MDP – Bigger than Jungle

The Maldivian Democratic Party is many things to many people. To Maumoon, Anni maybe the bane of his existence, but the MDP is the more institutional thorn in his side. To the gaabil, ilmee, thaulimee types – the Hassan Saeeds – MDP and its members are a bunch of raucous, uneducated barbarians.  Funny that, especially when they have Riyaz Rasheed, Sandhaanu Ahamaidhi and Injustice Jameel. To the truly colourless, if that is now possible, the MDP still seem to be the only Party that they place their eternally high expectations in, and direct most of their criticism towards. To me, as naive as it may seem, the MDP has always represented the foundation of democracy and the potential for positive change, using the indomitable spirit of its members in the face of adversity.

My MDP is bigger than Anni, bigger than Didi, and it is most certainly bigger than Alhan. No doubt the Party has big personalities, some who are quite honestly as obnoxious as they are entertaining, but the MDP’s strength is still the combination of all of its 48, 353 personalities, not just the ones on stage, behind a microphone, on the street and in the limelight. It would do well for those on the centre stage to understand that. Admittedly the Party has gone through its ups and downs, not securing a Parliamentary majority, disreputable MPs, weak Party leadership –administratively and otherwise, but it has always come together when the going gets tough. As it did on 8th February.

As painful as it is to see the bitchy bickering between MDP members on social networks, during a time where those of the Waheed regime are preying like vultures for any signs of decay, I’m glad its happening. It demonstrates that dissent is possible within the Party and that it is not being suppressed, but rather that if there is dispute over Party policy/action; it should take place within internal Party structures – the Gaumee Majlis/primaries.

It is only right when Dr. Didi and Alhan seemed to want to take action irrespective of Party line and the Gaumee Majlis, that people question their motives and their loyalty to the Party. Obviously, rumours of Alhan’s STO debt, issuing statements in violation of Party lines, and rendezvous with coup leaders don’t help. With regards to the shadow cabinet, apparently proposed by Alhan and Dr. Didi, questions of their loyalty arose, simply because of the fact that the MDP’s Gaumee Majis had already passed a resolution to not recognise the Waheed regime as legitimate. I believe this was on 8th February. The MDP Parliamentary Group had put forward a statement that they questioned the legitimacy of Waheed’s Presidency, and refused to respond to Waheed’s address, as they were not the Party in opposition, but the Party of the Government that had been voted in for a 5 year term. For Alhan and Dr. Didi to then propose a shadow cabinet is surely an admission of recognition towards Waheed’s regime and an acceptance that MDP is ready to play an opposition role? Preposterous. File a motion at the Gaumee Majlis, then get back to us.  Another Presidential candidate other than Anni? Fair enough, contest in the party primary, and prove there is a better candidate. The opportunity to contest, the opportunity to prove oneself is what I’ve always believed to be the beauty of MDP.

Then of course there are people like Kalhey, who left claiming that there were too many undue influences within the Party. Was it the rumours of Fala possibly contesting Kalhey’s seat in the next Majlis election? Was it really pressure from certain members of the Party for him to stand down as a candidate for an elected PG position? So what if it was? He should have had the strength to stick it out and to fight his corner, if he really did have something he was fighting for other than his financial security. Thousands of MDP members consistently come out on the streets standing up against Police brutality and the Waheed regime. They are at times angry, frustrated and hopeless, but they often gain strength in their unity, in the hope of the possible. Could Kalhey not connect with that sentiment, or did he never really want to?

Here is where I stand. The MDP is too important to watch it disintegrate over loud personalities, who know how to work a crowd. Those who cannot get over themselves, who cannot admit they made mistakes, who cannot accept dissenting views, who are rolling in debt and need the financial security offered by Gasim and others, who cannot work within Party structures to resolve disputes, who cannot appreciate the power of a vote in their favour and who purposefully discredit the Party for the benefit of those it stands against need to think twice. We are better than PPM/DRP/JP not because of our leadership, but because our members.

Again, being incredibly naïve, it no longer matters to me if we don’t have a majority in Parliament, or don’t win an election. I would rather the hypocritical ‘come and go’s go for good, rather than vacillating between positions which benefit only themselves and not the wider MDP.  I hope then that we can accept our own failures, learn from them and prove again that MDP is not just strong in numbers, but sets the bar high in democratic principles too. I remain with my MDP.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “MDP – Bigger than Jungle

  1. Colourless

    You seem rational and well intentioned and this is why I am bothering to even write this comment here. I hope you read this with an open mind.

    You say it is difficult for you to believe that there are any truly colourless people in this country, but the truth is, there are plenty of people who have no prejudice or personal distaste towards a particular party or personality, I know this because I am one.

    I am also someone who give careful thought to my vote and have up till now voted for MDP candidates. However, in the last three years I have observed many a disturbing trends within MDP high-rank and file. Violence and calls for violence (Mariya in Dhidhoo calling to torch certain resorts for example or MDP connections with Kuda Henveiru kids), appeasing gang members through state mechanisms (Dhevana furusathu, releasing Chika in 2009?), doling out an insane amount of jobs to unqualified activists and outright corruption (Mega Maldives, Heavy Load) have left most people like me with a bitter after taste in our mouths. Any attempt by anyone (Alhan and co these days, but Munawar, Ibra and a host of others can be added to this list) to challenge the status quo is bitterly and effectively thwarted by resorting to slander and bullying of the usually less grassroots-savvy person.

    You say that us colorless people hold MDP to a higher standard and you are right. The reason is all that you said about MDP being bigger than personalities. The idea behind MDP was a dream for most of us, and many people worked and sacrificed to bring about the democratic dream. These people may not be in the front row seats of MDP gatherings, but these people, colourless people, have as much right as any card carrying MDP member to criticise MDP and to push it to change for the better. Failure of internal democracy in MDP or any other large party will affect us all, similar to a bank going bust affecting an economy.

    So please, give some thought to the constructive criticisms that are coming your way and work on the internal democracy of this party. This is a crucial moment for us as a country. Any failings within MDP will affect us all.

    • Colourless – agreed. With almost all of your points actually. I wish Mairya/Reeko and others would tone down their rhetoric and would think a little bit more carefully when they speak. On the issue of gangs, I would say that is a problem faced by all political parties. Either that there is a gang/number of gangs affiliated to every political party or gangs are split into 2, so that they dont miss out on their financial and physical security no matter which party is in power. That is a sad state of affairs. ‘Sulhaveri Zuvaanun’ are an unfortunate constant that society has to deal with and I dont honestly know how you deal with it in such a politically polarised setting.

      Here’s where I disagree about challenges to the status quo. Alhan and Dr. Didi won the Party elections even though most of the status quo were campaigning for the other 2 candidates. MPs who have come in through the transfer windows, who have insulted and harangued MDP at their previous Party podiums have been given every chance to prove their worth. My point was if your platform is genuine and if you’re proposal is about more than yourself, you stay and fight no matter what the ‘status quo’ throws at you. You contest that election, you propose that motion into the Gaumee Majlis. You dont just cry foul and run to your safe place – in this case the DRP.

      The other thing is that maybe ordinary members like myself have not demanded more of the status quo. If the coup teaches us one thing, I hope it is that we can never afford to stop holding people/institutions accountable, be they judges, presidents, police or political parties.

      I also apologise. I do find it difficult to accept true colourless these days. You have won me over with your comment, and also by the fact that you spell coloUr with a U!

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