- Power hungry as he is, Ranil has the potential to surprise everyone
- Blessings went to Mahinda Rajapaksa to lead the ‘blues’ because he worked himself up from the grassroots level
- What needs to be underscored is that this corrupt political set-up needs to be changed
Political parties in Sri Lanka are playing for time in announcing their candidates for the upcoming Presidential elections at a time when the whole country is screaming for a change in the entire political set-up.
Names of veteran politicians like UNP’s Ranil Wickremesinghe, SLFFP’s Maithripala Sirisena, Sajith Premadasa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Karu Jayasuriya, Rajitha Senarathne and that of the not so experienced Gotabaya Rajapaksa have been mentioned on political platforms as individuals who could receive nomination to be voted in as the first citizen of the country.
But none of these names, except that of Gotabaya, has been viewed with serious interest in terms of finding a leader to take this country forward.
The attempt by this writer here is to bring out the voices of dissent; voices who echo the message loud and clear that this nation needs new blood to take over the administration of the regime. This was confirmed by none other Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith during a speech he made at the Abate Church in Milano Italy, last Sunday. The Cardinal of the Catholic Church had affirmed that politicians were trying to capitalise on the Easter Sunday Bomb attacks and added that the country’s lawmakers had proved that they were incapable in administrating this country. The Cardinal had also affirmed that the country’s rulers must hand over the reigns of administration to a new set of lawmakers. These words of wisdom are coming from an individual who is in his seventies; leaving us room to think that lawmakers who are in this age group might be short of ideas and ought to make way for new blood.
"The last four and half years of administration under the present set of lawmakers has seen countries like India and China strengthen their resolve here. The Wickremesinghe regime has come under criticism for selling or leasing the country’s property"
However the problem with the popular political parties is that they never attempted to develop their second string. Chief among the culprits here is the United National Party where its Leader Wickremesinghe has held on to power at the expense of the party’s development. It is reported that last week Wickremesinghe had preferred to remain silent when the attendees at a party meeting had inquired who the next presidential candidate from the Green Party would be. There had been tension at the gathering when this question went unanswered and some had proposed the name of Sajith Premadasa. Power hungry as he is, Wickremesinghe has the potential to surprise everyone and could declare that he would be the next presidential candidate.
The newly formed Sri Lanka Pudujana Peramuna (SLPP) too is in the running to put forward a winnable candidate and like the UNP it too has to take blame for blocking the chances of many seniors moving up in rank due to nepotism. For the record though registered as a new party, the SLPP comprises disgruntled former SLFP stalwarts.
A forgotten lesson
From nowhere former Government servant and dual citizenship holder Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who parachuted to politics, is now seriously considered as the candidate to run for presidency. It must be said here that after Chandrika Kumaratunga, the party’s blessings went to Mahinda Rajapaksa to lead the ‘blues’ because he worked from the grassroots level and gradually climbed the rungs of the political ladder.
The Easter Sunday carnage underscores one important fact; most politicians who walk the corridors of power were aware of the impending attacks, but refused to act on the tip offs given. For the record neighboring India had given the government of Sri Lanka enough warnings of the attacks to take place, but a response by the island’s administrators to them was non-existent. A lesson a country like Sri Lanka, which had completely wiped out terrorism, has conveniently forgotten is ‘the formula to safeguard existing peace is eternal vigilance’.
At present President Sirisena doesn’t fancy members of the security forces being brought in front of a Parliament Select Committee for questioning, citing threats to these security officials. But at the same time newspaper reports which revealed that Sirisena was present at security council meetings, where information about the potential threats by extremist suicide bombers went unregistered in the minds of participants, makes the president contradict what he says.
"The newly formed Sri Lanka Pudujana Peramuna (SLPP) too is in the running to put forward a winnable candidate and like the UNP it too has to take blame for blocking the chances of many seniors moving up in rank due to nepotism"
The last four and half years of administration under the present set of lawmakers has seen countries like India and China strengthen their resolve here. The Wickremesinghe regime has come under criticism for selling or leasing the country’s property in the name of development. Now we hear that the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises or Underutilized Assets Bill was passed despite severe protests from the opposition. There have been loud cries of protests from the opposition camp claiming that the bill was passed to transfer the ownership of two Government owned sugar manufacturing companies to a UNP minister. Critics query from the UNP as to when the party would drop the habit of selling off assets and work out a formula that features prominently the word ‘patriotism’. It’s reported that Sirisena has not ruled out contesting the presidential elections. There are reports of party stalwarts having conveyed to Sirisena that their wish is for him contest the next presidential polls.
We have heard the names of individuals like lawyer Nagananda Koddithuwakku, businessmen like Rohan Pallewatte and Dhammika Perera and author and journalist Malinda Senewiratne coming up or being proposed as candidates for the next presidency. A few among them have enough credentials to be taken seriously. What needs to be underscored is that this corrupt political set-up needs to be changed and for that the incompetent, self-centered and selfish politicians must be unceremoniously shown the door.
These so-called seasoned incapable politicians will continued to rule the roost when capable honest individuals prefer to maintain a low profile.