Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit

Taiwan announces the appearance of a new virus in China

1 min read

While surrounded by Chinese armed forces, Taiwan has announced that a new virus has been discovered in China. Her name? Langya-Henipavirus (LayV). This would be transmitted from animals to humans. Dogs and goats are the main carriers of the virus. According to Taiwan, the new pathogen could lead to organ failure in humans.

At least 35 people have been infected with this new “Henipa” in China. This was said on Sunday by Chuang Jen-hsiang, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Taiwan, to reporters, according to information from the anti-Beijing “Taipei Times”.

His explanation of Langya-Henipavirus comes three days after scientists from Beijing and Singapore published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine . The virus is said to have appeared in the Chinese provinces of Shangdong and Henan. According to the study, the patients presented with a high fever. At least half of them also suffered from exhaustion, coughing, loss of appetite and a decrease in white blood cells. More than a third of those affected also suffered from liver failure and 8% from kidney failure.

No human-to-human transmission observed

Henipaviruses are considered a permanent threat to humans and animals. According to scientists, “LayV” belongs to the family of paramyxoviruses which, like the coronavirus, are transmitted mainly by droplets. Paramyxoviruses themselves belong to the so-called “negative strand RNA” viruses and can, according to the study, cause “fatal diseases”.

A study of domestic and livestock animals reportedly showed that 2% of goats and 5% of dogs tested were positive. Mice are also believed to carry the virus.

According to Chuang Jen-hsiang, none of the 35 people infected in China would have had contact with each other. Contact tracing also failed to prove human-to-human transmission. No deaths have been reported so far.

No test yet

The appearance of this new virus comes as the global Covid-19 pandemic has still not been overcome. In Switzerland, the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) is preparing to set up new prevention campaigns. It was also in China that the Covid appeared in 2019, on a fresh produce market in Wuhan. Since then, the country has systematically obstructed access to relevant data and destroyed evidence that could help determine the origin of the coronavirus.

Even today, as part of its “zero Covid” policy, Beijing goes so far as to ban access to entire cities, which leads to uncertainty around the world about the delivery of goods and an interruption of the chains of transport. production.

For its part, Taiwan does not yet want to sound the alarm about this new discovery. According to Chuang Jen-hsiang, there is currently no standardized testing method to identify the virus. It is therefore not yet possible for laboratories to detect an infection in humans and a possible large-scale spread.

In the context of current tensions between Taiwan and China, the appearance of this new pathology seems to be at the heart of much broader issues than just the health field.

Sri Lanka: Inflammatory Attacks on Intel Agencies, What Gives?

1 min read

Instead of using the available intelligence and data-based analysis to inform decision-making at the moment of need, should the intelligence agencies of the country be held accountable for failing miserably having relied on hearsay by elements with vested interests? When coming to power, after promising to change the system of the country, if a leader vehemently disregards the mandate given by the people by putting aside important decisions and giving priority to personal interests are the intelligence agencies responsible for the consequences?

Intelligence agencies have accurately identified internal and external threats and conveyed assessments and intelligence analyses to the country’s leadership throughout the country’s history, but they have been repeatedly faulted and rejected. Who then should be tasked with this critical role at a time when the leader fails to heed any warnings?

Subsequently, the terrorist attacks carried out by fanatic extremists and certain parties have created a facade that the intelligence agencies had conspired the attacks to bring President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to power. Same segments of the society are now stating that the intelligence agencies are responsible for ousting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Such inflammatory and damnable attacks on intelligence agencies must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Intelligence agencies should not be held accountable when politicians are rejected by people because of their dishonest and unethical practices. The truth is being suppressed by individuals and groups who do not hesitate to betray anything to further their narrow political ambitions and then blame the intelligence agencies to cover up their failures. This is a dangerous trend.

The nature of the mass media machinery in this country is to share a lie and compel people to accept them, is like a stench wafting from a garbage dump. Instead of working together to overcome the collective challenges, many politicians and the vicious cycle, depend on having no other strategy than to deceive the public and sidestep responsibilities to preserve their power. Unfortunately, that is where fake news about intelligence agencies is a catalyst. We have become a nation that believes manufactured lies instead of evidence-based analysis and it is used generously by individuals to manipulate the lives of its citizenry.

How many more years will it take for a country like Sri Lanka to stand up united as a nation and not fall prey to agendas? Due to the misuse of government institutions for political gains, the government institutions are not only becoming increasingly rotten and politicized but the basic rights of the people are also affected. Therefore, when talking about the intelligence agencies and other state-owned institutions, it is better to speak responsibly, isn’t it?

Sri Lanka: An impeachment against Ranil?

4 mins read

President Ranil Wickremesinghe is amplifying his political power unprecedentedly. He is a lucky man in an unfortunate state. Simultaneously, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the political party that gained power in the shortest period in the history of Sri Lanka, and which supported him in bringing him to power, is gradually depleting. But it continues to hold the centre of the constitutional power. According to some unofficial sources, many senior members of the party are worried and angry because the President’s team has sidelined the SLPP and trashed many of their demands.

As a political party, the SLPP is going through its most critical moment of political survival. The fact is that this party, which did politics on the ground until it won the elections, has deliberately ignored politics after gaining power and took decisions prioritizing overestimation and an ego-centric mindset. They underestimated the people’s revolt.

But when many “politicians” do not do politics, on the contrary, Ranil Wickremesinghe did politics. He reaped its harvest handsomely. At present, he is gradually succeeding in his power expansion but there are two main challenges. The first is to fulfil the demands of the SLPP, which provided conditional support for him to come to power. The second is to turn the United National Party (UNP) into a strong political movement again. Revivification of the UNP is possible but not an easy task.

It is alleged that the President is strategically putting off fulfilling the demands of the SLPP as he is very good at buying time to avoid difficulties. To justify it in front of society, he brings to his office the small groups of mainly UNP loyalists who joined the struggle against the Rajapaksas by giving a prominent media campaign. Some opportunists involved in those protests have been given several positions. But in a few days, a strong opinion will be created in the political camps against President Wickremesinghe pointing out that this struggle is part of his great game. It is difficult to imagine that a politician like Basil Rajapaksa, who is the real owner of SLPP, has not realized this. Basil’s encounter with Wickremesinghe in politics is an event that should be read carefully. Their artificial co-existence with each other will not last long.

However, Mr Wickramasinghe is strengthening the financial power needed to revive the UNP by using his old team. His old folks who were vehemently rejected by people are resurfacing under the guise of strengthening the party. Without any proper authority, they are directly interfering in the governance but, they lack a strategic plan to come out of the dire crisis the party is facing. This behaviour is unlikely to bode well for the UNP. Because President Wickremesinghe’s politics still depends on the SLPP. Also, in case of any crisis of survival, the first choice of the minor parties that broke away from the alliance led by the SLFP is the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, not Ranil’s camp. This is likely to be the reality for at least the next six months until the President has the constitutional power to dissolve Parliament.

It is important to recall two events in the political history of this country to understand what may happen in the future under such a situation. The first event was Mr Dudley Senanayake defeating Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who was the Prime Minister before forming his seven-party coalition. Mrs Bandaranaike was an internationally recognized successful political figure at that time who promulgated many national initiatives. In 1964, Sirimavo abolished the independent Ceylon Civil Service and replaced it with the Ceylon Administrative Service. In February 1964, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited Sri Lanka then Ceylon which inevitably boosted the Sino-Lanka relationship. She, later, hosted Presidents Tito of Yugoslavia and President Nasser of Egypt in March 1964, but continued domestic unrest forced her to suspend parliamentary sessions until July. In the interim, she entered into a coalition which increased her majority by three seats. In October 1964, Bandaranaike attended and co-sponsored the Non-Aligned Conference in Cairo. In December 1964, she lost a vote of no confidence and dissolved Parliament. Dudley Senanayake came to power after the election. The seven-party coalition (hath hawula) that consolidated his power ruled the country for the next five years. However, the Coalition of Seven gradually dissolved, giving Mrs Bandaranaike a golden opportunity to regain power. Rest is the history.

The second incident is the failed impeachment against President Ranasinghe Premadasa staged by Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Disanayaka in September 1991. The impeachment against the President came shortly after the brutal suppression of the JVP rebellion against the government. On the other hand, the Indian peacekeeping forces were withdrawn from the country and the LTTE was pushing for a political solution. But the power of the president gradually weakened. Consequently, Premadasa had lost the support of his senior members, but the current President Wickremesinghe, who was then a known MP, supported him. Thus, impeachment did not succeed. Premadasa tried to seize the opportunity to accumulate more power to ensure his authority. Subsequently, the internal rebellion against Premadasa was suppressed but he was unable to extinguish the turmoil. It further isolated him.

What can happen if President Wickremesinghe continues to undermine the aspirations of the SLPP? Unlike Premadasa, he has no parliamentary power. He eats from someone else’s plate. The rightful owner can seize it at any time. Consequently, there is a possibility of a repeat of Prime Minister Bandaranaike’s 1964 scenario or President Premadasa’s 1991 scenario. This is the tricky and complicated nature of politics. It’s all about power, all other crises are secondary.

Until President Wickremesinghe, who was a charming fortune, is constitutionally empowered to dissolve the current government, his survival depends on the SLPP. So the next six months are crucial. The political reality to be faced during this period is significant. If he continues to emasculate the power of the SLPP, it wouldn’t take long for it to grow into a rebellion against him. Therefore, it is important to recognize the subtle dissimilarity between political conspiracies and political strategies to prioritise the strategies over conspiracies. Time will tell whether Mr Wickremesinghe and his inner circle will be able to deal with such a situation. If the ship has to sail on seas owned by others, it must sail in such a way as not to harm the owner’s laws and interests. Without understanding that reality, if one gives priority to his will, the damage that can occur can be very serious. Consequently, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena will have room to become the President of choice and a new Prime Minister will take over at the discretion of the SLPP. Food for thought, Mr President!

Indian Oil Company Brags on their Excessive Profits in Bankrupt Sri Lanka

1 min read

Despite the operational challenges stemming from forex crisis, inflation and higher global oil prices, Lanka IOC PLC reported robust performance for the quarter ended June 30, 2022 (1Q23) with significant growth in revenue and profits while the Indian government continued to brag their “economic assistance” to revive Sri Lanka’s broken economy.

The company said its revenue increased by 196 percent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs.49.93 billion. The Sales volume of the company also increased to 139,762 MT from 135,354 MT on YoY basis.

The cost of sales for the quarter was Rs.34.4 billion compared to Rs.16 billion a year ago as a result of the steep rise in international oil prices.

The company reported earnings of Rs.18.64 per share for the quarter under review on net profit of Rs.9.93 billion compared to earnings of 51 cents a share or Rs.273 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

However, Lanka IOC said the sudden devaluation of currency from Rs.299 to Rs.367 per US$ coupled with extremely high borrowing costs, raised its finance expenses during the quarter to Rs.1.79 billion as against Rs.123 million a year ago.

“The company ventured into a new line of business of selling diesel directly to export houses, tourism services providers registered under Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, licensed telecommunication service providers and power generation companies, against remittance in US dollars. The collection in US$ eliminated the exchange rate risk and allowed sale of fuel to industries at a predetermined price,” Lanka IOC Managing Director Majoj Gupta said.

“On the other hand, it met the essential fuel requirement of innumerable industries which are responsible for livelihoods of millions of employees and their dependent family members. It is beyond imagination to believe the repercussion in case fuel requirements were not met on time.

I am so indebted to my workforce at Trincomalee Terminal who have had a round-the-clock operation of the terminal for more than 3 weeks with limited resources to supply fuel not only to industries but also to ensure supply of 7500 MT of diesel to CPC for onward dispatches for essential services,” he added.

Gupta also said the company’s bunkering business has registered exceptional performance, amid the exchange gain in view of depreciation of the currency, as sales take place in US$.

He further said the revision in retail prices (RSP) for auto-fuel in line with the pricing formula has been beneficial for the company.

“RSP revisions played a crucial role in circumventing the price volatility in the international oil market to a large extent. The bottom-line of the company has also been transformed by exceptional performances by Lubricants, Petrochemicals and Bitumen. We are extremely grateful to CBSL authorities and Ministry of Power and Energy, GoSL for their continuous support,” Gupta said.

Ceylon Chamber Cheers President’s Call to Form All-Party Government

1 min read

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce welcomes the call by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to initiate the formation of an All-Party Government, as a concerted and united effort is necessary to address the current challenges facing the country. At this extremely crucial juncture for Sri Lanka, all political parties must join hands and put Sri Lanka First over individual agendas.

An All-Party Government that is acceptable to all sections of the public and equitably represents the views of all parties, which will work towards a common minimum programme is the first step toward addressing the current crisis. A policy framework with broad consensus by all parties is required so that an agreed reform agenda will spur global confidence amongst investors, the private sector, and the public.

We appreciate the steps taken by the Government to improve the shortages as a result of the economic stresses including ongoing power cuts, shortage of fuel, securing adequate essential drugs and food items, and the provision of adequate fertiliser to ensure food security. This stresses the importance of leveraging technology and communications to find solutions to these shortages.

The Chamber has in the recent past highlighted the need to urgently resume IMF negotiations with a view to reaching a staff level agreement expeditiously, proposed amendments to the Constitution, and the need for State-Owned Enterprise reforms as being among key priorities.

The implementation of a sustainable economic recovery plan will take time to bear fruit and key milestones will need to be set. We therefore call for all parties and the public to work together and be patient to usher in a new era for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka: On our Accidental President

3 mins read

Congratulations; Mr Accidental President! A tough journey, isn’t it? Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe’s dream came true. But congratulatory messages from friends, so-called friends and foes beyond the island are yet to pour in. No doubt, there are many lessons to be learned from this exceptional political career of a rare personality. When you don’t have luck, don’t regret it, but create a way for luck to search for you. The best tools for that are political consciousness and ideological authoritarianism that can wipe out the competitors. Knowing very well that his dream was decided on simple mathematics, Wickremesinghe did not care much about the malicious criticism of him by various parties. His way to power is not our priority to discuss here as many people are talking from different points of view. But it is important that we guess how Ranil’s future political activities are going to shape national politics.

It is said that after assuming the presidency, Mr Wickremesinghe has decided to prorogue the Parliament. This is a vital step to further strengthen his power and in the meantime, he can strategically bring the country’s administrative affairs under his control. Simultaneously, members of his party, the United National Party (UNP), can create an atmosphere where they can dominate and influence the important institutions of the country. For instance, a known broker of his party representing Galle district and others have already started their deal politics. No matter how moral this is, it is vital for the UNP’s resurgence. The accidental President understood this better than anyone.

President will select his cabinet within days. The cabinet will be devoid of the Rajapaksas but will consist of the Rajapaksas’ followers. Therefore, it is inevitable that most cabinet decisions will be based on the Rajapaksas’ commands. Dissents of Wickremesinghe’s political rival, Sajith Premadasa’s party, will give considerable political authority too. However, President Wickremesinghe still has to depend on Rajapaksa’s political arm, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). The irony is, that the President has the power to decide its existence. This is how the current political trend has been hijacked by the President.

President’s Oath

Although SLPP’s power to remove the president has been dissolved, it is undeniable that they still have bargaining power. Therefore, core members of SLPP will try their best to manipulate the President and his cabinet in the way they want. That is where the real conflict can arise. What will the president do in such a political context? This is where the importance of knowing the science of parasites comes in. The parasite secures its existence by using the very tree that gives life and gradually captures and destroys it. However, in politics, it is easy to gain power by inciting the sentiments of the common man, but political consciousness is necessary to maintain the power gained. When political consciousness wanes, many powerful political camps become miserable victims of parasites. Can it be argued that our new president was lucky to complete the term that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in with reference to the above natural phenomenon? That’s why we believe that there is no mistake in calling this presidency the accidental presidency.

The time left for the accidental president is secured. If he makes wrong decisions, there is an opportunity to bring impeachment against him, but it is unlikely to be passed by two-thirds of the parliament. But to further consolidate his power, he can dissolve parliament in seven months and call for a snap poll. There is a definite possibility that the UNP will be strengthened again in the election and the political power of other parties including the SLPP will surely melt away. Apart from the UNP, the only party that could benefit from that decision is the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). If JVP is smart they can come to terms with the President to have a lion’s share out of the election. However, no single party will get a two-thirds majority in the parliament and the solution will be a coalition government. Such a transfer of power would definitely benefit the President. It is then that many people who allegedly offered huge financial amounts to secure the appointment of the President will experience the bitterness of real politics.

As we reliably learnt, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made a condition to tender the resignation on his infamous voyage from the Presidential Palace to Trincomalee. “Prime Minister Wickremesinghe should resign before me,” he told them. But many of them, including the Speaker, dreamt of becoming the President, without addressing the plight of the President. His request was in vain. He was isolated. Consequently, the Accidental President who was then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was able to take full advantage of it. That’s how he played the game. But he never ignored the rules. Accordingly, the politics that will take place in the next two and a half years have been manufactured by giving more advantages to Mr Wickremesinghe. You don’t need much more than that to understand the person who has the last laugh of all events. Studying to understand Wickremesinghe’s role in Sri Lanka’s political transition is homework for young politicians aspiring to become future leaders. Wickremesinghe played the Sri Lankan version of Nux in Mad Max Fury Road. Nux reaffirmed that “I live, I die, I live again”. So do Mr Wickremesinghe. Wish you all the best, Mr Accidental President.

Sri Lanka: Plot to Arrest Gota

4 mins read

Many have failed to grasp the reality of this geopolitical game and the dangers small states may face, and many warnings have been dismissed as empty conspiracy rhetoric. The sophisticated plot is underway. The next move of this grand scheme is to arrest former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who at the moment has no permanent shelter in any foreign territory. There are different opinions about his departure while holding the top seat of the state. A few who were closely associated with him wanted to see him stay in Sri Lanka. But he had no personal will for it and wanted to leave the country immediately. As we pointed out earlier it was not a wise decision but an invitation to unprecedented turbulences. In light of this, we believe it is important to look into the extremely weak situation that Sri Lanka is facing as a sovereign country due to the President being placed in this situation and the future conflicts that may arise as a result. This crisis is much more than economic bankruptcy. We don’t buy the widely held view that this crisis followed an economic downturn.

File photo of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Let’s get to the point. Most of Sri Lanka’s budget is spent on defence to counter internal and external threats. Threats are disguised in various forms. The prime responsibility of the security forces is to defend the state and to protect the head of the state. We believe they should be bound by this paramount obligation until the last soldier or policeman is left standing. But it is questionable whether the security forces fulfilled this basic responsibility of defending the country while protecting the President. Can the nature of such intended behaviour of certain responsible officials be interpreted as a dereliction of duty?

As an individual, Gotabaya Rajapaksa may not be important. But for the country, the head of state, the President of Sri Lanka, is important. As a sovereign state, on July 9, we experienced a grave failure of national security. This is the most horrendous assault on the nationhood of this country. This attack is far worse than the Easter bombings by extremist fanatics who distorted the core values of Islam. The officials who are responsible for national security should explain this serious collapse of the system. Shouldn’t they give a detailed explanation to the people of this country? Certainly, they must. They cannot blame others or circumvent the responsibility to secure their positions. As heads of institutions, they should take responsibility. No leader who will come to power in the future can be said to be safe.

The officials who are responsible for the national security of the country have seriously failed in their duties. On the other hand, the group of clowns who claim to be social reformists have disgraced the pride of the country. After this whole incident, we don’t get to see a good picture of the country. What can happen next under such a tragically degenerated state structure? By now, the former President has been weakened and rendered powerless. Many local political and social groups have been armed against him. Many of his fellow politicians are fighting like Kilkenny cats to become the next president of the country. A large number of people, including Sri Lankans living abroad, have been mobilized against him. What matters to us is who the individual or group that is going to have the last laugh of this total tragicomedy, not the group of clowns masquerading as “social reformers”. Where the hype they get by going crazy on social media and releasing live videos every now and then ends, we will find the real hand behind this whole drama.

The first purpose, however, of that hidden hand has been accomplished. In other words, Gotabaya proved to be weak and isolated. Meanwhile, some countries and social groups have given a new approach to the activities they have been doing for years to implement the international law against former President. For instance, as soon as the President left the country, a group of politicians in the United Kingdom requested an international warrant against him. In such a situation, it is impossible to believe that Gotabaya’s life will be safe in a foreign land. Many organizations and politicians accused Gotabaya of so-called war crimes during the humanitarian operations which vanquished the most brutal terror outfit. Many fake sources have been socialized to substantiate this accusation. Ironically, many authentic sources that prevailed to correct misunderstandings about events on war have been replaced with fabricated reports targeting the former President. Consequently, what is the situation that he may have to face?

To understand it, it is important to know about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its functioning, which prosecutes the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The Rome Statute came into force on 1 July 2002 to formally establish the International Criminal Court. More than 120 countries signed and ratified it. However, it was then Prime Minister but now the Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has refused to sign and ratify it in Sri Lanka. Therefore, Sri Lanka as a sovereign state is not accountable for it. Accordingly, as long as a citizen residing in a non-signatory state or its territories such as embassies and high commissions established abroad cannot be brought before the ICC for legal proceedings. But a citizen of a non-signatory country can bring before the ICC through the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal under the auspices of the United Nations. However, if the foreign state in which a citizen from non-signatory state lives has signed and ratified the Statute, his fate is determined by the laws and regulations of that signatory country. The turmoil coming towards him is obvious. Is it not thus clear what was hoped to be accomplished by creating an atmosphere for his sudden departure under all this “popular fury” commonly known as the “Aragalaya” against former President Gotabaya? Otherwise, why did UK politicians rush to seek an international warrant against the former President even before he announced his resignation? If not, why do certain Western and Asian embassies and high commissions in Colombo urge for a “peaceful power transition” in the late afternoon of July 9th?

Let’s be frank! Sri Lanka has been isolated internationally due to the high level of incompetence of officials appointed to deal with human rights. Establishing the ad hoc tribunal with the blessings of the United Nations is proceeding. A set of considerations are already on the table to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC through the UN Security Council. If one thinks that all others can be freed by sacrificing former President, they can watch all events and remain silent. But if there is an intention to act regarding the serious conspiracy currently underway, the responsible parties in this country must fulfill their responsibility immediately. If one wants to protect the man who played an important role in crushing the Tamil Tigers to liberate the unarmed civilians, it is very important to take proper steps immediately. It is imperative not only for him but also to determine the country’s geopolitical future. Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether the politicians of this country will be able to work together to understand the seriousness of this matter. But isn’t it true that the people of this country owe him?

Joint Chambers seek smooth transition of power in accordance with constitution

1 min read

Joint Chambers welcome the announcements made by the President that he will resign on the 13th of July respecting the wishes of the citizens and the Prime Minister’s willingness to resign once an interim Government is in place. The Chambers believe that they should submit their letters of resignation immediately in accordance with constitutional provisions clearing all doubts and paving the way for a smooth transition. We also request the Speaker to step forward to fulfil the important role he is expected to play in accordance with the constitution at this calamitous moment. First, we request him to expeditiously set in motion the process of selecting a President to serve the balance part of the current presidency. Secondly, we call upon him to assume the office of Acting President for a short period of time from 13th July until the Parliament decides on the new President.

After the new President selected by Parliament has assumed duties, the Joint Chambers expect him/her to invite a person who enjoys the confidence of a majority in Parliament to become the Prime Minister and appoint an interim cabinet drawn from all political parties who wish to participate in an All-Party Government. Joint Chambers are also of the view that a clear time frame should be established for this interim administration and a firm commitment should be made with regard to the date of the next General Election.

The importance of implementing the above process in a speedy and smooth manner is absolutely critical in order to focus on addressing the essential needs of the public and businesses such as fuel, electricity and gas while taking forward the much needed economic reform agenda in line with the IMF programme under negotiation and the debt restructuring process. It is also imperative that the rule of law is established as soon as possible in accordance with the constitution and the Joint Chambers expect all citizens to cooperate in upholding the law.

The Joint Chambers also believe that the interim Government should consider the enactment of necessary amendments to the Constitution as a top priority to restore governance as desired by the people.

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