|by Sri Lankan Robinhood
( December 5, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) From the formation of 1978 constitution in Sri Lanka, elections were held under violence and unrest over the past two decades. After the 1978 constitution was introduced the first election was held in 1988 where president Premadasa came to power. None of the elections held in Sri Lanka after 1993 is free and fair. President D.B. Wijethunga held free and fair elections in 1993 for the UPFA to come to power. The readers can see the rising in numbers of people killed in General, Presidential, Provincial, local government elections and how many opposition party supporters/offices are attacked, how many political motivated killings un-investigated after 1993 during president Chandrika and president Rajapakse era.
Due to this election violence the people’s actual franchise were not represented during elections. The more opposition supporters attacked and killed during elections the more the ruling party gets the majority in the parliament.
The current majority gained by the ruling regime in general elections 2005 and in the 2010 is a synthetic one. During the 2005 Presidential elections voters of Jaffna Districts were prevented by an intrigue by the present regime and the LTTE by offering money to the LTTE from voting. In 2010 elections the elections results were electronically manipulated and worst elections violence reported with many opposition supporters killed. The government abuse its power by using the state resources to its maximum for election campaigns. In 2010 people inside Menik farm were not given the opportunity to cast their votes by delaying their transportation to the polling centres. The evicted Muslims in the Northern Province residing as internally displaced and resettled people in the Puttalam and Mannar districts are not duly taken into account during the electoral process before the elections. Some of the IDP families pending, resettlement and resettled in Mannar district and new eligible voters are neglected, abstained or dropped during the electoral registration and issuing polling cards. Due to the delay in the resettlement process the electoral registration of those people has been severely affected.
The Rajapakse regime deliberately create, violence in UNP dominated areas during elections campaigns and disrupts opposition political rallies and activities. The regime uses underworld thugs, PSD (presidential security division) and STF and disrupts opposition party rallies, meetings and destroys party offices and kills opposition party activists. Due to this pre election violence and unrest the opposition voters are not been able or prevented to use their franchise fear of threats and intimidation. When elections are notified the regime starts to disrupt the opposition activities in opposition dominated areas by various means. From registering the electoral process and up to the elections day the ruling regime, angles to curb the right of the voter. This is very clear when we see the disparity between the registered voters and polled voters. Sometimes voters complain that their votes have been caste without their knowledge and identification when they go to cast their vote. These polling cards are taken before reaching the actual voter and given to ruling party activists to cast their preferences.
In such a circumstance peoples actual representation has not been franchised duly during elections held after 1994. The 1999 Presidential elections, the Wayamba PC in 1998, the 2001 and 2005 general elections are the worse in history killing many opposition party supporters including the Udathalawinna massacre during the Chandrika administration. In the 1999 presidential election 56 murders were reported and 30 attempted murders were reported. During the 2001 General elections 60 murders were reported including 14 on the polling day.
In such a circumstance criticizing the opposition leadership of Ranil Wicramasinghe for continuously losing 25 elections is absolutely baseless. Until the independent commissions are established under the 17th amendment to the constitution none of the elections can won by the opposition. When the Defence, Police and the three armed forces are in the control of the executive, when thugs are kept as bodyguards, when presidential security personal are allowed to attack political opponents, when the paramilitary forces engage in abductions, when the government in power uses the above to intimidate the opposition none of the elections will be free and fair under the Rajapakse administration. When elections are notified the regime sends its political thugs to UNP dominated areas to create violence and unrest and gives political appointments and transfers to public service including the police ignoring the public services commission.
The situation has become so worse that it cannot be compared with previous head of states that the centrally powerful executive presidency abuses the power vested to him in the constitution to his personal desire to his existence not giving an opportunity to challenge anybody democratically. The central focused power who is above the law can influence a group and mobilize them to create harm and unjust to another to sustain its existence.
Independence of Judiciary and the supremacy of the parliament
From the appointment of Sarath N. Silva as the chief Justice during President Chandrika administration none of the Supreme Court decisions pertaining to the constitution were given to protect the supremacy of the parliament. The fundamental rights petition filed to protect the people’s sovereignty and the best interest of the citizens were dismissed and given judgments in favour of the executive. The grave damage started when the Supreme Court gave a decision to preserve the parliamentary seats when members crossed over to the ruling majority. These members who are not independent candidates but belongs to the opposition political party got their preferential votes using the party symbol crossed over to the ruling party for financial gains and personal benefits. This opposition MP’s were bought by the ruling regime by offering ministerial portfolios. When there was a fundamental rights petition was filed against these MP’s challenging to cancel their MP seats, the Supreme Court gave a judgment in favour of the MP’s by preserving their parliamentary seats to preserve the majority in the parliament not considering the best interest of the people who elected the same MP.
May be its Executive Presidency, the supreme parliament, Judiciary or the media the sole description of these four arms of Democracy is to protect the sovereignty of the people and work for the best interest of its citizens. None of the above organ individually or collectively should work, seek, harass or influence help from another organ to preserve or protect its individual existence or provide direct, indirect help or remain silence to protect another organ. If any one of the above organ individually or collectively work, seek, harass, influence or help to preserve its own existence or help another organ to preserve its existence sovereignty of the people is lost.
The constitution of Sri Lanka is made out of the executive presidency, the parliament and the Judiciary. The president, the parliamentarians and the chief justice when taking oaths should promise to protect the constitutionand dedicate to work independently considering only the best interest of its citizens while protecting the sovereignty of the people.
In the recent history of Sri Lankan politics there were ample instances the executive manipulated the judiciary in such a way that most judgments given by the Supreme Court only protected the executive presidency and preserved the ruling majority in the parliament neglecting the sovereignty and working for the best interest of the people.
In 2004 the majority parliament lead by the UNP was dissolved by President Chandrika By using her executive powers subjugating the majority elected by the people. When a fundamental rights petition was filed against the dissolution it was dismissed by then Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva working for the interest of the former president Chandrika Kumarathunge.
During the UPFA administration the Executive, the ruling regime parliament, the judiciary and the state media worked together and used its maximum powers to preserve the executive presidency undermining the sovereignty and curbing the fundamental rights of the people and suppressing the independent media.
During the UPFA regimes in order to sustain the executive presidency and majority in the parliament these four arms cohabited with each other and created laws and pass justice to sustain the executive presidency post and to preserve the synthetic ruling majority in the parliament forgetting the sovereignty and the best interest of its citizens.
Under these circumstance when a synthetically elected unsuitable executive is ruling with a synthetically lead parliament and a patronage chief justice who can be influenced with a corrupt state media is in existence it is impossible for a democratically elected opposition to counter the undemocratic acts of the government democratically. There is no history that any previous presidents in Sri Lanka before 1994 using millions of public money to acquire members of the opposition by concocting ministries and offering them perk to lay low in the parliament
In a democratic country when all democratic arms are not working for the best interest of its citizens there is no way the opposition or the people can seek justice from the judiciary and the parliament in a democratic way where the independence of the judiciary and the supremacy of the parliament are lost and there will be no laws legislated in favour of the citizens.
The laws passed in the parliament should be in favour of the citizens of the country. The supremacy of the parliament is not defined by safeguarding the parliamentary seat to protect the ruling majority. The present parliament ruled by the UPFA is not a supreme legislature. The recently passed 18thamendment by the legislature and the decisions given by the chief justice favouring the amendment sustaining the existence of the executive failed to protect the sovereignty of the people who elected the same executive.
If the four arms of Democracy the Executive, the ruling regime in parliament, the Judiciary and the media fails to protect the sovereignty of the people and the supremacy of the parliament or if all above state mechanism coexisting with each other and work for the sustainability and the personal benefits of one another and work for the best interest of its own existence there is nothing the opposition nor the opposition leader can do to combat the injustice, uphold the democratic rights and protect the sovereignty of the people. The opposition leader is mandated to protect the constitution by the legislature. The opposition leader is not vested with defence power to combat the arbitrarily acts of this regime. The opposition can raise its voice in the parliament and make awareness to its citizens about the damage done to the country and mobilize the citizens to rise against the injustice and undemocratic governance.
This can be considered the first time in the history of Sri Lanka where a government is directly involved in killing the public and opposition party supporters during protests. None of the political motivated killings are investigated by the police and brought justice. We can see many presidential commissions are investigated in a casual way but nothing done to bring the culprits before the court of law. Whoever people raise their voice against the regime are abducted using the white van. Though the emergency is lifted the prevailing prevention of terrorism act in force the police and the PSD can take anybody into custody with or without a court order and hold in unlawful detention without information. Due to this many media people who combated the undemocratic acts of the government were abducted, assaulted, disappeared and killed and force to leave the country fear of their lives.
If an unsuitable person elected for the executive who is capable to preserve his existence he is capable to dismiss a chief justice refusing to cohabit with the executive and allege for misconduct of her personal behaviours. He can angle opposition MP’s for millions of public funds to remain silence and to support its synthetic majority. National treasures can be unlawfully dug and museums robbed where there will be no proper investigations conducted. The rule of law will not be equal to its citizens. There will be low quality petrol, blood platelets and medicines are imported for the public. There will be political motivated murders remain un-investigated by the police and CID , where politicians can influence court jurisdictions, where public servants are assaulted and tied in public relations minister. Ministers can enter state institutions and threaten media people. There will be inter party murders occur during elections, where there are hundreds of presidential commissions started without results, where there are no ruling party members remain during parliamentary debates to answer questions raised by the opposition. In such a situation there is nothing a democratically elected opposition can do to challenge this government in power lawfully and democratically. The only solution what the opposition can do is to mobilize the public to rise up against the injustice committed by this regime.
The two presidents of UPFA who were appointed after 1993, all UPFA parliamentarians, the ex chief justices, the x attorney generals, IGP’s appointed during the UPFA administration has stooped to such a low level to promote the interest of one centrally powerful ruler neglecting their public service and abstained to work for the best interest of the public to uphold the supremacy of the parliament and rule of law to protect the democratic rights of the citizens.
If the ruling majority in the parliament condemns that there is no stronger opposition in the parliament and the media blames the present opposition leader incapable to oust the existing government, I wish to ask these unscrupulous members of the parliament, if there is will be a no confidence motion against the present regime presented by the UNP, will these parliamentarians who were once sold for public money, can return the balance what is remaining with them and lay down the ministerial position and join with the opposition?
The coalition led UPFA alliance, its members and whoever promoted this regime to come to power, whoever crossed over from the opposition to render their support, whoever helped this regime to sustain its existence, whoever supported to legislate the 18th amendment, whoever made underhand money and gained personal benefits from this regime, whoever remained silent undermining the injustice committed to uphold the rule of law, whoever acquired political appointments, whoever didn’t raise their voice against inequity are solely responsible for losing the supremacy of the parliament. The coalition governance led by the SLFP and other parties has spent most of the public funds and time to sustain the existence of the alliance neglecting their public service. After the UPFA formed the alliance of all political parties the parliament of Sri Lanka became Casino club working for personal benefits, privileges and perks.
The alliance ruling majority is in the process of angling members from the opposition to the ruling party to increase their majority. Millions of public funds are given underhand to buy members of the opposition and ministries offered to support the government majority during voting to sustain its power.
When Ranil wicramasinghe started a truce between the LTTE and the GOSL in 2002 a movement created against Ranil Wicramasinghe labelling him as pro LTTE, unpatriotic by the opposition. During the ceasefire agreement the security barricades were removed and people were allowed to move freely to engage in trade and other activities. There is a wide opinion that the United National Party is diplomatic in its local administration and in its dealings with the international world more than the SLFP, UPFA and other political parties. The UNP was trying to corner the LTTE in its international arena that it’s engage in a no cause liberation fight against the government and there is no necessity for the LTTE to carry arms. Due to sustain the leadership of president Kumarathunga there was a wide propaganda created alleging Wicramasinghe is engaged in dividing the country into two with the help of the Norway and north east will be given to LTTE for administration. Owing to this President Kumarathunga took over three ministries of the ruling UNP government portraying a false picture to the majority Bhuddist public the entire country is under threat. She dissolved the ruling parliament led by the UNP and made a probationary government with the JVP. There was a widespread opinion created by the communal politics that “no matter what happens Ranil should not gain power”
If the 2001 UNP government would have been existed or not dissolved by President Kumarathunga the LTTE would be cornered by the international community and forced to lay arms. Under these circumstance there would not be an opportunity raised to engage in a cruel war with the LTTE. This would have saved lives of thousand innocent civilians and saved many people losing their limbs and saved women and children to live with their husbands and father. UNP is a party famous for uniting all ethnicities under one nationality and creating brotherhood among the majority and the minorities living in Sri Lanka. UNP is a party not engage in gallery politics and provocate the majority with the minorities and sustain its party in power. Being a bhuddist I am sad to note that many Singhalese has failed to know this fact.
Therefore at a time when there is heaping cost of living where people are not been able to eat a single square meal, where 12 people are killed within 72 hours, where there are remand prisoners are abducted near court precinct, judicial officers are attacked and assaulted where no culprits apprehended, where people are abducted using white vans, where inmates are killed inside the prison, courts are being stoned by henchmen of parliamentarians, where media people leave the country fear of abductions, where youths are illegally leaving the country to seek jobs, where impunity and lawlessness is ruling, when there are child abuse and rapes are done by the members of the regime, where there are unidentified dead bodies found murdered, where women’s are murdered, where there are taxes imposed for sardine and almost 100 all state institutions are incurring losses due to corruption, it is absurd to poke behind the opposition leader. The best is to poke and pry the injustice committed by the ruling regime and its henchmen’s to the people of this country.
It is a quite flattering and sad that few UNP supporters, lawyers and x UNP ministers do not understand this basic fact and simple issue but trailing behind the opposition leader for abstaining his duties. In such a circumstance it is worthy to inform the unscrupulous senses of these UNP supporters, lawyers and X UNP ministers, the state media including the Sirasa to stop mudslinging campaign of the opposition leader and to do something useful such as to push this government to establish of the 17th amendment to legislate the independence of the elections, police and the public services commission which will enable to uphold the independence of the Judiciary, Supremacy of the parliament and media freedom which will lead UNP to an unprecedented victory –