After much deliberation and completing a fact finding mission in the Maldives, Sir Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Special Envoy, has endorsed the Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) as “impartial, credible and broadly acceptable.” The new government of President Waheed has faced heated criticism, amidst growing international influence wielded by former President Mohammed Nasheed, over the transition of power. While Nasheed has argued that he was forcibly removed, Waheed has vehemently denied the rumors.
In an effort to quell such accusations, President Waheed established the CNI to investigate the events leading up to Nasheed’s removal and the subsequent transition of leadership. Sir Don recently visited the Maldives and held meetings with various representatives of the government as well as the Opposition. After conducting a thorough examination of the CNI, its clauses and aims, Sir Don and the Government of Maldives reached an agreement to better strengthen the powers of the inquiry and expand the CNI membership in accordance with a series of agreed criteria.
In light of threats of expulsion from the Commonwealth, this move is seen as a way for the Maldives to reiterate its commitment to the organization and desire to facilitate a more comprehensive democratic process. The government has in- vited President Nasheed to nominate an appropriate candidate for the Commission who can engage with other participants and move the process forward. However, Nasheed’s nomination of candidates who fail to meet the minimum requirement of holding an undergraduate degree is seen as a reflection of his lack of seriousness and cooperation with the CNI.