatively by media, some mentioning even that the MDP led government is considering closing tourism altogether under popular protests. The administration hoped to achieve the victim status image for themselves but this status was obtained by financially sacrificing the country.
  • GMR fiasco…, yes its a fiasco!
    • One of the first major undertaking the MDP led government after coming to power was to outsource the management to Hulhule airport to GMR which has since been a bone of contention between the opposition and the ruling party. Part of the problem could be the inexperience of the persons who dealt such a huge contract with GMR hence the government is always seen liable to protect GMR’s interests rather than government ‘s interests.
  • The expensive immigration database
    • another bad apple in the political basket of MDP is the formidably expensive database software someone negotiated on behalf of the government with Nextbis which was subsequently found out to be able to be home grown and even the Americans promised to give such a database for free! The loss on the government on this shameful project is well over 200 million ruffiyas for next 20 years
  • To MDP’s credit
    • health insurance
      • universal basic health insurance which was started a couple of months ago is a welcome break for the country amid rising prices and growing political instability. There are still many things imperfect with the system and yet its perhaps one of the best things to happen in the last eventful few years.
    • transport system trials
      • transportation system via ferry dhonis, buses has started in many parts of the country despite several major transportation contracts being awarded to opaque seemingly paper companies.
    • the taxes
      • Taxes shall ideally not be taken from anyone (especially from workers :)), but is a modern day feature of economies in most economies of the world. One reason for the implementation of tax was to take more Ruffiyas from circulation which in theory would reduce demand on dollar which was one MDP manifesto pledge. The next reason was of course to increase more ways for government to make money. It took a change of government for the government to be sufficiently brave to introduce tax and its a start.
    • renaming Hulhule’ airport
      • After GMR got to run the Hulhule airport, it was rumored that GMR was researching Indian influential figures to use one such figure’s name in place of the airport’s name, which prompted the government to quickly rename the airport to Ibrahim Nasir who is the second president of the country, preventing GMR from giving an Indian name to the airport.
  • Secular camp taking advantage of MDP.
    • Perhaps one of the most damaging factor to the success of MDP is that it allowed the die hard secularists (the intolerant ones) to take advantage of the democratic liberal values initially professed by the party. Under various guises and schemes, they advanced their agenda which are universally abhorred by large majority of the country such as gay rights and religious pluralism. This is not about the rights and wrongs of the cases in question but rather political cost of the positions and MDP seems rightly duped as to where the votes are.
  • the media alignment
    • Media is a very useful tool both opposition and government can use to advance their cause and reach to the hearts and minds of the people. However both parties seems to use media to their own detriment. The opposition fares worse in this aspect that it doesn’t even care about the semblance of balance in reporting and disseminating information. On the other hand the government up until very recently tried to be professional and bring balanced reporting. By abandoning a valuable position of trust, government is ill advisedly coming down to battle a fight which does not exist!
  • the political cost of the protests
    • the political cost / benefit calculations doesn’t seem to have been anticipated in the protests that are currently taking place in Male’ in protest at the arrest and unlawful (yes its unlawful!) detention of Judge Abdulla. The protests are more loaded with emotion than reason and cold calculated political manipulations which is a good thing. The last thing we need is political intrigue to go along with the sorry state of everything else in the country.
  • the learning process..
    • an interesting feature of the ongoing protests is that both parties are learning from each other, the pros and cons of the trade. for example GP (Gaumee party) is doing what MDP has done to Maumoon’s regime by manipulating public relations against it using media and they seems to be succeeding here and there. On the other hand MDP seems also to have cracked the code as to how to bring masses out for a show of strength by watching Adhaalath doing the same despite their dismal parliamentary representation.

Ayada on strike… this time its about drinking water!

To be fair to all sides we have decided to dwell on 3 points to the story in question.

  • Drinking water is without exception always produced in all resorts of the country. Its a costly and highly technical exercise to construct the water treatment facilities in an island and inevitably there will be hitches in such an operation. This especially so in islands far away from Male’ where spares and experts are difficult to get. Even in fully developed and operating resorts close to Male, its not uncommon to buy boat loads of water from Male’ in bulk when treatment plants break down or holding tanks burst.

water treatment facility

  • Its a fact of resort life that people have ambitions and desire to move up the ladder because ultimately we all work in resorts to earn, and to earn more you climb higher. In this train of thought, its not uncommon for workers to treat unduly preferentially to their superiors to win their favour which is where the message in the bottle comes!water bottle marked for Gm The water bottles depicted here have been labeled apparently by someone for his or her boss which was taken as a cynical and insensitive gesture by the now thirsty workers.
  • Although the majority of resort owners and managers today belongs to a generation prior to social networks, most young resort workers of today are well versed in social networking and use them as part of daily life. But facebook is not a friend of every organization. In fact there are many cases of workers being dismissed for posting their views on facebook and this time Ayada was no exception. Although resort workers are generally expected to be responsible and capable of checking themselves from negative publicity to their resort, there is a limit to people’s endurance. It is understood that the water shortage problem in Ayada has been going on for quite some time and that workers do frequently have to buy bottled water (which is needless to say, expensive) even to take a shower before to going to work. Ayada strike or rather sit-in ayadha striking workerswas started because of the management’s decision to terminate some of the workers who participated in their closed face-book group which discussed these issues in not very diplomatic terms.

In closing, we believe Ayada was wrong and highly inconsiderate in dismissing staff for airing their thoughts in a CLOSED facebook group among themselves. We also understood that the staff have turned down most offers of mediation by local councils and politicians which shows that they are protective of their resort’s image despite the raw deal they got. It is our hope that Ayadha takes back the workers and works to contain the situation which will work to everyones benefit.

Ps: The story doesn’t end here..
Apparently the protesting staff were removed from the island by police under handcuffs. So much for the rights of workers!
ayada water strike worker removed from island