‘Kekille Kingdom’

Island Editorial

Those who dismiss, as an urban myth, the reign of King Kekille, who was notorious for his wrong judgments, will have a hard time, proving that the ‘bovine king’ never existed and our self-conceited political leaders are not his descendents. At a time when the public is fed up with raucous argy-bargies on whether or not the country should retain its unitary character, cynics may suggest that the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka be converted into a kingdom and named after Kekille as a way out. After all, despite the incumbent government’s much-avowed commitment to the Licchavi method of solving problems, what is really in practice is the modus operandi of King Kekille.

Good governance has come to mean postponing elections, hoodwinking the public, reneging on promises and scapegoating others for government leaders’ failures. Candidates whom people consider unfit to wield power and, therefore, defeat at elections are brought into Parliament through the backdoor and made ministers. Bills are passed with provisions which the apex court deems unconstitutional smuggled into them. Parliamentary sittings are adjourned for hours till MPs return from their homes, cinemas, swimming pools, weddings etc so that the government can muster a two-thirds majority to secure the passage of such despicable pieces of legislation in the name of good governance.

No one has so far been arrested over the biggest ever financial crime in the country—the bond scams—despite the availability of irrefutable evidence. The special police unit set up to probe financial frauds has turned a Nelsonian eye to the bond rackets. Three state banks and the Employee’s Provident Fund have suffered colossal losses to the tune of billions of rupees due to market manipulation and insider trading. The suspects are moving about freely whereas police take legal action against even jaywalkers. Worse, the intrepid officials of the state prosecutor’s department, who stuck their necks out in a bid to help bring the bond racketeers to justice and recover the massive losses suffered by the state and hapless workers, have had to face legal action for the manner in which they questioned witnesses!

The matter is now before the courts and it is best left to the learned judges we hold in high esteem. Suffice it to say that we see a puzzled look on Justitia’s face.

We are reminded of an incident, reported from down under a few years ago. A burglar who broke into a house got the shock of his life when a ferocious dog, staying indoors, pounced on him. Badly bitten he was rushed to hospital. After being discharged, he successfully sued the owner of the house for keeping a biting dog inside; he walked all the way to the bank. The very law which he had broken made him rich!

Meanwhile, Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt.) Ltd has not yet submitted two crucial files in defiance of a bond probe commission order, we are told. It will be interesting to see how its noncompliance will be dealt with.

Terrorism does not necessarily involve violence though it is conventionally thought to be linked to the use of force. It can assume different forms including smear campaigns and character assassination. There have been instances where these forms of terror were used against some upright members of the judiciary as well. It is only natural that the state officials with the courage to stand up to politically backed crooks have been targeted by web hooligans. They are being vilified. The corrupt won’t baulk at anything to discredit and demoralise them.

It is said that the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is the silence of good men. Unfortunately, evil forces donning the yahapalana masks are doing their damnedest to silence the remaining few good men and women in the public service so that they can carry out their rackets freely while pontificating on the virtues of good governance.