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Our irremissible duty to protect Sri Lanka from plunging into an abyss

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FILE PHOTO: MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Sirisena - Reuters



By Zulkifli Nazim

George Orwell wrote: “The President is a nationalist, which is not at all the same thing as a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, tends to be uninterested in what happens in the real world.” 

Now that change has come and the dignity of the Constitution restored, Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Ministers must take things more seriously and be very alert.

Our analyses of the present situation is that the new Government under Ranil Wickremesinghe must accept and focus on the fact that the available evidence does not demonstrate a strong link between either trust in people, generalised trust in others, or trust in State institutions.

Bureaucrats and judges also need to have considerable discretion. The more they can be trusted to fulfil their roles willingly, the fewer the resources needed to monitor and discipline them, and the more discretion they can be given. 

The key requirement here is for trust based on the reliability and trustworthiness of public officials. 

One needs to consider the trustworthiness and honesty of elected politicians and other political actors, of bureaucrats up and down the civil service, and of the Judiciary. 

Untrustworthy elected officials and bureaucrats are frequently corrupt.

They substitute private benefits for public responsibility. If officials are generally untrustworthy, ordinary people and businesses may believe that the only way to get what they need is through a payoff. 

Furthermore, if most officials are known to be corrupt, people may seek things to which they are not entitled, such as tax breaks or waivers of costly regulations. Officials, in turn, may create extra rules, regulations, and contracting opportunities in order to profit personally. 

Politicians may demand payoffs in return for passing laws or issuing regulations, and they may even threaten to promulgate restrictive laws if not paid to desist.  Corruption is a coping strategy for citizens facing untrustworthy, dishonest officials, but it may also be part of a conscious private-wealth-maximisation strategy orchestrated by these same officials. 

Paradoxically, a deeply corrupt regime usually operates with a high degree of reciprocal, affect-based trust. As bribers and those who are being bribed or accepting bribes are operating outside the law, they need to trust each other in order to maintain their relationships. 

They may design schemes that minimise the possibilities of betrayal, such as making payments only when corrupt services are delivered, or that limit the costs of betrayal, such as the use of middlemen. Nevertheless, the risks that one side will betray the other can be substantial, so those links based on kinship or friendship can be important ways to lower the risk. 

The corrupt official is an untrustworthy and dishonest agent of the public interest but a trustworthy friend and relative. 

Based on the above analyses, Wickremesinghe should take this opportunity to tackle the heads of State institutions who had been appointed during the Rajapaksa regime and are still holding positions. Until these men and women are removed from office and a new system is broached, no good can arise. There are also certain dangerous deviants and sick perverts appointed by Maithripala as well, entrenched in State departments, corporations and boards. These people, too, must be removed forthwith, without any delay.  

They should take all necessary precautions to not allow the Opposition, whatever their hue may be, to brow-beat them, which we have seen happen for the past three and a half years involving walkouts, protests and strikes, abandoning their duties, and on the road causing great harassment and hassle, causing intense annoyance and tormenting the public at their whim and fancy, thereby causing instability in the country. This was all engineered and orchestrated by those who oppose the governance of Ranil Wickremesinghe and we all know – the entire country knows – that all those involved in angry disturbances and disorderliness are those who have really, well and truly, robbed the country blind, murdered, kidnapped, abducted, caused utter chaos and mayhem. They are those who are devoid of ethics. Tyranny and brutality was the order of the day. 

Deterrent punishments should be meted out swiftly without any fear or favour to these criminals.

Maithripala Sirisena’s coup on 26 October has really exposed him as a villain who does everything and anything with ulterior motives and full of hatred and vindictiveness – an indicator of his vengefulness and malevolent desire for revenge. 

Everything what Wickremesinghe and his hard-working members contributed to the welfare of the people and the country had always been broadcast with a touch of resentment, insults and open aggressiveness by both Maithripala Sirisena, Mahinda Rajapaksa and their deplorable, debauched, ignominious and disgraceful supporters, who reduced the country to the lowest of the low and reduced the country to a ‘pariah’ state – an outcaste state in the eyes of the world.

Wickremesinghe and the members of his Government must ensure the non-recurrence of any of these deadly and destructive events.

No one should forget the grave statement Sirisena made, which was not in accordance with the political procedural rules enshrined in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, vis-à-vis after plunging the country in to turmoil when the lawfully constituted Parliament was dissolved and the legal Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was replaced by the unlawful appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the proclamation by the President that even if the 225-member Parliament wants Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister, he will never allow it. One person, and one person only, President Maithripala Sirisena, was holding Sri Lanka hostage.

This criminal action proves beyond any reasonable doubt that so long as Maithripala is in control, he will always be a spoke in the wheel and deliberately do everything and anything to spoil all their plans. This is a person who cannot be trusted, no matter whatever skin he may wrap himself up in trying to cover his real identity.

Every action and speech, from the time he took over as President, has always been lies and perversion of the truth, and he has proved that he lacks integrity. He, without any hesitation whatsoever, blatantly, wantonly and deliberately violated the very Constitution which he is bound to uphold, and he has irrevocably incriminated himself. He committed major blunder after major blunder. 

To add insult to injury, Maithripala Sirisena kept on appointing to the Cabinet of Ministers a gang that has criminal accusations and court cases against its members– actually appointing a bunch of maggots wallowing in filth to responsible positions.

Finally, the incumbent President, therefore, has to be charged with offences and misdemeanours committed while holding public office, thereby making his position as President of the country totally invalid and unlawful. If he has any decency left in him, he will resign voluntarily. If not, he has to be impeached or pressured to resign.

Ponder on the words of wisdom by Lysander Spooner: “Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.” 

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