The former head of intelligence at the Maldives Police Services has been arrested on charges of alleged leaks of intelligence information. The subject has made frontpage headlines in local newspapers and brought supporters of the Maldivian Democratic Party onto the streets calling for his immediate release. The Maldives Police Service has issued a statement.
CSP Hameed is said to be a highly trained and exemplary officer of the Maldives Police Services.His making headlines brings some thought provoking questions to the my mind.
What do these intelligence officers do? Who do they work for? How much of their work is dedicated to the governments they serve? How much of their loyalty is owed to the people who run the government? How much of the information they gather are used by politicians who command them?
The new realities of governance under the August Constitution of 2008 has in a short span of time given the people of Maldives, three governments. Government of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is considered by his supporters to be the father of democracy. The Government of President Mohamed Nasheed, who is considered by his supporters to be the champion of democracy. And the Government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, who is considered by his supporters (or supporters of those who put him there) to be the savior of democracy.
The Maldives Police Services and the Maldives National Defense Force have intelligence departments who eavesdrop on unsuspecting citizens. There is no law which hold these officers accountable for the use of state of the art technology to eavesdrop on its citizens and use the material to blackmail and harass people for the benefit of their masters – the political heavy weights.
We have seen instability at its highest peak levels in the country since the run up to and after the August Constitution. This has given the space for the military and their civil counterparts in the police force to gain prominence throughout the instability of the August Constitution. They are the guardians who have the means and the resources to protect the governments from the public.
The governments of President Maumoon and President Nasheed and President Waheed have depended heavily on the military and the police for their protection and keeping themselves safe from the people they rule. The military and the police forces have been used extensively for political purposes. And will understandably continue to be so.
The story of Chief Superintendent of Police Mohamed Hameed will be an interesting chapter in the fight for control of the police and the military by the political forces that rule the teething democracy and the people who aspired to live a decent life of prosperity beyond a monarchy style government since independence in 1965.
It is highly unlikely that anything will change that will change the monarchical characteristics of the Maldivian Government. At least, not in the near future. I believe that what we are seeing is a restructuring and rebranding of the King’s Court.