Will Rajapaksa regime allow standards to be set up?
| by S. Vasudevan
( December 22, 2012, Washington DC, Sri Lanka Guardian) ‘Yes Shirani Bandaranayake must go, but after the setting up the standards!’ Thus we are hearing a new argument now. This slogan, which justify Rajapaksa impeachment and the select committee report, is knowingly or unknowingly aimed at derailing the struggle for democratisation of the country and exposing the Rajapaksa regime. The struggle is gathering momentum day by day. The regime also coming up with various dubious counter attacks every day. It is very clear that if the slogan ‘Chief Justice should resign’ succeeded will take all steam out of the movement. That is how politics work. Today the slogan independence of judiciary encompasses the issue of whole issue of democratic governance.
To demand that CJ must go, independence of judiciary must remain is like saying chicken must go not the egg! Once the Chicken goes there are no eggs. If Rajapaksa regime will succeed in removing the Chief Justice there will be no independence of judiciary or any space for setting up standards. Politically correct slogan has to be ‘Regime must go!’
The whole impeachment saga was a politically motivated action plan by the Rajapaksa regime in order to bring judiciary under its wings. The reason for impeachment is not to establish a clean governance but to increase the corrupt governance. Only political naïve can call for Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake to resign saying that it will set the standards. Or rather she can set the standards before her resignation. Will Rajapaksa regime allow Shirani Bandaranayake to set up the standards before she go?
Nobody who understand basics of politics can believe even for a moment that Rajapaksa regime will allow these so-called standards to be established in Sri Lanka. Impeachment is an only one more step in the direction of establishing total Rajapaksa control over all arms of governance of Sri LankaTaking jtrees for the jungle can be a huge error in this instant. Just look what is happening right now: Attorney at Law Gunarathana Wanninayaka threatened at a gun point; Gun shot fired at Wijedasa Rajapaksa’s residence; state media is disgraceful mud singling campaign not only against the CJ but against the BASL as well, Students arrested sent for rehabilitation without any formal charges and so on. This is the picture we need to keep in mind when discussing the impeachment.
To argue that Rajapaksa regime will allow internationally accepted standards of impeaching judges is simply a deception if not a hypocrisy.
If Rajapaksa regime or any others wants to set up standards then the first step has to be the withdrawal of the flawed and illegal impeachment and bias select committee. If any one wants to fight for the standards first step has to be stood by the Chief Justice at this given moment. She is the one who is fighting for standards. Politics is not some thing in the sky. Today the struggle is against the Rajapaksha regime’s plan for intimidated judiciary.
We need to look at what is happening on the ground. If the impeachment was an isolated incident by a law abiding regime then it is possible to take an abstract position. But as we all know that form the attempts to intimidate Mannar magistrate Anthony Pillai Judeson to gunshots fired at BASL president Wijedasa Rajapaksha’s house just two days ago there is a plan of action by Rajapaksha regime to intimidate the judiciary.
Today the struggle to defend the independence of judiciary is symbolised by one single fight: removal of the flawed impeachment and her right to fair hearing for the Chief Justice. There are no other barricades to stand by. The main contradiction is the country today is impeachment: CJ Vs MR.
Call for Shirani Bandaranayke’s resignation saying that ‘lets have standards, once she leave is tantamount to complete misreading of the regime’s plan. Is it possible to appoint an independent Chief Justice under the 18th amendment of the Rajapaksha regime? What will happen once Shirani B. resigns? Rajapaksha will appoint one of his cronies to lead the Bench.
Before we take a stand on whether Srirani Bandaranayake resigns or not we need to find answers to the question raised above: What is the regime’s strategy regarding the democratic governance in general and independent judiciary in specific? The answer is simple: no democracy no independence of judiciary. This is the context of struggle of impeachment taking place. If the impeachment wins Rajapaksa strategy goes ahead. If it fails, that wills tolls the bells for Rajapaksa, sooner or later. Chief Bandaranayake has become the symbol of this struggle today. We should call for the removal of impeachment not the Chief justice.