One of the main reasons for the ‘Yahapalana ship’ to sink was the disastrous consequences of the Easter Sunday bombings
The country came together in a historic political revolution in January 2015, not altogether unlike the revolution of 1956. That revolution was not only a political revolution, but more a social revolution, hence it was a sustainable one. In contrast the January 2015 revolution was purely a political change that the country embraced, dethroning a seemingly unassailable President.
I deliberately say embraced, because it took great courage firstly for his opponent, those who orchestrated his nomination and those who worked to ensure his election. They certainly put their lives and those of their near and dear on the line. Defeat would have meant more than what his last opponent had to suffer being incarcerated within days of the election. If not for a subsequent Presidential pardon he would still be in jail for the sin of daring to confront the “King”
January 2015, saw a more firmly entrenched incumbent seeking an unprecedented third term via a constitutional amendment that sailed through, not only a lame duck Parliament but through the legal process as well. Defying the very essence of proportional representation, there were a sufficient number of ‘political prostitutes’ in that Parliament to cross over and ensure that the wishes of the deified Leader were duly carried out.
- If not for a subsequent Presidential pardon he would still be in jail for the sin of daring to confront the “King”
- The Presidential election of January 2015 will go down in history as the most corrupt election of all time
- The media too is free, they are safe as much as their places of work are safe. Appointments to high and decisive offices are democratised.
- Without that rallying force of the late Hamuduruwo, splintered groups have thrown hats in to the ring
The Presidential election of January 2015 will go down in history as the most corrupt election of all time. Abuse of State resources was as unprecedented as were the innumerable handouts carrying the picture of the incumbent President that were doled out. The Ministers, mis-using the authority of office,were competing among themselves to score brownie points to ensure more perks and privileges in the renewed administration. Several of those Ministers are today before Court. It truly was a ‘David& Goliath’ contest.
Ven. Madoluwawe Sobitha Thero
A constituency accustomed to vote for promises moved from a Bread and Butter agenda to one of national urgency to halt what was certainly a drift toward authoritarianism. It was a majority of enlightened voters who quietly with no prior indication went to the polls determined to achieve what seemed the impossible.
They were the children of January 2015.
Sadly, they have been let down by those on whose behalf they risked so much.
Yes, the dark clouds of repression were blown away. There is transparency, people can talk and write freely without fear of repraisals. The Judiciary is free and independent and Judges are not at risk of being humiliated and sacked. The media too is free; they are safe as much as their places of work are safe. Appointments to high and decisive offices are democratised. People do not disappear anymore.
However, much more was expected of the chief beneficiary of that election. He reneged on his promises, principally that he would remain non-political and that he will usher a new political culture and after completing his avowed one term; that he would ride in to the sunset to Polonnaruwa and to a blissful well-earned retirement.
“There is no aphrodisiac more powerful than power” said Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State of the USA.
Within days of assuming the highest office in the country, he rocked the “Yahapalanaya” boat soon to be joined by his second in command doing the same from the other end. That it remained afloat for four years is a wonder. It had to sink at some point, and it did in October 2018 with disastrous consequences, one of which was the fateful Easter Sunday bombings, as we now know. Rescued by the law, it is bobbing in murky waters.
Between the two of them, they shattered the high expectations of the Children of January 2015.
Where are the Children of January 2015? They lost their revered mentor and guide, the charismatic and respected Venerable Madoluwawe Sobitha Thero. The writer is personally aware that he died a very disappointed man. The several groups that he brought together and held together went their separate ways. Some who sought to assume the mantle aligned themselves with power blocks and thereby lost credibility.
A Presidential election is upon us again. With the self-destruction of the Sobitha vanguard, several civil society groups have endeavored to re group in to one. Without that rallying force of the late Hamuduruwo, splintered groups have thrown hats in to the ring. In reality they are not in with a chance of victory. Sadly, the country has to revert to one or the other of the two traditional parties and their unreliable appendages.
What are the Children of January 2015 to do?Are they lost or are they still hopeful that the ideal that they bravely represented can yet be achieved? Therefore, this is a call to those Children of January 2015. Do not lose hope. Faith endures. It is the very essence of life. Hope, they say, springs eternal in the human breast. Resilience, in the face of uncertainty, is a hallmark of a courageous people, and we Sri Lankans are a courageous people.
We have a choice. We must make the best choice. A choice that will keep our treasured hopes and aspirations alive beyond this election.
Who of the two candidates whose credentials on democracy, human rights, the rule of law and tolerance are better? Who brings less discredited baggage with him? To me, a Child of January 2015,these areimportant questions to ask at this time.
Though the Children of January 2015 have not come together, with a near 900,000 new young voters they can at the next General election that will follow. Given the electoral process they can muster enough votes to send 15 – 20 to Parliament and raise the bar of politics and usher in a new political culture by example.
Let us ensure that we give such an opportunity to a new breed of young, decent, educated and honest ones to make that change, by making the right choice on the 16th November.
Let`s do that for the Children of January 2015.