In Sri Lanka anyone who has a grin that can be stretched out of proportion to fill an election poster, is a politician. Though nothing could have been blamed for their appointment to the helm other than the sheer political ignorance of the voters, it does not justify their continued existence or inexplicable reappointment. Sixty three years of nominal parliamentary democracy bears witness to the plight of the voters and the voted.
Then there is the national list.
Though introduced to ensure that participatory democracy consisted of experts of various fields, the value addition later became a circus of political rejects. Of course, there were the likes of Lakshman Kadirgamar; a rare breed of statesmen who lived up to the objective of the national list appointments.
The unavoidable misery of the national list is that the very people who dislike being another face on public walls become wall flowers in parliament.
For that matter, Malani Senehelatha Fonseka was no exception.
She became the talk of the town on Monday when she handed over her letter of resignation in the morning and withdrew it in the evening. While speculations were rife that the vacated post would be filled by Berty Premalal Dissanayake, it turned out to be a publicity stunt performed for reasons best known to them.
In the latest turn of events, Ms. Fonseka is to be sworn in again. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said she would take her oaths as a Member of Parliament when the next parliamentary sessions commence on October 9.
The tragedy of becoming a pawn on a gigantic political chessboard when she was a queen of a different territory would be quite indigestible for her fans who are used to seeing her in full grace. Instead of taking the reeking path of party politics, she should have remained where she was as the face of the Sri Lankan cinema. It is clearly beneath her to become a water-carrier in someone else’s ball game.
No doubt, if she had contested the election, she would have still secured a seat in Parliament the same way former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka did. In fact, such an appointment would have given her a degree of independence the current situation does not grant. It is not a question about Malani Fonseka’s political career. The representation of artists in the House could have been taken in a positive light had her position in Parliament rendered any service to any part of the artist fraternity other than herself.
In a country where thugs could be elected by the majority public vote into ministerial posts, and google-whacking blabbermouths could become patriots, the pack of pretty faces is harmless political nonsense.
After all, Ms. Fonseka is not the director of the farce; neither is she its leading lady.