An Open Letter to Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, interim President of the Maldives
- By Richard Branson -
- Feb 24, 2012
Dear Mr Waheed
It was a real pleasure meeting you and your delightful wife when I was last in the Maldives. At that time there was a democratically elected government in the Maldives, after many years where that certainly wasn't the case and where opposition members languished in prison and were even subjected to torture.
You personally said to me that the Maldives needed a truth and reconciliation commission to examine the past misdeeds and the people who perpetuated them, and asked if I would speak with The Elders to see whether they would set one up.
Therefore, forgive me for finding it completely astounding that you have been part of an overthrow of a democratically elected government that has effectively let the old regime back into power. From knowing you, I would assume that you were given no choice and that it was through threats that you have ended up in this position.
Anyway, I do very much hope that was the case rather than you doing it of your own free will. With the world moving towards democracies, how dreadful it is to see the beautiful Maldives moving in the opposite direction.
As interim President, you are in a position to do the right thing. We beg you to make sure that there are fair and free elections held this year, as the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group have called for. I look forward to renewing our friendship after those elections.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group