Criminalisation of party politics
Daily Mirror Editorial
Nov 19, 2011

As Mahinda Rajapaksa begins his seventh year as the all-powerful Executive President in the afterglow of countrywide celebrations yesterday to mark his 66th birthday, government propagandists claim, Sri Lanka is on a superhighway to become the economic hub or miracle of Asia.

Yet independent observers, opposition leaders and powerful countries in the international community claim Sri Lanka is also facing its gravest threat to democracy, freedom and the rule of law with the situation made worse as the crime rate and road accidents also rise to their highest levels. The world is marking Road Safety Week but it seems that there is anything but safety for Sri Lanka. The Health Ministry this week exposed the shocking tragedy that one person is killed in a road accident every four hours, which means six road deaths a day and about 2,200 a year while the number of people injured in road accidents is about forty eight a day. Police said on Thursday that up to September this year 1,527 fatal road accidents were reported and 680 of those killed were pedestrians. The growing number of accidents is largely due to high speed or reckless driving which in blunt terms means selfishness, the route of all evil. The motorist wants to get to his or her destination as soon as possible, therefore he or she does not give a damn about what happens to pedestrians or other motorists on the road.

As for the crime boom, the killing of the patientfriendly Dr. Prasad Jayasinghe at Karandeniya recently was a disgusting sign of a decaying society. According to police investigations the killing was allegedly organised by a medical laboratory technician who was reportedly charging high rates from the patients for not so high quality tests. To counter this Dr. Jayasinghe who had sacrificed much to serve the people of his home village, had set up his own laboratory to carry out quality tests for the people at affordable prices. The angry technician who was apparently making several lakhs of rupees on his dubious tests had reportedly given a contract to a military officer to kill the doctor. The military officer in turn is alleged to have given the sub-contract to two soldiers who allegedly killed the doctor when he came out in response to a mobile phone call from an undertaker. Amid all these conflicts within conflicts, crises within crises, confusion, contradictions and deception, retired Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva made a fervent plea on Wednesday for the main opposition UNP to close ranks and give leadership or a credible alternative to millions of people who want to save democracy, freedom, accountability, good governance and transparency.

Though he too was largely responsible for the politicization or undermining of the judiciary during his term as Chief Justice, Mr. Silva now appears to have seen the consequences of his injudicious deeds and is trying to rebuild the process of checks and balances that are necessary to restore genuine democracy. That was the reason he appealed to the UNP, as the largest single party, to act fast and effectively to unite and lead the people in the campaign to save democracy.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka