By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
“The chain of events that must now follow along the lines of the logic inherent in Sirisena’s first unlawful act leads to the build up of a totally new system operating outside the frame of the constitution and irrelevant to it.”
Playing Mind-games on President Sirisena
Mahinda Rajapakse and his family spotted trouble for them well in advance after their defeat at the polls in 2015. This is how the ‘Mahinda Sulanga,” meetings were organized at the outset- beginning Nugegoda. That move did not suffice and, next, they moved into a different ball game, namely to work on President Maitripala Sirisena and play mind -games with the latter. What Sri Lankans witness now is the success of that Machiavellian strategy.
With this intent, sections of Mahinda’s men – Susil Premjayanth, John Seneviratne, SB Dissanayake, Mahinda Samarasinghe etc had come to be part of the Yahapalanaya government. The latter group together with advisors like Shrilal Lakthilaka – a sworn Ranil hater – kept on relentlessly working on the mind of Sirisena. To Sirisena himself, reverting back to his old master had an advantage as he was increasingly getting uncomfortable with the ‘alien’ UNP crowd and with the yahapalanaya shackles placed on his enjoying unbridled power. The two needs conjoined and Sirisena was won over.
The power of evil is at play. Rajapksas and his cohorts, who never ever expected defeat in 2015, had so many cases coming up against them over charges of fraud, financial embezzlement, money laundering, and the brutal murder of opponents. The alleged crimes were very serious. The crime operation of that regime represented plain evil. The regime never respected the fundamental right of a citizen to live and to speak his own conscience. A hit -squad took charge of dissentients-journalists and others.Having little respect for the law, Mahinda and his men and women MPs went about demolishing the democratic institutions that SrI Lankans have been enjoying since the days of the Donoughmore constitution in 1933. That is over 80 years! The regime spent the peoples’ and taxpayers money at their own will and pleasure and regarded all government property their own.If Mahinda wanted to detour a Sri Lankan plane to carry his kith and kin he would do just that.
Overcome Court Challenges
The Rajapaksa regime’s current strategies are tailored to overcome the deadly court challenges its family and cohorts imminently face before the Special High Courts.They couldn’t do that democratically. In the most recent attempt, they tried to use the money they had amassed and buy over MPs; but that attempt didn’t work.Now, they have got onto the lower road of brazen Fascist rule. They got Sirisena to commence action outside and in violence to the constitution- ignore the 19th Amendment, ignore parliamentary rule, ignore majority rule and ignore decency. As suggested above, these are politicians who by natural propensity are given to lawlessness; so this style of governance is natural to them.
What we now have is a plainly illegal and fake regime appointing their own Prime Minister, appointing their own Ministers and having pretence cabinet meetings like kids playing with sand castles. The technique was to receive only the President’s illegal seal. From that point, the junta got into government establishments, government-owned media and with sheer force of physical power continue to “rule.” This is not typically how dictatorships come into being; it is a Sri Lankan ‘special’ road to autarchy. Typically, a dictator grabs military power by coup or otherwise and then proceeds. In the Sri Lanka case, the armed forces are still dazed as to what is happening and they have not put in their teeth into the illegal regime. The ultimate power-source is not yet the gun but the physical force that thugs can supply. If the armed forces succumb to the rogue government, then it will guns right along.
In one sense, Maitripala Sirisena is too simple-minded to know that eventually he will be victimised as the man who started all this yahapalanaya replacement and caused all unnecessary worry and headache to the Rajapakse establishment. However, I won’t credit Sirisena with being simply naive. Sirisena is a complex mixture of greed, corruption, cunningness and duplicitousness. These qualities are well expressed in his daughter’s book, ‘Janadhipathi Thaaththa.’In this instance, however, the naivety in the man emerges.
Violence to the Constitution
The lawless regime has failed to command the majority in Parliament. Our Parliament represents the people and the sovereignty which is invested in the people is exercised on the latter’s behalf by Parliament. The 19th Amendment, which Sirisena himself openly espoused and praised in the floor of Parliament, in effect made a sharp cut into the powers of the executive Presidency, which prevailed prior to that. Thus, the President cannot sack a Prime Minister and any person he appoints as Prime Minister must be able to gather majority support on the floor of the house. Likewise, the President cannot dissolve Parliament at will but only under certain conditions specified. The lawless brigade pushed Sirisena to do just that. Sirisena is now tied up in a ball of thread that he cannot untangle. The chain of events that must now follow along the lines of the logic inherent in Sirisena’s first unlawful act leads to the build up of a totally new system outside the frame of the constitution and irrelevant to it. This is what is now happening, and to the dismay of all lawabiding citizens. Sans any constitution to back up such a parallel system, Sri Lankans will live within an anarchic system of unwritten rules under the whim of the ‘big man,’ or of the dictates of little powers franchised by that ‘big man,’ to rule the levels below the latter.
Welgama’s Righteous Outburst
There is a fundamental principle of righteousness that is at odds with all the above outrageous acts of the Sirisena-Mahinda combine. This principle underlies democracy and our constitution. Mahinda Rajapakse’s former Minister and heavyweight, Welgama, expressed that in forthright manner and Welgama deserves our respect for being on the side of justice. In a videoed interview done on the 27th November, now doing the social media rounds disseminated by LankaEnews, Welgama says that what is now happening is wrong and that ruling power should be in the hands of none other than those holding the majority (in Parliament). “Power should go to the majority. Who else?,” Welgama asks.
It is unfortunate that some of the highly educated big guns on the Rajapakse side like Professor GL Peiris and Sarath Amunugama are not following the Welgama line. On the contrary, the latter are condoning and rationalising the misbehaviour. We need men of character who can stand up to actions of leaders-whichever side they may be located- that violate law and encourage an adverse upturn in broad social values.
Sajith Premadasa Subplot
It isn’t entirely accurate to state that this new regime has disregarded action purported to be within the democratic frame. Mahinda and his fellows know that, in the end, they need popular support and Parliamentary support. With this objective, the junta is engaged in unleashing a new subplot within the dominant United National Party. This is to create division within the UNP itself by creating a new schismatic issue, namely, by orchestrating a campaign to prop up Sajith Premadasa as leader of the UNP. Basil is said to be organizing a special mob to cheer Sajith whenever he gets onto the yahapalanaya stage just as the UPFA prearranged a cheer mob to be in the front of the crowd whenever Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed his election meetings. In the UPFA case, the mob would raise their hands in supplication and shout and hail the messiah. Likewise, the Rajapaksa junta wants to create UNP’s new messiah and, of course, slaughter the latter later. The Badulla District young MP Harin Fernando did a few days ago make a public statement that Sajith Premadasa should replace Ranil. This subplot, now gaining some momentum, is designed to split the Grand Old party right in the middle. All UNP members should be aware of this sinister move and realize that the stir is being masterminded by Basil and not for the love of their party; nor even for Sajith Premadasa.
The UNP and the public at large should firmly realize that at this stage the struggle for democracy is the only issue. Matters of leadership succession may follow only after democarcy is won back for all.