By M.K. Eelaventhan –
Maithiri’s much publicized vote catching 100 days promised actions commencing from January 8 started with a whimsy and has ended with a whimper, much to the disappointment of all Sri Lankans. However, some actions have been taken and/or initiated and the noteworthy step is the introduction of the 19th amendment. Reviving the independent police judicial and public service commissions and reducing the powers of president without abolishing it as promised and demanded by some political parties. This bill is likely to reach the statute book. The other notable changes are:
- The reduction of fear psychosis from government sponsored criminals and ruling politicians
- The fresh air of press freedom in the south while the north is still a haunting region for the Tamil journalists
- Avoiding diplomatic and state appointments based on political favouritism and nepotism
- Curtailing China’s hold on Sri Lanka while forging more friendly relationships with India and U.S
- So far there are no signs of any abuse or misuse of power by Maithiri and also any dictatorial attitude. Maithiri has also not shown any lust or designs to cling onto the position of Executive President
- Maithiri is still lacking the dominant spirit and move like a President with decisive step
The Maithiri-Ranil brittle and uneasy union is meandering and plodding to fulfill the promises and meet the aspirations of all Sri Lankans. Firstly, the disgusting pampering of the past regime’s corrupt officials, ministers, and including the self-made king of corruption, the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa is still continuing. Maithiripala Sirisena promised to close the airports to stop the fleeing of the corrupt including criminals. This promise is dead and no one knows the names of those who fled to avoid the long arm of the laws in Sri Lanka.
Secondly, some investigations have been initiated against the members of the Rajapaksa dynasty for their involvements in bribery, tamashas, frolics, misuse and abuse of state machinery, sexual trysts in homes and airlines. The media is exposing the disgusting details of various disgraceful episodes, but there is inexplicable slowness and reluctance to bring them to face the crimes and culpability upholding the rule of law, though the arrest of Basil Rajapaksa is a bold step and it is hoped that this will be followed by many more arrests including the defiant Mahinda. Ranil Wickremesinghe for his part has blocked the arrest of Gothabaya Rajapaksa, thus freeing from more grilling investigation. This lawless step of Ranil is just the writing on the wall and one can be rest assured that the Rajapaksa dynasty could be leniently dealt with while giving a body blow to good governance in Sri Lanka. It looks like Maithiri is haunted by the menacing spectre of Mahinda like a phoenix bird.
There are signs of this uneasy coalition of two major rival partires of Sri Lanka breaking up as elections near. Maithiri’s soft approach and attitude is a cannon fodder to Ranil who is exploting it to the hilt to strengthen his party while engineering divisions within the already fragmented Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Ranil is also playing his usual game of “divide and rule” policy towards TNA. His first move appears to have succeeded, with his indecent outbursts directed at C. V. Wigneswaran calling him a “Liar and not worth talking to him”, at the same time nursing a friendly relationship with R. Sampanthan. Ranil has obviously forgotten the fact that ‘Wigneswaran’, was elected by the people to run the Northern Provincial Council, while Ranil usurped the position of Prime Minister illegally and unelected with the support of a mere 45 UNP members, in violation of parliamentary democracy.
Ranil is also trying to create a parallel administration in the north aiming to destabilize the northern provincial council’s administration with designs to isolate and weaken the popular Wigneswaran.
The most glaring neglect and inaction or no-action of Maithiri involves the sixty years old Tamils’ problems.
Maithiri is ominously silent on this matter and so far no proposals of settlement, not even any expression of determination has been made by Maithiri. Ranil on his pact as usual harps on national unity co-operation, while focusing his efforts to strengthen his party in the north with elections in mind. The handing over of 470 acres of army seized lands out of 6030 acres in the Vadamaratchi is just the tip of the iceberg to paint a picture of reconciliation and hoodwink the world community.
The security forces entrenched in the north are continuing their presence which is now declared permanent by Maithiri’s government. Displaced Tamils continue to live in camps as refugees and adequate compensatory measures have not yet been effected. Maithiri has appointed yet another commission to deal with truth and reconciliation. The earlier LLRC report and some of its constructive and useful recommendations have been laid to rest. There is nothing new for the new commission to search, investigate and recommend. The truths are there for the whole world to see and know. They are simply militarization, Sinhalisation, Buddhisisation, genocide, racial discrimination and crimes against Tamil women and children more after the war.
Maithiri and Ranil have also vowed not to accept any international investigation into the roles of Sri Lankan government, state officials, and security forces. The proposed internal investigation will commence and end up with covering of perpetrators who executed the crimes lest Maithiri runs the risk of dethroning by Mahinda who is waiting in the wings to pounce on Maithiri and Ranil at the opportune time. The grim truth is that the problems of Tamils as usual will be kept dormant partly aided by a sleepy and inactive TNA as the priorities of Sinhala political parties are solely winning Sinhala votes and capture political power and for this purpose Tamils will be exploited in whatever way possible leaving them to pursue their life of misery, sufferings, degradation and final decimation in their traditional homelands.
Mahinda has to some extent succeeded in weakening the hard posture of USA towards Sri Lanka, by relegating China’s dominance in Sri Lanka. For USA and some countries, Tamils are like curry leaves ‘ Use and then discard’.
Maithiri and Ranil company are channeling their energy and efforts to paralyse the impending UN commission’s report and make it sterile. It will not be a surprise some more commissions could be appointed targeting to solve the grievances of Tamils while their recommendations are consigned to archives.
The current highly charged political atmosphere is testing Maithiri’s energy, concentration and skills to defeat the plots hatched by Mahinda gang who are channeling all their efforts to dethrone Maithiri and Ranil while paying scant respect to the rule of law by employing political thugs to prevent and disgrace the administration of justice to the political criminals. Maithiri is warned not to allow the Mahinda clan to recommence their autocratic rule by perverting the democratic system and ideals and turning Sri Lanka into a police state.
As for the Tamils and TNA, no light is seen at the end of the tunnel and any hope of a dignified political settlement from Maithiri or Mahinda is as good as dead. It is high time for Sampanthan and company to face the realities and ground situation and look for new directions, ideas and moves to launch fresh campaign and agitations for a solution with the help of the international community.
A disunited TNA only worsens the causes of Tamils and it appears that M. A. Sumanthiran is more worried and concerned about the resurrection of the Tigers than the Sri Lankan government and other international community.
It is better late than never for the TNA to act in unison with one voice and note living on hopes, promises and tiger fantasies.
The 100 days programme discarded the cancerous ethnic problem and thus treating the TNA and Tamils as irrelevant in their political agenda, and relegating it as a matter of less or no importance.
While Sampanthan is chasing a mirage with hopes of settlement, Tamils feel isolated and desolate with no hopes without a dynamic and bold leadership at this crucial period.
*M.K. Eelaventhan – Former Member of Parliament Sri Lanka & Member of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam Representing Canada