By Rajeewa Jayaweera –
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing a gathering in Kegalle on August 19 to distribute Title Deeds to 1,364 persons on the completion of three years of “Good Governance” by the Yahapalana government held sway of the abundance of democracy in the country.
Wickramesinghe complained that although the government has created a climate of democracy in the country, there are those who abuse it.
The Prime Minister stated, “We live in a democratic society. There are those who make use of this freedom while there are those who misuse it”. Referring to striking doctors (over SSLFTA) and Students (resulting in the closure of universities), he quoted Abraham Lincoln stating, “Those who deny people their freedom do not deserve freedom themselves.” He further elaborated, “We live in a democratic society. People of this country now have the freedom to elect who they wish and to protect their fundamental rights. We have never hindered this process by kidnapping people in white vans or committing murders. We will be holding Provincial Councils elections very soon. It is not us who is holding this up but the Elections Commissioner. Party leaders have been notified.”
Democracy in the country which was restored by the people on January 08, 2015 was lost once again at the Independence Memorial Hall by sunset on January 09, 2015 immediately after the swearing-in of Maithripala Sirisena as President when the sitting Prime Minister DM Jayaratne was vaporized, and Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister. The appointment was never ratified with a vote of confidence, the first order of business in any democracy after a new government takes office, until after parliamentary elections in August 2015.
A few days later, the Chief Justice (CJ) too was vaporized by sending a mere letter of removal after declaring his appointment as void at inception as his predecessor’s impeachment was deemed unlawful. Decisions made, and Judgements passed by this CJ during his two-year tenure in office remains unaddressed to date. Even the draconian Rajapaksa administration went through the motions of an 11-member parliamentary committee which investigated and found her guilty of professional misconduct on 14 trumped-up charges of financial and official misconduct followed by a motion in Parliament which was carried 155 for and 49 against.
In any democracy, all types of elections are held on its due date. What kind of democracy is the Prime Minister talking of which he claims was restored by the “Good Governance” government? Local Government elections which should have been held in 2015 were eventually held in February 2018. Three Provincial Councils are currently being administered by its Governors due to lack of elections. The terms of office of another three Provincial Councils are due to expire in October with no dates set for elections.
Wickramasinghe blames the delay in holding elections on the Elections Commissioner who incidentally has been made irrelevant by the Chairman of the Elections Commission who in turn keeps saying he is awaiting Parliamentary approval of the Delimitation Report.
Fairy tales such as ‘living in a democratic society’ and ‘holding Provincial Council elections very soon’ may have gone down with those poor souls in Kegalle genuflecting in a most self-abasing manner before the Prime Minister after receiving their documents.
But others know better or as it is said in Sinhala, ‘Danno danithi.’