The entire bridge to Kalutara is full of this stuff
There’s a lot wrong about this election. For one, all the eyeball-offending hoardings and posters are up despite the Elections Commissioner ordering them down. For two, that one man is actually supposed to be a five member commission (by the Constitution). The law is somewhat random and broken because it’s broken from the start.
A row of public (SLTB) buses I saw on the coast, used for Mahinda’s campaign
Without an independent and reliable Elections Commission there will be abuse. It’s like a game with no referee. Hence you get stuff like
- Facilities at Temple Trees, the official residence of the President, are used to entertain people from various sectors for political purposes. At these events, most of the participants were transported to the venue at State expense and were provided with food and in some instances, even with liquor…
- These gatherings are a violation of the essence of the public notice issued by the Election Commissioner on 08.12.2009 preventing the use of public property for the purpose of promoting a candidate during the election.
- A property belonging to the Ports Authority situated at 56/1 Mc-Callum Road, Colombo 10 is being used to print propaganda material in favor of the President. The said posters are seen in Colombo city and other parts of the country.
- Nine lorries bearing the numbers WP-LG 4738, WP-LG 4740, WP-LG 4741, WP-LG 4742, WP-LG 4744, WP-LG 4745, WP-LG 4546, WP-LG 4547, WP-LG 4749 of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (purchased in 2009) are being released for election work of the UPFA in the Southern Province.
- The meeting of the UPFA on 27-12-2009, at Minuwangoda (Japalawatta) – Around 26 CTB busses were used to transport crowds free of charge from Nittambuwa, Attanagalla, Mattakuuliya, Udahamulla, Angoda, Wattegama and Teldeniya.
- Chairman of Airport and Aviation Service Ltd. had verbally ordered middle and minor grade
- employees of the Airport to go on duty leave to Colombo on 23-12-2009 to participate in a protest rally against a statement made by the common candidate of the opposition
- Some of the key officials of few public media institutions are concurrently holding political party positions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the leading constituent party of the UPFA
One of these hoardings is for a political party, the other for a public-owned airline. They look the same
Among other things. All of this stuff is from a cursory reading of Transparency International’s Protection Of Public Resources Report. This also documents numerous hoardings displayed by government organizations for one candidate, and orders from the police ordering officers to disobey the Elections Commissioner and keep hoardings up.
- Hoarding displayed at Nugegoda sponsored by the State Trading Corporation
- Hoarding displayed in town hall sponsored by the Presidential Secretariat
- Hoarding displayed in Thimbirigasyaya sponsored by Presidential Operational Office
- Hoarding displayed in Matara sponsored by Sothern Development Authority
- Hoarding displayed in Matara sponsored by Ruhunu Radio
Then there is airtime worth Rs 84 million being bought by Namal and Yoshitha Rajapakse through Tharunyata Hetak, which has gotten large contributions from the Bank Of Ceylon and National Lotteries Board (both controlled by the President). This itself is largely symptomatic of the lack of transparency and laws governing disclosure of funding sources, even if the laws were followed.
All of this points to a deep rot within the system which I think that both candidates should pledge to fix. The Constitution seems like an abstraction, until you see the nasty wrongness that progresses when we ignore it. Taking the hoardings down is one thing, but at some point we have to implement the 17th amendment and set a real Elections Commission up.