Chaminda Pusswedilla, albeit being a figment of innovative imagination, is not a figure that is far off the mark from many local politicians. To many, he is a semblance of resemblance to those who govern the country. During an interview with the Daily Mirror , Pusswedilla gives us some insight into his thought process in line with his performances that have, both won rave reviews on the one hand and garnered harsh criticism on the other.
Q: Are you contemplating a Presidential Election in the near future? If yes do you not think that the time has come to retire and hand over the reins of power to another?
The decision to hold any election according to the Arsikland constitution is vested with the President and it is for me to decide when is the best time to hold these elections. If I decide and tell the people early, they will start pasting posters and doing all the works which is not environmentally friendly. I have thought a lot about the environment at this point. Also, fact is that the people have already decided whom to vote for. Whether I give six years notice or six weeks notice or six days notice it won’t make a difference. I will give enough notice at the right time and the people will know when the election is to be held.
Your second question about retiring, we recently have had many sportingsmen retiring. You tell me what is the most important thing for a sportingsman?
Q: Money, fame?
Ha ha those are most impotent things for politikkas also. Yes they are impotent for sportingsmen also too, but what is the most impotent thing?
No no, its reaction time. My friend Usain Bolting see how he reacts to the gun shot. Not if someone is shooting at him then of course Boltings will fall down, I am talking about the starting pistol. Even a cricketer has to be able to react fast when the ball is coming. That’s the most important thing. When the sportingsman grow older their reaction time reduces and that’s why they have to retire. But for politicians, their reaction time gets better and better as they grow older. Politicians are like fine wine. They get better as they grow older so obviously they don’t need to retire. The longer you keep them the better they are. So don’t put them in the same category as sportingsmen.
Now see for example, those days we needed months and months to prepare a budget. Now do we need all that time? No, within a matter of hours we can prepare and pass a budget. Why? Because the older we get our reaction time gets better and better. You have to see the logic in this.
Q: But wont the people get fed up of you?
If the people want me to go I will go, if the people want me to stay I will stay. That’s all that matters. Why should I go because of a little clause men, what kind of nonsense is that? Does it make sense to you that I have to go because of some clause when the people actually want me to stay? If the people want to keep me I should stay.
Q: Don’t you think that a cardinal tenet of a functioning democracy are the time bars imposed on its leaders holding office? Why are you going against such basic norms?
Very interesting question. Firstly I want to tell you that I went to meet the Pope recently and I asked them about this cardinal, they also ran all over the place in search of Tenet. But there is no one like that it seems. Mang egollanta kiwwa mata kohomahari minihawa hoyala denna kiyala, register ekath mang check kerewwa ( I told them to find him for me somehow and also told them to check the register) but they kept telling me that they can’t find this person. So the only conclusion is that there is no Cardinal by the name of Tenet. This is a very clear example of how you reporter fellows are getting facts wrong.
But in order to answer your main question about democracy, different countries have different flavours of democracy. It is like Chinese food men. Now if a China man came to Arsikland and went to one of the Chinese places in Arsikland - minihata food eka Chinese kiyala anduraganna beriwei (He wont be able to recognise that the food is Chinese). Why is this? Because in Arsikland the Chinese food has chilli powder and very spicy and hot. That’s the way democracy is as well. There are different flavours to it. Our version of democracy has also grown over a period of time and is different from what these western fellows want. Our democracy is olso like our Chinese food only, it is nicely tempered.
Ayse Themparaaduwela thiyenney. Apey Democracy api anala, badhala, uyala, themparaadukarala now it is perfect for Arsikland (we have tempered, mixed, fried and cooked our democracy) . You are talking about time bars on people holding office.
Tell me what is the most important office a human can hold?
Q: Head of state?
No putha. The most important office for a human is parenthood. The second most important office is political office. You don’t even know these things. Now, lets take parenthood, what after two six year terms you ask your mother and father to go home? Do you tell them “Ahh mummy daddy now enough you go somewhere I will find new mummy and daddy” Naaney? They serve for life. Like that only Politkkas, who hold the second most important office should also be given this chance. Now take for example if there is an opening batsman who is batting really well do you go and tell him after about three years, “now enough you go home?” no, right? As long as he performs you keep him. But if the doosra is going through the covers and catching the battingsman between his fine legs and hitting the wicket all the time then you tell him to go. Don’t you think that the most important thing in a democracy is for the best person to be in power?
Q: Well to some extent, I do.
That’s the thing. Now take for example a surgery. If a surgeon is doing a surgery for about 6 hours does another surgeon walk in the middle of it and say ‘dan oyata athi, mata oka denna?’ ( Now the time is up for you, let me take over) wenne naa putha ( that doesn’t happen son). They let the man who began the surgery to finish it. Look at the massive development that is taking place in Arsikland, I have to finish of all this. Is it fair then to come and tell me “now enough you go?” . Surgeon wagey mata meka iwarakaranna denna oney (Like the surgeon you have to let me finish this).
Q: What have you to say about the freedom of the press? You have during your presidency, ensured that the media only inform the people on what you think the people should be informed on. Why have you restricted the freedom of the press to only an election slogan?
This is also all western propaganda no putha. Now if we were to give bad news everyday to our people do you think the sales of the papers would increase? It won’t. It will actually decrease. That is why I try and tell my journalist fellows to give all the good news. The journalists don’t know the people as well as I do me. I know the people. I know what the people want. Our Arsikland media organisations are now flourishing because they keep giving the people all the good news. You must understand this without being an idiot and parroting out western propaganda.
Q: What about threats and intimidation on Journalists?
Nonsense no men. Our journalists have to learn to relax. Podi Saddekatath ape un bayawenawane (our guys get scared for even the faintest of sounds). Now if there is a fight in the next door and some fellow smashes something, our ones think that that’s a threat. That’s the thing, we must teach our media boys to relax. That’s one of my main priorities. I think we must start special relaxation classes for our journalists so that they are no longer frightened by normal things.
Q: What normal things are journalists frightened of?
You tell me putha. You are the journalist ne? Vans, loud noises, falling wooden branches, the colour white, things like that. Now you have asked me all the questions you want to, is there intimidation? Do you feel threatened? No. that’s what I’m saying men.
Q: Many have accused your government of rampant corruption and that you pave the way for your friends and family to engage in corrupt activities. So much so that today we have billionaires who aren’t educated nor have done any sort of professional work ever in their lives. What is your take on this?
All lies men. All this is propagated by the Western forces and by our enemies. If there are uneducated people becoming billionaires how is it a bad thing? That shows what a good economy we have doesn’t it?
The fact that anyone can become rich shows what a great country we live in. The educated people then can become double billionaires if they use their brains. They not using their brains is not my problem. Now take for example the Rocker fellow, what education did the man have? Nothing no. Ekane malli kiyanne, ogollo ethanta ekai methanta thawa ekai ( That’s what I’m saying. You apply one standard to them and another to us).
Q: Moving on, there have been allegations against you regarding wasting of public money. One example is the space craft that Arsikland was supposed to send. What is your take on this?
Machang you are talking like you are an alien to Arsikland no men. Even during last year’s summit I spoke about this. Our ancient Muthun Miththos (ancestors) were the first to find the moon and we have found some ancient documents regarding all of this. I want to claim the moon as a part of Arsikland and I want to develop the moon also. In fact democracy is going to be the name of the game even in the moon. We are going to build an ultra modern headquarters for our opposition on the moon and call it “Pissu hadena sanda”. Now my plan is not a short term one, so people like you will always shout because you don’t see the long term thinking behind projects like these. What we are going to do is we are going to tax all countries that get moonlight. We will call it the moonlighting tax and use all that money for our development. I not only thought of this all by myself but I got the Arsikland Parliament to approve the special bill that made the take-over and development of the moon official. This is called the Handanaguma Bill. Machang hithannako kochchara loku gemak da kiyala oka( Think about what a big project this is going to be).
Q: What about the opposition? There is a belief that you have manipulated the opposition to such an extent that there is no opposition in the country today?
The opposition is a very important part of our democracy. I tell the people all the time to be grateful to the opposition because if not for them we won’t be in power. We must thank them and I always try to help them. Even now I always try and give them all the support. You know why? Because elections have now become boring machang for me. I’ll tell you the truth. That’s the reason I’m trying to help these fellows. There is no thrill in winning elections anymore. Issara wage nevei bung (Not like it was in the years gone by). My good friend Usain Bolting has also told me that he likes to run because he has good opposition, when he finishes in 9.5 seconds the other fellow is just there lu. For me it’s like I finish in 10 seconds and the fellow coming second takes about five hours. So actually it’s not what you think but the other way around, I’m now giving them tips to do better.
Q: What about the judiciary? Do you believe in an independent judiciary?
Yes definitely, definitely. Why not?
Q: There is this feeling that the law applies differently to people who are close to you and to the rest? That the law doesn’t apply equally to all?
I don’t know why you ask these nonsensical questions men. If you look at people who are close to me or know me, then it’s the whole country. The whole country are my relations. I am close to the entire country. So haven’t people in this country been put to jail? They have ney? Problem is when poor people get caught they can’t get good lawyers, but that’s not the way for the rich ones. They get some thada lawyers. So the problem is not the law, but the lawyers, we must try and make all lawyers poor ones and rich ones into good lawyers. Then no problem. I must tell you there are good lawyers and not good lawyers but there are no bad lawyers in our legal system.
Q: What happens to the bad lawyers?
In Arsikland, they become politikkas.
Q: What about the allegations about rampant nepotism in the country, where only your friends and relatives are appointed to high places?
Oyath maara prashna ne ahanne, umba kiyanne mata hathuro daanna kiyalada owage thanwalata? (That’s a funny question you have asked me, do you want me to put my enemies there instead?) When John F. Kennedy was the President of U.S.A. who did he appoint as his Attorney General? His enemy? No! He appointed his brother. Ah that you won’t question but you’ll come here and ask me this. This is how it is anywhere in the world men. No one puts their enemies to these places, we put our friends and family only.
Q: Finally what are your thoughts about the opposition leader?
He is a good fellow men. Our friendship goes a long way back. We have been very close and it will always remain like this. When two batsmen are playing well and there is a good partnership going, the coach doesn’t tell one batsmen to retire no? That is how it is so.
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