“Act Justly, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly” is a fitting mandate given to mankind to emulate and prescribed by the Creator for peaceful co-existence throughout ages! As the people of Sri Lanka make the transition to a new era in anticipation of positive change, they look to the future with great expectations on the ramifications of the 2019 Presidential elections.
The feverishly and furiously fought presidential election between the two main contenders (GR and SP) was largely peaceful in nature reminiscent in the aftermath of January 2015 election when tables turned and power was conceded peacefully. The election of the seventh President of Sri Lanka though keenly contested, culminated in a resounding victory for the former formidable Defence Secretary!
The people of Sri Lanka have spoken with a ‘deafening’ voice with their decisive vote showcasing a divisive Sri Lanka wittingly or unwittingly! The seventh Presidential election votes also served mainly as a ‘protest’ of a mass outcry and opposition to the hopelessly mismatched and inept YP governance. It was the resurgence of ‘people power’ once again to the fore to glean the desired outcome. The citizens had at the least relative ‘freedom’, if nothing else from YP to conspire together their sore disenchantment and disillusionment at a ‘heel dragging’ set of leaders with monumental failings. Meanwhile, to add to the fray, information mixed with misinformation were touted as the ‘real thing’ with social media catapulting frenziedly in playing a key role relentlessly to ‘sway’ the hearts and minds of their captors! These deluge of posts at our fingertips made it almost impossible to filter fact from fiction as truth and fake news merged together!
But the frustrations had spilled over and climaxed; ‘bring back the Old Guard’, they cried who has a ‘proven’ track record to make things ‘work’ by ‘hook or by crook’. He was perceived to be the ‘panacea for all ills’ of this nation. Paradoxically, at the mention of his name many conjured ‘notoriety’ but most consider him as the saviour of the nation who masterminded the end of three decades of war, vanquished the dreaded LTTE which blighted the economy and the lives of both northerners and southerners.
For so long, Sri Lankans have lamented at the inequalities and ‘lack’ at home even after seven decades since independence due to monumental corruption and divisive politics stemming from the leadership of our forefathers which is legendary. With the pendulum now swinging, the need of the hour is reconciliation and not alienation in uniting both friend and foe for the future of the nation. If challenged however, ‘divided we will fall’, but yield and ‘united we will stand’ secure and strong together. Dissent, though as frustrating as it may be, is an essential ingredient in the wheels of democracy. The new leader has the mandate of the majority to make the difference with wisdom and courage.
SP’s defeat apart from the monstrous failings of yahapalanaya was attributed to the politics in his own camp with a leader who grudgingly endorsed a candidate at the eleventh hour and who is also seen to be steadfastly ‘hanging in’ despite long past his welcome
In poet Paul Sandburg’s unusual tribute to Abraham Lincoln, he wrote, “A man who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.”
Likewise, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, Abraham Lincoln sent an unexpected message to the enemy commander. “Tell your men they may keep their horses; they’ll need them for ploughing,” said the president. Then this: “Tell your men they may keep their rifles; they’ll need them for hunting. “ When Lee read those words he wept.
In victory and defeat, humility and magnanimity is the virtue of great men and women. It is noteworthy to applaud SP’s magnanimity in conceding and in the conduct of his campaign, a culture that is refreshing. And not as hooting hooligans from the wilderness seen recently desecrating even places of veneration at the auspicious occasion of swearing in of a new President in spite of 2500 years of heritage. SP’s defeat apart from the monstrous failings of yahapalanaya was attributed to the politics in his own camp with a leader who grudgingly endorsed a candidate at the eleventh hour and who is also seen to be steadfastly ‘hanging in’ despite long past his welcome. As a gentleman, he will give ear to the overwhelming consensus that he should bow out gracefully and make way for an energetic successor. A successor whose hands are clean and who will infuse ‘life’ to the party is the cry of the UNPers; it is their inheritance whilst a strong opposition is a requisite for a robust democracy where stringent checks and balances are in place to resurrect and rebuild a nation of peace and prosperity.
Mr. President, Sir, we congratulate you on this auspicious occasion, and pray that you will be an ‘instrument of peace’ in delivering your promises of religious tolerance and communal harmony and unite the people of this nation with one identity. Uphold the values of liberty and freedom and uproot crime which is endemic, corruption which is inherent and nepotism that is discriminating. You will appoint a government worthy of its citizens. You will uphold the rule of law without fear or favour not only to eradicate the evils of our society but overall in the dawning of a new era to ‘Make Sri Lanka Great’. It is a ‘tall order’ Sir, but we await with baited breath that in accomplishing all these you will ‘act justly, love mercy and