By Vishnu Gupta –
Last year, assessing the possible outcomes of 2020 presidential election I was mistaken by identifying President Maithripala Sirisena as a wimpy politician. Since coming to power until October 2018, he was making feeble attempts to survive from political maneuvering of oligarchy leaders responsible for ruling and ruining the nation. According to Daily Mirror report of 8th September 2018, MS expressed his views about the oligarchs vying for power in 2020.
“President further said that if SLPP and UNP overestimate their political power that is mistake and said that whatever value given by themselves to their parties no one could form a government without the support of the SLFP”.
This statement is still valid if SLFP has remained in the National government or in the marriage of convenience between one of the oligarchs and SLFP. Apparently, the president has gauged dismal situation of Sri Lanka accurately and come to the conclusion that power lies with the people but not with the scheming corrupt politicians of various colors and slogans driven on Machiavelli principles. The recent resolute actions taken by MS prove that I was wrong in my assessment.
Prior to November 14th 2018 MS has been an irresolute Executive of the government of Sri Lanka. Fortunately, he has woken up from deep slumber of three and half years and decided to get rid of the sheepish image and acted as a dependable astute person with executive power at a crucial juncture of nation’s history. Executive Power itself is not evil as some have argued; like money, it is indifferent and unbiased in its usefulness to the person who possesses it. President Maithripala Sirisena has shown this noble quality to the citizens and the world community without any doubt by respecting the law of the land and showing he is capable of using authority wisely. Firstly, President’s ongoing successful campaign against the drug barons and heroin dealers in the country. Secondly, single handedly he executed a noble initiative to declare “Thripitakaya” which is the foremost compilation containing the basics in Theravada Buddhist philosophy, as a national heritage. Thirdly, the historic and uncompromising speech made on the 71st independence day in Colombo conforms he is the boss and unquestionably he has shown the characteristics of an emerging wise leader. The critics may argue differently yet it does not make the possessor of executive power evil; it is the possessor who uses it in evil ways.
Probable compromise or inevitable annihilation
So far, the government has managed to function and survive by compromising our future and without turning the country into another “Zimbabwe” due to the executive presidency and well defined civil administration service. Given the political turmoil of final quarter of 2018, the oligarchy power hunters may argue that the image of the nation is somewhat sullied and perhaps some undue interventions are needed. Similar arguments were presented by the oligarchy governments when youth uprisings lead by JVP and LTTE erupted in the country in the past. Actually what is sullied under current political environment is the reputation of the oligarchy leadership. What is sullied is the existence of semi-literate politicians in the country. What is sullied is the distorted democracy introduced by oligarchs in the country.
Every citizen, be it is Sinhala or Tamil speaking wants to be free of fear. It is prosperity that makes people feel secure; it has nothing to do with fear of the political leadership aspirants. Simply having the opportunity to achieve success in economic, social and religious fronts makes people less fearful. Political and social and economic freedom offer citizens a safe place to create their own future. Even if they are unsuccessful, most will appreciate the unfettered opportunity, and take responsibility for the effort they made. Having seen the “writing on the wall” in February last year, some oligarchy leaders and leaders of chauvinist political parties may feel unsafe to face the voters in any type of election; provincial, national or presidential right now.
The will of the people is too precious to be guessed by the oligarchs and the current parliament occupied by semi-literate majority. It is very sad to witness that election commissioner of the nation threatening to resign if elections are not held in timely fashion. Under this backdrop hopefully Executive, Legislature and the governing party will collectively support the idea of ensuring citizens’ right to be the number one priority in their agenda. -Political power hunters and aging oligarchs must understand; compromised PROBABLE outcome of delayed provincial council election is better than an INEVITABLE complete annihilation in any other future elections-.