Quashing evils in Lankan Politics - ii



I have read the remarks of Dr. Upul Wijayawardhana (DrUW) referring to my article ‘Quashing the evils in Lankan Politics’ and I am thankful to him for it. I wrote: "When Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers and their relatives, and other highly placed officials are accused of large-scale fraud, and are known to have offered bribes of hundreds of millions of rupees to switch to one’s side in parliament, and are known to be protecting criminals, law-breakers, their dishonest henchmen and those accused of fraud, the political field is correctly identified as an exceedingly corrupt arena". The names of the individuals concerned are public knowledge. The list is far too long to be included here.


Dr. UW says that President Sirisena is just another politician whose first interest is himself and he is no exception. Ordinarily he is not. To me the exception is that he is the President of Sri Lanka, and so he has become the prominent symbol of the political and social evils behind which are many politicians. All those who through their various corrupt activities have illegally and immorally gained huge sums of money for themselves, and thereby have brought this Country to a ruinous state, belong to political parties in which Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa have been leaders. The Bond Scam may be the latest corrupt activity that came to be known. Besides the latest scam hadn’t there been other issues of bonds, hedgings, collection of commissions, manipulating the Employees' Provident Fund, and many other dishonest transactions that ultimately were at a great loss to the people? And when arraigned before Courts the spending by the accused is limitless to get the best possible lawyers to defend them. Some even try to intimidate judges. When intimidation is not possible, they try to get an unsuspecting third party, to put them in contact with the judges who hear their cases! Fortunately for the people, the judges have courageously preserved their independence, integrity and honour when many politicians, elected representatives, have sunk to very low depths. President Sirisena now seems to excuse the local rascals saying that bad and unparliamentary behaviour is there in other countries as well.


President Sirisena campaigned for the presidency saying he is going to clean up the corruption and take steps to punish those who have indulged in corrupt activities. It is his enlisting the people he accused of corruption, and forming a pseudo government, that has made him a grotesque symbol of dishonesty and political evil.


It is not surprising that a large mass of people are extremely disappointed by the conspiracy he had hatched with his erstwhile enemies, who he said would have buried him six feet underground in January 2015, had he lost the presidential election.


It is also a fact that many Sri Lankan citizens with a minimal civic conscience do not bother even if Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe and all the ministers of their governments were all corrupt to the core. That is the reason why the more responsible and conscientious citizens should exert themselves to save Sri Lanka from political thieves, by educating the weaker citizens on civic responsibility, and raising their level of understanding of the detestable political schemers who undermine the wellbeing of the poor and weak citizens. All these citizens are not stupid. Their level of understanding could be raised by dedicated honest citizens who will come to be known for their integrity. Even in confronting and defeating the corrupt, violence cannot be resorted to and the principles of democracy, sovereignty of the people and rule of law cannot be abandoned. A lot of work needs to be done before the next parliamentary and presidential elections. May the civic responsibility of the likes of Dr. UW, the majority of the people and Divine Providence guide the destinies of Sri Lanka.


FR. AUGUSTINE


FERNANDO


Diocese of Badulla


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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