18th Amendment, Colombo, Politics and Governance, Post-War

Urgent questions to pose to the Leader of the Opposition

The opposition leader and party leader of the UNP, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe,  appears to be play acting before the public, playing the two key roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

An e-mail invitation that went out to leaders of Civil Society and Human Rights Non-Profit Organisations on Monday, September 13, 2010 from the Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition stated that the “Leader of the Opposition would like to see you at a meeting to discuss Media Freedom and Democracy on Tuesday 14 September 2010 at 10.00 am at Committee Room 2, Parliament Complex”.

It is urged that the invitees to the above, prior to the commencement of the meeting, should ask the Leader of the Opposition to clarify the following issues relevant to the discussions to follow;

  • His definition of the role, responsibility, scope and accountability of the office of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to protection of Media Freedom and Democracy.
  • What effective steps he as the Leader of the Opposition has taken in the last 6 months in pursuit of such responsibility and to whom he has been accountable in that regard.
  • Details of the role played by him from the inception of the sowing of seeds by the President towards amending the constitution.
  • Specific submissions or suggestions made by him to the President in the above connection during or post his discussions.
  • Specific actions taken by him post his discussions with the President including, including transparent information dissemination, team work led strategic response action towards good governance assurance leveraging the Constitutional provisions.
  • Why details of these negotiations were not shared with the civil society groups during and after the discussions with the President?
  • Why he and his party failed to share copies of the bill amending the constitution with the civil society groups no sooner received?
  • Why he and the party did not alert the international community and foreign and local media of the details of the amending bill and the dangers foreseen towards protecting Media Freedom and Democracy?
  • Whether no sooner the Bill was received and it was known that it was to be passed as an Urgent Bill, whether he held immediate discussions with the President and lodged his/party strong objections to the planned process?
  • Why he and the party failed to intervene before the Supreme Court when the Bill was taken up for review by the Supreme Court as an Urgent Bill?
  • Why he and the party failed to attend parliamentary debate and fill the Hansard with all the arguments against the enactment of the Bill?
  • Whether he and the party are to file objections before the Judiciary on the points of objection raised in parliament the day before the debate against Bill being taken up for debate?
  • Whether in his opinion his actions as the leader of the opposition has met with the civil society expected role and responsibility as announced at the outset?
  • What credible personal leadership actions and achievements to date can be cited by him in support of his claim to protect Media Freedom and Democracy in the current external environment?