23 September, 2020

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Will The Constitutional Logjam Be Shattered With A Political Cudgel?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The arbitrary and apparently irrational, antiutilitarian nature of life under such regimes….disarms all attempts by reasonable men to understand and explain the course of events”. Tony Judt (Reappraisals)

Hasitha Madawala was shot dead on the night of January 5th, outside his house. His murderers rode a motorcycle, wore hoods, and got away.

Mr. Madawala was not a member of the opposition or a Rajapaksa-opponent. Like Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra he was a loyal SLFPer; and a UPFA member of the Kelaniya Pradesheeya Sabha. His grisly fate is a reminder that under Rajapaksa rule, life can be short and death brutish to all but the Rajapaksas and their kin.

One year ago, on the night of January 7th 2012, another attempt was made to kill Mr. Madawala: “He claimed that Minister Mervyn Silva has ordered to kill him as well as the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman and another member of the Kelaniya PS. A murder contract has been given to notorious underworld operatives Roshantha of Hikkaduwa and Majeed of Maligawatte, Mr. Madawala alleged” (Sri Lanka Mirror – 8.1.2012).

Just before he was killed Mr. Madawala was arrested by the police, allegedly for behaving in an ‘unruly manner’ at a meeting presided over by DIG Anura Senanayake. The police even opposed bail for him. That episode indicates that Mr. Madawala had fallen from favour, that he had ceased being a member of ‘protected species’ and become vulnerable to political-abuse like the rest of Lankans. Incidentally, DIG Senanayake was to retire this month, but was granted a one year extension just this week.

Welcome to Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, a land like no other, a paradise in which life, liberty, security and the pursuit of wealth and happiness is guaranteed only for the Ruling Siblings and their kin. For everyone else, it is – or can be – a jungle; including for loyal servitors.

The impeachment drama and the venom and the unreason with which the Rajapaksas are pursuing it become perfectly explicable within this context. Shirani Bandaranayake, as a Supreme Court justice and as Chief Justice, bent over backwards to satisfy Rajapaksa political demands. She headed the benches which rejected Gen. Fonseka’s petition for bail, approved the 18th Amendment in just 24 hours, gave a free passage to the Expropriations Bill and rejected petitions against Leadership Training and the blocking of anti-government websites. In a classified cable (revealed by Wikileaks), the US Ambassador claimed that Dr. Bandaranayake was a ‘Rajapaksa loyalist’.

But all that loyalty counted for nothing in the end. She made one ruling against Rajapaksa needs (because the 13th Amendment is crystal clear on the matter) and the Siblings launched volley after volley of Greek fire at her. The Supreme Court, had it approved the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill or the Divineguma Bill, would have acted in barefaced violation of the constitution. But such logic matters nothing to the Rajapaksas who believe that their will, and not the constitution, is supreme.

This is a lesson which must be borne in mind by every top official, especially judges. The Rajapaksas do not want loyal supporters; they want mindless, supine serfs who do as they are told. And even a lifetime of loyalty counts for nothing against one act of ‘disloyalty’. The next CJ will have to agree to every Rajapaksa demand, including orders which are as illegal as hell. Only a man or a woman who is willing to abandon honour, dignity and conscience can become Sri Lanka’s next chief justice and avoid an impeachment a few months down the road.

The Fight for the Chief Justice is a fight for Justice

The impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was never meant to be a legal exercise. It was conceived of, planned and implemented as a political act. Its aim was never the uncovering of the truth or the dispensing of justice. Its aim was to punitively dislodge a retainer who dared to disobey the wishes of Sri Lanka’s ersatz royals. The Rajapaksas are utterly intolerant of disobedient tools. Shirani Bandaranayake had to be evicted in a way which would definitively discourage others from following in her footsteps. That was why the impeachment was conducted in the most unfair and unjust manner possible, from the very outset. It was never meant to convince; it was meant to threaten, frighten and warn.

When the impeachment travesty commenced, the million-dollar question was whether the CJ and the judiciary will have the capacity to withstand the Rajapaksa juggernaut. The Rajapaksas thought – and those of us who oppose the Rajapaksas feared – that the CJ could be hounded out of office and the judiciary could be rendered malleable via a combination of threats and favours.

That worse case scenario did not happen. The CJ is standing like rock-solid and the judiciary is putting up a valiant fight to defend the rule of law. Their spirited resistance has provided the democratic forces with the ideal platform to wage their own battle against the impeachment, for judicial independence and for basic rights.

The constitutional logjam will not be resolved on the basis of law; it will be shattered by the use of political power. The Siblings are not going to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, because doing so would create a precedent which will severely undermine their power project. The Speaker – who has become Sri Lanka’s pre-eminent constitutional expert, followed by the Deputy Speaker – will rule that the PSC is more supreme than the Supreme Court. The parliament will then ‘debate’ the impeachment and the charade will end with the UPFA voting against the CJ en bloc. The decision will then be sent to the President, who will immediately remove Shirani Bandaranayake and appoint a more proven stooge in her place. Once the new CJ is in, naked force can be used to deal with those judges, lawyers and other activists who refuse to accept the illegal and illegitimate status quo. The Siblings will equate any resistance with a legal coup and use the police, the army and the PTA to subjugate resisters.

The CJ and the judiciary have gone as far as they can. The task of impeding the regime from violating the Supreme Court ruling belongs to us, those elements of political and civil society who have not succumbed to the Rajapaksas. The opposition must boycott the impeachment debate, because participation will lend this illegal exercise some credibility. The rest of the battle will be more political than judicial; as such it will have to be waged in the media, in parliament, provincial councils and pradesheeya sabhas, within the UPFA and in the streets.

Plus the international arena; this battle must be taken to the UN and the Commonwealth. The only real snag the Rajapaksas would see in taking a political cudgel to the constitutional logjam is the impact such naked and illegal use of force would have on the Hambantota Commonwealth Summit. Making a roaring success of the Hambantota Summit is a presidential passion. An illegal and violent resolution to the Impeachment drama would not advance the prospects of the Hambantota Commonwealth Summit – or the chances of obtaining the next IMF loan.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Who is Tony Judt?
    Why is he so important?

    • 0
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      TONY JUDT IS IS A NAATAAMI AT 2ND CROSS ST IN PETTAH, COLOMBO .

    • 0
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      GO TO WIKIPEDIA AND SEE, OR READ THE HISTORY BOOKS

  • 0
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    Once again, Tisaranee has given a brilliant analysis and a viable strategy to oust this lot from power.

    We should concentrate on getting the Commonwealth meeting cancelled and the IMF loans not available. Both these things can be done because the British dont care about whether thwy had the summit or not, and the IMF will not care about lending another billion dollars to Sri Lanka.

    Let us plan the next steps of how to achieve these objectives.

    • 0
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      Long live SunGod King Percy the great. He is greater than Dutugemunu!

      • 0
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        You must be His Hex-A-Lunacy Percy Jilmart Rajapassa’s ass licker!!

  • 0
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    Brilliant, Tissarane! You spare few words to expose this nakedly wicked MR regime.The latest to put the panties down is the educated worm-GL Peiris. But GLP has nothing subsatantial to expose

  • 0
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    One of the most persistant member and promoter of the anti Sinhala Buddhist front and an avowed opponent of Rajapaksa( by her own admission here) finally admits that the Hutsdorph ,INGO, Colombo Elite backed CJ logjam will be shattered by political power.

    There are two interesting aspects to this prediction of this well connected Journalist.

    First, all peace loving inhabitants who have been anxious about the doom and gloom predictions of MS Thisaranee’s colleagues here about all the terrible things that are going to happen to the inhabitants , including a “Hultsdoph Spring” can ,now relax a bit with this assurance that it will be only a “political bazooka”.

    Secondly, how can a Prez who is accused by Ms Thisaranee & Co of doing all sorts of terrible and nasty things to all and sudry, including his loyal party hacks ( as per her preamble) have so much political clout?.

    • 0
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      “have so much political clout?”
      modaya-Just like his friends kaddafi and saddam

    • 0
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      KAS says: “Secondly, how can a Prez who is accused by Ms Thisaranee & Co of doing all sorts of terrible and nasty things to all and sudry, including his loyal party hacks ( as per her preamble) have so much political clout?.”

      What a stupid question! “….so much political clout..” comes from his actions as President in garnering virtually all power/budget allocations to be shared with his brothers, as well as the knowledge of all, of what happens to those who oppose him. Surely you can’t be THAT dense?!

  • 0
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    on the ball

    sanity will not prevail

    and the price of sanity for sri lankans this time around – will not be cheap

    2013 will go down in history when sri lankans after avoiding their civic responsibilities for decades will finally come face to face with their choices and destiny

    this time – there is no escape

  • 0
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    Thanks for shedding light on the Madawela killing. Now there is no doubt who was behind the killing. Also the appointement of DIG AS who was due for retirement was extended by the president. He is well known for his illegal activities. The disappearance of several murderers from Welikada remand prison was reported by Lanka E News and suggested that they would be used to kill opponents of the regime.

    It is likely that the regime will get rid of the CJ. Thereafter it is the duty of civil and political society not to cooperate with the regime by means of protests, rallies and strikes etc. A general strike and complete shutdown of the country could have a telling effect on this regime. Just as the strike at Jaffna University should continue till the four students are released. It cannot be bussiness as usual when our freedom and rights are under threat.

  • 0
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    A fairly simple analysis presented well by Tisaranee. I think what Moeller said is applicable once again with a little modification.

    They came for him – SF, we stood by as Citizens,
    they came for her – CJ – the judiciary fought, but we citizens really did not give much of a fight,
    they will then break the judiciary, we still will stand by and with the breaking of the judiciary,
    they will come for me easily.

    Fellow citizens unite against this anarchy? Come on don’t be scared. people’s power is supreme. You really do not need the opposition to lean on. Citizens can make the difference

  • 0
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    The MR Bros.have an hidden agenda for an Oligarchy and it can be only
    achieved by taking out the checks & balances in a Democracy. The
    opportunity has presented itself and will not be missed under any
    circumstances. The UN/IC/CW/IMF etc can wait to be dealt with more conveniently. The Security/Media controls as necessary are already
    available and how Society can be manipulated with ease.
    There recent shooting of a UPFA Councillor and other gunning incidents are a warning to all its own members in the Legislative?
    With 8th Jany. coming astrologically, we must face this metamorphosis of
    IC accepted “democratic dictatorship”?

  • 0
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    CHECK OUT THE INCOME AND EXPENDITURE BOOKS OF ALL THE ASSHOLES IN THE PARLIAMENT, ESPECIALLY THE FOUR ASSHOLES WHO ARE LEADING THE OTHER ASSHOLES AND YOU WILL FIND THE TRUTH WHERE ALL THE LOOT IS KEPT. IN THEIR LOIN CLOTH ( AMBUDE’)

  • 0
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    Tisaranee, fantastic reporting. I have a question, if the President decides to remove CJ, and since the Courts have decided that the process is not valid, what can the CJ do? Further if CJ does not move and stays in Hultsdorf office, what can the Government do? Then when the new CJ is appointed and the Judges and Learned men and women do not come to courts what would happen? Its time for us to look beyond the present and leap into the future, who better is there than you to enlighten us on this.

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      It will go exactly like what happened in porkistan with its CJ. Musharaff is in a top area of london W1 with 24 hour security costing the british taxpayer £1 million a month even after he abused tony blair. They the politicians are all in it. Its like the Chilean dictator who helped Maggie during falklands.

      • 0
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        At least Mushraff don’t have pakistani elements in England to harass him…like the Sri Lankan Tamil Community who are ever ready with rotten eggs and tomatoes to throw.

        So England is out. The closest choice could be Swaziland…or Uganda or remote china, but be prepared for sub zero cold weather and snow..

        • 0
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          And Iran, Cuba, Venezuela…etc
          Also there are loads of Sri Lankans living happily in sub zero cold weather and snow without any fear of white van abductions, killings or being branded as LTTEers, conspirators or traitors in that very tropical banana republic island. :-)

  • 0
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    After considering all the options available, I felt the only opportunity available for CJ is to HOLD ONTO THE SEAT AND NEVER GIVE UP UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OR UNDER ANY THREATS.

    THIS SHE HAS TO DO NOT FOR HER SELF, BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THE PEOPLE AND THE COUNTRY.

    NEVER TO BE FEARED FOR MARA OR ROWDY WIMAL OR ANY OTHER JACKASSES THREATS.

    MARA’S DOWNFALL HAS ALREADY STARTED FROM KELANIYA…..….AND CJ WITH THE HELP OF JUDICIARY, SC AND OUR SUPPORT AND WITH THE HELP OF GOD ALMIGHTY ………..WILL COME AS A WINNER.

    THIS IS MY PRAYER. MAN PROPOSE GOD DISPOSE.

    ALSO CALL IN FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO INTERVENE.

    HAPPY 2013.

  • 0
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    Excellent analysis by Thisaranee. Eliminating of obstacle elements is taking place in manner of well planned.You can be with R Brothers as far as you committed to perform whatever they need. Ample example,such as Bharatha, Suriyaarachchi, Mangala,Madawala, SF,CJ , Sarath Nanda etc. However, one must remember that the protest campaign took place at Katunayake to defeat the robing of pension fund using EPF and stance of CJ are are some form of effective strategy of resistance.

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