Monday, November 24, 2008

Corrupting the Citizen

By Ahmed Afaal

On October 8, 2008 and on October 28, 2008 the Maldives underwent arguably the most democratic, the freest and the fairest elections in her entire history. This paves the new direction for future elections in the country.

Among the elections held in the country, the upcoming parliamentary election would be one that needs to be watched very carefully. In the past parliamentary elections have been influenced by money, and people with high governmental influence. Maldives went through a stage where the people were, in my words "made corrupt" by persuading them to accept money, goods and many other favours. This lead to a mass corruption where votes were given in return for something, i.e. votes were bought and many people still think that this perhaps is the norm.

Given this, during the last two parliamentary elections a large number of new faces came into both the Special Majlis and the Majlis. Their intentions were clear from what they have done so far. They have fought definitely on behalf of the people in a way that no previous parliament has ever done. They have passed the new constitution that is modern and people friendly. Many laws, most of them good and some with flaws while other laws contradicting each other were also passed.

No one in the country can deny that the current parliament's achievement in facilitating the democratic process, making the government more accountable, and the contributions to the special Majlis in the separation of powers is historic. The achievement of the outgoing Special Majlis in getting a new constitution needs mentioning.

Ironically, the sad truth though is, in order to bring this to the people, powerful business people and other influential people had to, in my words "further corrupt the citizens" by pumping more money and doing more favours to get votes. Votes were sold to the highest bidder last time around. Perhaps this was the only way that these members could have penetrated into the parliament.

Question now is that are the same parliamentarians going to come out this election and advocate that what they did was wrong? Would they come out clean?

Maldivians will definitely watch the actions of these people carefully. Especially these were the very people during the last presidential election, were most vocal and critical about this issue targeting it to the then ruling party's actions. Also, though we have a presidential system, parties will be fighting to get as many members in. Are there going to be totally new politicians who will defy the odds? Will there be those who have the courage to stand up to make the election clean? Would there be those who would and could educate and persuade the public to go on the right path? Only time will tell. We will have to hope that this endemic does not blow into an epidemic but rather get eradicated.

[*This analysis was presented by Ahmed Afaal, for the readers of this blog. He has his own blog (No politics) at As always I welcome contributions from the readers of this blog, which I will publish for the benefit of other readers and to keep this blog rich in content.]


Anonymous said...

excellent article.

Anonymous said...

an excellent article by Affal. i hope our wannabe parliamentarians do not go on an excessive spending spree this time and corrupt the people more. Take the example of Dhaalu Aoll. The current MPs are the utterly corrupt (Sun Travel) Ahmed Shiyam and (ADK) Nashid. Both of them paid lip service to Gayoom and aspired to become Deputy Leaders of DRP. Shiyam succeeded in this while Nashid failed. Both control the people of Dhaalu Atoll by providing them with various favours and pouring in money. Dhaalu Atoll has been corrupted by these two selfish individuals. Now Nashid is an influential figure in Jumhooree Party while Shiyam is said to be speculating on ditching DRP and joining the ruling coalition. Both will attempt to get reelected by pouring more money to Dhaalu.

Anonymous said...

mr afaal praises his own articles.. how touchy..

Anonymous said...

Article is thought provoking.
I wonder if Mr Affal gave a thoughful and deep look into his own backyard when he wrote this article.Is he aware that he himself is employed by a notoriously corrupt and ruthless( albeit with little education)person who will unashamedly go to all lenghts to get more money and more power.Greasing the palms of the common people will just be simple and normal matter for these people.Will Affal have the guts to raise this issue or even mention this to his boss and make attempts to clean his image and make him a better and less corrupt polititian?
He may not succeed,may even get fired but no harm trying but then speaking and doing things are two different matters altogether.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the writer is talking about his colleagues, most of his colleagues are I guess in this business of corruption and corrupting others.

Anonymous said...

The current parliament's achievement is to rip the country's wealth for the benefit of corrupt businesses. They have done it quite well. The people are a marginalized minority for these crooks. The whole process of constituional reform and legislation has been shady and priority has been given to business interests over genuine concerns of the people.

Mohamed said...

Everybody's colleagues are in business positions, the writer is not talking about his back yard, its in general... today everbody is everybody;s friend, it depends what you want.. but its a very independent article... keep it up afaal

Anonymous said...

Like what was suggested by this blog reader, Sun Travel Siyam has ditched DRP.He will no doubt join MDP. Isn't this what everybody is doing now? And isn't this the commonsense path to better times?
PS. Hope now the Auditor General lays his hands off SunTravel Siyam.