By Helasingha Bandara –
It appears that there are three leading candidates in this election race, although one is less formidable than the other two unless and until a sudden change of mind of the rest of the candidates causes a voter surge in his direction.
The public wonder how bloody the hands of those so-called leading candidates are before deciding. In my view, Sajith has inherited bloodier hands. Ranasingha Premadasa was instrumental in killing over 60 thousand of Sri Lanka’s young, a whole generation of the crème de la crème of the Sri Lankan youth, most of whom fell victim to petty grudges of the fellow villagers and to the insecurity of Premadasa psyche. The value of those lives is immeasurable. The misery caused to their parents, families and friends is unparalleled in Sri Lanka’s recent history. Premadasa wanted to live on for another millennium by annihilating any potential threat to his power base. How long could he live after the massacres? Both Sajith Premadasa’s parents have been accused of murder. We the general public fear that it is very possible that he can have inherited the murderous gene.
Besides, Sajith has never manifested any leadership traits in an open and honest manner during his political career. Instead he has continued to engage in hide and seek games just like his father. More importantly, he has been the deputy leader of the major constituent party of the ruling government that failed the country and its people like never before. Can people trust such a person to suddenly lift the country and its people from the dire status that it has been brought into?
Gotabaya’s role during the two JVP insurrections was not known. He has been accused of extra judicial killings although nothing has been proved yet by the ruling government. Proven or not, there is ample evidence for the ordinary citizen to believe that he has blood on his hands. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s personal traits have caused concern among the public that there is the potential in him to become a dictator. In my view his chances were mostly curtailed by his brother Mahinda during his presidency. Changing from a simpleton to a megalomaniac, Mahinda wished to be a king. People will fear a Gotabaya presidency under the shadow of Mahinda who was rejected at the previous election for the very reasons that I have pointed out.
Anura Kumara Dissanayake, despite being a member of the JVP has no publicly known blemishes in his political career. He has not been accused of any murder, mayhem or large scale corruption. Although I believe he has many areas for improvement in his political career for him to be suitable for the Sri Lankan presidency, he is my choice of the three.
I called the election a farce because of the rest. Their nominations mean that various sections of society are clamouring for change, for an alternative to the currently recognised parties. They have ruled the country for over 70 years but have not taken the country on any recognisable development path.
If the 32 or so candidates had a common goal of finding an alternative, the way forward could have been to select one among them. However, this is not a bad beginning. There are 33 people from various professional fields, from diverse cultural backgrounds, and with a range of experience and skills, who believe in the same ideal and are willing to come forward. Perhaps this election came about unexpectedly leaving no time for those aspirants to formulate a powerful strategy. It is possible for them to form an alliance similar to that of the senate of ancient Rome. One leader but a senate with powers to overrule that leader when the necessity arises. It just needs one person to take the initiative to form this alternative for the future, even though it is already too late for this election. Is it not a reasonable hope on our part?