A Balance Sheet - Mahinda Chinthana 2005 and the Actions of the Regime during the Last Four Years

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    A Balance Sheet - Mahinda Chinthana 2005 and the Actions of the

    Regime during the Last Four Years -Lionel Bopage

    This article provides a balance sheet on the current political, social and economic

    situation in Sri Lanka. This would help in deciding whether, during the last four years,85 percent of the election pledges made in Mahinda Chinthana 2005 had been achieved

    or not. This is important because shortly we all have a serious

    responsibility to fulfill in the upcoming presidential election.

    Politics of Broken Promises

    During the presidential election in 2005, the present President made the following

    pledges through his Mahinda Chintana.

    At all elections, politicians place promises similar to fairytales, before the people.

    Although the voters bring the politicians into power, very often the promises are

    forgotten. I will take the following measures to end politics dominated by broken

    promises (Mahinda Chintana Page 99).

    Despite this pledge of the President, have not we faced now with the continuation of

    politics dominated by broken promises?

    Do you remember the following promises made in Mahinda Chintana?

    I extend my hand of cooperation to you and your children with sincere love and

    affection, to

    expeditiously solve your problems having understood fully your struggle for survival

    against various odds

    (Page 79); until benefits of the projects aimed at increasing individual and family

    income levels to reduce the cost of living are reaped, I intend to implement

    programmes to solve the day to day problems of the people (Page 17) by bringing

    down the prices of essential food items including rice, dhal, milk foods, spices andcoconut oil so that a weekly food basket to each of the poor families (Page 19) is

    available to you.

    Remember this was in Mahinda Chintana!

    The southern polity brought the present President to power, then tolerated the unbearable

    cost of living and sacrificed lives of their own children with certain expectations. With

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    the end of the war, they expected the cost of living will reduce, their other socio-

    economic problems will find solutions and the development of the country would

    advance. They deemed that unprecedented prospects will open up for this to occur. Yet,

    there are no signs that these expectations will be fulfilled in the near future. What did the

    Tamil people expect? They expected a just and long term political outcome to address

    the national problem. Is there a plan of action to fulfill such expectations even in thedistant future? No, certainly not.

    Do you remember the election promise given in 2005, to include The Charter of

    Rights into the

    Constitution based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United

    Nations and other international treaties to uphold and protect social, cultural, political,

    economic and civil rights of all Sri Lankans (Page 98)?

    What have we experienced to date?

    Only the decimation of human and democratic rights of the people in total violation of

    the international agreements and treaties.

    What happened to the election promise given in 2005 regarding media freedom?

    The pledge was to recognise the right of the people to have access to correct

    information; to truly establish the freedom of the media; and to make State media

    the highest example in the use of an independent and responsible media and towards

    this, to de-politicise it (page 94).

    During the past four years what has been the outcome of this promise?

    It has ended up with the use of draconian legislation such as the anti-terror and

    emergency laws to violently suppress media freedom; with the assassination of 34

    journalists and media workers; with the kidnapping of another ten; with Tissainayagam

    being held behind bars; and with over 50 journalists being forced to live in self-exile for

    safeguarding their lives from certain torture and death.

    Let us remind ourselves of another pledge provided in Mahinda Chintana 2005.

    This was to take steps to fully strengthen institutionalised arrangements for law

    enforcement (page 5);

    to transform the police service into a people-friendly and impartial service (page 38);

    and to refrain from using force against anyone (page 26).

    What have we achieved during the last four years?

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    The use of police, armed forces, para-militaries, thuggery and state media to achieve

    political needs of the regime with the complete breakdown of the countrys laws and

    peaceful environment. Many more matters relating to the manner the law enforcement

    and human rights operates in the country are being confirmed during the current election

    process.

    What about the pledge to restore the dignity and independence of the public service

    (page 9)?

    Hasnt it ended up with the public service being made completely dependent and

    politicised?

    Why does not the President take necessary steps to implement the 17th Amendment to

    the Constitution that would establish Independent Commissions such as the Public

    Service Commission and the Police Commission?

    Could you recollect this pledge?

    To present a Constitution that will propose the abolition of the Executive Presidency

    with the consensus of all, and in the interim, to present a Constitutional

    amendment through which the Executive President will be made answerable to the

    Parliament by virtue of holding such office (page 97).

    Instead of this pledge, hasnt the present President used his executive powers in an

    unlimited fashion to make him unanswerable to the Parliament as much as possible?

    Do you remember this pledge?

    To strongly implement international treaties, declarations on anti-corruption and to act

    under international law against those found guilty of corruption, when engaging in trade

    with foreign countries or foreign institutions (page 98, 99).

    What have we achieved during the last four years?

    The maximum use of corruption, nepotism and family bandyism mainly for theirambitions while completely overlooking the common masses.

    What a nice pledge was the following Mahinda Chintana pledge?

    To extend the hand of cooperation to you and your children with sincere love and

    affection, without being confined to the narrow boundaries of ethnic and religious

    differences (page 79); to launch a special programme for the resolution of issues

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    encountered by the people due to the ethnic diversity, geographical and cultural

    reasons (page 83); to ensure the security of the people so that no ethnic group

    should be reduced to being hostages of another group (page 83); to respect all ethnic

    and religious identities (page 26) and to build a new society that protect individuals and

    social freedoms (page 27) .

    Nevertheless, what have we achieved during the last four years?

    With the end of the war, havent we consolidated discrimination against various

    communities and limited individual and social freedoms by trapping the society into a

    narrow chauvinist and religious extreme, by placing shackles to the right of peoples to

    equality, autonomy and self-determination and by strengthening the power of chauvinist

    and religious extremist groups?

    Do you remember these election pledges in 2005?

    To commence extensive discussion with all political parties based on the

    fundamental platform of an undivided country, a national consensus and an

    honourable peace (p.31); to vigorously implement the official language policy

    (p.93); to pay a temporary allowance to people who had to leave their homes as those

    were located in high security zones; to resettle all those who are displaced in their

    villages expeditiously (p.80); to provide a plot of land to each plantation worker to

    empower them to stand on their own like any other citizen who owns property (p.88);

    and to commence a programme to issue National Identity Card to all citizens (p.38).

    What have we achieved after four years of this President in power?

    The level of polarisation between different ethnic and religious communities has become

    the worst it has ever been in the history.

    How about the Mahinda Chintana pledges on education?

    To make the blossoming lives of children meaningful (p.6); to provide your children

    well paid job opportunities (p.10); not to deprive our children of their right to free

    education (p.72); to offer permanent employment to all volunteer teachers serving ingovernment schools (p.7); to settle the crisis in educational administration with

    priority given to suitable qualified teachers in the recruitment into the Education

    Administrative Services (p.74).

    The GCE Ordinary Level results of the last year alone will speak volumes of the

    outcomes of these pledges.

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    What about the pledges on health services?

    To preserve the free health service and sa