We have seen a former head of state, Mohamed Fareed, and a former head of government, Ibrahim Faamuladeyri Kilegefaanu, living in Male with respect and dignity during the 1960s. They could do so because their successor Ibrahim Nasir gave them the chance. But what did Nasir get in return for this good gesture? He was hounded out of Maldives. Perhaps those who did it then would now be wishing they hadn't. Today there is another change of guard at the Presidential Palace. Will history repeat itself?
Hopefully the new generation of Maldivians would prove to be more civilized in this respect. Already there are good signs. President Elect Mohamed Nasheed has said outgoing President Gayoom would be given facilities befitting an ex-president.
However an important question remains unanswered. What would happen to all cases of alleged corruption and abuse of power by Gayoom and his close associates? Would President Nasheed given an amnesty to Gayoom? There are doubts if the Constitution of Maldives empowers the President to do that. Article 115 (s) of the Constitution only gives him the power "to grant pardons or reductions of sentence as provided by law, to persons convicted of a criminal offence who have no further right of appeal." So, unless Gayoom is convicted it would appear that President Nasheed will not be able pardon him.
Under the Constitution, the responsibility to prosecute criminal activity is vested in the Prosecutor General. Article 115 (f) gives him the responsibility "to order any investigation that he deems desirable into complaints of criminal activity or into any other criminal activity of which he becomes aware." Clause (h) allows him "to review or revert any decision to prosecute or not to prosecute any alleged offender, or to discontinue any prosecution."
Thus it would appear that it is not the President, but the Prosecutor General who could take a decision on the matter. But can any of them stop an aggrieved citizen from taking Gayoom to court?