We shall be grateful to you and your esteemed journal if you would allow us a little space to express, on behalf of those who have gone along untiringly with the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) on the tough road to good governance, to comment on the manner in which the recent parliamentary elections were managed.
CIMOGG has addressed the Elections Commissioner (EC) directly, in writing, and through the Press on many occasions from 2005 onwards. Specifically, in a newspaper article dated 19 February 2010 and carrying the title UNDERUSED POWERS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF ELECTIONS (www.cimogg-srilanka.org), CIMOGG called upon the EC to make the fullest use of the powers available to him despite the various practical restrictions that had intensified over the years. He did not do so. Whilst many were then critical of the EC’s reluctance to exercise the lawful powers he had, CIMOGG appreciated that there were forces that would not have hesitated to destroy him if he had tried to employ all the means nominally available to him under the Constitution to conduct free and fair elections. The subsequent cruel and cold-blooded treatment of Sarath Fonseka, followed by the shameful kangaroo trial of Shirani Bandaranaike, showed that a non-confrontational approach on the part of the EC had been imperative for his own survival and that of his Department. He may have wisely thought that it was better to play dead and live to fight another day than to be unceremoniously eliminated!
We are, therefore, delighted to extend our congratulations and thanks to the EC for the full use of the 19th Amendment that was made by him to administer the recent elections to a standard not seen in Sri Lanka for several decades. Needless to say, he could not have achieved what he did without the indispensable cooperation and support of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), who gave positive and firm leadership to the entire police force. Whilst these two key personnel did their duty with unprecedented acceptance, the hard work of their senior personnel, and the rank and file, played no small part to reverse the long-experienced deterioration in the manner of running of our elections. We hail the commitment of all those who contributed to this highly creditable achievement.
We would be failing in our duty if we did not also point out that it was the commitment of the Venerable Madhuluwawe Sobitha Thero, Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremasinghe, Chandrika Bandaranaike and host of other dedicated citizens that led to the almost miraculous change that took place on 9 January 2015, which, in turn, led to the repeal of the noxious 18th Amendment and its replacement by the critical 19th Amendment, without which the EC and the IGP would have been as powerless as before.