| by Robinhood
( February 8, 29014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The power against the authoritarian Rajapaksa regime is reaching to a decisive position day by day. Certain ruptures are getting erupted within the regime and international pressure too is getting mounted against the Rajapaksa administration.
Following the official arrival of the UNHR commissioner, the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the visit of the US senator Stephen Rapp the international criticism against Democracy, Human Rights, Good governance and war crimes committed against the Tamil civilians during the final stages of the war has gained momentum and festered enough to reach into Sri Lankas domestic affairs. It has developed into a stage where the Mahinda Rajapaksa government cannot evade nor escape from international focus. The main cause for that is none other than the arrogance of the Rajapaksa regime. The Rajapaksa government has to categorically face the consequence in the coming UNHRC session on this coming March. It is believed the war crimes allegation hitherto which was down the agenda during the previous sessions has reached on top of the agenda this time. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government have to bear the sole responsibility for culminating this affair into its peak. Disagreeing to comply, lack of public diplomacy and integrity, the current Human Rights records in the country and the hoodlum attitude showed in the presence of international journalists during the CHOGM may have caused to escalate the situation. What preventive measures the Rajapaksa regime would seek this time in the UNHRC who has already lost twice.
Provincial Council Elections in the North
Rajapaksa government compelled to keep the Northern PC elections due to intense international pressure. Failure to capture the power of the Northern Provincial Council is a great defeat to the Rajapaksa regime. The regime tried different techniques to balance the vote bank with the TNA (Tamil national Alliance) but failed to achieve. The Rajapaksa regime could not find a matching candidate to compete with Justice Vigneshwaran in the northern polls. If the regime would have known the TNA chief ministerial candidate prior to the elections by now justice Vigneswaran wouldn’t have lived in this earth. Although Rajapaksa regime tried many vantage to prevent the elections through its ally Sihala Urumaya by organizing pro government protests none of them materialized. Amid all militarization and abuse of power during the elections (corrupt elections) 80% of the northern people unanimously elected the TNA into power rejecting the Rajapaksa administration to the northern PC. If the regime would have held the NPC election in a free and fair manner following the legislation of the 17th amendment the regime wouldn’t be able to capture at least one seat in the NPC elections. From this historical and decisive win the people in the Northern Province has clearly given a message to the people in the south, though the government truly or falsely exhibits developing the northern province they are against the Rajapaksa regime and they are still aware and concerned about their fundamental and political rights. This message can be the main internal pressure starting against the regime from the north. Now the regime has unanimously lost the north and the balance region left for Rajapaksa is only the south.
Conflict inside the SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom party)
There are many internal conflicts within the Sri Lanka freedom party. Senior SLFP members are deprived with the regime chief for cornering them. They appear they are against the corruption of the Rajapaksa but more deprived of not allowing them or given any opportunity to engage in sordid deals of the regime. There is an internal force within the SLFP already starting to gain momentum and waiting for the correct time to strike. This is mainly due to the Rajapaksa giving more opportunities and priority to the new MP’s who crossed over to the regime from the UNP and sidelining the old SLFP stalwarts. This has given the opportunity for the senior SLFP members to incline with the former President and former leader of the party Chandrika Kumarathunga. It is believed that this force will join the latter and persuade her to contest the coming presidential elections in order to protect the party from the Rajapaksas. In order to counter this situation the Rajapaksa has shown some stern actions against the former MP’s by producing and incriminating them at the bribery and corruption and by removing their benefits and privileges but this will furtherance and aggravate more hatred among the old SLFP’s against the Rajapaksa in time to come.
Budget defeats in the local government councils.
The second bombardment the Rajapaksa regime is facing is the budget defeats at the provincial and local level. More than describing this as a defeat this can be illustrated as a struggle for corruption or one trying to swindle more than the other member. Knowing the fact the regime is going to collapse in short time, it is soon becoming a situation where the members of the regime who are in the provincial and local level, their families and their henchmen’s are trying to make a quick buck out of public funds by involving in sordid deals with the influence of the regime or by foul means.
47% of the out of the total budget expenditure has been allocated to five ministries handled by the President, economic development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. A staggering Rs. 724 billion has been reserved for the ministries under the three Rajapaksas out of the total budget of Rs. 1.54 trillion. Since the budget allocation for three Rajapaksa is nearly 50% from the total budget expenditure the remaining important 62 ministries such as health, education and others has to share the balance 53%. Due to this ministers are deprived that their ministries are not granted sufficient capital budget allocation from the annual budget. Since large infrastructure projects are implemented through the economic development ministry of Basil Rajapaksa, all other ministries has to implement their developments in conjunction with the economic development ministry. Due to this, ministries are not granted sufficient capital budget and restricted having access to large finances. Owing to this fact ministers are only allowed to manipulate the crumbs. Due to this the ministers are trying to keep close ally with Rajapaksa brothers to win their confidence to get few privileges and to involve them as a part in swindling. Since the major portions of the corruption are gobbled by the Rajapaksa brothers and their families the ministers are deprived of the Rajapaksa restricting to have the remainder.
Current position of the opposition
Due to the fact the Rajapaksa regime has politicized all its democratic arms through its influence the main opposition UNP is unable to democratically challenge the Rajapaksa. But certain characteristic challenges are now emerging which is a good sign. A joint opposition force can help to topple the Rajapaksa regime or a people’s rebellion power. While the battle for the UNP leadership is in force the current UNP leadership has to build a collective peoples force able to challenge the Rajapaksas authoritarian governance. It took a long time for the UNP to amend its policy to abolish the current executive presidential system and to grant the powers to the parliament to strengthen Democracy and rule of law. UNP by introducing the executive presidential system to the current constitution have learnt many lessons, undergone many assaults for the past 20 years and faced many challenges when the post goes to an unsuitable person who will look forward to create an authoritarian regime disregarding the best interest of its citizens. From the lessons learnt the UNP should be able to behave and conduct its new strategies to the common people in a way they could feel and understand. Although the UNP leadership council issue is an internal rift, if the he UNP can lead the party and its members in efficient way it can be a good precedence for the future. Sajith premadasa has to realize the main person who takes advantage of the rift between him and the UNP leadership council is none other than Mahinda Rajapaksa. Though Sajith Premadasa vociferates that he can eradicate poverty and provide economic relief to the lives of people when he comes to power, he does not explain how he can do so. He doesn’t show an interest or bother to give an answer to the clear message given by the northern people of the country. The northern people have shown that they need a change of policy in the Sri Lankan politics, but Sajith Premadasa does not have any credible answers to the question of the northern people. If Sajith Premadasa wishes that he is more suitable for the presidential candidate and he can be the next president by claiming the votes of the majority Singhalese, he will be another Mahinda Rajapaksa to continue another authoritarian regime against minorities. With the current constitution if an election is to be held in a free and fair manner considering the best interest of all majority and minority community no party can get a two thirds majority in the current parliament of Sri Lanka. As a political analyst I wish to say for candidates who wish to become leaders that neither a single person nor a single party should try to become the leader trying to obtain a majority from the majority population. It should be a coalition of all parties should elect a leadership based on coalition governance. But my opinion would be besides that there should be a qualified monitoring body to evaluate the conduct of the coalition to check whether the coalition is spending it’s time for the betterment of the people and not to preserve the best interest of the coalition which later becomes an alliance meant for corruption which is currently in practice in the Rajapaksa regime.
The need to build a joint opposition is essential in order to overthrow the current authoritarian Rajapaksa regime. Though UNP shows a flexible policy in its concepts still there is no aim found for the parties like the JVP (Peoples Liberation Front). In order to create a joint opposition it would be useful that if it can establish an independent joint mechanism where all party policies can coexist with each other. This joint mechanism policy can help to establish transparency among parties. Further this mechanism can help to overcome many policy issues in post election atmospheres.
Nevertheless the people in the northern region have categorically given their verdict against the Rajapaksa regime. Still there are no visible signs of dejection from the people living in South and East. But one thing is visible, even if Rajapaksa regime robs million of public funds, disappear people, increase the price of goods, impose unbearable taxes and burden the people, smuggle drugs, members of the regime rapes women, import ethanol, start a casino in front of your house, hinder the independence of the judiciary, collapse the rule of law, if the police and the forces attack, shoot and kill innocent civilians on peaceful protest, mobilize paramilitaries, army deserters, underworld criminals and unlawfully release imprisoned criminals and former LTTE detainees to kill political opponents, journalists and trade union activists, how much the state departments run at a loss, distort statistics and census, if the commissioner of bribery and corruption takes a bribe it is sad to note the majority community living as numb stooges.
( Robinhood of Sri Lanka is ombating the rights of the underprivileged.)