A few days ago, I was watching Pathikada on MTV, the Bandula Jayasekara morning show that gave a good all-round insight into happenings in Sri Lanka.
Bandula’s guest on that day was Rohan Pallewatte, an aspiring leader, who believes he can change the tide that is politically battering us and direct the nation on to a course of resurrection. A tall order by any standards to a new kid on the block! But, who knows? Maybe he could be the new-found Aladdin with the magic lamp who can come and work a miracle to oust the all-powerful demi-gods and their ‘holier than thou’ disciples who are the inheritors of Diyawanna-Oya.
One man against the seventy-year slide of a nation to damnation. Of course, the unknown capabilities of a ‘Johnny come lately’ to politics would be the most voiced negativity. That’s the biggest deterrent to his campaign; understandably it has its validities.
The businessman-turned-country-redeemer is confident he has a plan and a team too in place to make Lanka a ‘born again’ paradise. On record is the fact that he’s fought mega-battles in the world market and has risen to be a giant in his chosen field. That certainly is a commendable track-record.
But then, what is the choice for the people?
Heads we have lost and tails we have lost so what do we call now? In these circumstances, the third side of the coin does seem like a viable option. That was what the 2020 prospective Presidential candidate Rohan Pallewatte, was talking about on an MTV screen. It has been done before, powerful regimes have fallen or have been defeated against impossible odds where miniature modern-day Davids battled bigger Goliaths than the Biblical Philistinian and won.
Fidel Castro came down the Tuxpan River and crossed the Gulf of Mexico with eighty-two freedom-fighters. They defeated the all-powerful American-backed Batista in an armed struggle to take-over Cuba.
Lee Kwan Yu marched the political path and with sheer determination and discipline created the re-birth of a back-water Singapore to become a first world giant in twenty years. Such victories have been possible elsewhere too in the world during times we remember.
Let’s consider the peoples’ awakenings that changed governments, demolishing the Berlin wall was a classic example. The Arab Spring that virtually changed the Middle-East is another popular rising. How Nelson Mandela and the ANC won against white-minority rule in South Africa is another instance of people power.
Yes, it sure has been done before, as long as people wanted a change and arose in protest. The driving force behind them was their will to shake-off the yokes that shackled them and their generations to an oppressed life, this being their sole inheritance. Who knows? Maybe the gods themselves would have had enough in politically punishing Sri Lanka for all these years and might give us a new lease of life in the 2020 elections.
So, what about this new Aladdin with the magic lamp? He seems to be determined to drain Diyawanna-Oya and net the corrupted sharks and the thieving barracudas to carry-out a complete cleanup of the political mud-slide. Pallewatte’s idea is to bring in an economics-based brand-new leadership to begin a new chapter in Sri Lankan parliamentary rule. He very clearly stated that our primary problem was the breakdown of governing systems and the lack of monitoring to correct that.
The businessman-turned-country-redeemer is confident he has a plan and a team too in place to make Lanka a ‘born again’ paradise. On record is the fact that he’s fought mega-battles in the world market and has risen to be a giant in his chosen field. That certainly is a commendable track-record. We can only hope he can do a repeat performance when he changes lanes and starts running an obstacle-filled steeplechase in politics.
What would the long-suffering voter say about this new Aladdin and his magic promises? One thing the average man and woman of Sri Lanka is sure of. For seven decades what they heard from political platforms or on television screens and read in newsprint never saw the light of day as a reality. That has been our legacy. So why go around the mulberry-bush again? Why not at least look at a different option and a new-found hope? Maybe that too might become hopeless like the rest we have suffered. But at least we can try.
Interesting times are looming on the horizon for us with all the various elections taking place one after the other from 2018 to 2020. Already cracks have appeared in the ruling coalition and new friends are being vehemently sought in the parliament corridors or wherever whispered conversations exchange for political futures. Of course, we cannot forget the ‘gas maru, pethi choru’ types who will jump from one tree to the other depending on how lucrative the reward would be for changing political colours. According to Rohan Pallewatte he has already set up his team and drawn his road-map to commence his action plan.
So far, he is holding his cards close to his chest, but I hope he is aware that he needs to lay them on the table for all to see what his game-plan really is. People of Lanka have a right to know how Rohan is going to implement his master strategy if he wants to be elected as president in 2020.
What would the long-suffering voter say about this new Aladdin and his magic promises? One thing the average man and woman of Sri Lanka is sure of. For seven decades what they heard from political platforms or on television screens and read in newsprint never saw the light of day as a reality. That has been our legacy. So why go around the mulberry-bush again? Why not at least look at a different option...
Leaving all that aside even now he is a very much an unknown name and face to the common man. There ought to be a lot more than a 30-minute TV programme or a few newspaper articles for people to get to know him.
In the present context, none of the heavy-weights has confirmed his intention to contest the presidential election except Rohan Pallewatte.
He sounds confident, but that alone is not a valid yardstick. He cannot stay in the shadows and parachute to the parliament in 2020. The proletariat needs to know him. Maybe he has all the civil societies backing him as all of them have had enough of the current political melodrama. They are hell-bent on finding new answers to the perennial problem of leadership. Ask an average citizen and the answer comes without hesitation, “Don’t know whom to vote for in 2020, none we have can be trusted.” Seems like a new face will be in vogue.
That being the common consensus, would Rohan Pallewatte be the country’s long-awaited political Messiah? Would he be able to walk the talk and make the change for the ‘land like no-other’ to rise from the doldrums and move to genuine prosperity for the people? Would he eradicate corruption and nepotism? Before all that comes the million- dollar question, would he be able to win and become the President of Sri Lanka in 2020? Or is this another illusion?
Only time will tell.