17 October, 2017

Open Letter To President & Prime Minister

By Vishwamithra1984

“Susie, what shall I do – there isn’t room enough; not half enough, to hold what I was going to say. Won’t you tell the man who makes sheets of paper, that I haven’t the slightest respect for him!” ~Emily Dickinson

Dear Mr President and Mr Prime Minister,

It’s time we took stock of our current situation. Waiting for another year or two would be far too late. I’m not writing this letter to enlighten you, though there might be a slight chance that you do that once you finish reading this humble missive. It is to remind you of the various promises both of you extended towards the people of my country at the hustings prior to January 8, 2015. Please lend me the time and your ears, which I am sure you would, without much ado.

To a man and woman, nearly every one of the leaders of the Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), those few who crossed over with you, Mr President, those who belong to the ‘ordinary’ ranks of society, men and women who trekked miles and miles to organize election rallies and pocket-meetings who went from house to house, trying to canvass the Rajapaksa-voters and persuade them to vote for Maithripala Sirisena, made the same promise to voters: elect Maithripala Sirisena as our President and we will eradicate corruption and nepotism; we will take the country’s economy forward, we will replace crony-capitalism with economic principles based on equality and social justice.

We needed a paradigm-shift. It seems that instead of that shift, we have got a shift that has put the country totally enmeshed in a stagnant economy. Nevertheless, we are grateful to both of you for having tried to introduce a new and fair social and governance system by establishing the following:

  • Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID)
  • Special Presidential Commission
  • Public Service  Commission
  • Judicial service  Commission
  • Election Commission
  • National Police Commission
  • Audit Commission (Yet to be passed by Parliament)
  • Human Rights Commission
  • Bribery or Corruption Commission
  • Finance Commission
  • Delimitation Commission
  • National Procurement Commission

Whether these commissions will eventually deliver the ‘goods’ that they promised to deliver or not, the very appearance of delivering accountability, transparency and fairness to a population that was taken for a massive ride by the last regime of the Rajapaksa family and its cohorts in itself is somewhat a great relief to them who were unwilling victims of a social dynamic known as the ‘Rajapaksa Doctrine’. Basking in the glory of the war-victory in 2009 against the dreaded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), the former first family was a personification of power-holding gone bad. Their avarice did not show any measurable bounds. Their self-righteous patriotism was phony and its vociferous articulation sounded hollow in the light of the massive corrupt practices they have been alleged to have committed.

The circus of those alleged mal-practitioners of government power and people’s trust have ended up in gross violation of all civilized practices of fair and balanced political leaders. Our government coffers did not belong to the Rajapaksa family and on the same note, they do not belong to you either Sirs. If the same accusations and allegations are in any way, shape or form hurled at your government, then Mr President and Mr Prime Minister, something has gone badly wrong somewhere. People are getting increasingly anxious and that anxiety is driving them to the edge of patience.

Their patience on the delivery of justice that results in punishment to the mal-practitioners of government power is waning. Their understanding of how unmerciful and rapacious the Rajapaksas were when in power has reached its zenith. It is not only the English-speaking cocktail cockroaches in Colombo who have understood the dimensions of that corruption and dishonesty; the ordinary three-wheel drivers, bus conductors and drivers, those who expend their physical labor to earn a miserable day’s pay, the average man who runs a small boutique to make ends meet for his family, the university graduate who managed to secure some kind of employment in a government department, the farmer who ploughs his farm day in and day out but fails to market his paddy because there is a glut in the marketplace, the unemployed lad who leaves his home with the first break of rays of the sun on an arid zone in search of employment, they all have been patiently waiting for justice to arrive at the doors of the Rajapaksas. And their patience is indeed weakening.

So, Mr President and Mr Prime Minister, what is your answer to these folks? Has the paradigm shifted? If yes, in which direction has it been shifted? These are legitimate questions, these are valid probes that both of you have to answer collectively or individually. The expectant voter at the 2015 Presidential Elections is still expecting results.

This bit for you Mr President: You seem to be too engrossed in the decimation of your Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). In a narrower context, your efforts might be taken as legitimate and moralistic. SLFP is your party. It was formed on your birthday. That is the party that made you a politician which you are today. That is the party that gave you nomination and made you a parliamentarian first and after that a Junior Minister, Minister and later the Party Secretary. But that is all in the past. From a point of view of learning lessons, that past does matter when you measure your present and future decisions. But when elected, your first and foremost responsibility and duty is towards those who elected you. Who elected you? It was an overwhelming majority (bordering on 80%) of Tamils and Muslims and 100% of the UNPers. If any effort is being seen to be made and all your attention is towards pacifying a voting bloc that did not vote for you and are still continuing to question your leadership in the country, then the entire political dynamic takes a brand new turn and tends to stagnate every program and scheme that you intend undertaking.

Satisfying that voting bloc and securing that bloc’s continuing loyalty and support is supreme and nobody has any right to question such an approach at all. That is decisive, bold and daring leadership. For the first time since Independence the Tamils in Sri Lanka can have a sense of relief in that both you and your Prime Minister are not only friendly and empathetic towards our Northern brethren, a proactive reconciliatory approach has been adopted and it is as visible as it can be, both in the media and among the Tamil leaders. Please don’t waste that political capital that you have so intentionally built and cultivated. The present set of Tamil leaders seems to have total trust in you as a trustworthy leader. Despite your origins belong in the SLFP- known for its extreme nationalistic stances in the realm of national politics- you in fact are the first SLFP leader to adopt an approach based on realistic political and national values. Wasting such a unique opportunity would be a national sin. Nevertheless, although we have a very long way to go, my hats off to you for the exemplary stand you have taken in the context of the Northern Tamil Question.

Now may I address you, Mr Prime Minister?

You must be the most patient political leader this country has seen after your famous uncle, J R Jayewardene. Despite the enormous number of obstacles thrown at you by your party men and women, you withstood all that as a calm and dignified leader. You measured every one of your moves, you planned and plotted your electoral strategy and you built a loyal coterie around yourself. Your mind is sharp and alert all the time but your approach to serious crisis-building issues seems to be out of touch with the common man’s sense of street-smartness. It is with a profound sense of sadness and sorrow that I write to you because you are beginning to show signs of fatigue and apathy.

Once again I need to remind you that you might not get another chance at state-management again. Waste of political capital is a mortal sin. The anger the voter has against you is building because you give away your usual folly- looking after your only closest buddies and those buddies are building a wall around you. When such a wall is built around a political leader, it becomes increasingly hard for new ideas and concept to penetrate.

Mr President and Mr Prime Minister,

John Kennedy wrote in his celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of short biographies of American Presidents, ‘Profiles in Courage’: Politics is an adventure, an adventure in which one joins hands with the masses for the service of man’. Your commitment to politics must be based on such lofty principles. Otherwise both of you too would be judged as average politicians who wasted political capital built around a lifetime of politics.

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com    

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    English speaking Cocktail Cockroaches…Cool..

    Why couldn’t I think of it..

    Talking about Cocktails ,even Bloody Marys @ LKR 850 upwards, only the Yahapalana sucking Hip set in Colombo can indulge.

    Because our Estate brothers are still on LKR 846 a day Average.

    Just think of our Sinhala brothers in the South who don’t have a job.

    AltAir and , Shangrila are flogging their Pads to the Diaspora and even give free Cocktails to attendees at heir seminars.

    To listen to to their spiels.about what a marvellous investment they would be, with a guarantee that the values will sky rocket at the rate of 15 percent per annum minimum..

    And I believe it because it has been the case in Wellala Gardens since 2011.

    Vishwa should have added that also to the List of Yahapaana achievements.

    BTW which one is Susie.

  • 2
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    Mr. Vishwamitra! You don’t have to write too much about the current mess! I read the following in a popular daily today and it sums up what you try to say in a lengthy article:
    “The yahapalana ministers are at daggers drawn. The UNP members of the Cabinet ridicule their SLFP counterparts at every turn and even ask them to leave the government. The coming together of the UNP and the SLFP to form the so-called national unity government is like the yoking of an ela haraka (ordinary bull), given to living on terra firma, and a mee haraka (water buffalo) fond of mud, as a popular local saying goes. They keep pulling in the opposite directions and no wonder the country has made no progress. Cynics say the government which came to power, promising to catch thieves, has become a captive of thieves!”

  • 0
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    [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

  • 0
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    You give too much credo to Ranil because he claims to be widely read and in his autistic abilities to recite stuff from books. That does not make him an intellectual mind. What is it that he did in his entire life after his Uncle got him into Parliament in 1977 and made him Ministers? What did he do before that? Did he have a job? Did he practice law ? What are his significant achievements? At least his “wife” is learned and is reading for a PhD. RW loves his good ole boys from Royal and his cronies.

    You are enamoured by these simply because you represent the same god-damned class of Radalayas who look down on the “yakkos” over your Scotch and soda at CH or CR or at Hilton or whereever the hell the Western funded NGOs will take you. You cannot ever be the masses. Maybe you are like Kerensky rather than Mao or Lenin but your bourgeoisie values come through in ALL your articles. YOU NEVER discuss the genocide of 1983 or other brutal acts of violence against Tamils during JR’s time. Nor about rigged elections and thuggery and attacks on Supreme court justices because JR was a Royalist and spoke English. Those buggers could not even manage International relations or win the war. JR and RW are fuck ups .

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    If there is a Cabinet reshuffle what for for that.

    It will be another chess game preparing for the election.

  • 1
    2

    It is usual vishvamithra is whining and mourning for Tamils and this time Muslims too.

  • 4
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    “Cynics say the government which came to power, promising to catch thieves, has become a captive of thieves!”

    This should be read as “the government which came to power, promising to catch thieves have themselves become thieves”

  • 2
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    Dear Visvamithra,

    Your letter is like “Horage Ammagen Pena Ahima”.

    Please tell me what the “Yahapalanaya” government has done to enahnce the social well being of Sri Lanka. My answer is nothing.

    Before, you write letters to take action against the previous government, write a letter to the public informing the imporatance of taking action against the following obvious alleged crimes:
    1. Bond scam
    2. Selling government properties such as Hampanthota port and many more alleged financial crimes.

    MR and GR has done something for the country. But this government has done nothing for the country. The only letter that you could write to these people is asking for a general and presidential election as soon as possible. Then We, Sri Lankans, can give our verdict or report card for “Yahapalanaya” leaders. I am counting the days for that.

  • 0
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    Don’t make Sira uneasy by writting to him in english.
    Send your letter with a sinhala translation.

  • 0
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    Always love reading your views here even if one does not have to agree with them. I just wanted to say that if only I could write as well as you. I got the shivers recently. A top minister in this regime in SL is closely related to me via his wife who was very close to my old man too. I think politics screwed up everything.

    But anyway, having being out of the nation for so long, but still having opinions, this Honorable minister had asked my sibling at a family funeral, if I were you and whether I write as Vishwamithra. My sister of course said No but why would he ask such a thing?.. WTF? For two reasons it scared the life out of me. A. I cannot write as well as you do. B. Hell I never write under a pen name and I mostly stick to US-SL relations etc and corruption in general. So I hope you can tell this minister hell no I am not Mano. Thanks. It is scary. I will stick to US interference in SL and India etc two topics I am passionate about.

  • 0
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    Vishvamithra: Any use writing or speaking to both the DEAF and BLIND? Both of these “DEAF & BLIND” have been encircled by their own “PUROHITHAS” and no one can resurrect them. It is too late of the day. So please don’t waste your time.

  • 0
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    Susie, at least someone wanted to reflect the thinking process of PR and PM which of course are in two different lanes… This Big Question ? All should try to understand !! WHERE DID THIS GOOD Governance GO WRONG or OFF TRACK ???
    Promises before Jan.8 was all good. When you take over then you found confusion around you as the initial Balance sheet did not tally. Then of course there were too many cooks who came out with different recepies to be applied. The amature PR could not diggest the suggestions . Knowing the environment PM started to imply some strong suggestions in order the naive PR had to go with PM’s confidence skill power. At this point all buddies of PM started to flock around him and were ready to perform their game without PM’s supervision. It was PM who was keeping PR on track to abide with his people. As the SLFP members were crushed by mahinda’s corruption scandals. They became second class members of the parliament.

  • 0
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    One important item missing in the list of democratic institutions (re) established, namely, the Right to Information Act.

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