| by Rajiva Wijesinha
( January 5, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) As the election campaign draws to a close, the government seems to be getting more desperate. Arjuna Ranatunge noted at today’s press conference that his brother had claimed he would go abroad before the election. He denied this categorically, but seemed sad also that the Rajapaksas had stooped so low as to involve a brother he had respected in such falsehoods.
We must be fully aware that the price of liberty is constant vigilance. All those who want a change cannot rest until the election has been conducted and the result announced, and the new President has taken office.
Other rumours are being spread, about Sajith Premadasa, about Sarath Fonseka. The former had to appear in the media to deny this, as Fonseka did some time back, using incisive language about the President. In Sajith’s case, he has been doing magnificient work in Hambantota, so much so that someone who came home from there today said that it was now 50/50. Six months ago, he said, it would have been 70% to the President.
This seems to be the trend everywhere, though I know that in a couple of Provinces our organization has been weak. But even in Hambantota, where some leaflets I send down last week were the first that had been seen in the area, the people have decided to vote for a change. Given the stranglehold of ruling party thugs in one or two areas, I can understand why people are not making their feelings clear. But unless there is violence on a massive scale, I have no doubt we will win decisively.
And such violence seems the less likely, given that so many elements in government are now willing to stand up against abuse. As I write, three cases are reported in the ‘Top Story’ section of the online Daily Mirror about courts checking government excesses. Two are about orders to arrest government politicians, one is about blocking media abuse. That is why I do not think government plans to rig the election can work. While there will always be a few public servants willing to follow illegal orders, the majority will refuse. However, often they keep quiet while a few pervert democracy and law. Now however they will not take things lying down, so the ugly few will have to restrain themselves.
Nevertheless, we must be fully aware that the price of liberty is constant vigilance. All those who want a change cannot rest until the election has been conducted and the result announced, and the new President has taken office.