By Helasingha Bandara –
Recent reports say that Sri Lanka’s post colonial political arena has not seen a politician with greater humility, sounder integrity, better intentions and unflinching commitment to democracy and the rule of law than the current President Maithripala Sirisena. He has already proved that he has no hunger for power, he refrains from abusing power, he resents the extravagant lifestyle of a politician that is inappropriate for a poor country and has honourable intentions in upholding democracy and creating a lawful and equal society for all. Yet there are some groups working hard to cause his downfall with the hope of staging a comeback of a person who was full of vices and who possesses values quite contrary to the values detailed above.
Whilst not denying the credit for playing his part in defeating the LTTE, it is of utmost importance to analyse whether Mahinda Rajapaksa has made use of the opportunity given him by the citizens of Sri Lanka to develop the country and its people. If the answer was in the affirmative he would not have needed to go for an early Presidential election on assumption that it was an opportune moment. The fact that the majority of people rejected him was the clear indication that people of the country were waiting to be rid of his utterly corrupt rule. They voted Maithri in as a result of the deep resentment that they bore against Rajapaksa rule. People were brave to elect the unknown. As fortune favours the brave, Maithri turned out to be the blessed one that the country was yearning for. Should it be wise to reinstate a Caligula to reverse all the good work that is being done and that would hopefully be done in the future?
Maithri is absolutely on the right track in denying MR the prime Ministerial candidacy. A person whom the people have rejected should not be allowed to emerge back with promises of self absolutions. He can never be trusted to follow the footsteps of Maithri. Even if he personally wishes to do so, he will not be allowed by the very people around him who in fact caused his downfall, advertently or inadvertently. The group of cronies who are clamouring for his return to power do so because they have no standing in society on their own; they want to bring back their vile agendas that were denied them with the defeat of MR.
The UNP was a rejected party and the sudden emergence as the ruling party was a lottery drawn to them. This sudden luck should not mislead them to think that they can contest on their own and secure more seats in the parliament and rule the country. The claim that Maithri won the election just because of the UNP is also a fallacy. The majority of the people of this country needed a change for the better, and united, they voted Maithri in. If the UNP leadership has an iota of intelligence they should not plan to contest the elections on their own betraying the unity that brought them success.
Jackals in the SLFP
The jackals who howled for MR at the presidential election are still howling. Under Maithri’s rule, their corrupt habits cannot prosper. They need to ride on the back of MR to get back to their old vices. The country knows the intentions and agendas of those individuals. Mahinda is still enjoying some popularity despite his misdeeds while in power. That popularity is partially due to some good work that he has done, partially to his lies, cunning and deceits and partially to the ignorance of the people. This does not mean that he commands an extensive support to form a party and win. The ideal decision for him is to retire respectfully. If one is born to be disgraced, he cannot but seek it
Maithri has said that he would not contest another election. Standing firmly on that ground he should do the right thing rather than giving into undue political pressures. He should tell all those who want Mahinda back to leave the party and contest on their own or form their own party. The mere presence of them would dissuade the voters from supporting any party that they belong to. Some examples are Johnston Fernando, Marvin Silva, Duminda Silva, Sajin Vass and Wimal Weerawansa. There are hundreds of educated, qualified and virtuous people waiting to take their places. The people who despise the corrupt old lot want a new breed of politicians who are good. The UNP has to select some respectable people from their lot, form a formidable united front with some talented and incorrupt new faces from the SLFP, and contest the General elections preventing the Rajapaksas from re-emerging. I ceased to call Sri Lanka, the Fools’ Paradise, only after the recent Presidential election. I was convinced that most of them have brains. I hope they will prove that again.