By Emil van der Poorten –
Defeat is inevitable but surrender of power may not follow: The Sri Lankan nation and the end of the Rajapaksa Regime
I will make no apology for the lengthy title of this piece because I think it is appropriate to the subject matter.
(I will not, also, apologise for it because I believe it will provoke those village idiots parading as “commentators” to provide readers with the usual amusement that their outpourings do!)
Also, if, in part, the content is somewhat repetitious, that is unfortunate because I believe that the time and place is more than opportune to state what might be the obvious and which might already have been stated.
I have never pretended to Cassandra status in the matter of political predictions at any time in the last half century when I have had the effrontery to write about matters political, either here, in Sri Lanka, or elsewhere. However, what I am picking up both in rural Sri Lanka and among political cognoscenti in more urban circumstances, points to a massive defeat of the totally corrupt and violent dictatorship that passes for a democratic government in this country.
The tip of that iceberg is the resignation of the Officer-in-Charge of the Wanduramba police station where the stage set up for a meeting convened to promote the Joint Opposition’s candidate was destroyed by vandals. What was the final straw in his particular saga for that police officer appeared to be the fact that, when minions (official “security”) of the man alleged, in the mainstream media, to be responsible for orchestrating the event, a Deputy Minister of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, Muthuhettigama by name, were taken into custody, the very same Muthuhettigama, “rescued/abducted” them from the police. He then, according to “official police bulletins,” fled the area, making it “impossible” for the police to arrest him for the crime. However, the next, immediate, reports had him performing on stage with a prominent “pop” star that very night, singing duets with that worthy. In all fairness, I do not know whether the official police spokesperson who regularly appears on prime-time TV and whom I personally consider one of, if not the, best straight-faced comedians ever to grace that medium, made an announcement of the fact. If he didn’t, he has certainly failed to add this to his long and illustrious list of performances in the service of the Rajapaksa Regime.
Dear reader, let me say, at this juncture, that I will make no apology for this and any digressions that might follow because I very sincerely believe that they are relevant to the description of the totally and absolutely bizarre situation currently prevailing in this country and which serves to victimize every man, woman and child of Sri Lanka.
Back to the title of this piece.
I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that, even without the support of a majority of the ethnic minorities, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his minions are “toast” on January 8th. The only hard support he and his family have comes from those who have raped and pillaged this country both financially and in other ways during the increasingly repressive performance of his government.
That said, one of the challenges for Mr. Sirisena and those who are going to be clear and absolute winners in the forthcoming election is divesting themselves of the flotsam and jetsam that is drifting at warp speed into their camp. This ranges from the intellectual sophistication of the truly indescribable Dr. Rajiva Wijesinha to the Rajapaksa Minister who orchestrated, with Presidential protection, the stoning of judges’ houses, Rishard Bathiudeen.
In a previous article I urged the necessity for tribunals to be set up, utilizing the judicial skills of those available for the purpose to bring to book those who have pillaged this country’s coffers. I would add to that appeal one to bring to trial those who have, in a country where justice is decided by Presidential fiat, had formal charges preferred against them in the courts of law, only to have those charges either dropped because they were “apey minissu” or had them sit dormant lo these many months (and years). Justice must be done and justice must be seen to be done. NOTHING LESS WILL SUFFICE.
However, as many commentators (some exhibiting remarkable bravery now that the writing is on the wall!), have said, “There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip” in the matter of an actual polls result and what is “officially” announced. It’s happened before and it could happen again. The last time, the results were “streamed” through an office controlled by Presidential minions before they reached the Elections Commissioner of the day and, speaking of that guy, WHERE ON EARTH IS HE AND WHAT HAS HE BEEN DOING BETWEEN THEN AND NOW?
Fraud, deceit and deception is the very stock in trade of this Regime and to expect less where truly unbelievable wealth both here, in other supposedly-safe havens off shore and goodness knows where else is at stake is not only the height of crass irresponsibility but of naivety of monumental proportions.
As they used to say in the good old days, “the $64,000 question” is what can the vast majority of this country’s citizenry do to prevent a potential putsch or coup by those with billions to lose with a democratic transfer of power?
Make no mistake, the upper echelons of the security forces are controlled by blatantly-political appointees. In addition, there have been new positions created to oversee those very heads of service if there is so much as a smidgen of doubt about their “loyalty.” Makes for an ugly picture? Damned right it does, particularly given the fact that not only does this Regime pride itself on the size of its security forces, equivalent in size to the Russian army, but which they claim needs to be maintained into the future. You don’t believe that? Give your head a shake and look at the propaganda campaign just embarked on by the government’s newest scandal-monger, Tissa Attanayake. He is making a great to-do about Ranil Wickremesinghe, Maithripala Sirisena, Chandrika Kumaratunga et al planning to reduce the size of our armed forces. However, this man, whose actions speak far louder than his words, makes no mention of why such a move might not be appropriate five years after an armed conflict had ended with the total decimation of the “enemy.”
There is too much at stake for members and hangers-on of a junta who have enjoyed wealth, power and privilege truly beyond the imagining of plutocrats elsewhere. They have advanced their status to one beyond the wildest imaginings of a Sri Lankan Caligula. They are not going to surrender the power and privilege they currently enjoy willingly.
Sri Lankans have to ensure that on January 8th, the will of the vast majority of this nation’s population will prevail and that it is in no way usurped.
The only way for our citizenry to do so is to stream, in their millions, to every polling station in this country, cast their votes and even more important, ensure that on January 9th nobody, with or without the name “Rajapaksa” is allowed to subvert the people’s will.