By Vishnu Gupta –
If cumulative total of promises made by all governments of cronyism since 1953 were fulfilled, Sri Lankan economy would have been ranked number one. Sri Lankans would have been the richest and happiest in the world. Furthermore, country’s name would have changed into “Shangri-La”. What a paradox, the same men and their siblings have begun to hoodwink the masses by revamping the same promises for unsuspecting voters with the hope of winning next presidency.
So far Oligarchies controlling the government and the opposition, vying for power in 2020 in the presidential election and general elections have been very active in confusing the electorate with stories about leading contenders with the help of spin doctors and diehard cohorts. They are in real frenzy in promoting their self-centered preferred candidate. The names surfaced in recent days from both oligarchies are “Bogeymen” responsible for misery imposed on the people of Sri Lanka. The individuals named so far from both oligarchy camps, have been frantically active in Buddhist temples, Hindu Temples, Moslem Mosques and Christian churches. These are vile individuals driven by greed and insecurity, if all of them loose the opportunity, they are certain that their future is very bleak and perhaps rest of their lives will be spent in heavily guarded prisons. Also, they cherish the idea and take comfort in knowing that if one of them becomes the President or Prime Minister, no matter whatever the party or symbol the loosing contenders of two oligarchy camps will be protected and let off scot-free permitting their hedonistic lives unabated.
Only in Sri Lanka, bogeymen are introduced to the electorate as saints. Leading Buddhist monks, Moslem Clergies, Hindu Priests and Christian Clergies promote these bogeymen or gongos (Kerala version) or billas (Sri Lankan version) as saints or saviors of the fragmented nation. These clergies wearing different robes must share the responsibility for inflicting misery on the people of Sri Lanka. Some have gone on records for uttering unacceptable judgments on the behavior of these vile bogeymen including one monk demanding a Hitler like figure. Some of these bogeymen are alleged to have squandered the national treasury, tortured and murdered the citizens, aided and abated criminal activities, laundered money and denied the basic rights of Sri Lankan citizens; food, clothes, shelter and health.
Democracy is a Mockery
Sri Lankan Oligarchies since 1953 have made every effort to control power through various schemes. The first and the most everlasting detrimental scheme was conceived by bogeyman SWRD Bandaranaike with the creation of Sinhala Maha Sabah and its obnoxious divisive anti-democratic policies. Unfortunately, leading Buddhist monks, Ayurvedic Doctors, Teachers, Farmers and a handful of leading labor leaders fell for this self-centered pukkah sahib’s political trap. This gongo threw the dice to become Prime Minister on the shoulders of unsuspecting innocent Buddhist voters but the entire nation have been paying the price until now and it will continue if the people are naïve to elect any of the bogeymen suggested by the oligarchies. The Tamils of Vellala caste, must equally take the responsibility for the injustices faced by Sri Lankans. These powerful blocks of Vellala politicians have never suffered any economic or privilege setbacks due to the actions of oligarchies leading the corrupt government in Colombo. Thousands of civilians and innocent military personnel were killed during the 30 year war that ravaged every region of Sri Lanka. Oligarchies of the south and Vellala Tamil venal leaders understand very well conflict between Sinhalese and Tamils will always keep them alive, active and sustain their corruption fed families guided by hedonism. All vile political parties including that of oligarchies of different hue and color have come to know “CONFLICT IS GOOD” axiom. It feeds their families and supports their nefarious activities with impunity under the bogus and adulterated democracy of the country.
Masters of diversionary tactics
The bogeymen (Gongos) are the masters of deceits and they are driven by Machiavellian principles. They will always use smoke and mirror techniques to bamboozle the voters in Sri Lanka. For instances; recent debates launched by oligarchies, Vellala Tamil politicians and other chauvinistic politicians on Constitutional council, New Constitution, Elimination of Executive Presidency, Cabinet ministers addicted to drugs, UNHCR reports and Shortage of cabinet ministers. None of these debates are relevant to the development of living condition or standards of average Sri Lankan irrespective of their ethnicity or religion. Yet the venal politicians occupying the parliament of Sri Lanka and presidency have been executing many diversionary tactics to avoid major national issues directly related to upliftment of the masses from economic misery since 1953. In that process these bogeymen and their cohorts are alleged to have ransacked the national treasury, laundered money, built mansions, accumulated wealth for their families and henchmen for many generations. Above all, these bogeymen and their families have fortified their habitat with the help of vile businessmen, professional and administrative groups.
Alternative to existing malaise
Purported democracy and our economy have become increasingly docile during last four years. It is obvious that voters due to their gullible nature have substituted the crony socialism of the UPLF with crony capitalism of the UNF, where the rich and the influential members of the society were alleged to have received land, natural resources, lucrative trade deals, license to operate bawdy business enterprises and spectrum in return for payoffs to vile politicians.
Bogeymen leading the pack to become either President or Prime Minister know transparency and competition is harmful to crony capitalism and to crony socialism. They have effectively shut down the economic growth by substituting special interests for the public interest. These actions have been very harmful to democratic expression in the country. It is the real truth to the widely held perceptions of crony capitalism and crony socialism. Then a natural question is why Sri Lankans tolerate it. Why do they vote for the corrupt politicians who perpetuate it?
Obviously, the higher levels of market and political monopolization promoted by the oligarchies, Vellala Tamil Politicians and other self centered political parties have contributed to the low levels of democracy, weak civil participation and low political transparency in Sri Lanka.
One widely held proposition is that Sri Lanka suffers from want of a “few good men” in politics. None of the bogeymen vying to be the next President fit into this selective group of “few good men” The party based political machinery and unwillingness of every politician to accept electoral reforms have completely shut down the emergence of any “Good” men in politics. But even if any of these “good” people stand for election as independents, they are assured to lose their deposits. Does it mean the electorate really dislikes squeaky clean government? Answer is no, The vile men in politics have hijacked the democracy in the country by rigging the constitution in favor of their everlasting grip on power either through crony capitalism or crony socialism.
Yet, Sri Lankans must not give-up their hope of finding “few good men” to govern our fragmented nation. A virtuous, intelligent, educated average man for the job of Executive Presidency should emerge to save our people. Someone who is unwilling to “work” the present system born out of corruption can promise to reform it. Let us pray collectively for the arrival of “few good men.”