Anarchy, here we come!

Island Editorial

People dislike governments and politicians. In advanced democracies the public asks for less government because meddlesome politicians make people’s lives miserable. We, the inhabitants of this land like no other, are apparently without a government at present. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya declared in Parliament, yesterday, for everyone to hear, that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of ministers appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena recently had ceased to hold office with effect from Nov. 14 owing to the ratification of a ‘motion of no confidence’. The President has rejected out of hand the Speaker’s position that the pre-Oct. 26 status prevails in Parliament with Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM.

The Supreme Court has earned plaudits for its interim injunction which suspended the dissolution of Parliament till 07 Dec. Our legislators never try to bring order out of chaos; they do it the other way around. Now, Parliament finds itself in the same predicament as a patient with a serious bowel obstruction, given a potent laxative. The country has come within the hailing distance of anarchy.

Our lawmakers cum lawbreakers must have been Guy Fawkes and his confederates in a previous incarnation. Fawkes et al failed in their attempt to destroy the British Parliament with gunpowder. Our guys are not using explosives; instead, they are hell bent on destroying the image of Parliament through their despicable conduct. Some of them represent a former southern terrorist outfit which, about three decades ago, carried out a grenade attack in Parliament in an abortive bid to eliminate the then President and the entire Cabinet. There are some others who backed a northern terrorist group which was all out to bomb Parliament sky high, but could not achieve its objective.

Local government (LG) bodies remained rudderless for more than two years. Elections to the dissolved Provincial Councils (PCs) are long overdue. Now, the national legislature is stuck in limbo. The current situation reminds us of the elephant in the room at Hulftsdorp.

In January 2015, President Sirisena, egged on by the UNP and some prominent members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), removed the then Chief Justice Mohan Peiris ab initio. He deemed that Peiris had never held the Chief Justice’s post, which, he said, had not fallen vacant because the ‘impeachment of’ Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, in Jan. 2013, was not legal. So, there were two CJs from Jan. 2013 to 2015—the one appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the other reinstated by President Sirisena retroactively. Or, there was no CJ (physically present at the SC) if we are to go by Sirisena’s contention that Peiris was never the head of the judiciary; Dr. Bandaranayake did not function as the CJ for two years. The yahapalana government did not take any action against Peiris for having held the CJ’s post for two years, delivering judgments, drawing the CJ’s salary, enjoying perks of office and signing vital documents during the aforesaid period!

It may be recalled that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration even considered keeping an elephant without a permit a violation of the Offences against Public Property Act. President Sirisena and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the BASL ought to explain why they allowed an outsider who had held the CJ’s post ‘illegally’, to go scot free.

Thus, it may be seen that President Sirisena, ably assisted by Wickremesinghe, vapourised a Prime Minister (D. M. Jayaratne) and a Chief Justice immediately after the 2015 presidential election. Nearly four years later, Sirisena ‘vapourised’ Wickremesinghe! The incumbent Speaker is all out to ‘varpourise’ PM Rajapaksa and the Cabinet!

Now, all three tiers of government are in chaos; the newly introduced, harebrained electoral system has rendered most LG bodies hung and, thereby, ungovernable; the PCs are without elected representatives and the Speaker does not recognise the ruling party in Parliament and the President has refused to accept the party which, the Speaker says, is in power.

Anarchy, here we come!

(Thankfully, Wijeweera and Prabhakaran are pushing up daisies.)

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