By Kumar David –
I have never met the President but have friends who have, briefly at social occasions. They say he a pleasant fellow, well-spoken and with a smiling countenance we are familiar with from media photographs. Then why oh why does he dig himself into ridiculous holes and refuse to climb out after it is made clear that he has made a big mistake? I am referring to matters that are of no profit to the clan, therefore attribution of disreputable motives is not an explanation. I have four important matters which in the order they surfaced are:
1. The policy commitment that 70% of Sri Lanka’s electrical energy will be from renewable sources by 2030. Look, renewable-source energy is marvellous; if we replace every joule of fossil based energy by renewables we would be angels. But 70% is pie in the sky! If pigs could fly and elephants had wings we could have 70% (some nut-cases say 80%) electricity from renewables by 2030*. Even infant system planners know that the target is skewwhiff; but Gota won’t budge.
2. When the pandemic swept in he made Army Silva, who knows about as much about epidemiology and virology as my grandmother knows about quantum-computing, head the national covid task force. Ok, maybe at first Gota thought that he could go in with panzer divisions rolling and guns blazing, but soon enough it was clear that scientists must be in charge. Sure Army Silva etc. must be around as factotums to execute orders, but blokes who understand the subject must be in charge.
3. The completely unbelievable idiocy that every farmer, scientist, newspaper columnist and agronomist is tearing his/her hair about is the complete, wholesale and immediate ban on inorganic fertiliser and (?) agro-chemicals. This pronouncement is so weird that people are at a loss! But he has dug in and refuses rectify this giant gaffe. In Tamil they say “Nan pudicha muyaluku moondu kaal endal, moondu kaale thaan”. (I trust every educated Sri Lankan understands rudimentary spoken Tamil). Surely Gota knows it is a blunder. Why does he not correct it?
4. One big and possibly fatal matter is the foreign policy rock on which he seems determined sink his ship. Readers need no elucidation re the UNHRC, EU, US Congress and Indian knots he is entangling himself in. Worst, he is making Sri Lanka an embarrassment even to the Beijing leadership.
Why so many unnecessary cock-ups? It’s not as if the Paksa-clan was making a buck. People allege nothing like that regarding these four boo-boos. Four glaring but correctable blunders! Is he still misled by monumental donkeys in Viathmaga? The sway of snake oil vendors over the President brings to mind mad-monk Rasputin and Tsarina Alexandra. Honestly I haven’t a clue why he has put his neck in these four nooses and is pulling the ropes all by himself. Can any of you bright chaps explain these weird occurrences?
*Depending on technical advances and less daft presidential decrees, it is possible Sri Lanka can exceed 50% renewable sourced electricity within two decades. For now let us focus on at least 30% by 2030