Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Nashed, Poster Boy of Global Warming, ousted as President of Maldives. What's his legacy?

If Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri are the high priests of global warming religion, Mohammed Nashed was undoubtedly  its poster boy.

In a way, the phenomena of Nashed come across as a whiff of fresh air in the governance history of Maldives. There is no getting away from the fact that he brought back democracy to Maldives. Nashed was jailed in all for six years after being arrested 27 times while agitating for democracy. He remains the country's first and only democratically elected President. He additionally preserved the country's culture of liberal brand of Islam.

But governing Maldives was not easy. Nasheed's predecessor, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled as a dictator for more than 30 years, may have been defeated at the polls, but his chosen people continue to control all other institutions of the country whether the judiciary, police; army etc who collectively continued to put hurdles to his governance. This task was made worse when a small section of Islamist fundamentalists made him the object of their ire because of his liberal outlook. He played right into their hands when he took to undemocratic steps to curb his opponents. The ouster of Nashed from this perspective remains a blot to democracy. But make no mistake. Nashed will be back in the chair of Presidency, maybe sooner than later.

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