Sri Lanka is being invaded by an anti-democracy virus

Much like the Covid-19 virus, Sri Lanka is being invaded by an anti-democracy virus which tells us a strong man is needed to rule with a rod of iron, that civil liberties do not matter and that constitutional amendments that fetter the powers of rulers are a nuisance.

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Much like the covid-19 virus which attacks the respiratory systems of victims with lethal force and has brought the global North virtually to its knees, Sri Lanka is being invaded by an anti-democracy virus. We are told that, democracy leads to bickering, that a strong man is needed to rule with a rod of iron, that civil liberties do not matter and that constitutional amendments that fetter the powers of rulers are a nuisance.

A deadly familiar cry

That chant is drummed into our ears as Parliamentary elections approach in a backdrop of undermining whatever little democratic checks and balances left. Re-installing authoritarianism cloaked in the thin garb of decisive rule to benefit the country has reached feverpitch. The Pohottuwa cry to give us a two-thirds majority in the Parliament so that we can repeal the 19th Amendment and restore stability to the country is disingenuous if not contemptible for that very reason.

Indeed, this cry would be amusing if it was not so deadly familiar. This is exactly how politicians commandeered the country for their ruinous purposes in the past. This ranged from leftist politicians who dismantled Sri Lanka’s judiciary and the public service to become subservient handmaids of the political establishment in the early seventies to the Jayewardene installing of a monarchic Executive Presidency. The Rajapaksa decade of enthroning one-family rule underlined by brute thuggery and overt racism for political gain was an organic development in that background.

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WE WILL CONTINUE TO WRITE UNTILL A POLITICAL PACKAGE IS IMPLEMENTED IN SRI LANKA.