By Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe –
We believe that the Presidential Election in January 2015 is an chance offered to all men and women in Sri Lanka to make an crucial, considerable and a creative choice, in respect of the future of their own nation and her men and women. The run up to the election thus far has not been satisfactory or acceptable at all, from the point of view of the folks of the country. It seems that the folks have been taken for granted and are becoming treated as objects with no sense of intelligence or ability to understand the reality. Deception, dishonesty and disbelief are all about them.
Consequently we think that there is an urgent need to have for a inventive code of conduct on the part of all engaged in the election, to be followed at least throughout the extremely brief time prior to the election, on the day of the election and in the post- election period.
The violations of the laws of the country in general and especially in respect of the election is unprecedented, than ever just before. Violations are accomplished openly and shamelessly with complete awareness. It is hard to think that any individual contesting an election is not conscious of the law of the nation pertaining to elections. That means that such violations are carried out consciously and purposely. It is the responsibility of all political parties to make sure that such violations by their own candidates and their supporters are prevented. The voters must be respected and trusted. Opportunity and the environment should be created for them to use their franchise with no any force or stress. Their basic appropriate to use and workout the freedom granted to them by the constitution, need to be ensured.
The violation of the laws and specially rigging of elections has not been strange in Sri Lanka. We appeal specially to those in authority to facilitate the atmosphere so that such rigging in all forms is prevented. We have observed in the previous that all sorts of excuses have been given by the division of elections and other state departments and institutions, for not being capable to avert such action. Without having negatively saying that measures can not be taken and are not within one’s purview, it is the duty of all in authority to positively look for indicates and avenues inside the authority vested in them, to curtail ill-practices. If not the so-referred to as impossibility will stay forever and almost certainly will turn out to be part of the accepted norms. The men and women of the country expect them to refrain from providing excuses and fulfil their duty totally, so that the will and the need of the people will prevail. The voter is conscious that the Commissioner of Elections is vested with all authority and energy throughout an election, to ensure freedom and fairness. It is in that self-confidence that we appeal to the Commissioner of Elections to use all state machinery to avoid any breaking of laws. We also appeal to all candidates and their supporters to honour the laws of the nation pertaining to the elections and refrain from any violation, by use of force.
Post-election violence and intimidation are absolutely nothing new in our country. The violence, intimidation and force employed already during this election, are enough for us to get in touch with for an assurance from the candidates. Correct democracy does not accommodate violence. Violence and use of public sources do not speak for free of charge and fair elections. These who continue to vouch for ‘no violence’ are not only appearing to be, but are certainly blind, deaf, dumb and are dishonest. Such persons must not be entrusted with the governance of our country. Victory need to be accomplished by playing the game inside the accepted guidelines and norms. No intimidation of one’s opponents need to be permitted under any situations. Their security has to be ensured. This can only come about if the candidates and their supporters are capable to accept with humility, the choice of the people. On the other hand the civil society, the religious groups and other community groups want to come out to prevent such cruelty and viciousness. Whoever is elected will be the President of all Sri Lankans. We are all known as to gather together and develop our nation and the nation.
It is a known fact that undue pressure is brought upon voters by using psychological as nicely as contemporary methods of communication. Spread of fear among ordinary folks is a frequent practice. We have observed with much pain and distress the pollution of the atmosphere, with posters, banners, hoardings, excessively. It is much more than what is necessary to communicate a message, there-by once again bringing undue pressure on people’s minds. Exhibition of all religious signs, photos of religious areas and personalities for campaign purposes is contrary to decent publicity in a civilized society. I do believe that such action depicts one’s bankruptcy. Does this imply that such persons have currently run quick of troubles and policies to speak about?
The state machinery is entrusted with the activity of keeping law and order and making sure a peaceful poll. The Police has a specific function in this activity and the state officers in charge want the corporation of the ordinary folks as properly as these closely engaged in the polls, to fulfill their duty. It goes without having saying that political interference has been increasingly spreading with impunity in the current previous. This is a threat to democratic values and structures that we in Sri Lanka have so sacredly safe guarded more than numerous decades. Our appeal is that all concerned will extend their fullest corporation to the Commissioner of Elections and his group, collectively with the staff of the Elections Secretariat to conduct a cost-free and a fair Presidential Election without having any interference or intimidation.
We appear forward to a post-election Sri Lanka with Democracy, Good Governance, Rule of Law, concern for Social Justice and the extended awaited Reconciliation and Healing of Memories and the Healing of the History of our nation. It is only then, the people of our nation will reap the full advantage of the peace dividend.
May God Bless us all, in the New Year.