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Formation of “Protest of the Opposition” has Exposed Regime’s Supreme Indifference to Democratic Norms, Human Rights and Rule of Law

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Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

TNA MP and Lawyer MA Sumanthiran arguing for the CPA petition showed that the illegitimate impeachment process led to a fraudulent appointment to the office of Chief Justice against which legal challenges were a necessity. This type of conflict within the judicial setup could seriously erode public faith in the institution of the judiciary and its capacity for independence from the political system. On the other hand the petition brings to light the ridiculous situation that arises from the existence, in effect of two Chief Justices – one whose removal was declared unlawful and is therefore invalid and the other whose appointment thus becomes simply a fraud.

Obviously the Mahinda regime cannot go on with this absurdity. They plan to reverse the court rulings to legitimise the new regime at Hulftsdorp, and the Government believes it could put an end to the anarchy created by their own folly in the judiciary.

But this erasure of history by the ruling administration would only ever make a difference domestically, where it is becoming almost impossible to stall the regime’s constant and concerted consolidation of power, at the virtual exclusion of all other national concerns.

However an effective opposition has come into the scene with the formation of the Protest of the Opposition -Vipakshaye Virodhaya (VV). Media and civil society, at least important sections, have fought hand in hand with the Protest of the Opposition to stop the march of the regime. It is important to note that Sumanthiran is an active supporter of the Protest of the Opposition and he has grown to be a challenging lawyer in the category of Dr Colvin, Nadesan and Muttetuwegama.

A judiciary effectively cowed by the government’s political thuggery can only be saved by such fearless lawyers devoted to justice and fair play.It is claimed by some sections that a further clipping of the judiciary’s wings, through a 19th Amendment to deny an incumbent Chief Justice the security of tenure is on the way. In parallel to this there would be an attempt to dilute the LLRC recommendations and revise the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that devolves power to the provinces.

This lame devolution has to be imposed on the Tamil leaders and will be the basis of a power sharing agreement with the Tamil minority community of the North and East! These foolish actions of the government, if allowed to continue would now make certain the coming of an adverse resolution in Geneva next month. The repression of the government, attacks on media people, and the attacks on the Protest of the Opposition would give enough space for foreign powers to make some serious indictments at the UNHRC.

In addition, the lack of progress on reconciliation and accountability, following the adoption of the US backed resolution in Geneva last year, cannot be concealed by disturbing the Protest of the Opposition when they investigate in to the condition of the people in the north. the government is recklessly heading for a defeat with a negative resolution inevitably adopted.

As Lanka’s international challenges mount, the Mahinda regime ridiculously remains confident that even if Lanka loses the Commonwealth Summit, it could fool the public by claiming it as being an irrefutable proof of its anti-imperialist nature. Actually the Mahinda regime is concerned with regard to the movement of the summit because it wants to showcase its mega-development drive to his Western masters.

On the other hand Mahinda Rajapaksa knows well that the loss of the Summit meeting could be used by his adjutants such as Wimal to enlarge his anti-imperialist political image.Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was making a liberal challenge when he extended his support to the Summit being held in Colombo during his meeting with Secretary General Sharma. Ranil in the recent past used this tactic of forwarding a liberal way out to the President and claimed support of the Opposition for any democratic steps taken. He made a similar suggestion in the CJs issue as well.

It exposed the limited nature of the regime. If a so called democratic government cannot make use of a simple liberal democratic way out proposed by a helpful Opposition Leader, then the government is beyond redemption and needs to be overthrown by the people’s mass action. His support came despite the Opposition Leader’s repeated affirmations that the government had violated Commonwealth principles by its impeachment process and even warned that the country could face expulsion from the grouping if it did not desist! The UNP Leader’s offer on the issue is rooted simply in the necessity to expose the inability of the fascist styled regime to consider democratic suggestions. That means radical and revolutionary steps are necessary to go forward.

On the other hand when the government moves into further trouble by rejecting the offer of the Opposition, the former automatically becomes the traitor who allowed the global powers to intervene making use of the lack of democracy as a human tragedy.

In the recent period the Opposition was able to defeat government propaganda machinery that constantly planted traitor labels on themselves. It shows how the main Opposition changed the narrative set by the government, and used it to erode Mahinda’s nationalist support base. As an effective opposition the Protest of the Opposition has exposed how the incumbent regime’s supreme indifference to democratic norms, human rights and the rule of law, was eroding the country’s international standing and dealing a death blow to the citizens’ freedom in one full swoop. VV has become the champion of human rights, to actively oppose the regime’s Sinhala chauvinistic repression, in spite of obstacles placed by non committal critiques.

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