| by Robinhood
( June 30, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) There is a widespread speculation that the Rajapakse administration has strengthen its authoritarian power due to a weaker opposition. As a political analyst I don’t see there is a weaker opposition but I see a weaker civil society, a politicized Judiciary, a corrupt Police force, a biased media, a synthetic ruling legislatures (from the Parliament to the local Pradeshiya Sabha) which does not signify the actual mandate of the general public which has lead to form an authoritarian power to the executive to protect his personal powers forgetting the people who elected him.
The Rajapakse regime deliberately create, violence in areas dominated by the opposition during elections and disrupts opposition political rallies and activities. The regime uses underworld goons, PSD (Presidential Security Division) and STF and disrupts opposition party rallies, meetings and destroys party offices killing opposition party activists. Due to these pre-election violence and unrest the opposition voters are not been able or prevented to use their franchise fear of threats and intimidation.
There is an extensive criticism created against the opposition leader violating the party constitution and prolonged his leadership by another six year term. There are allegations that the working committee of the UNP is consist of friends of the opposition leader who don’t have the capacity to lead the party to win elections. There are allegations within and outside the party that the leadership has continuously lost 17 elections from 2002 and the opposition leader don’t have the required capacity to lead the party and win the confidence of the general public and party supporters to win in coming elections so that the party leadership should change.
State abuse of Power
We wish to reiterate from the recent past there are no free fair elections held in Sri Lanka after 1993. In 1993 President D.B. Wijethunga kept a free and fair election for the then UPFA government to form an alliance. From the day UPFA regime came to power it never showed any interest to register voters in areas of minority community lives or people evicted by war. If registered, the registered voter will be dropped from the voter list or no polling cards issued. From the day the election date is notified there are state sponsored attacks and assaults carried against the opposition party members and offices. The worst elections violence is witnessed during the UPFA regime in force. All elections held after UPFA came to power there was an unprecedented abuse of power where the public services were totally politicized and collapsed. Police department came under severe political influence where officers were forcefully transferred to different areas and given instructions not to register complaints given by the opposition against the ruling party supporters.
Due to this state sponsored violence the people’s actual franchise are not mandated during elections. There are credible reports alleging the 2010 General Elections and Presidential Elections results were rigged and manipulated electronically. Owing to this there are no proper investigations conducted by the Elections commissions. The regime is disinterest to stop this violence instead promotes sponsored mobsters to engage in attack and assaults targeting opposition party supporters. These violations are mostly triggered by the ruling party in power against the opposition politicos.
Similarly the integrity and the consistency of the Judiciary too came under severe criticism locally and internationally for the unfair jurisdictions given for the fundamental rights petition and criminal offences under the Chandrika administration by then chief justice Sarath N. Silva. The release of the five accused, lack of evidence for the killing of 27 Tamil prison inmates of the Bindunuwewa rehabilitation camp, The killing of the 17 ACF aid workers, killings of five university students in Trincomalee and the killing of ten Muslims by the STF in the Pottuwil, killing of the 11 Muslims in the Udathalawinna during 2002 General Elections are some of the collapse in the rule of law under Chandrika administration.
The Sri Lankan Judiciary dealt these crimes unpunished releasing the killers without lack of evidence or how the accused were punished and later released before the full jail term. I insist to count the number of un-dealt complaints piled up in the National Human Rights Commission/ National Police Commission, complaints without investigations, casual approach to murder investigations, and number of un-accounted investigations piled in the police/CID, mocking interrogations of affected families by the police/CID when investigating complaints, how many Presidential Commissions appointed remains inexplicable without lack of consistency.
The Rajapakse regime deliberately create, violence in areas dominated by the opposition during elections and disrupts opposition political rallies and activities. The regime uses underworld goons, PSD (Presidential Security Division) and STF and disrupts opposition party rallies, meetings and destroys party offices killing opposition party activists. Due to these pre-election violence and unrest the opposition voters are not been able or prevented to use their franchise fear of threats and intimidation. When elections are notified the regime starts to disrupt the political activities in opposition dominated areas by various means. From registering the electoral process and up to the elections day the ruling regime, angles to curb the right of the voter. This is very clear when we see the disparity between the registered voters and polled voters. Sometimes voters complain that their votes have been caste without their knowledge. These polling cards are taken before reaching the actual voter and given to ruling party activists to cast their preferences.
In such a circumstance peoples actual representation has not been franchised duly during elections held after 1994. The 1999 Presidential elections, the Wayamba PC in 1998, the 2001 and 2005 general elections are the worse in history killing many opposition party supporters including the Udathalawinna massacre during the Chandrika administration. In the 1999 Presidential Election 56 murders were reported and 30 attempted murders were reported. During the 2001 General elections 60 murders were reported including 14 on the polling day
In such a circumstance criticizing the opposition leadership of Ranil Wicramasinghe for continuously losing 25 elections is absolutely baseless. Until the independent commissions are established under the 17th amendment to the constitution none of the elections can be won by the opposition. When the Defense, Police and the three armed forces are in the control of the executive, when thugs are kept as bodyguards, when presidential security personal are allowed to attack political opponents, when police DIG’s are sponsored for political murders and extortions, when the paramilitary forces engage in abductions, when the government in power uses the above to intimidate the opposition none of the future elections will be free and fair under the Rajapakse administration.
When elections are notified the regime sends its political goons to areas dominated by the opposition to create violence and transfer Police officers to its needs and desires preventing not to take action against pre election violence. The regime gives political appointments to pro government servants to work for the support of the ruling regime in opposition dominated areas during elections.
The situation has become so worse that it cannot be compared with previous heads of states that the centrally powerful executive abuses the power vested to him in the constitution to his personal desire to his existence disallowing anybody to challenge him democratically. The centrally dispatched power who is above the law is capable of influencing a small group and mobilize them to create harm and unjust to its citizens to sustain his personal power.
The only alternative to stop this synthetic election and uphold the rule of law is to establish the 17th amendment to the constitution which legislate the Independent Commissions which can consistently monitor the electoral registration and election process in a free and fair manner. Up to now the main opposition UNP has not met any free and fair elections under the 17th amendment after 1994. Though there are many persuasions from the joint opposition to legislate the 17th amendment before the coming Northern Provincial Elections the government or the President has never given any initiative to establish the 17th amendment which is detriment to the MR administration.
Rise of impunity
When Rajapaksa administration came to power in 2005, the amount of disappearances, abductions, dead bodies of Tamil youths and dissident voices increased in numbers in Vavuniya, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and in Colombo areas. Under the emergency regulation and PTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) there were many genuine complaints remain unaccounted, uninvestigated, criminals not prosecuted. Many Tamils who were speaking in favor of the LTTE and Tamil ethnicity were labeled as LTTE and abducted, detained and tortured without judicial proceedings. This is evident when we read the disappearance records contained of the families of the enforced disappearance, the number of abductions, missing people, un-dealt investigations and police inactions for complaints made by the relative of the victims. Under the Emergency and the PTA there were many extra judicial arrests, detentions, torture, killings, personal revenges has taken place within the high security zone and outside. Further I wish to remind the number of Muslim and Tamil businessmen’s abducted during 2007 - 2009 for huge ransoms who were threatened not to make complaints.
When Karuna Amman (TMVP) broke away from the LTTE instead of providing security to the latter the government armed the Karuna faction to fight against the LTTE and Tamil dissident voices. The government used these paramilitaries to kill many TNA politicians and disposed the blame on LTTE. There are grave violations leveled against the mass murders committed by Karuna Amman who killed 600 unarmed Sri Lankan Police in Batticaloa during late 80’s still pending legal action and the number of abductions and enforced disappearance after he broke from the LTTE in the eastern part of Sri Lanka. In July 1990, Karuna forces allegedly halted a convoy of Muslims crossing through the Batticaloa district, and executed 75 of them, including women and children. In August 1990, the Karuna forces allegedly executed more than 200 civilians inside two mosques in two incidents- known as the Kattankudy and Eravur massacres-which occurred in the Batticaloa district.
Following the paramilitaries were armed many Tamil youths were abducted (enforced disappearance) in the Eastern Province forcing them to join TMVP and many Tamil dissident voices who spoke in favor of LTTE abducted and later found dead. Further children’s of wealthy families whose relatives lived overseas were abducted for large ransoms by Karuna led paramilitary in the eastern and northern province during the 2008 -2010. These paramilitaries are still in force in the North and East patronaged to liquidate any anti government voices to carry out its sordid missions.
These paramilitaries were made used to help STF (Special task Force) and the SL army to identify civilians (LTTE suspects) who had links and spoke in favor or supported the LTTE and liquidated them. People who had links with the LTTE became identified targets of these paramilitaries and STF. After breaking away from LTTE these paramilitaries were nurtured to carry out motivated killings of pro Tamil politicians such as Joseph Pararajasingham, K. Sivanesan, Nadarajah Raviraj, T. Maheswaran and many dissident people who raised voice against the heaping abductions and killing of civilians living in the North. Though the Rajapaksa regime armed Karuna (TMVP) & Douglas (EPDP) faction to fulfill its illicit motives it is being four years since the war ended the GOSL has not taken any credible steps to disarm these paramilitary groups up to now.
The people who had links with the LTTE are the family members of LTTE carders who communicated with their child who are members of the LTTE. These families came under the direct target of the Karuna/Douglas paramilitary labeling them as spies of the LTTE, abducting and keeping under unlawful detention. The government used many unlawful ways to impose restrictions of LTTE activities suppressing the Tamils living outside Vanni and in Colombo. The families were horrified by the atrocities committed by the paramilitaries. In simple words the Tamils were used as porn to limit LTTE activities.
There are mudslinging campaigns carried out by the pro national electronic (Rupavahini and ITN) and Sirasa media targeting the opposition leader. Sirasa being professional media organization bring junior and retired UNP MP’s and encourage them to criticize the opposition leader incapable of winning elections and accuse having deals with the regime alleging safeguarding his opposition leadership. Sirasa is a media organization started 15 years back and UNP is a political party which has a long history of nearly 70 years who has administered governance and produced many patriotic leaders and statesmen’s in Sri Lanka. It is admirable for Sirasa to criticize the government and opposition in an ethical way but it is immoral for Sirasa to target an individual and mudsling him by sponsoring others. Sirasa being a specialized and professionals in electronic media, has very limited experience in Geopolitics therefore it is unsuitable for a professional independent media organization like Sirasa to engage in sponsored mudslinging campaigns targeting an individual without due concern. It is recommendable for media institutions to comply its boundaries of media ethics more than doing politics. In simple words a media institution can do politics but not into unprofessional mudsling.
In a situation where there is a dishonest head of state who is a commander of the three armed forces and the Police, who appoints his lackeys as a Chief Justice and Attorney General who is capable of electing a synthetic legislature, a biased national media and a manipulative elections commission all of which collectively protect the corrupt executive how can a democratically elected opposition overrun the above and seek due process?
It is very famous in Sri Lanka that prisoners convicted of murders are sentenced to death or life and later given state pardon by the head of state for birth days or sentenced reduced during Vesak and for Sinhala New Years. Due to this, the criminals indulge more in abductions, murders; rapes and robberies have no fear of law, criminal prosecution and the judiciary. Due to political influence crimes are dealt uninvestigated, prevent police action and remain unpunished.
The lawlessness has come to a stage where judges indulge in bribes to fix jurisdictions, no proper charge sheet for murder crimes where Attorney General withdraws murder cases of ruling party politicians. The lawlessness has ravaged that people has lost faith in the policing and reluctant to lodge complaints in the police fear of fabricating charges and reversing the case against the complainer.
In a condition where the law of this country is not free and fair and equitable for its citizens, where anti government voices are abducted in white vans and killed handcuffed where ethnic religious minorities are prevented, attacked and assaulted in exercising religious and fundamental rights where the countries head of state is disinterest allowing to grow lawlessness and impunity abstaining to enforce the law and order, where people of this country cannot keep faith in a politicized Police and a Judiciary where the country’s ruling legislature creates laws to suppress the rights of its citizens where protesting people are given shooting orders and taken into custody using the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) how a democratically elected opposition can be blamed for not winning elections ?
If a country’s head of state who is the commander of the three armed forces is above the law and if the Chief Justice, the Judiciary and the Attorney General is undermining the rule of law and if the democratically elected government abuse and misuse its power in an arbitrary and authoritarian way not working for the best interest of its citizens it is a sorry state of affair. The Rajapakse governance has ruined the entire public service from the Parliament to the Local Government, from the Chief Justice through Attorney General to the magistrates, from the DIG to the constable to the lowest level comparing with previous governments.
All public servant heads, ministry secretaries including the Foreign Service has become political appointments who are lackeys of the head of state who waits for opportunities to earn a quick buck during their tenure. The corruption has spread its wings to such a low level that inferior blood platelets and fuel are imported from black list companies out of tender procedures.
The citizens of the country has become senseless numb stooges watching the actions and drama of political lackeys stooping to the lowest waiting for opportunities to strike for benefits, perks and privileges. The people’s strength of character is transformed into a defenseless and powerless state.
Under the circumstance there is no way a democratically elected opposition and the law abiding citizens can expect due process from the Judiciary of Sri Lanka. When the arms of Democracy are politicized and crippled there is no way a democratically appointed opposition can seek justice from the Judiciary and the legislature unless a people’s rebellion. The people of Sri Lanka do not need a head of state/politician that should adopt mobster politics or keeping association with thugs and goons to eliminate political opponents but a Professional Statesmen.
Robinhood, Defending the rights of the powerless