CRISIS OF POLITICAL CHARACTERS | Daily News

CRISIS OF POLITICAL CHARACTERS

The days from October 26 to December 16 were days of crisis never before seen in Sri Lanka since Independence. This unprecedented situation made the unanimous judgement of the seven judges of the Supreme Court one of extraordinary significance for democracy. It was also an expression of the national conscience. While it was also a clear censure of unjust and unacceptable legalisms supportive of outdated, feudal monarchical conceptions and autocratic notions of presidential power, the Supreme Court judgement brought about constitutional sanity, upheld the sovereignty of the people vested in the judiciary and vibrantly reaffirmed the rule of law that every citizen, including the President, is subject to the Law.

Those who venture today into the political arena in Sri Lanka are from various social strata and backgrounds who have had their education in urban, rural schools and private schools. Most have been educated in Sinhala or Tamil while some have acquired a capability also in the English language. A few have also had an education abroad. There are among the party politicians Buddhist monks, university professors, school teachers, lawyers, doctors, accountants, entrepreneurs, businessmen of small, medium and large enterprises and some who have served in the Police and the Security Forces. But the majority of them are insufficiently educated, far too many not having had a sound integral education nor passed even the G.C.E. Ordinary Level and Advanced/Level examinations.

These people do not have the intellectual capacity nor the temperament and required interest even to read and understand the Constitution besides the documented material coming before them relating to religio-cultural, socio-political, economic, financial and international relations. Then there are parliamentarians who are supposed to have passed their exams by cunningly getting their companions to answer their examinations or secured a privilege of sitting examinations in special places apart from the others sitting the same exam – a peculiar Sri Lankan aberration!

Some others have politically ‘succeeded’ in their ventures by hook or by crook to absolve their corrupt ways. These people lack principles, are devoid of intellectual capacity and moral character and integrity required to be at the helm of national affairs.

At present citizens do not need any educational qualifications to enter even the national legislature or even to contest the presidency except a qualifying age. Unless debarred due to the loss of civic rights, persons even with major social and character flaws could contest elections, be elected to parliament. It has been said in and out of parliament that murderers, rapists, gold chain snatchers, illegal drug traffickers, money launderers and others engaging in unlawful activities have been and are sitting in parliament.

Recently we have seen MPs inside the Chamber of Parliament engaging in brawls, using sharp knives and throwing sacred books along with chillie powder against other members, pouring water on the Speaker’s chair and dragging it away, blocking the Speaker’s entrance, assaulting policemen and creating pandemonium in the House. They showed that they are not mature enough to think reasonably, to debate coherently or act politely.

Acting arbitrarily and violently they displayed they have not learnt what priorities should rule anyone’s parliamentary life. In their home upbringing and in whatever education they have had in their schools they have lacked what was needed to make them humanly decent and not beastly. These are louts. They are never fit to do any kind of governing anywhere. The politicians’ flawed characters producing personal hostility towards rivals conspire to grab power for their personal benefit, flouting even the Constitution they have sworn to uphold. They become not servers of the people but their oppressors. When they fail miserably, they justify their patently unjust attempts, destabilize the country and ruin it economically!

Such rowdies as those who brawled in the Parliamentary Chamber, lacking human, intellectual, moral and spiritual qualities, cannot contribute anything to bring dignity and self-respect to our people, bring economic progress to the nation and raise her to an honourable and respectable level in the modern world.

They are an utter disgrace to Sri Lanka. The people think that these rowdy characters of awful behaviour should be expelled and debarred from ever entering the Parliamentary Chamber. In any case it is up to the party leaders, unless they themselves are in collusion with such characters of low behaviour, not to nominate them hereafter as candidates for any election. Even if they are nominated, the decent citizens should outvote them along with their party leaders.

PREVENT ROWDIES ENTERING PARLIAMENT

In Sri Lanka, politics and the fabric of the State attracts various individuals including the uneducated, defectively-educated but loquacious characters who conceive the State as a mine to be dug into or an enterprise the order and rules of which could be adjusted or treated according to one’s whim and fancy. And they go on to interpret the functions of politics and even the Constitution in their own boorish ways. They keep jumping opportunistically from one side to the other just to survive and carry on crookedly.

In the present context in which we citizens are, merely showing our strong displeasure, mere condemning the criminal wrongdoers are not at all sufficient. Strong and definite steps should be taken to nip in the bud the wrong that takes place not only in the country in general but also in the August Chamber of Parliament in particular. Documents have been set on fire in the Parliamentary Chamber. Coffins have been brought into it and mock funeral wakes held. MPs have been occupying the parliamentary Chamber and sleeping in the well of the house and occupying the Speaker’s chair and pretending to preside.

The recent brawls we witnessed in parliament are the latest crude examples of their insolent behaviour. They not only did not understand what Parliament is about, they wished to prevent orderly debate and by force set up and install an illegal government and thus prevent the investigations into cases of corruption and swindling of government money when these boisterous parliamentarians under their patrons exercised power. Those seemingly accommodating the MPs’ monstrous misbehaviour and not condemning it outright is not only sad but outrageous.

The people call on the government to put a definitive stop to all unparliamentary behaviour within the Parliamentary Chamber whether Parliament is in session or not. The atmosphere of inviolability, respect and honour that the very premises of the August Assembly deserve should be preserved intact.

Those who infringe the acceptable norms of behaviour and defile the Chamber should be severely punished. Otherwise, rowdies who become MPs will think that they could get away even with murder inside the Parliamentary Chamber.

We are facing a national crisis of character. This crisis has its roots in the chauvinist and corrupt wolfish politicians. It has ramified to such an extent into the high rungs of all government agencies, public administration and diplomacy that even some judges had resorted to demanding unacceptable favours from litigants and university dons demanding illicit favours from students appearing before them. No one, whether clergyman, judge, professor, highly placed administrator, politician or policeman should have the power to blackmail any citizen.

REFINED POLITICAL CULTURE

A leader has said that now we need to do in one year the work of ten years to recover from the economic losses of the 51 days of crisis. Our country needs the services of astute and wise men and women who are never lured to veer away from upright conduct. Seven leaders of unassailable integrity could vanquish a corrupt horde twelve times their number and become a beacon of righteousness to the whole nation and the rest of the world!

The more erudite leaders in society should prepare the fellow citizens through sound and unbiased civic, ethical and political education and critical guidance. They need prudent counsel to discard outright the rowdy rebels and elect well educated, honest, sensible and decent men and women who have a sagacious civic consciousness and a keen responsibility towards the whole national community and a compassionate sensitivity towards the marginalized and the helpless poor of our society.

The patriotic citizens’ groups concerned about the sustainable and long-term well-being of all the people of Sri Lanka who are already active should courageously continue their good work and give leadership to the people. It is only by maintaining and building of a responsible civic consciousness that the people would be able to conserve the democratic gains they have accrued and prevent tyranny overpowering them. These gains should not be frittered away by compromising on low nationalistic, racial prejudices and irreligious biases supported and propagated by the defeated conspiratorial political combine. Those proven to be corrupt who have embezzled what belonged to the people, mismanaged and wasted away state resources have shown themselves to be incompetent and inefficient in running a government. They should never be allowed to manoeuvre themselves to state power again.

The corrupt political syndicate craving for power, have a greed for money they get from illicit imports of ethanol, heroin, banned drugs and from lust in addition to siphons from procurements at inflated prices. They with their patrons fail to keep an intelligent, lucid and uncontaminated mind that is needed for genuine service to the nation.

As we cannot keep always waiting for an ideal moment to come, the new year that sees the launch of a new political beginning seems a good time as any to usher a new political culture not using it as a another political slogan but as a genuine attempt at inaugurating a new phenomenon. Culture is a cultivation of refinement of behaviour and an elevation in the hearts of people.

Launching a refined political culture should mean that the large majority of citizens, conscious of their human dignity, law abiding, morally and politically maturing nature are being further stimulated properly in various ways. They as an active majority would be able to elevate the well-educated and wise, unselfish and decent, honest and sincere, dedicated and committed lovers of all the people of Sri Lanka to the highest judicial, legislative and executive offices of the country, to serve everyone justly and fairly. 


 

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