Comment on the Gomin Dayasiri’s  Interview on the Pathikada Program.
Posted on November 7th, 2018

Chandre Dharmawardana

Many of you may have listened to the interview given on 5th November on the Pathikada-Sirasa program, with Bandula Jayasekera himself hosting the interview.

The lawyer held the view that this government should have been allowed to continued to run its course, and gave mainly legalistic arguments, or arguments based on predicting the future, including the claim that “any Booruwek” (donkey) can beat Ranil Wickremasinghe.  He contends that there are “young people” in these parties who will take the baton into their hands. This too is a whimsical prediction and he couldn’t  name any favourite horses.

Only recently, at the no-confidence vote against Ranil W,  a gang of “Booruwas” (using Dayasiri’s parlance) in parliament couldn’t beat Ranil W, and nor did they succeed in August 2015.  As for the future, he predicts that MR, and the country  would have done better if MR had waited till the election is proclaimed. We  should  not take predictions seriously, be they made by astrologers, or by lawyers. But let us look at the claim that the government should have been allowed to continue till it comes to term, beyond the legalistic (not to be confused with “legal”) flavour given to this claim. We look at it from a commonsense point of view.

We as some simple, common-sense questions.

If the president and the PM detest and distrust each other, shouldn’t one of them go? Does the government enjoy the confidence of the public? That the Ranil-Sirisena government had lost the support of the public is seen in its dismal performance at the February 2018 local government elections, and its hesitancy to go to the polls in regard to local as well as provincial governments. That it only pays lip service to the constitution is evident. You just have to see how the government ignored the ruling given by the Supreme court regarding the Local Government elections amendment. The supreme court demanded a referendum but the amendments were  pushed in thorough the “back door”,  the report of the delimitation commission  were derailed, and elections delayed. This was just one example of the  highly unconstitutional things done by this  government. Various controversial free trade deals and other legislation have been approved when the house was not vigilant, or when there was some crisis in the country.

This method of making commitments without the knowledge of parliament has been a hall mark of Mr. Wickremasinghe’s rule even in earlier times when he was in power.  Even the cease-fire agreements with the LTTE was crafted by Mr. Wickremasinghe in a most undemocratic manner – perhaps he discussed it only with his advisors from the LTTE diaspora, but apparently not with any elected legislator. While some emotional topics should not be aired in public too soon, was there ANY discussion with competent civil servants or military leaders? Even the conflict between Ranil Wickemasinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga was due to Wickremasinghe’s unconstitutional acts where he went beyond the President. Mangala Samaraweer’s complete genuflection  in Geneva had never been discussed by the cabinet or sanctioned by the parliament, but it is certain that he had the private support  of Mr. Wickremasinghe’s private cabal   and powerful external forces. Mr. Wickremasinghe’s approach to the so-called National question may even be the right approach, but it is not the democratic approach to execute  secret  back-door actions given that such actions imply long-term consequences. Mr. Wickremasinghe, an experienced,  educated and respected leader, had a golden opportunity in 2015 to ride the high moral road and push his considered approach, but he failed beyond  all expectations.

Even the Bond-scam, various coal-tender scandals, port-city or Hamabantota handovers, re-negotiation of highway contracts, non-existent Volkswagen factories,  Glyphosate debacle costing the nation some sixty  billion, etc.,  can all be regarded as part of the on-going corruption and mismanagement  taken over from a previous highly corrupt administration; but the clear assault on the sovereignty of the nation was the unmistakable new character of the Yahapalanaya government that was actually far more dangerous to the future of the nation. It is surprising that Gomin Dayasiri had decided to ignore this, and was ready to allow this government to continue to rule for approximately another two years. Does he not admit that the government is made up of the foot-note brigade on the other hand, and the masters of paying only lip service to the constitution. Does Mr. Dayasiri  completely dismiss the possibility of the president being deposed, and a puppet chosen by the West put into the chair of the president, as argued by Prof. Gerald  H. Peiris in an Island newspaper article?  Giving  a further window of time for this possibility, even if rather slim, is surely to turn common-sense upside down.

A highly controversial aspect of the government, linked to its assault on the sovereignty of the nation is its continued attempt to craft a constitution using an NGO weighted process, especially when it is obvious that the government does not have the confidence of the country to engage in such a far reaching endeavour. An amateur who found the study of chemistry too hard for him and switched to law has come through a back door opened for him by his Marxist cronies to write the constitution. His mess up of the 19th amendment and the confusion caused is clear testimony to his incompetence. Mr. Gomin Dayasiri himself acknowledges this fact, but seems oblivious to the  greater damage that is already set to be done if this government were allowed to continue, and push forward the constitution that will get passed by parliament via some subterfuge. Western governments who are complicit in this effort  are waiting to support and underwrite any act of this government, however unconstitutional it is, if the objectives of the international community” could be achieved within any  remaining lifespan of the Yahapalanaya government. Their objectives involve the creation of a constitution, a country  and an economy that will splintered enough to be at their mercy of global capital. A secret meeting of a group of Western diplomats with the Speaker, where the speaker has agreed to keep the names and the content of the discussion secret from the members of the parliament or the president  is another serious breach of the right of the people for transparency. Was it after this meeting that the speaker suddenly decided that as far as he is concerned, Mr. Wickremasinghe’s government is still in office?

So it is clear that Sirisena’s decision to end this government which has flouted the constitution far more frequently than the Rajapaksa government, turns out to be  a life-saving decision even for the constitutional process. It may very well be the case that Sirisena acted for egoistic reasons; he found himself in a hard place, not seeing any way to  continue in high office without going to the extreme of joining hands with Rajapaksa. It may be that all this fitted in with the ambitions of Rajapaksa.  But the fact is, Sirisena’s  move has saved the country from imminent danger in the hands of  those who were churning up the  waters,  for the benefit of  their masters who were waiting to reach the benefits accruing from disaster capitalism”. But Gomin Dayasiri fails to see all this, and condemns Sirisena’s daring and unhesitating acts as unconstitutional”, even though he himself admits that the 19th amendment is unclear and maladroitly crafted.

Of course, escaping one set of devils does  not mean that there are no other perils on John Banyan’s path.

Chandre Dharmawardana

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