26 September, 2020

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Impeachment Or Censure; A Moral Imperative 

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” ~ Bill Clinton

“Everybody in the country knows I am not a lawyer” ~ Maithripala Sirisena  

After the unenthusiastic reinstatement of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime minister the President delivered a belligerent broadside to the UNF hierarchy. He made some revealing pronouncements and remarks.  

They represented the core values of the man we mistakenly elected as our President to abolish the executive presidency.  They insinuate deeply held beliefs – cultural traits or taken for granted intrinsic values,  stubbornly held and powerfully expressed, that they are beyond debate and negotiation. 

“… there are certain very strong and powerful forces related to religion, customs, language etc. Mostly, it is those cultural forces, more than political forces, that make or break Governments. I clearly pointed out this out in the recent past, in the matter regarding filing cases against Bhikkhus need to be done carefully.

There were no elephants for the Perahera from temples or Dewala, and that resulted in a major socio-religious and cultural resistance over this. As such, I asked to study the legality and release the elephants. Over this issue, we lost the support of the entire Bhikkhu community.”

He expounds these views after the Supreme Court gave its ruling that gave “tangible and effective life and meaning to the sovereignty of the people.’  It is an exculpatory explanation.

In short, they explain why Sirisena decided to unmake Ranil Wickremesinghe and break his government with a cavalier disdain for constitutional good order.

If you can get the endorsement of those powerful forces that make or break governments, you  can do whatever fiddle diddle with the  constitution ! 

The proclamation dissolving parliament was in violation of the constitution. When the President insists that there are other social forces whose power to make or break governments that need to be appeased, it is time for us to take note of where he intends to go. 

Are we saddled with a law breaker at the helm of our republic? If so, what are we doing about it? 

Politicians parade a put-on piety when addressing the ‘Maha Sangha’. President Sirisena relies on two adjectives – Vandaneeya and Poojaneeya. Sajith Premadasa adds a third ‘Gavuraneeya’ to beat him to the post. Mahinda Rajapaksa is content with ‘Apey Hamudurwane’. His style of piety is his own patent and patently proprietary. He has them in the bag.  Others are compelled to compete.

This is pure fraudulent religiosity customized to serve individual political interests. 

The submissive humility is devout roguery. Sajith Premadasa has a vast repertoire of adjectives for all occasions. After the presidential outburst following the swearing in of the Prime minster, Sajith decorously  addressed the president as ‘Srimath Janadhipathi thuma’. After the harangue it was an odd hurrah! 

The purpose of this essay is to demand that parliament must now instruct the president on the sanctity of the constitution. That the sovereignty of the people too is a Vandaneeya , Pujaneeya and Gauveravaneeya concept that cannot be trifled with.   

The president must be informed that the prefix ‘ Srimath’  has to be earned by upholding the  constitution in both letter and spirit.  

To understand the truth about 26th October 2015 we must expose its falsehoods. It is only by stripping away the false claims that we can reveal the truth about the constitutional coup.

 Only a motion to impeach or censure the president can make the plain truth plain enough for the people. A parliamentary resolution to impeach or censure the president is a bottom-line imperative to secure our parliamentary democracy.    

“Everybody in the country knows that I am not a lawyer. I didn’t issue the Gazette on my own. Eminent President’s Counsel were involved in this. All these Gazette notifications were released after holding discussions with them.”

“When I issued some Gazette notifications recently, I did so with the advice of expert lawyers and constitutional experts. All what I did was done with utmost good faith. I didn’t do any of those acts with malice or with an intention of violating the Constitution.”

Clearly the man is impervious to logic and reason. These are value determinations  by the president of our republic. They must not be ignored.    

Information that properly belong to the public should not or must not be withheld by those in power. These presidential pronouncements call for a detailed scrutiny by a competent body.  A motion of impeachment or censure signed by 113 members of parliament is the only means that will make it happen.   

He did not take our democracy by its throat and strangle it. He did better. He demanded obedience and compliance from parliament.  One hundred twenty-two parliamentarians resisted.

They refused to become accomplices of Maithripala Sirisena’s constitutional jiggery-pokery. He now claims that all his actions were based on good honest advice of erudite jurists.  We have a right to demand who they are.  

First things first. Maithripala Sirisena the President presents a clear, defined, deliberate threat to our democracy and constitutional order. Not moving a resolution to impeach or censure him places an errant president above the law.  He attempted violence on our constitutional order. 

The parliamentary majority that resisted his intimidatory manoeuvring to bend its will, may not have the 150 votes required to pass a resolution to impeach and remove him from office. But it can pass a motion of censure by a simple majority. 

The parliament has the numbers to initiate proceedings. That must be done forthwith irrespective of its outcome.  

The Supreme court demonstrated that the rule of law can supersede the rule of power. 

 It is a decade of the rule of power that we ended on 8th January 2015. That we only managed to inscribe it on a slippery slate with the 19th Amendment is neither here nor there.  What mattered is that it served its purpose. We must preserve those gains. 

Rule of law resists the rule of power. The attempted dissolution of parliament was ‘outside legal limits’ and a violation of the citizens right to be ‘protected from any arbitrary exercise of power” 

This idea has clearly evaded the grasp of Maithripala Sirisena the president. He continues to insist that his powers are not subject to constitutional constraints. 

By remaining silent instead of moving a resolution to impeach or censure the president, the 122 parliamentarians who defied the president are now turning in to expedient accomplices of Sirisena’s holier than thou hocus pocus.  

In addition to making them opportunistic cowards, the failure to move an impeachment will make the 122 parliamentarians willing collaborators of Sirisena’s claim that he acted in good faith.

They would be condoning his duplicitous conduct of insisting that the Speaker should strictly comply with parliamentary procedure, while he studiously avoided restraining or condemning the hooligans who threw bell book and candle at the speaker’s rostrum. 

He made the Bible throwing Weerawansa a cabinet minister and appeared with him on the same platform at a public event held at the Sugthadasa stadium.   

There are lessons to be learnt. Ravi Karunanayake regaining cabinet rank or Sajith Premadasa minding the cultural portfolio has no relevance to our constitution good order.

 One is the deputy leader of the UNP and the other is the assistant leader of the party led by Ranil Wickremesinghe the acknowledged, undisputed bête noire of Maithripala Sirisena the president. 

Every politician has a self-serving bias. The assistant leader and the deputy leader of the UNP are believably blessed with more than the usual dose of self-serving bias. Self-interest is what drives those practicing the vocation of politics.  

Self-interest can and does alter a person’s assessments of policy. It can and usually does succeed in changing a person’s mind about what is right and wrong.

Ranil has retained his acolytes Sagala, Akila and Malik in his cabinet. Range Bandra who exposed S.B.Dissanayake’s shocking palm greasing attempts on tape has been left out. 

 Ranil has decided that John alone can straighten up the leisure and pleasure sector. The plain-speaking parliamentarian from Putlam- Rangebandara has publicly stated that somethings are decidedly rotten in the UNP.  

There is a difference between Range Bandara and Ravi Karunanayake. One records conversations. The other’s capacity to recall conversations is constricted.  

I refuse to believe that either Sajith Premadasa or Ravi Katunayake greeted the unfolding events of the evening of Friday 26th October 2018 with paroxysms of disbelief. 

Their reactions were far removed from the indignation expressed by other seniors such as Mangala Samaraweera or Ranjith Madduma Bandra.   

The closing of ranks by UNP backbenchers and the accurate reading of the dangers of constitutional gerrymandering by the JVP and Tamil and Muslim minority parties no doubt surprised the deputy leader and the assistant leader of the UNP.

It is reported that both Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake wanted to boycott their swearing in ceremonies for their own reasons but took the trouble of informing the President that they meant no disrespect to him. 

Such commendable propriety on their part seems peculiarly disconnected with Ranil Wickremesinghe body language during Sirisena’s sermon where his rolling eyeballs appealed to high heavens to spare him the humbug of the preacher. 

If Sajith Premadasa is serious about his added assignment as Minister of Culture and National Heritage, he should print the Sinhala version of the 88-page main Judgment of the Supreme Court and the 20-page Judgement of Justice Sisira de Abrew for distribution to all members of the ‘Poojaniya Vandaneeya Mahasangha. 

 By doing so, he would be heeding the advice of the President whom he addresses with such decorous servility – “Srimath Jandhipathithuma.” 

The rule of law is the opposite of the rule of power. The rule of law rejects the supremacy of the will of an individual. 

This dreadful man did not force himself on us. We elected Maithripala Sirisena as an interim replacement for Mahinda Rajapaksa who planned to rule for life and thereafter entrench a dynastic rule of his family.   

The pernicious presidency of Maithripala Sirisena is a product of a deeper crisis. It is the still unresolved and unaddressed crisis we confront in grappling with the monolith that Mahinda Rajapakse built on a foundation of tribal hatreds, unreason and an all-pervasive corruption of our political discourse. 

The great American jurist Felix Frankfurter said it with luminous lucidity. 

“There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary. If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny.” 

Maithripala Sirisena has violated the constitution. When he states brazenly that there are other social forces whose power to make or break governments that need to be appeased, it is time for us to take note of where he intends to go. 

Are we saddled with a law breaker at the helm of our republic? If so, what are we doing about it? 

A resolution to impeach or censure President Maithripala Sirisena must be moved in parliament and debated. The resolution must be voted on by name. We owe posterity that duty. 

Let justice be done though heavens may fall. Sirisena the president is a reaffirmation of the epigram – ‘man is not what he thinks he is. He is the man he hides.’  What is Man?  Man is a miserable little pile of secrets.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    1

    The Parliament should impeach both Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapakse for illegal political coup, using bribe to buy Opposition MPs and to the damage caused to the nation.

  • 2
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 5
      0

      “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” ~ Bill Clinton”

      What do you expect? He is a Yale – not as good as SL Law Collage where Mahinda, Namal et al let others get their “training” and pass exams for them – trained lawyer! Technically he is correct; all the relations was with a cigar.


      The good ol’ human-condition we are all bogged-down knee-deep in …………. does not allow a man to do selfless deeds ………. in the end it’s all about oneself ……..

      If I go and feed a hungry man …….. it’s about me feeling good ……… all what I migta be doing is buying a little “good conscience” for a good night’s sleep.

      So all this Sirisena’s De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da is all about himself ……….. not about anything or anyone else …………..

      If he comes out and says loud and clear that he would not contest for a second term – as he promised in 2015 – then I will start to believe in his suddenly discovered altruistic tendencies

      Now what happened to the plot where Sirisena and Gota was going to be bumped off? I thought it was all about the bloody plot! Am I the only one who can still remember the plot? Others have moved on to other reasons; uh?

      So now the putsch is over; everything is forgiven and forgotten and we move on? No one is held accountable? How about the guy who got shot in the Petroleum Corp? Only his family pays the price; not the instigators of the well-planned coup?

      • 3
        0

        continued

        We are all Singhalese brothers, now ………more equal than others; we pay no price even for a putsch ……….. but that Tamil lady who talked – metaphorically – about the safety of Tamil people during the LTTE has to give her pound of flesh? Cant ye see why the Tamils want to secede? The game is a little bit different for them, uh? A wee little bit?


        So what’s new in the New Year in the good ol’ motherland? Anything changed? Other than changing 18 to 19?

        Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
        Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
        To the last syllable of recorded time;
        And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
        The way to dusty death. — (Good ol’ Will in 1606 ……… thinking of 2019 SL; they say he was good on the “vision” thingy)

  • 11
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    Dear Sarath: Your suggestion of either an “Impeachment” OR a “Censure” will never be brought in Parliament against this President. Please refer to the text of the “No Confidence” motion dated 14 November, 2018 brought before the Parliament by the JVP , that which was passed by 122 MPs and forwarded to the President by the Speaker of the House, certifying it. That text, specifically refer to the Gazette Notices 2094/43, 2094A and Extra Notice 2094/44 issued by the President , were in VIOLATION of the provisions of the Constitution. What did President “Demanded” from the Speaker on receipt of this NCM? He “Demanded” the reference to those Gazette Notices be “DROPPED” and pass a fresh motion. Why? The President “Knew” (I doubt) but was appropriately advised, that if the motion in that format was allowed to remain in the records, that would certainly be a “CENSURE”. The Speaker “AGREED” to the request and did amend it accordingly. That is how the “HUMBUGGERY” and the “HYPOCRISY ” of the highest Authorities were set in motion with no RESPECT for LAW of the country and the PEOPLE who voted to power. Will “OUR CRY” for Justice be answered? No. The only alternative is to prosecute the Attorney General for such violations of the Constitution by the President; because he is the “Guiding Star” . However, this matter is still pending in Courts and there is another “MOVE” by the PM & COHORTS to withdraw that too. Will JVP abide by that or PROCEED with the case? Let us keep GUESSING?

    • 7
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      I fully agree that something has to be done to stop this marauding bull. But What?

  • 13
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    Shame on M3 …
    Had he abolished executive presidency he would have had his name in SL history..
    Now he goes home with s bad name .
    What a unfortunate man is he ?
    Greed …it is a human greed.
    Let him now read about Buddhism now .

  • 6
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    Oh yes friend, it’s time to impeach and send this law breaker behind bars for his foleny. All are equal in front of the law, it’s apply equally to the president as well, and he is not above the law. Let the JVP get moving with it for they said that they would move the impeachment against the president for violating the constitution, and breaking the laws on which he took solemn oath to protect it. After violating the constitution and breaking the law which was confirmed to the world by seven plus three honourable judges, he is not fit enough even for a minute to hold that scared office. He should and must go, and if not, he should be evicted from that place. Further JVP said that they would push for the parliament commission to investigate and take necessary actions to purnish all those involved in the coup.

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 9
    1

    Sarath:
    You have summed up what needs to be done when you say, “A resolution to impeach or censure President Maithripala Sirisena must be moved in parliament and debated. The resolution must be voted on by name. We owe posterity that duty..”
    What is wrong with our legislators when they can’t/won’t do what obviously needs to be done?
    Perhaps, more important, what is wrong with the general public that seems to countenance this state of affairs?

    • 6
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      Exactly, Emil. You hit it on the head again, as usual.

      We need to start a web-based movement to gee up both the legislators and the public to do the right thing against what is wrong with our society.
      [edited out]

      • 1
        0

        Oh, no! Sri Lanka should exercise an ounce of caution before thinking of adopting the web-based movement experience of Alberta, Canada.

        Anyone wanting information on the enourmous corruption of public funds that took place under tis fraud needs to ask Mr Barry Pashak for an explanation and the money route.

        My advice with close knowledge of such frauds is, don’t touch him with a barge pole.

  • 6
    0

    When the supreme court clearly says that president has violated the constitution that govern us and also protect us can he still hold his position? Can’t he be removed legally thro courts system? Can he contest at a future election?

  • 1
    7

    Sarath,

    26 Oct 2018 is history!

    shall we move forward?

  • 5
    0

    Will the Central Bank or any other independent, credible organization or group of Economists, calculate the loss to the country in financial and economic terms of the mad cap adventure of MS, MR. and other ‘ Bala tanhas’ such as SB, Premajayanth, Weerawansa.. and Co. ?

  • 2
    0

    You have been advised by Lakthilake, Gunaratne, & Konngahage who were brief less lawyers, hence the calamity . People suffered due wrong decisions. Please no such blunders in the next 10 months

  • 0
    8

    Mr Alwis
    You are talking as if you have landed from another planet.
    Sirisena to be impeached by whom?
    Give me the name of one of your exalted parliamentarians whose conscience and integrity you are appealing to who is not equally if not a bigger crook than Sirisena. (Few names that may crop up in your mind to challenge me all have had a terrorist past who are pretending to be guardian angels of democracy today in order to to erase our memory.)
    Give me an example of a more shameless act than this cross over drama and the attempt to manipulate the Constitution to accommodate the stinking frogs. You are asking the Mafia clan to chop off the head of their Boss forgetting that together they rob and terrorise us. Don’t waste your literary talent on this dog fight between the Boss and the Clan which itself is decided on the basis of benefits. I am surprised to see that a man your intelligence has failed to realise that who wins has little affect on us.

    Once again you have slipped in the word “mistakenly” to cover up your share in deceiving the people in 2015. Whom are you trying to fool? Isn’t this very treacherous nature of Sirisena you made use of then.? For those of us who shunned Sirisena in 2015 the cost of your “mistake” is incalculable.

    Soma

  • 6
    0

    I totally agree that to impeach or censure Sirisena is a moral imperative of all those sitting in the Parliament, who opposed the moves by Sirisena to appoint a new (fake) PM, sack the legitimate PM and dissolve Parliament in obvious violation of the Constitution. To not do so will be an absolute cop out, which should not be tolerated by the law- abiding civil society, who has by the way elected these parliamentarians as their representatives and been paying for their lavish lifestyle. We should bring maximum pressure on the lazy, self-serving parliamentarians to get off their fat bums and act in this regard. No hope of Ranil taking any lead on this (as he is probably one of the laziest and one with no leadership at all). Either the JVP or the TNA is my best hope in this regard.

  • 4
    0

    “This dreadful man did not force himself on us.” Actually, he was not a dreadful man at all when he first took office in January 2015. What turned him into a dreadful person was the untrammeled power and exalted (above the law) position he enjoyed after being elected Executive President of the country. The evil was not in the Man, it was in the Office. Until the E.P. is abolished irrevocably, this land will keep on tottering from one crisis to another until the majority of the population end up walking the streets with begging bowls in their hands.

  • 2
    0

    New Year wishes to Lanka from international cricket council. . Lanka is rated number one in corruption by I.C.C. Not only the national games , but the local and domestic games are either fixed or influenced by under world. Some achievement for country like no other. Here are few others , Country with out leader, country with two PM, MP,s representing two to three parties at the same time.Ministers in two parties, PM without office, PM with and without office , etc…etc.

  • 3
    0

    Looking forward to a bleak and empty New Year ??????????? Well deserved, retarded public of country like no other.

  • 0
    1

    Is Sarath de Alwis trigger happy in ~ “Impeachment Or Censure; A Moral Imperative”?
    One must get to the truth behind the 26 October ‘removal’ and the ‘crisis’. The “Impeachment Or a Censure” must wait.
    Was MS manipulated? Was MS willing to take part? Maybe or maybe not.
    Would the ‘crisis’ been successful had the parliament fracas spilt to the street?
    The people showed aversion to violence.
    What followed is history – pleasant history!
    .
    What will “Impeachment Or Censure” achieve Sarath?
    Start of the process may result in violence. The ‘crisis’ may take a different turn.
    The imperative is to avoid violence.
    .
    Sarath: Please note that MS has not taken away our right to dissent.
    In the New Year message MS says “Learn from mistakes”.
    MR says “Protect motherland from external forces”. Seventy years ago this very same was used to create the language/religion divide.

  • 2
    1

    “Are we saddled with a law breaker at the helm of our republic? If so, what are we doing about it”.
    This is our plan!
    We in Sri Lanka punish you first for having asked/forced us to elect him on January 8, 2015. We punish you for that erroneous, myopic, and ill-advice, and then, we punish the ‘forces’ you represent (willingly or unwillingly, including the JVP and TNA). You guys brought in all kinds of hate filled malicious arguments against the then President Rajapaksa. Many of them were later proven blatant lies (golden horses, Buckingham palaces in NY, Lamborghinis, etc. etc. After elections, we remember you guys dig Rajapaksa’s back-yard and provided us some temporary fun)! That’s how you paved the way for him to make a strong come back!
    During the election, you all painted Sirisena as the ‘sweetest’ guy to render Good Governance and proclaimed this ‘common candidate’ would create heaven on our soil with Mr. Clean as PM! That has now turned out the joke of the decade!
    Like MS does today, you guys now confess that you committed all those political blunders in ‘good faith’. OK, fine! Then President Sirisena is also right! He ‘interpreted the constitution’ wrongly but, in ‘good faith’! Why should we punish him only? What about those who assured us of ‘him’ and his ‘abilities’?
    Is that a good enough answer to your political gobbledygook? My humble request to you is “please, don’t drag Sri Lankans from frying pan to fire”. Let PM Wickremasinghe and his ‘new’ cabinet work and let the President work with both parties so that we’ll at least have some solutions to country’s burning problems.

  • 1
    0

    As a mater of respect for all CT readers, it would be nice to know what the words
    Vandaneeya, Poojaneeya.and Gavuraneeya
    mean.

    Then we can understand the article better.

    • 3
      0

      Holle It means:

      We had Chera . Chola and Pandya Dynasties. in India .
      The Sri Lankan equivalent is Manhintha , Maithri and Ranil Kingdoms . Hope you understand and the medium of instrauction is Sinhalese .

    • 1
      0

      Well, the minimum those who fight for ‘equality’ can do for the sake of equality is to make an effort to learn the meanings of a few words of the leading and more ancient Sinhala language of the land.

      It appears now the mentality of fighting for equality simply means all the spoils of the nation for ourselves, as the colonisers gave. Trying to divide the country in to ethnic enclaves, (with minorities scattered in other enclaves too!), with the help of American imperialists is the result of such selfish greed.

      Shame on fighters for democracy in the courts, while holding well-paid government positions, still holding a backward, greedy, selfish mindset. You are uncivilised.

  • 0
    0

    A Censure?
    NO! It should be Impeachment followed by a long term in Prison.Lesser people have been punished for lesser offences.Violating the Constitution and then saying he is no Lawyer but was advised by Presidents Counsel is as good or as bad as saying he should not be accountable for his actions!!!

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