The first presidential elections under the August 2008 constitution is now set to happen on October 8, 2008. However there’s still doubt as to whether parliament will approve the list of Justices submitted to parliament by the president, who are to fill the Supreme Court bench.
Anni has also announced his running mate followed by Gasim who announced a complete “foreigner” to the political arena and government as his running mate. Anni’s choice was political veteran Dr. Waheed who was the icon of reform and democracy in the form that we see today – way before it was a public outcry.
As the campaigns seem to mature from infancy, there are two things that the presidential hopefuls seem to be competing on; what they will do for the people and payback for their services and sacrifices to the nation and people in the past. Maumoon is asking to be reinstated for a further term to fulfill the objects of his services to the people for the last 30 years, Anni wants to be recognized for his contribution to reform and democracy, Dr. Waheed for his initiative in leading the reform mindset, Gasim for his philanthropy and love of the ordinary folk; and the rest do not seem to have anything they have given to the people that is worthy or reward.
What goes through my mind is – are we to choose a president to reward for his past contributions and based on a shopping list that cannot be verified for its feasibility in the rush that has been compelled by the “mindless” constitution? However, we have to agree that we have made great strides from where we were, in creating a democratic process and an environment that can facilitate nation building towards a true democracy. This election will definitely be marred by several shortcomings and blunders, but it is definitely better than a system that breeds dictatorial regimes.
The challenge to the Elections Commission would be to educate the people on the spirit and prinicples of a true democracy and the right of the people to choose.
As is now, it still seems more like let the best man standing win. It may not necessarily be on merits of leadership, vision, governance capabilities and ability to deliver in an ever challening and dynamic socio-economic environment. It will be an election which will be so fast paced that the following day will be an anti-climax as a wise friend told me.