Editorial: Placards don’t cover Opposition’s embarrassing reality | Sunday Observer

Editorial: Placards don’t cover Opposition’s embarrassing reality

The very elements that undermined the security of the state and brought the nation to the brink of failure are seen carrying placards into Parliament claiming that the 2OthAmendment is illegitimate (avajathaka) or bastardised.

It’s not a cause for concern; rather, it is a cause for the Government to be bemused at how tone deaf the current Opposition ranks are. This Opposition has collectively not a single self-effacing thought for self scrutiny and correction in the face of the massive defeat it suffered just very recently at the hands of the people.

The devastating impact of bad governance during the Yahapalana — good governance — regime is seen from the absurdly pathetic nature of the events that transpired before the Commission to investigate the Easter Sunday attacks.

Something ailed the system very badly for a grotesque outcome of the nature that’s revealed daily before the Commission, and that something was ironically the lack of democracy and good governance.

Democracy was replaced by a kakistocracy and a quasi-state during the former regime. Officialdom was replaced by petty actors ruling over their own little fiefdoms, such as the then Defence Secretary and the IGP, and the then high-command which ended up demolishing and diminishing each other like some circular firing squad.

It was the mandate of the newly elected Government to put this state of affairs right.The Government decided to deliver on that front and bring in legislation to reimpose order in a chaotic quasi-state.

The Government is setting about that task with calm confidence as the new leadership has a responsibility to deliver on the mandate that was granted.

That two-thirds affirmation by the voter, was to restore the dignity of those that felt insecure, threatened and abandoned due to the colossal governance failure that led to events such as the Easter Sunday attacks. Each separate day’s proceedings of the Commission probing those attacks offers a separate testimony on why constitutional change such as the 20th Amendment is needed.

When there are daily recriminations and finger pointing involving the then leadership, and the then Defence establishment, that’s a regular reminder of how grotesquely we were governed — and why the people granted such a decisive mandate to put that state of affairs right.

In this context, the placard carrying in Parliament against the 20th Amendment seems like adding insult to the injury of the people’s predicament during the UNP government.

If the Opposition had genuine concerns about the 20th Amendment, legal recourse would have been enough. But these people chose the farce of carrying boards in funeral black in the House, and made their failures in power even more conspicuous as a result.

This Opposition’s national list MPs of all people, are going around making outrageous allegations that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith may have known about the plans for the Easter Sunday attack before it happened.

Obviously, governance was in the hands of these dangerous almost deranged people. Nobody in their right senses would make a claim of that sort about the Cardinal who was at the time of the attack and its immediate aftermath the only national figure that could manage to pacify a hurt, shocked and outraged people.

It is a well known fact that the main opposition parties of today do not see eye to eye with the Cardinal for his very blunt statements about the failure of the then administration, and its responsibility towards allowing the Easter Sunday attacks to happen.

For the Cardinal’s forthrightness in laying the blame squarely on the previous government, he was disliked — even hated — by the then government, now in opposition, as it saw whatever was left of its political capital disappear in the face of the blunt words of the local Head of the Catholic Church about that government’s culpability.

Basically, that’s politically motivated hate. The Cardinal has no politics, but the Harin Fernando types in the erstwhile government developed an intense dislike for the sage but dogged Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, based purely on a political calculation.

That’s the reality about that reaction, but to take that hatred so far as to allege at the hearings of the very Commission probing the attacks, that the Cardinal knew of the planned carnage before it happened, is to take raw political vengeance to a level of surreal and insane rage.

There is a footnote to that story. The same MP who made these outrageous allegations against the Cardinal was not very long ago taken to meet His Holiness Ranjith by his party leader after similarly incendiary statements, and the latter forgave him. So this repeated bad conduct by the MP, must surely be out of a sense of spite that his target never let up on the quest to unearth the truth about the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Opposition was fixated on power and self-preservation when in government, and is fixated on self-preservation and power now, after a drubbing at the elections — a complete shellacking, to use the terminology reserved for such things by the former US President Barack Obama.

But to completely refuse to see the truth of their failure, and to neglect the need to correct that state of affairs is completely unfathomable.

The people are not likely to be impressed about the crocodile tears for democracy now being shed in the Opposition ranks, because the failure of that Opposition’s democratic experiment is too clearly etched in people’s memory for them to forget what misery and carnage it brought about.

The Easter Sunday Commission sittings are for the voters, a daily reminder about why they would rather have the 20th Amendment, and not the ‘democratic’ alternative touted by the Opposition.

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