South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The ‘constitutional crisis’ blackguarding the country was conceived out of wedlock by the constitutionally-elected President and a constitutionally-defeated ex-President, now MP. 

A conspiracy against a duly-elected Parliament by the people, endorsed by the sitting President, mutually agreeing to govern under stated rules and conditions. 

The President surreptitiously and with great secrecy agrees and offers the prime ministerial post to a Member of Parliament who was not a party leader, without notice to Parliament.  This change of power occurred when the duly elected sitting Prime Minister was not informed of this imminent change.

Whether it is within the requirements of the Constitution(s) – (Sinhala/English) or not – it was undemocratic crass stupidity (lacking in sensitivity, intelligence, refinement).

The unnecessary proroguing of Parliament and subsequent dissolution was immature and unbecoming of a statesmen who professes many decades of legislative expertise and experience. He who espouses knowledge in Buddhist philosophy and the Dhamma, exposes a personality of contradictions lacking in political expediency and common sense. 

This crisis we are witnessing is a gross assault on the people’s franchise and human rights. It’s not about the elected legislators, President or Prime Minister(s). It affects people who put their trust in a democracy to live in a decent, respectable and affordable way to ensure continuity to a life of contentment. 

The citizens don’t demand much, justice, righteousness and a Legislature conforming to stated rules and regulations; and most importantly to ensure the rights of citizens, working towards economic and political stability.

What are we witnessing is a complete breakdown of civil order, disobedience of legislators to law and order, and open soliciting of legislators for enormous pecuniary consideration which is tantamount to criminal acts. 

Importantly, in the light of the above discourse, I refer to a thought-provoking, analytical article published in the FT on 8 November titled ‘Weathering the Storm’ by Nisha Arunatilake.

Among the more salient facts highlighted: “With more than 82% of Sri Lanka’s population, including 92% of the poor, living in rural areas, developing the rural economy is necessary to help them withstand the vagaries of weather and improve living standards. …the importance of better education, better institutions, better infrastructure and better coverage of social protection, to uplift the livelihoods of the rural population.”

“The rural and estate sectors are home to 92% of the poor in the country.”

These facts are sad, unnerving and frightening in the light of mis-governance, unruly legislators and conspiracies to disrupt duly elected governments. 

The poor rural population has not a ‘cat-in-hell’s-chance’ in improving themselves and their offspring in a divisive and ineffective political climate. Whichever political party in power does not fulfill its promises to the downtrodden, and/or bring relief to the rural poor, who are the majority of voters.

Their unruly behavior of politicians and their cohorts in and out of Parliament is shocking and depressing.

Is there any hope for Sri Lanka?

By: Dilkie Umagiliya