By Hemantha Jayawardena –
As someone who detested the former regime and voted for a change on 8th January, my critical thoughts on the current regime, a month after the historic election.
Summary: some steps in the right direction (I refuse to say “genuine”, which is almost polar opposite to “politician”), BUT performance in general is inconsistent and not to my (very high!) expectations. I also sense that the people & civil society organizations have gone to sleep (again!) – we the people MUST demand our whole pound of flesh on good governance, justice to all & transparency as promised by the current regime, on the dates promised. If we the people go to sleep, there is every possibility that this regime will be no better than the former – if that happens, I would start using the phrase “we the donkeys” instead of “we the people” in the future!
Some specific things that I am disappointed about the current regime:
- I am against the “election budget” that had a number of “election gundus”. Yes, I too benefit from price reductions, but as in the past, current regime can use these to hoodwink the people (donkeys?) to win the general election in 2 to 3 months. I hear some people (donkeys?) say “They have to win the next election, and without giving goodies, they can’t. People (donkeys?) expect it!”. Hopefully what “we the people” voted for a month ago was a significant improvement in the democratic institutions in the country and not handouts. If the majority thinks otherwise, I threaten to use the “donkey” word!
- Where is the code of conduct for politicians? 22nd Jan is long past, despite a Minister (who I think has verbal diarrhea) saying that it is ready and no one would want to run for office when the regime presents its code of conduct for politicians.
- I heard the premier saying something like “good things are being done even though late” in parliament – not good enough! Live up to what you promised on the dates you promised, unless you also think we are a nation of donkeys!
- Different individuals / parties in the current regime are acting for their own political agendas. Yes, it is a coalition of different hues, but that is no excuse! People (not donkeys!) voted for significant improvements in good governance within a time period, and nothing short of that is acceptable, different hues of the coalition notwithstanding.
- Disappointed about some of the appointments to high posts in government – NO to relatives / cronies / those who have a track record of singing hosannas to the rulers for personal benefit! And why are some real nut-heads from the past regime still in office? I must admit that there were good appointments too, but even one bad one is one too many. Like I said before, I had very high expectations from the present regime.
- Retrospective laws to punish individuals are an absolute NO-NO even if they are meant to correct a past injustice. Yes, I am referring to “Mansion Tax” & “Hybrid Tax” – no, I don’t have a “mansion” or a “hybrid on order”. I object because it sets an extremely dangerous precedent and contrary to natural justice.
- Too many “media shows” on wrongs of the former regime – yes, the guilty should be punished but I feel that these are/can be/ will be used to cover up the shortcomings on the current regime. File charges in court and let the law prevail – no need to hang anyone in the media (or “white vanned”).
In the interest of brevity, I would not elaborate on the good things so far by the current regime – I take those for granted as every citizen (not donkeys!) should.
To the current regime – if you do not live up to your promises on significant improvements in institutionalizing true democracy in Sri Lanka within the time frame you promised, you will be chased out too by the people soon – if not, you can thank the donkeys!
To the people – don’t force me to call you donkeys! Stay awake! Hold the current regime against the wall to deliver its promises on good governance.
To conclude and just to be absolutely clear, I do NOT wish to revert back to the former regime! For me, they were a terrorist group (just like the LTTE that they took all credit in defeating in a “humanitarian war”). The difference is that the former regime had official sanction (as a government elected by “we the donkeys”) while the LTTE did not. Never again to that regime! Never again to a similar regime!