Servant leadership with sincere, selfless and sacrificial service to the people appears to be out of stock in the political scene, and a rare virtue even in other spheres including religion. A religious leader has said that anyone who wants to be great and take leadership must be ready to be the servant of all and even give his or her life for others.
Those who seek and gain publicity are mostly the self–righteous, the hypocrites and sanctimonious humbugs, and the deceptive public actors who seek personal gain or glory in the guise of serving the people. Instead they plunder the wealth and resources of the people to build bigger barns or Swiss Bank accounts. Truly truly did a spiritual leader say of them “Thou fool, tonight you shall die, and who will get all your ill-gotten wealth”. Unfortunately political and other leaders seem to have deluded themselves into believing that they, their absolute power and wealth, their privileges and religious pranks will last forever, though the reality is that all this is dust and will end up as dust.
Aiding and abetting the ruling party politicians and officials in their crude propaganda are the state media. Though these media are run on public funds and are expected to be the voice of the people, most governments have misused or abused the state media for personal or party glory and not for the common good of the country, especially the millions of poor voiceless people who are suffering more than ever before. Stooges and amateurish spin doctors in the state media give a positive twist to even the most deceptive misdeeds of party politicians.
For instance a popular state TV talk show screened on Mondays was virtually turned into a blatant propaganda exercise with government officials boasting about the great deeds they had done and the TV moderator encouraging them on ego trips on Colombo’s newly carpeted roads. Leading the propaganda blast was Defence Secretary and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. In any case Mr. Rajapaksa, though he acts like a super secretary, is a civil servant and according to the noblest traditions of the civil service, such officials are not supposed to get involved in party politics. But recently Mr. Rajapaksa called for the abolition of provincial councils and has caused a major political crisis with international repercussions and the possibility of a tough Indian reaction.
On Monday Mr. Rajapaksa virtually claimed the credit for building a new metropolitan Colombo and making it one of the best in Asia. What he and the others did not say was that most of this is being done on borrowed money amounting to trillions of rupees. Who will repay all this or how it will be done was not even mentioned, but many analysts say they saw the imagery of a clean city with a new suit, but an empty pocket.