“Nation’s wealth is wasted on useless projects”
- Ranmali Gunawardena -
A social worker and a beautician, Ranmali Gunawardena is contesting from the Democratic Party (DP) for the upcoming Western Provincial Council election. With the motto that politics is about serving people and the country and prior experience is not essential as long as one knows what is needed to be done, Ranmali a new entrant to Sri Lankan politics shares her views on her decision to contest from the DP headed by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and her future political plan.
I chose to be with the Democratic Party because our leader even without having his civil rights is speaking on behalf of the people in this country. He does not enjoy any facility or any right. Yet serving people and continuing with it. He sacrificed his life for the country. Since I respect the leader, party and its principles I decided to join Democratic Party
Q: You are a new entrance to politics. What made you to join politics?
I am a beautician by profession. But I always had a desire to join politics. I am from down south and some of my ancestors were in to politics. Throughout, I have been a social worker and I have been helping many people in many ways. As a beautician also I have helped many youth especially with regard to vocational training. Since I got the invitation from the Democratic Party to contest I happily joined.
Q: What made you to join Democratic Party instead of other main streamed parties?
There are many political parties in the country. But what is the use if they have failed to address people’s issues. Most of the parties we have are not clear about the future plans. On the other hand our party has a clear plan and we have a very straight forward and honest leader. Many people asked me whether I have plans to change the party in future. But I do not have any such desire. I joined Democratic Party because I respect its policies. Like in the past as some did I will not betray my party.
Q: Why did you choose to join ex General Fonseka when some of the Party members left him? Also there are issues with regard to conflicts within the party?
These people who talk about the conflicts in the party are the ones who were sacked from the party. Our Leader always emphasize that anyone who cannot abide by the party’s rule should not be in the party. These people who spread many rumours about the party could not abide by the laws and there were disciplinary issues. Therefore they were sacked from the party,
Our party, especially the party leader had many accusations during the Presidential election as well. Even now these people say things which are detrimental to the party because of the elections.
I chose to be with the Democratic Party because our leader even without having his civil rights is speaking on behalf of the people in this country. He does not enjoy any facility or any right. Yet serving people and continuing with it. He sacrificed his life for the country. Since I respect the leader, party and its principles I decided to join Democratic Party.
Q: As a person who does not possess prior political experience how challenging is your role as an aspirant politician?
Experience is not necessary if you know what you are doing. Politics is after all serving the people and the country. We need to look at what people need and what they hope. I may not have experience but I know what people need and what his country needs. Therefore I do not think experience is a must for politics.
Q: Many claims, especially the Opposition that there is no development in the country. However, the government refutes this allegation citing new highways and city beautification projects that are coming up. What is your opinion?
By looking at the roads, buildings and other beautification some will say that there is development. But honestly speaking country’s money and resources are wasted. Many of these development projects are done without a proper vision on the future. I represent Dehiwala area. There are people who do not have means to earn their daily bread. People are poverty stricken. Some although they are educated they do not have ‘jobs for their qualifications. There are roads which flood even for a slight rain. With all these issues how can we say that the country is developed? There may be roads and buildings but people are not happy.
Q: Being a contestant from Colombo how do you see the issues like beggars and poverty in the capital Colombo?
Not only beggars there are prostitutes and also women who engaged in drug dealing. The main reason for this is insufficient means of income. I personally know certain incidents. There are mothers who have become drug dealers because they do not have any income to fund their children’s education. Also there are issues with the job market. If the government has a proper way or plan for vocational training these issues would not get worse.
Today jobs are for the rich and not for the poor irrespective of their education. Sometimes except begging one might not have a solution. I firmly believe issues like begging occur because the government does not have a future plan on vocational training and educate the youth on that.
Q: We have a male Minister for Women’s Affairs Ministry. Do you think such a position should be held by a female Minister?
Yes, I believe it should be handed over to a female Minister. It is women who know about women’s issues well. We are still under male chauvinism. When we look at the other countries men and women are treated equally. Especially when it comes to job opportunities both have equal place without any prejudice. In that sense Sri Lanka has a long way to go.
Q: If you and your Party wins the Provincial Council Elections what are the plans you have for the Province?
We have lot of plans. The end result will definitely reflect on the country. Therefore we would focus on economic stability, health sector, agriculture and education. These are vast areas and we need to start from the bottom.
Social issues will be addressed. Especially drug addiction. Also we would pay special attention on vocational training. Self employment and also job opportunities for women will be other areas we would work on. Nothing can be done over night. It will take time, yet we will be taking steps for the country’s development step by step.