Good governance, the Constitution, and social turbulence | Sunday Observer

Good governance, the Constitution, and social turbulence

30 July, 2022

Politicians and the vast majority of the general public have yet to grasp the gravity of the situation if political stability does not return to normalcy immediately. Both factions seem to be in fantasy, imagining that everything will come back to normalcy after ousting former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. None of the blocs seems to realise the magnitude of sacrifices they will be forced to make in order to bring the situation back to normalcy.

Independent economists predict that the economic situation keeps on deteriorating at a fast pace and the government will face the challenge of meeting essential expenditures such as fuel, medicine, and essential food items. More importantly, productivity in the private sector will suffer, as will job losses, rising living costs, reduced income, and even paying salaries for already expensive public services.

Nevertheless, completely disregarding the gruesome situation, the trade unions affiliated with Jathika Jana Balavegaya (JJB) are talking about combined trade union actions, including island-wide strikes, if the incumbent President does not step down. The country has already lost billions of rupees during the past few months because of the actions of “Aragalaya” participants, apart from the loss of tourism revenue. The pertinent question is whether the country can withstand another fiasco like that.

According to media reports, the IMF staff-level meetings will be delayed, further distancing the key factor in the salvation of the economy. Also, foreign revenue derived from tourism, the only source that provides foreign currency with a minimum outflow, is being hampered and still without any trace of recovery.

Regrettably, the country has a head of the Central Bank, the most important institution in economic matters, who keeps saying why he cannot provide adequate funds for essentials when his job is to find solutions for such situations. In this writer’s opinion, divulging damaging information at every media briefing or interview that can create panic must be stopped and discussed among responsible people, and not publicly. The head of the Central Bank now seems to be following the politicians who made the same mistake.


On top, the hypocritical political campaign spearheaded by Jathika Jana Balavegaya and the Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP) has asked the ex-pat community, the largest source of foreign revenue for Sri Lanka, to refrain from sending their earnings to the country, and has disrupted the steady inflow, even after the dollar was floated.

Nearly 50 percent of the income received was completely unsettled.

What these ex-pat workers do not realise is that by using illegal money transferring methods, they unknowingly work against their own kith and kin who are living in the country where they receive free education, health services, and many other benefits. Unfortunately, sly politicians who are after votes do not allow expatriate workers to realise this salient fact. More importantly, the Government’s media machinery is not taking any proactive and effective action to educate the masses.

Although some of its leaders cry out loud that the “Aragalaya” is active, the ground reality is that the activities of the protest campaign have evidently diminished drastically. Only a few activists can be seen at the site, although the so-called leaders give “voice cuts” occasionally.

Since the beginning of the protest campaign by non-partisan activists against the former President, a number of political parties have craftily sneaked in, although only two of them succeeded. Initially, the support of the public was genuine. Nevertheless, later, the political parties who attempted to claim ownership of the campaign ignored the fact that the public support came because of the many hardships they were confronting then and not because of these political parties.

Not only does the general public seem to have lost interest due to the nefarious activities of some protesters, but also the activists themselves seem to have realised that they were misled by two political parties.

Ordinary people who participate in disruptive activities do not realise the gloomy repercussions they will face if legal action is initiated against them. Instead of educating them about the outcome of lawlessness, so-called seniors in the legal fraternity have encouraged such actions. Although lawyers appear in courts to defend the respondents, when the hearings are dragged on with customary delays, they will be left alone to fight lone battles. It is almost certain that the lawyers who appeared cheerfully for the defendants will not be available after the first few hearings.

The “State terror” that is being discussed in an uncontrollable manner on social media and on some of the anti-Government television channels without substantial evidence is deafening. In fairness to former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, it must be noted that aggressive law enforcement action against any protest campaign did not take place during his tenure.

Political analysts observe that perhaps his inaction and soft stance on certain incidents were one of the key reasons for his failure. Until the incident took place near his private residence in Mirihana, during the entire period of his governance, the protesters were not dispersed by using force.

The critics of the actions of law enforcement knowingly ignore the fact that no Government can disregard lawlessness and vandalism. For example, the United States Government took drastic and swift action against the perpetrators when they stormed the Capitol Building in Washington. The Capitol Hill riots took the lives of five people.

In India, the Government has ordered the police and law enforcement of various states to attack the protesters using water cannons, batons, and tear gas to prevent them from entering Delhi. Hundreds of fatalities were also reported by international media.

Similar incidents took place during Covid-19 in several Western countries, including Australia, where the Governments used legitimate force.

However, the irony is that these same countries condemn Sri Lanka for taking preventive action against those who forcefully entered and will fully damaged important buildings such as the President’s House, Presidential Secretariat, Prime Minister’s office, and the former Prime Minister’s private residence. While all constitutional rights must be upheld, any democratic Government in the world will use legitimate power against violence.

Economists, intellectuals, social media pundits, politicians, university lecturers, and all types of critics have given enough definitions, analyses, and imaginary solutions to the ongoing situation. Yet, none of these groups shows any interest in a combined and consensual effort to confront the common enemy, the economic crisis. This writer continuously reminded the patrons that a unified effort is an absolute necessity and the knowledgeable public must force the nation with multiple divisions to stand together.

The most important task of the new President, the Government, and the Central Bank is to find an immediate solution to the fuel crisis. Most of the public resistance may subside if the ongoing queues can be ended. Not only will it bring the day-to-day life of the masses into a better situation, but it will also improve the current troubled economic activities.


The country needs creative solutions from the Government, not temporary escapes that may hamper the complete recovery. First and foremost, the authorities and politicians must understand the depth of the problem. Also, the general public must be made aware of the dire difficulties and the gruesome repercussions that they may have to face if they do not act immediately.

The protesters must return to economic activities if they are genuinely interested in the future of the country. Continuously, they have declared that all their actions were for the sake of the country’s future. If we do not take these facts into consideration, Sri Lanka will be at the bottom of the pit and recovery