Mariya: Gone are the days soldiers made to remove roofs of courthouses

Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi attends MNDF's 131st anniversary function on June 20, 2023. (Photo/Defense Ministry)

Long gone are the days soldiers were used to remove the roofs of courthouses following rulings that displeased the government, states Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi.

She made the comment while speaking at the ceremony held at the Kalhuthukkala Koshi on Tuesday to mark Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF)’s 131st anniversary.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mariya said that before President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih came to office, the continuous use of soldiers to serve political purposes had resulted in the loss of professionalism within the MNDF to the extent the public had lost all respect for soldiers.

She said that after President Solih assumed office, a military justice system was introduced that adheres to principles that remove all political influence from the MNDF.

Long gone are the days when soldiers were made to throw MPs out of the parliament floor and over the walls of the Parliament, she said.

Referring to the incident during former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration when the roof of the Supreme Court was removed and justices arrested, Mariya said that arresting judges and obstructing their duties following rulings that displease the government has become a thing of the past.

Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi attends MNDF's 131st anniversary function on June 20, 2023. (Photo/Defense Ministry)

“It is a grave injustice to the soldiers who have sworn an oath to protect the people over their own lives, to dismiss them without due process and punish them, whenever a president becomes displeased,” she said.

Noting that the democracy in Maldives is till young, Mariya said that history shows the military has a key role in improving the country’s democratic journey or making it backslide.

Noting that it is an election year, Mariya said that each election year comes with political challenges, with politicians attempting to push politics into the military.

Mariya stressed that soldiers are legally prohibited from involvement in politics, and advised them not to get influenced by politics.

She said that President Solih’s numerous efforts to regain the respect for soldiers had resulted in positive outcomes.