Last Updated : 01-08-2014 14:55

 
 

The criminalisation of party politics - Editorial

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The allegedly blatant threats to a Magistrate to change his verdict and the attack on the court house, increasing incidents of rape, child abuse and brutal murder are signs that society is degenerating into the criminalisation of politics and the politicisation of crime.

Along with this, we see the continuing abuse of public funds mainly by ruling party politicians and top officials. The latest scandal is the controversial hedging deal on fuel imports. Eventually Sri Lanka might have to pay up to US$175 million in public funds to a private bank and no one is being held accountable. Virtues or words such as accountability and integrity, good governance and transparency, democracy and the rule of law and the right to freedom appear to have become dirty words, jokes or a mockery. But until or unless we return urgently and honestly to these core values of freedom, Sri Lanka will plunge into dictatorship and anarchy.

The socio-economic and political crises appear to be so grave that even some of the influential allies of the ruling UPFA are speaking out. The main Muslim party the SLMC has decided to contest the Eastern Provincial Council elections on its own, though UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe claims it is another act of political deception to get votes on two symbols and the two parties will come together after the elections.

The more serious crack-up in the UPFA appears to be the stand taken by the influential JHU which has decided not to take part in the three PC elections. At the JHU’s national convention, party leaders accused the Government of not taking effective steps to curb the abuse of narcotic drugs and tobacco, though a bill to this effect had been submitted to the Cabinet. The JHU leaders said that instead the Government had opened more casinos which would degrade the time-honoured religious principles and values of the country. JHU leaders also said that after the war ended in 2009 the people had high hopes of peace, reconciliation and social justice. But these hopes are now fading with government leaders acting largely for personal gain or glory than for the common good of the country.

As for reconciliation, little or no progress has been made more than three years after the war ended. The widely-respected TNA leader and well-known lawyer M. Sumanthiran said in an interview that words such as self-determination or federalism had become dirty words for the majority community just as good governance and accountability had also become so. He said that unlike the LTTE, the TNA was seeking self-determination by peaceful means for the Tamil-speaking people.

Mr. Sumanthiran warned that unless urgent action was taken for a just and fair political solution within a united Sri Lanka, the powerful global Tamil forum and other diaspora groups might again push for a separate state with the help of the international community.

 
 

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