Without a doubt, the most effective propaganda being employed against my father is the accusation that his exile from the Maldives was actually abandonment. This is spread by those who fear his ascendency in the now ruling coalition as well as the opposition. The fact is that as Vice President, he has taken a 70% decrease in his salary. There are no benefits or compensation which can be comparable, and every month they’re in power – they lose a little of their savings. My parents are committed to the Maldives and its people. That is why they are still there.
But for all the wonderful naysayers who like to reinforce this view and the few normal people who’ve been taken in, here’s the full explanation I published the year before last: (At the very bottom is the Waheed Come Waheed Go song, which I absolutely love! Ignorance aside, they put quite a bit of work into the song and should be duly recognized)
--- After the 1989 election, the Government was scared because of how popular he was – having won with the highest majority recorded. Rumor was rife that he would run in a Presidential election, and even under that old constitution - many believed he was a serious threat to President Gayoom. As a result he and his supporters faced death threats, harassment, and intimidation. In spite of that, he continued to work for the people who elected him.
--- When President Nasheed - Anni (one of his constituents) was arrested and appealed to him for help, he started the ORIGINAL black ribbon campaign and openly stood against the Government, and the Government officially blacklisted him for it. Finally, when they couldn’t scare him off – they made him stay home from work, blocked him completely in Parliament, and arrested most of his family and supporters. There was nothing he could do, and everyone was suffering as a result of him standing up to the government. So he had two options – Stay, and get nowhere and let others suffer on his behalf because the government didn’t have the guts to arrest him. OR – he would choose exile and leave the country.
--- He then wrote to President Gayoom asking permission to leave the country (because he wasn’t allowed to). And the President responded in the affirmative stating that he was sorry Dr. Waheed, my father, could not be a team player. He didn’t leave because there was a lucrative job waiting.
--- Instead, he worked as a consultant at first and worked his way up the ladder through the UN structure.
--- Since then the former administration’s supporters have been trying to reinforce this idea of ‘FiliWaheed’ – Because even after he was left (though he had made it clear even then that he had no intentions on the Presidency) they were still scared of him.
--- But then this brings us to the second time he’s accused of Running Away. We know that the Government was pushing the idea of ‘FiliWaheed’ because it became an issue during MDP’s Presidential Election. My father, Dr. Waheed – choose not to address the issue. He considered it ludicrous as did everyone who knew him and quite a few who didn’t.
--- This election and how it was conducted has everything to do with why he left a second time. My father refused to use accept money from individuals who weren’t close to him in Male’ because he was running for the Party Leadership and was therefore not taking that money for the party but for himself. He believed that if he took money from all those who offered, he would be indebted to those who financially supported him because they would do so for their own reasons and not merely belief in him. Therefore, used our money to do it. This might have been a mistake – maybe it wasn’t. But his entire campaign office firmly believed that they had the majority of support in the membership of MDP. And no one expected him to lose that election.
--- There were a couple reasons why he lost. One major concern was that he advocated a non-confrontational approach which did not sit well with the Activists in MDP. He called for discussion with all parties involved (though he never ruled out peaceful protest). The candidates who opposed him – Ibra in particular took the opposite stand. He denounced party talks and appealed to the activists within MDP. Ibra won on this stand – though almost directly after winning the MDP presidency, he backed away from this position and followed those policies which my father – Dr. Waheed – had set out. This, along with the fact he was back tracking on his campaign promises, was why the rift developed between Ibra and President Nasheed.
--- Another reason Dr. Waheed lost that election is that he refused to spend money for support. He stopped his financial supporters from buying books and supplies for Islands because he said that during a campaign that was tantamount to bribery. There were a couple Gofi heads, who out of respect, actually called my father to tell him that they would not support him because another candidate was ‘spending money’ while he wasn’t and to apologize. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever witnessed, though it didn’t seem to dishearten my father. I think he might have even expected it. The other problem was that many Gofis were created that only existed on paper and did not represent the 100 members it was supposed to. (Remember it’s only the Gofi heads that were able to vote in this election and not the General Membership). These are two of the largest corruptions that took place during that election. And though it was brought to the attention of MDP’s leadership, it was overlooked in the name of “Party Unity.” But this is also the way Third-World Politics works. This is also the reason why I believe in Gaumee Itthihaad Party – GIP – because they represent a new breed of politics. A new breed that our country desperately needs.
--- So in spite of all this, my father – Dr. Waheed, stayed on for more than a couple of months. He, together with Ibrahim Zaki, organized one of the largest demonstrations during that time. And they ended it at 6 o’clock so that confrontation with the police would not ensue. He was also the person most responsible for developing MDP’s policy papers during that time. However, this was a junction when my father’s policies were completely rejected. During this time, MDP did not want to meet with DRP or create any semblance of cooperation. Once again, he was sidelined and blocked. The funny thing is, that while the former Government did this last time – it was the then opposition that was hindering him now. Once again he was left with few options to work for the people of the Maldives. At that point, he did not believe that it would be in the interests of the country to start a new party. I think he had hope that MDP would get its act together. But this wasn’t the only factor playing into his decision.
--- Unfortunately, my father had used a lot of our savings on that campaign. And even with the loans I was taking out – I was having trouble paying for my schooling. Stanford University is a private institution, and not only one of the best Universities in the world but also one of the most expensive. Keep in mind, that in spite of my scholarship, I still have around 40 thousand dollars worth of loans out. My scholarship obviously doesn’t cover everything. One of my sisters was also doing her Masters and did need a little help every now and then. So he went back to work, so that he might be useful.
--- Now for those of you who argue that he should have stayed even then, what is it that you would have him do? The activists (which included some of the leadership) simply did not want to follow his suggestions and didn’t even like the fact that he was making them. They were angry at the former government and wanted to take action against it. People choose to forget the fact that our family has been imprisoned, harassed, and tortured. They choose to forget that members of my family’s lives have been ruined by the former administration. But in spite of all this, yet we still choose to a conciliatory approach because we believe it will yield the greatest results.
--- My father, Dr. Waheed – had said that he will return to Maldives again. The fact that he had left before, after the ‘FiliWaheed’ campaign had been launched only gave weight to their argument. His opponents concentrate on this because they cannot attack his record. Not his record for the work he’s done for the people of Maldives, nor his record abroad in Tanzania, New York, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Yemen, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkmenistan.
--- He has stated that he will spend the next decade working in Maldives for its people in whatever capacity he’s allowed. He’s always believed strongly in humanitarian causes. And even though the UN pays well (especially compared to third world salaries), he worked there because was fulfilling. He had been able to work there for 16 years because he was able to make a difference. He is determined now to make a difference in Maldives.
* The issues of corruption and direct voting for leadership has been rectified now within MDP. I have always supported MDP as a party and advocated strongly for them during the 2009 Majlis Elections.
The Waheed Come Waheed GO Video!