Whenever an election is included in the country’s agenda, the next thing one gets to read in papers is election violence or misuse of public properties.
Sunday Lankadeepa quoted PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi revealing that ministers of the dissolved provincial councils have so far not handed over their official vehicles and they had been using them for personal and party purposes. He further requests all the politicians not to manipulate islandwide development projects implemented by the government for their personal advantage.
And there is the inherent threat of firearms coming out of the closets during election time. Thuggery and intimidation become the standard way of attaining people’s preference. The shameful duplicities of the politicians are such that the saint-like politician who goes from door-to-door begging for votes, will employ thugs to threaten his opponents and voters.
Barely a few days have passed after the nominations, but the potential people’s representatives have been let loose with their fangs on show. Irrespective of the party which they represent, election laws have already been violated.
Even though, the Commissioner of Elections is the ultimate authority when it comes to safeguarding election laws, the feasibility of depending on an individual to curb the horde of unruly individuals, is in question. Though, he is being given the support of the armed forces, little does it serve the purpose when the party hierarchy does not make an effort to hold tight to the reins of those who tend to run wild.
Undisputedly, holding regular elections is the livewire of democracy.
Yet, in a nominal democracy like ours, electing the members to the country’s administrative bodies does not bring in contentment; for the people know the selection is always about ticking for the one who is the lesser evil than the rest.
Those who are appointed to power through the people’s vote become lawmakers. Be it the ultimate helm of Parliament or the Provincial Councils, the prime responsibility of the members is to see that an organised administration prevails and people’s rights and security are safeguarded. Yet, the shameful manner in which they plunge themselves into elections, leaves very little hope about their law-abiding nature, leave alone their law-making skills.
Throughout history, the governing regimes were criticised for misuse of public properties and power during elections. The norm, however disgusting it looks in the eyes of the election monitors and the democracy-loving public, has taken root in the country’s political culture.
The fact that history had it that way is not an excuse to continue violating election laws. All parties that contest should ensure that their members go by the book and do not step over the line.
People have seen enough blood. Some of the wounds still bleed. The last thing they want is another election, the result of which is written in red.