By Farooq Mohamed Hassan
They say history repeats itself. I hope it doesn't. Even as I write this short article, I know people are queuing up to take Maumoon to court. More than 30 years ago, the then President Ibrahim Nasir had to banish Maumoon for using religion to incite violence against the state, and of course his government.
What has transpired in the past 10 days or so following the presidential election results of October 2008 may seem trivial, but portentous in reality. First, the attempt to delay the announcement of the election results, then a court order for the President-elect to appear in court, followed by a wave of promotions, contract signings, handshakes, and oh yes! – the Bill Ms. Aneesa submitted to the Majlis. This carefully orchestrated melodrama showcased Maumoon's true egocentric character more than anything else. I for one, thought that as soon as the election dust settles, Maumoon's babbling would fade away and his erratic behavior would also grind to a halt. But they didn't.
Surprised? No. What else can one expect from a man who for the past 30 years led a government in which the rhetoric and stagecraft of planning often took the place of real planning, other than acting like the stereotypical old-fashioned godfather that he once used to be, and continue to play his old pranks, repeating his fork-tongued pledges, giving promotions to his cronies and signing huge and lucrative contracts that he would never be able to implement?
But mind you, all this is not going to be without a price. Aware and mindful of the growing public resentment over Maumoon's arrogance in the face of defeat, MDP leadership appeared to have finally decided that it cannot shy away from its responsibility and simply sit and do nothing. Last Friday night, MDP's Chairperson, Ms. Maria Ahmed Didi 'fired' what appeared to be the first 'warning shot' over Maumoon's head. It was a reminder that his every move is being watched carefully. Speaking to the huge audience gathered at the artificial beach area to mark the MDP-Iththihaadhu's election victory, Ms. Maria was sharp and blunt. She delivered a strong and powerful message to the out-going president. She warned Maumoon not to take advantage of the goodwill and patience of the victors. She also warned him that the victors are fully aware of the motives behind his irresponsible and unjustifiable behavior and actions, and that the victors are not unmindful of those actions.
Observing these events from Xiamen, PRC, it appears to me that Maumoon is pathetically out of touch with reality. How else can you explain his irrational behavior?
I just wonder would it not be better for Maumoon to devise a sound and effective exit strategy: stop displaying his disdain and arrogance towards the victors, show a bit of good-will, and cooperate more fully with the incoming government. Unfortunately, in spite of the olive branch Mr. Nasheed has extended to Maumoon, he seems reluctant to take it. Former President Ibrahim Nasir offered him several such olive branches before he took action against Maumoon. Maumoon seems not to have learned any lesson. Unlike president Nasir and president Maumoon, president Nasheed would have no control or influence over the affairs of the judiciary and the Majlis. And so, Maumoon must understand that what is at stake for him this time around is indeed much higher.
Finally, whatever Maumoon or his sympathizers may think of what appears in the print media, one thing is certain: History will be harsh in its judgments of Maumoon and his administration. What Maumoon and his supporters should concern themselves about is not so much to find out whether history repeats itself but to learn from history before it is too late.
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." –George Santayana
[Faarooq Mohamed Hassan is a former shadow cabinet member of MDP and is also the Deputy Director General of the Environment Research Center.]