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Sri Lanka’s ride to nowhere

18 January 2019 12:02 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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This craze for trivia–the Lankan dilemma 

 

ne brother says, I’m ready if people are ready. The elder brother then tells media, I am also ready. They are both talking of the next Presidential Election. The fact remains, there are two other brothers, who matter more.  
One has to give his consent and the other has to take over campaign management. That’s how the Rajapaksa family politics work and how Sinhala Buddhist votes begin to warm up as Rajapaksa votes. They, in fact, are not Rajapaksa votes, but
Mahinda votes.  
So, Mahinda is, who matters most, in Sri Lankan elections.  


This Rajapaksa issue turned into a major political coverage in media during the past few days. So are other issues like the Sarath Fonseka – Thewarapperuma public duel, calling each other with beastly names. Then there was that Presidential patriotism of declaring the Thripitakaya, the three part Buddhist doctrine as a national heritage by President Sirisena.  
Added was the Government’s pride in settling a one billion US dollar loan instalment, they anyway have to as the ruling Government.  
In between were media coverage on who would contest the next Presidential Election from the UNP and whether President Sirisena would be supported by
Mahinda Rajapaksa.  
Then the old but the never-solved issue of abolishing the Executive Presidency comes up again in
news pages.  


Meanwhile, PM Wickremesinghe’s blast in Parliament against Black Media was taken to selected media institutes by a group of Colombo Activists covered in Black.
In their usually very naïve manner as they said during the October mess they are for democracy and not for Ranil but folded up after Ranil was sworn in again as PM, they were trying to convince others, theirs was only an attempt at cleaning up media and not an extension of PM Wickremesinghe’s blast against Black Media.  
With all these carnivals by Colombo middle class groups, and regular media coverage of peripheral issues brought to centre stage, Sri Lankan polity is being taken on a ride to nowhere.  
Not just this time, but as a regular custom with all elections.  

 

"Mahinda is, who matters most, in Sri Lankan elections "


Can any discourse on any of these issues find answers to the major crisis that Sri Lanka is getting screwed in daily? Will the selection of Presidential candidates provide answers to the 70 years plus political conflict that still lingers after the 28-year-old armed conflict was brutally and savagely concluded?  
Will another President representing the same corrupt and indecent political culture, backed by the same corrupt political parties and funded by the filthy rich provide reasonable answers to those young females from poor rural families who migrate to the Mid-East in hundred thousands each year as housemaids for just 35,000 rupees? Will they lift the rustic education system to provide quality education with better and relevant content in school curricula, by improving the standard of national education with equal opportunities to all children in all 10,000 schools in developing children as responsible citizens for the future?  
Will the next President provide an improved modern preventive health system that would reduce numbers who require hospitalised treatment and have medical doctors serving the people true to the Hippocratic Oath, if they ever know what it is?  


Will there be a reasonably efficient, affordable and comfortable public commuter service that will remove these mad traffic jams in and out of Colombo, when flyovers and highways prove they simply cannot reduce massive traffic congestions?  
Will a new President restructure the present police department into a civil department that can police the society in establishing rule of law?  
Will the new President clean up the Judiciary so that thousands who loiter around in courthouses daily, linger in remand prisons for many years without bail granted, rid the system of dragging cases for years and years and also rid the private bar of lawyers who do not issue a receipt for the fee they charge?
There is only one single and a solid answer to all those questions-a firm NO.  The reason is, the issue is not the candidate. Let’s run through the process of how a presidential candidate is decided.  


This time, there will not be even the Colombo middle-class discourse that revolved around a Sinhala Buddhist candidate to abolish the Executive Presidency as in 2014.  
Let’s also not forget that the candidate sought for by Colombo headhunters is a Sinhala Buddhist whatever the political party or alliance is and none other.  
With Ven. Sobitha Thera brought to spearhead the campaign, the final decision yet had to be taken by the leading Opposition parties.  
The UNP and its leader Wickremesinghe thus were crucial. No candidate, who would not be backed by the UNP and solicit the support of the Tamil and Muslim people could ever think of meeting the challenge of running against then-President Rajapaksa.
Ultimately, Ven. Sobitha Thera and his supporters had to accept the decision of the UNP leadership and its scheming political allies when they declared Maithripala Sirisena as their Common Candidate.  

 

"A run through the process of how a presidential candidate is decided "


Their whole programme was basically reduced to two main campaign slogans; Abolishing of the Executive Presidency and
Anti-Corruption.  
This time too, all Presidential aspirants are fixated on anti-corruption and abolishing of the Executive Presidency.  
The Executive Presidency has nothing to do with corruption.  
This I have argued in these pages many times before by asking what brought Anna Hazare onto the streets with millions protesting against mega corruption in India that has had no Executive Presidency and no PR electoral system?”  Also, the US should be the most horrible autocratic State with its Executive Presidency-if such Executive Presidencies remained the major reason for the dictatorial rule. The problem is never there.  


The problem lies with totally undemocratic political parties that run with black money pumped by the filthy rich.  
None of the two traditional political parties, the UNP and the SLFP plus the new traditional party the SLPP, knows what democracy is.  
Their leaders have never been democratically elected. Their party structures are wholly warped and deformed to allow their leader to decide on anything in any way s/he wants to.  
Why could not the rebels from 2006 make any worthy change in the UNP leadership? In 2006 they left the UNP to hold Ministerial portfolios under President Rajapaksa.  


Since then for 12 years, all attempts have failed and have seen some compromising, few leaving the party and some being thrown out.  
The SLFP is no better. We see the President of the party Maithripala Sirisena suspending its Central Committee meetings, removing General Secretaries, appointing Central Committee members and re-appointing General Secretaries, sacking electoral organisers and appointing his own loyalists and deciding even on political alliances for his own advantage.  
Can political parties with such horribly structured dictatorial life, establish democratic and accountable Governments? Can these political leaders backed by “black money” ever serve the people?  

 

"No candidate not backed by UNP and supports minorities will ever think of running against Rajapaksa"


It’s a rotten system kept going by these political parties. No Presidential candidate, from Gotabhaya to Chamal, from Sirisena to Mahinda would ever change this heavily corrupt socio-political culture;nor would the UNP, with or without Wickremesinghe.  
A decent change will have to come through serious and intellectual discourse that would search for an alternate development model.  
One, that would bring about a complete change in the Constitution, with public participation.  
Public participation is NOT collecting suggestions and proposals through a committee appointed to summarise all that is collected and to be given to the PM.  
Public participation means the active involvement of people in drafting the Constitution.
Unless these two discussions emerge in a society as strong and intellectual opinion making public discussions, the petty and peripheral issues taking centre stage in deciding political leadership in this country will keep Sri Lanka further on the decline, despite who is nominated and who is elected the
next president.   

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