Apart from the causes for the pole vault by UNP Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara that we had discussed on Friday there is a serious ethical aspect involved in changing sides not only by the Kurunegala District singer-cum-politician but by almost all those who had crossed over from one party to another.
There is no doubt that anyone in any party has the right to change his or her allegiance and join another party under the democracy, so long as the action does not affect the very democracy and the public interest. And also, one necessarily has to give up his or her party or the ideology, once he or she realises intellectually, and without the involvement of personal interest, that he or she is on the wrong path.
One option Jayasekara had resorted to, in an ethical perspective, was to resign from the Parliament with his defection, whereas almost all politicians who had hitherto crossed over from one camp to another opted to retain the powers and privileges that they had derived from the mandate given by the voters of the party they had left. However, the serious ethical issue here is that Jayasekara, as all the others who had politically pole vaulted did, would now retract all what he had said about the UPFA government and the UNP.
There is nothing wrong for one to say that 2+2 is 4 today and to say it is 5 tomorrow if he lives in a vacuum or outer space, but he has no moral right to do that in a classroom of small children. Here, Jayasekara who yesterday wanted the people of this country to believe that the Executive Presidency was harmful to them would most probably say tomorrow that it is the best system of governance in the world and would even hail President Mahinda Rajapaksa for removing the term limit for the Executive President through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
This would not happen due to any intellectual evolution in him, but for sheer personal gains. It is there that the ethical aspect lies and it matters to the country.
In the past the country saw more serious paradigms of the sort. The best case in point was the defection by former eastern leader of the LTTE Vinayagamoorthi Muralidharan alias Karuna from that organisation. He did not desert the outfit after realising the detriment of the separatism or armed struggle; rather he was compelled to do so as he sensed some punitive moves by the leadership against him. Even in the last letter he sent to LTTE leader Prabhakaran pleading clemency he referred to the latter as “Sun God.” Hence, it is vivid that his teaming up with the government was purely personal.
It was common knowledge that no cadre who opted to leave the LTTE, even on humanitarian grounds, was spared by the leaders including Karuna in the past and was given the harshest punishment on earth. Despite the service to the territorial integrity and democracy at large that was rendered by his defection, one could question the morality in Karuna’s present-day preaching on democracy.
This applies to Wimal Weerawansa as well who was expelled from the JVP in 2008. After sensing his imminent expulsion he too pathetically asked during a speech in Parliament “why did my party shoot me?” meaning he was still loyal to the JVP’s socialist ideology. What followed was history. Where is morality?
However, there are a few rare political defections and splits ethically justifiable such as that of FSP from the JVP, since the breakaway group chose the harder path to tread according to their intellectual understanding, in spite of its probability in achieving socialism being extremely remote.