Former PPM deputy leader Umar Naseer has criticized the PPM-PNC coalition for carrying out its activities “in the comfort of air conditioning” while its leader, former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom lays in prison.
Umar, who had served as Home Minister during Yameen’s administration, appeared on CNM’s Ithuru Kaafu program on Sunday.
He accused PPM of failure in organizing an effective movement to secure Yameen’s release despite being the biggest opposition party in Maldives.
Opposition leaders now spend every night talking to a TV screen in the comfort of air conditioning, said Umar.
He said that it was not what was expected of the opposition.
“It’s not very nice for the biggest opposition party of Maldives to appear gathered under an air conditioner and talk about how their leader has been imprisoned,” said Umar.
He said that he was disappointed with the current leadership in PPM and PNC.
Umar went on to compare PPM with how DRP – which had also once been the biggest opposition party – had acted during former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration.
He said that DRP had no experience in civil disobedience when he had served as the party’s deputy leader back in 2009. But that DRP – through the sheer effort of its then-leadership, had been successful in cutting Nasheed’s administration “to pieces” and forcing him to resign.
“I have yet to see this level of activism, this level of courage from the current leadership of PPM,” said Umar.
While Umar said he did not believe the current PPM leadership had any sinister plan to make use of the power vacuum left in the wake of Yameen’s imprisonment to stage a coup, he said that the opposition needed a “hawk” or “lion” to lead its movement.
“I don’t believe they harbor any sinister intention. They need a powerful leader. They need a powerful hawk. They need a lion. Such a hawk or lion needs to come in and lead them,” said Umar.
He said that the whole political landscape would change once the opposition managed to such a leader.
Umar, in addition to accusing the opposition of ineffectiveness, levied the same accusation against Yameen’s defense attorneys.
“They didn’t present an effective argument, really. Neither President Yameen nor his defense managed a substantial counterargument,” said Umar.
He said he hoped to see a better performance from Yameen’s attorney’s during the appeal process at the High Court.
Umar also reiterated his commitment to running in the 2023 presidential election.
He said that he wished to run in the election with the backing of PPM, but would run in the election regardless of whether he managed to secure PPM’s backing or not.
“If the PPM leadership open its doors, I will attempt to enter that door. But I shall not try to force my way in or remain knocking on the door for as long as the door remains closed,” said Umar.
He said he refused to work behind anyone, and would accept nothing less than being a leader himself.
“It’s my hope that the door of PPM’s leadership opens, and I’m awarded the opportunity to run on behalf of PPM. However, I will not be worried even if I got get this opportunity,” said Umar.