By Ameer Ali –
However much and in whichever manner one shuffles the pack of cards in Sri Lankan politics, five jokers constantly appear right at the front: an incompetent Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW), a schizophrenic Maithiripala Sirisena (MS) and sanctimonious Rajapaksas – Mahinda (MR), Gota (GR) and Basil (BR). These are the ones who are desperately on the run looking for some electoral configuration to win the forthcoming election race and capture the presidency and prime ministership. It appears that the country has no credible alternatives other than the above five, and a feeling of despondency seems to paralyse the voting public. However, a serious review of the situation should consider JVP as a promising alternative. Even if it emerges with enough seats in the parliament to hold the balance of power that would at least keep the other “bastards honest”.
There is no need to repeat the achievements and failures of MR, MS and RW. They are now common knowledge. Instead, what is important to note are the fundamental and structural issues in relation to polity remain unresolved, which continue to frustrate and jeopardise attempts to tackle the more immediate problems such as rising cost of living, widening income disparity, corruption, lawlessness, drug culture and frequenting natural disasters.
The year 2009 was a golden opportunity for MR to clean the slate and write a new chapter to build a united Sri Lanka based on principles of democracy, justice and equity. With a heroic fame he enjoyed after winning the civil war and eliminating separatist tendencies he could have become the father of a new nation had he taken the time to reflect upon and implement measures to heal the wounds of the war victims, reduce the size of the military, which was now becoming depressingly unaffordable, rationalise budgetary expenditures to increase savings and reduce a war-driven national debt, prioritise the developmental needs and seek foreign assistance at affordable terms, and above all provide an administration clean of corruption and nepotism. MR squandered this opportunity, made his presidency absolutist, worsened the war-driven debt by limitless borrowing to finance prestige-driven projects and turned the country into a playground for regional power broker