Monday, October 20, 2008

A Few Points for the Next Government on MNDF

By Dhivehi Dharieh

Here are a few points for the Government that takes oath on 11th November 2008 to consider regarding the defence establishment of the country. First I would like to outline 3 points which should be amended into the Armed Forces Act.

The first point of note is to set out a fixed term of duty for the post of the Chief of Defence Force (CDF). The post's duties and responsibilities are well laid out in the law. The addition of a fixed term for it is essential to ensure the flow of promotion effectively among senior ranks and secure the position from being dominated by a single person for an undue period of time. The duration of the fixed term could be set after looking at those of other military bodies and adjusted to suit Maldivian environment; the standard term found in most countries is 3 years. And also the person holding the post should be limited to serving a single term of duty.

In connection with the first point, the person holding the position of the Chief of Defence Force would need to be exempt from the clause in the law regarding the compulsory retirement age for military personnel. The reason for this is to ensure the stability of the term of duty for the position, thereby giving the person holding the position an unhindered 3 years to put policies and strategies into effect. The lack of this provision would result in the rapid turnover of personnel holding the post, thus depriving the force of a stable and effective leadership.

Thirdly is to lay down a provision requiring that appointments to the posts of CDF / Vice CDF are done with the approval of the parliament. To ensure a faster and secure process through the parliament the approval process can be set to be carried out in the security committee of the parliament without going to the main parliament floor. The reasoning behind this rule is to ensure protection from politically motivated appointments to the senior positions. This would serve to keep the defence force apolitical. This is a standard procedure followed in numerous other countries as well.

Now I would like to offer some thoughts about the leadership of the defence establishment. This might be more relevant in case of a change in the current government. Looking first at the highest defence establishment post is that of the Minister of Defence. The person for this post should be a mature respectable person who preferably has a background in foreign / international relations or the legal sector. An ideal candidate in the opposition would be Mr. Shaheed Zaki.

Next is the post of the Chief of Defence Force. The incumbent, Maj. General Mohamed Zahir has served in that capacity for a number of years, so with a change in government he should preferably be retired honorably and if he wishes to continue serving the government, assigned to a civil post such as that of ambassador. Looking at the potential candidate for the post, the person in the current situation needs to be a well respected officer both in public as well as within the defence force. He would also need to be a professional soldier who has proven his capability. As such a clear choice stands out in the MNDF which is that of Brigadier Moosa Jaleel. There have been some views published regarding assigning Brig. Jaleel to the post of the Minister. But since he's well below military retirement age and his skills, capability and leadership are mostly needed at the position of the Chief of Defence Force to bring about the necessary changes to the defence forces, he should be utilized in that post.

Lastly the orientation of MNDF should be changed for it to focus on external defence and security instead of internal security. The MNDF should be called upon on internal security missions only as a last resort and with parliament approval. This would require the capabilities of the police service being enhanced. The MNDF should focus its resources and capabilities in the area of civil defence such as Coast Guard and Fire and Rescue.

[Note: This article was submitted by Dhivehi Dharieh, and so the contents are his/her intellectual property. This blog will consider for publication articles that are constructive, avoid obscene language and do not needlessly launch personal attacks on individuals or communities. Authors of controversial articles are requested to identify themselves.]


don keyothi said...

where can i find the original article

Anonymous said...

Let's put the facts straight. Mr (222) zahir has never been loyal to the public. His loyalty has all ways been to Maumoon. He must be held responsibble for protecting the dictator even when he knew the dictator was violating the laws of the country, and was abusing state funds. Gayyoom could not have survied this long without 222's blessing. Every child knows this. He is also responsible for using force to suppress the opposition. And last but least, he has a lot of questions to answer in relation to the deaths in Maafushi jail.

I am anxious to see the Auditor General's Audit Report of MNDF. Mr 222 Zahir cannot just retire so honaourably until he clears the accusations that have been levelled against him.

Honouring these corrupt and good-for-nothing guys would be akin to honouring the devil for the evils he commit.

I too agree that Mr. Jaleel would be a fitting candidate for the post now occuppied by Mr (222) zahir.

Abdullah Waheed's Blog said...

reply to don keyothi

If you give your email adress i can forward original. Editor

Anonymous said...

I am an independent, undecided voter. Whatever the outcome of this election maybe, onething Im sure is there is going to be chaos in the country, non of the candidate is going to win an outright majority, whoever win will win by a slight majority. this means the country is bitterly divided, we are not used to respect the majority decisions,so either way it goes the supporters of the loosing party will not accept the defeat.

As a citizen of Maldives, I call upon our well diciplined military to be on alert, and be ready to step in if chaos breaks up.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 8.47 am,
Is there an objective way to determine if Zahir was more loyal to President or the people? Let’s also keep in mind that as Chief he was sworn to be loyal to CIC. Similarly without a fair investigation it will not be possible to label him as corrupt. On the other hand we need to develop a culture of respecting retired army officers.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 12:04
More or less I agree with you.

But remember, one cannot earn respect by force. You earn respect by giving respect. History teaches us that it will be the people who will judge the loyalty of those holding high offices. If they desire to retire honourably and be respected by the people, then they should think about it while still in uniform.

Just for an example, see the blunder this guy made by relasing two letters apparently to defend the lies Maumoon made in a TV interview? About the keys aof the armoury. A man with sense of brain will not believe they are authentic letters, because they conflict with wach other. It is not us, but people like (222) zahir who is spoiling the good name of our armed forces.

If Chief of Staff's job is to be loyal to CIC, irrespective of what the CIC does, then let CIC respect him and forget about the public. As the dictum goes, you can't have the apple and eat the apple.

There is no denying that dictatorships survive under corrupt military regimes. This does not imply that all those in uniform are corrupt. Because, not all those in uniform make or are able to influence dicisions made at the highest level.

I personally know several in uniform, in the MNDF, who strogly object the policies and behavour of people like (222) zahir.

Please do not try to equate an individual with a whole establishment.

Just a thought.... when did the zahirs give a fair trial or investigation to all those that were put behind bars prior the splitting of the police and military services...?

Rhetoric Thought said...

Currently the Military does not have a clear Constitutional guideline to act against a corrupt leader. If maybe 22 isn't corrupt he might lack the support base rally other officers behind him to act against the dictator.

And the tension between the police and Mndf forces are ever on the rise after the bill passed which allowed firearm to the police forces.

Heylhi said...

Points noted. Similar ammendments are needed for MNDF's cousin, MPS.

The Police Act needs to have similar provisions well described in this article.

Appointment of the Commissioner of Police and his deputy has to be made by an independent organization such as a Police Authority (in our case, Police Integrity Commission), that has both parliament members and well respected citizens. Here in Maldives, the police service is accountable to the Home Minister and the president. Therefore control over police is in the hands of two politicians, needless to say the functionality of PIC.

It is imperative that MPS become more accountable to the parliament and have more oversight on its functionality. It needs new leaders with new visions who can direct the organization in this age of interdependence.

Anonymous said...

Maldives degenrating into abyss led by selfish people like Drs(who had been away most of their life for greener patures) and street fighters and corrupt leaders.MNDF to be on alert and prevent any bloodshed in our loved nation with clinical precision.
Dont blame Golhaabhoa.Blame urself for not loving ut mother nation.Blame the so called democracy n human rights.Did anyone say we belive in Islam?