By Latheef Farook –
Failure on the part of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to fulfil their election pledges and the shameful revelations of corruption under the present government could be two of the most important factors that contributed to the sweeping victory of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proxy, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Humiliating second place was for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) while President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party was even worse.
Fed up and disgusted with the lawlessness of Mahinda Rajapaksa government, accused of widespread crime, corruption, plundering of nation’s wealth, mismanagement and the promotion of communal disharmony, people voted for the Maithripala Sirisena–Ranil Wickremesinghe coalition in the hope they would rescue the country from these evils.
In fact this is what Maithri-Sirisena team promised to the country. Beleagured people trusted and gave mandate to them. However three years later today they have miserably failed to fulfil their pledges. There was confusion from the very inception when the government was formed with previous government ministers accused of corruption. Manipulating judiciary shielding these corrupt elements.
The irony is that these very same people accused of various crimes were not only free but also began challenging the government. Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe were also accused of manipulating the judiciary to protect those accused of corruption.
People in general were fed up. Added to this frustration, the ever growing corruption within the Yahapalanaya government made the people sick and tried. The entire country was shocked at corruption involving the bond issue. It was made worse with the shameful disclosures involving Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Instead of sorting out burning issues they were more interested during the past three years, in implementing the American agenda in various fields. For example International Monetary Fund was accused of drafting Inland Revenue amendment bill.
Many complained that rather attending to urgent issues both present and the prime minister were busy travelling worldwide signing bilateral agreements.
Despite winning some seats in this week’s local government elections indications are that the UNP, under its present leadership, will never be able to form a government on its own. The UNP got an opportunity to rule after losing more than two dozen elections. However it has missed the opportunity.
They pledged during their election campaign to end racist attacks on minorities especially Muslims. Instead of protection, Muslims who voted in bulk to the government were quick to realize that they were virtually abandoned. The racist attack on Muslims in Gintota showed that anti-Muslim racism remains alive.
Foreign policy had no direction. For example the government failed to condemn the genocide of Muslims in Myanmar though even United Nations Security Council took up the issue twice.
Economy is in bad shape though the Prime Minister continue to claim otherwise Much talked about foreign investment never became a reality. Even small time traders began saying that routine business dropped though they expected to improve.
Meanwhile President Sirisena blaming Prime Minister Wickremesinghe for all economic ills, failures and bond scam corruption in election meetings dealt a destructive blow, perhaps the final blow, to the unity of the government.
In fact the sweeping victory for SLPP in last Saturday’s local elections is the outcome of miserable failure of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to understand the mood of the people.
They will responsible for what is in store for the country in the near and distant future.