Upcoming General Elections in Sri Lanka:What It May or May Not Achieve
Posted on March 7th, 2010

By Darmitha

On January 26th 2010 gave President Mahinda Rajapakse another term of office as The Executive President of Sri Lanka. It is envisaged, that all economic and social ills which were sidelined during the previous term which had a major objective of eliminating the country of terrorism which he did, much to the consternation & dismay of worldwide pro-LTTE supporters but the military but humanitarian victory brought the much needed psychological relief to all those who live in the North and East (who suffered silently for 30 years for fear of death and torture) as well as the rest of the country. Today, citizens whether they like it or not, have to admit that the impossible has been achieved by sheer focus and determination.

 Having achieved this military victory over terrorism & also having won a resounding victory at the recent Presidential Elections held in January this year, our President has now promised to pave the way for a decent and righteous society during the forthcoming years of his extended tenure of office. With this very much harped on, the election trail for the forthcoming General Elections has taken off the ground after nominations closed on the 26th of February 2010. Already, we can see walls, bill boards and even brand new unregistered vehicles all getting covered over layer over layer with the “faces” of candidates from all political parties who all promise and wish to project their image “to serve Sri Lanka!” In this process, publishing/printing establishments will either make money or go bankrupt due to their enthusiasm to make hay while the sun shines. Most often, election candidates or their supporters who place orders for cut-outs, stickers, posters and pamphlets end up slipping into oblivion once the election is over, leaving the print-shops with huge un-recovered bills! Let us say, that it is their own seeking because the choice is their.

 Voters in Sri Lanka today, are much wiser than those of yesteryear. We saw this quite well during the recently held Presidential Elections. No amount of promises given by the opposition alliance duped the voters who knew exactly who their President was going to be. However, we are not quite sure whether the General Elections will have such a clear path given the fact, that there is much accusation against the GOSL for bribery & corruption, thuggery, mismanagement, family bandysm, wastage- you name it, they have it all listed. Since 1977, all governments have been hurled with such accusations for valid reasons ofcourse. In the current context we must admit that even though our President has some vision for the country, not all his Ministers and MPs have been doing a glorious job with their duties and responsibilities in the social, economic, health & education sectors much to the dismay as well as disgust of the citizens of this country. They have by their own actions, proved that they fall far short of the high expectations that President had of them. These General Elections will show us whether the President is truly concerned about making amends even if he has to earn the wrath of some of those “time servers.”

 Simple things can prove whether our politicians are law abiding or not & election time is best to judge them. Our Elections Commissioner has been stressing time and time again, that cut-outs, posters and banners of candidates must be removed forthwith- how many humble politicians have obeyed the orders of the Election Commissioner? More posters keep coming up and decorating any and every wall with a few square metres of space. Some candidates and their supporters consider it heroic, to paste their posters over the faces of other candidates to shut them out wholesale from public view! Those with the worst negative public opinion are the ones whose posters give a message of their honesty, simplicity and service to the country! The normal practise for all forthcoming candidates is for them to declare their assets no sooner nominations are accepted by the Elections Commissioner- of the 7000 odd candidates around the country who are hoping to contest at the April General Elections- how many have already declared their assets? Only a handful isn’t it? The Election Commissioner has also declared how candidates should set out their political offices but who or which candidate respects the order? What does this expose to us, the public? That most politicians in this country do not care a damn for law and order! Once in power, the “sky is the limit” for such obnoxious & arrogant politicians while the poor voter is left to tolerate all their insolence and eat humble pie. Gone are the days when politicians gave of their wealth to serve the country- today, it is a case of getting rich at the expense of the public once they enter The August House of Parliament! It does not matter whether a politician is with the government or the opposition, what matters is how honest are they?

 The amount of money spent in lakhs and millions of Sri Lankan Rupees for posters, cut-outs, banners, organizing political meetings and the massive paid advertisements placed in the newspapers of all three languages just go to show how lucrative our political arena is. How many of these political candidates ever thought of foregoing all the publicity stunts to boost their own egos and instead, pool all that money which would count out to be a phenomenal amount by any standards & spend it to help the deserving citizens of this country no matter whether they be Ranavirus, the homeless or the jobless? Pro-government as well as opposition candidates could have truly proved their commitment to helping the citizens of this country-is it not so?

 Instead of the above, what we see are the politicians with the worst reputation, advertising themselves with ” Api Gena Hithane”, ” Wedak Karana”, “Mahinda Chinthana Jathika Punarjeewana Wedapiliwalate Ayoma Shakthiyak”, “Ayukthiyate Hisa Nonamane Obe Sevayate Kepawu”, “Gampaha Asiyawe Hondame Distrikkaya Bawate Pathkaranawa”, “Rate Dawena Prashnawalate Visadum Thiyenne Api Langai”, the Island newspaper(3rd March 2010) carried on the front page “Muthuhettigama Wants Mental Patients Given Franchise and Sanity Test on All MPs” in which he states that he was the only politician who had been declared mentally sound by doctors”¦”¦”¦”¦” These are the statements and slogans that we see everyday while getting about our daily businesses. What we all know, is that once elected most of these politicians will only be serving themselves and their families; abusing government assets and land to suit their own fancies, furnish themselves with security staff who are their mafia to attack opponents; fly around blocking traffic and inconveniencing the public in their “Duty-Free” Monteros and other luxury vehicles at State Expense; abuse the usage of water, electricity and telephones+ accommodation costs to bring massive bill payments at government expense; organize Tamashas to boost their own egos; amassing commissions from government purchases; harassing investors who come to Sri Lanka to engage in constructive projects by interfering in project work and demanding that their men and their supplies must be accepted instead of giving the investor or contractor the prerogative to decide what is best for the work needed to be done; within the government services, it is well known that government servants known to be supporters of the Opposition being harassed and transferred from pillar to post; appointing their own spouses as their Coordinating Secretaries, Personal Secretaries; use government vehicles not only for their own personal use but that of their immediate as well as “extended families” etc- “Mahinda Chinthanaya” will fly out of the window in next to no time! The same will apply to Opposition politicians as well no matter what they say about “Rate Dawena Prashnawalate Visadum Thiyenne Api Langai-Ravi Karunanayake(Lakbima-28th Feb 2010) “ little understanding or realizing that the burning problems of the country were created by none other than their own Mentors the late JR Jayawardane with his horrendous Constitution of 1978 which introduced internal party bickerings and enmity due to preferential votes, furnishing personal fire-arms to politicians to eliminate their opponents and build up the underground mafia which destabilized the Police Stations and Officials who were conducting honest duties and the late R. Premadasa when they openly permitted looting, thuggery and misappropriations and uneducated politicians into entering politics!

 Let us think that “Mahinda Chinthanaya” may come out victorious at the forthcoming General Elections but, President Rajapakse has a gargantuan task ahead of him to streamline all the riff-raff within the government and bring proper discipline within the government ranks! The public has had enough of all the tomfoolery and promises. What the public needs is not film star or cricketing popularity or “punky” youth with their “Tharunyate Hetak” but seasoned, educated serious minded & above all, honest politicians to be in his Cabinet of Ministers who are committed to serve the country and the public in a constructive and beneficial manner. We have witnessed how the health sector has gone down the drain where neither the government hospitals or pharmacies lack essential drugs, the education system being destroyed by bungling the school admissions and the trade bunglings with rhetoric suitable for cheap entertainment but with cost of living rising by the day! It is also pertinent to state that the President needs to understand that it was the majority Sinhala Buddhist voter who brought him a second term & that he must show his gratitude by giving priority to their grievances without much delay- this is the least he can do to keep things in their proper perspective. Those whom he attempted to pamper and go overboard with his overtures did not vote for him and he must know and acknowledge it for the country to know the truth!

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