Yahapalana blitzkrieg?
Posted on February 16th, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island

We thought coercion was antithetical to good governance or yahapalanaya. But, a prominent advocate of good governance has called upon the government not to baulk at anything in its efforts to overcome challenges to its rule. He has demanded that even measures that may not be in conformity with democratic norms be adopted for that purpose.

Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, addressing the media on Thursday, together with some prominent civil society activists, urged the beleaguered Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, which is also experiencing internal problems, to appoint former Army Commander, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, the Minister of Law and Order to bring order out of chaos. He minced no words when he said Fonseka must be given six months to accomplish the task with the laws being made to fall silent, if necessary.

We are reminded of a government move to set up a special task force, headed by Fonseka, to tackle trade union struggles. The idea was floated at a Cabinet meeting in April 2017, but the government got cold feet when it drew a lot of flak from trade unions.

Field Marshal Fonseka’s speciality is fighting wars. Once a soldier always a soldier! He continues to walk like a soldier, talk like a soldier and act like a soldier. After all, he still wears military uniform. Is it that Amila Thera wants Fonseka to wage an all-out war on the enemies of the yahapalana government? He seems to believe the end justifies the means.

Ironically, what Ven. Amila now advocates is what the self-proclaimed good governance campaigners vehemently condemned when the Rajapaksa government was in power; they inveighed against that administration for resorting to coercive methods to suppress democratic dissent and remain in power. Politicians and their backers lay bare their true faces when they are faced with the prospect of losing power.

Meanwhile, Fonseka is a defeated candidate brought to Parliament via the National List and appointed a Cabinet Minister by the UNP in an undemocratic manner. His appointment raised many an eyebrow because he had not contested the last general election on the UNP’s ticket; it was tantamount to a slap across the face of the voter. The UNP badly lost at Saturday’s election in Kelaniya with Fonseka as its organiser. How can anyone who claims to be a lover of democracy call for using such a person to suppress dissent following an ignominious electoral defeat?

Among those sharing the podium with Ven. Amila, at Thursday’s media briefing, were some civil society leaders who make no bones about their support for the proposed war crimes tribunal to probe alleged accountability issues during the Vanni war in 2009. They did not approve of the state resorting to violence against even the LTTE. They cannot be faulted for what someone else said at a joint press conference, but it will be interesting to know what they think of the aforesaid desperate call for assigning the wartime army commander to shore up the government by hook or by crook? It is said that ‘he who is silent, when he ought to have spoken and was able to, is taken to agree’.

In 2015, people dislodged the Rajapaksa government, expecting a better deal. Before the regime change, the yahapalana camp thought the Rajapaksas would go to any extent to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the last presidential election. Nothing of the sort happened and President Rajapaksa conceded defeat even before the release of the final result. Strangely, those who threatened to take to the streets if the Rajapaksas tried to cling on to power have got so rattled by the results of the just concluded local government polls that they are demanding that even undemocratic means be employed to hold their opponents at bay. Good governance, what crimes are being committed in thy name!

One Response to “Yahapalana blitzkrieg?”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Yamapalana Dictum: Kiyanakota Ehemai, Koranakota Mehemai!

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