Hobson’s choice for voters
Posted on August 21st, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island


Special Assignments Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama has recently urged the public to vote wisely and elect only educated, competent, honest candidates in the fray. His advice should be heeded and his keenness to cleanse politics appreciated. It is incumbent upon voters to exercise their franchise responsibly. There have been instances where anti-social elements such as drug dealers, cattle rustlers, fraudsters and rapists were elected. A notorious drug baron known as Kudu Lal was once elected to the Colombo Municipal Council. Thankfully, he had to flee the country.

However, the blame for the heavy presence of undesirables in the garb of people’s representatives in political institutions cannot be laid entirely on the public. Even the people who vote wisely are compelled to pick the best out of a bad lot for want of a better alternative. It is a case of Hobson’s choice for the voting public.

Political parties are, therefore, duty bound to nominate only clean candidates. Their holier-than-thou leaders should instruct their nomination boards to select educated, competent, honest candidates. The absence of a proper sifting mechanism has adversely affected not only politics but also the country’s cricket. If gentlemen contest elections then there will be gentlemanly politics. Similarly, gentlemen must be handpicked to play and administer cricket. Political leaders and their parties cannot absolve themselves of the blame for having turned politics into a stinking mess.

People voted wisely at the last general election in 2015––for once. They denied a working majority to both main parties and sought to relegate some candidates to the political dustbin. Their message was loud and clear. But, rejecting bad candidates at elections has become an exercise in futility under the yahapalana government. For, President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and leaders of other parties like the JVP shamelessly appoint political rejects to parliament via the National List. This, they do while claiming to uphold democratic principles and moral values.

The present parliament is full of defeated candidates brought in through the backdoor and even appointed to the Cabinet. The National List mechanism, which was introduced to enable eminent citizens who are averse to the hustings to enter parliament has now become a sewer of sorts carrying political flotsam and jetsam.

The yahapalana leaders have, through such despicable appointments, brutally subverted the will of the people and made a mockery of their much avowed commitment to good governance. On their watch, democracy has already suffered a double whammy. People have been deprived of their franchise and local government institutions dissolved and placed under bureaucrats; candidates rejected by the voting public have been brought into parliament.

Today, failures have become the pillars of the SLFP in that most of its ministers are failed politicians turned National List MPs. Their only qualification to hold ministerial positions is their remarkable ability to switch their allegiance and lick their new bosses’ sandals.

Yahapalana politicians ought to hold elections without trotting out lame excuses before urging people to vote wisely. Canines afflicted with hydrophobia fear water. They are usually put down as they are a danger to others. Politicians suffering from polls phobia are scared of elections. They are a threat to democracy. They must be kicked out of power. Those who try to roll back the electoral map won’t baulk at anything to perpetuate their hold on power.

Let the current political leaders be urged to act wisely and responsibly when they nominate candidate to contest future elections.

5 Responses to “Hobson’s choice for voters”

  1. Vaisrawana Says:

    “Yahapalana politicians ought to hold elections without trotting out lame excuses before urging people to vote wisely. Canines afflicted with hydrophobia fear water. They are usually put down as they are a danger to others. Politicians suffering from polls phobia are scared of elections. They are a threat to democracy. They must be kicked out of power. Those who try to roll back the electoral map won’t baulk at anything to perpetuate their hold on power.”

    Well said! Free and fair elections are the easiest way out of the limbo that we Sri Lankans have been hurled into by the powers that be. A general election is the best option, which means an immediate dissolution of parliament and getting a new people-friendly government elected that is committed to meet the legitimate demands of all ethnic and religious communities as fully as humanly possible.

    That is too much to hope in today’s circumstances, which the editorial avoids even hinting at. The most disabling realities that the best of politicians must contend with are: foreign interference in our internal affairs which so diabolically reversed the positive trends that emerged in 2009, where although things were not ideal, they could have been gradually improved through democratic processes in the control of the people; separatist politics emboldened by the vulnerability of Sri Lanka to the pressures of regional geopolitics; well funded NGOs, without an iota of concern for our welfare, use local mercenaries, some of them frustrated old politicos with one foot in their grave murderously angry with the majority Sinhalese Buddhists for not allowing them to enjoy power even in a local council for all their blustering; these latter are doing their damnedest to destroy the country by dividing it on ethnic lines through a federal constitution designed by foreigners; they are robbing our right to formulate our fundamental law as a sovereign nation with perhaps the longest unbroken history in the whole world; then there is the very real menace of Christian and Islamic fundamentalist sects that threaten traditional mainstream Christians and Muslims as much as they threaten the majority Sinhalese Buddhists. These realities vitiate the atmosphere of Sri Lanka’s ethnically and culturally diverse polity.

    Voters need to cast their vote wisely, but what could be the proportion of wise voters in the best of times in any country? Masses need proper guidance. It is the media people (particularly, nationals with some feeling for their own suffering fellow citizens) who ought to enlighten them about the massive misinformation campaigns that the above forces have been carrying out for many years, decades in fact, that have completely distorted the truth about our country in the eyes of the world: innocent victims of racism and cultural genocide are being depicted as aggressors and perpetrators of the crimes that they are constantly subjected to.

    The editorial asserts that the voters voted wisely in 2015. It says so because neither of the two major parties got an overwhelming majority,which prevented either from sliding towards autocracy. That was only at the beginning. What happened in January that year? From the point of view of the general public, to begin with, there was then no need to topple the Rajapaksa government. It was performing

    well in all spheres, including national development and the management of foreign relations. The overbearing America and the friendly but discreet China (natural antagonists between them) were dealt with through quiet diplomacy. Both America and China helped us in overcoming terrorism. China helped us more substantially though, in postwar development. The mean (mean also means moderate) Indians were not given enough of a provocation to repeat their infamous parippu drop operation of 1987 (as long as the previous government was in power).

    Despite its success, America and India moved to upset the apple cart. The regime change was the result of an America and India-led conspiracy. It was necessary to mislead the voters to give it a veneer of democracy. Money played a big role in this exercise. There were unfairly disgruntled politicians in the then ruling alliance, and they gladly acted to gain both financially and politically by making deft movements at the correct time. But, the voters soon realized that they were hoodwinked in January. The holding of August 2015 parliamentary elections offered some hope. A return to the status quo ante was predicted by pollsters. The former president, who had been elected twice, was the clear frontrunner. If he was allowed to win, he could have become the prime minister, and the country would have been saved the present predicament. Who caused him to be pipped at the post is too well known to be reiterated here. So, when those in power speak or act in order to distort the result of free and fair elections for their selfish ends, the wise voting of voters can be rendered ineffective.

    “Yahapalana politicians ought to hold elections without trotting out lame excuses before urging people to vote wisely.” I would like to add: Voters must be determined to ensure that these politicians are not allowed to repeat their despicable old tricks this time to hold on to power at any cost.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    DEMO-CRAZY failed SL. Accept it.

    Only a SANGHA-MILITARY takeover can save SL.

    Voters CANNOT vote wisely because there is no choice. ALL MPs are crooks.

    They bring BUS LOADS of ROWDY and FILTHY people to TERRORIZE CID hoping to SILENCE them. They ROB all credit of winning the war from SOLDIERS and SACK them!

    SL is a MAD HOUSE.

    Sangha must take the lead to organize a takeover with the help of the military which is 95% Buddhist. Sangha should also convince TRADE UNIONS to STRIKE work until the regime goes home.

    How else can you change govt. in a DICTATORSHIP? SL has NO elections.

  3. Senerath Says:

    WHoever asking for Pallath Sabha elections are BIG TRAITORS. People should boycott Pallath Sabha Indian imposed rubbish elections, not ask for it. Scrap 13A or stay at home and do business with your own money ! Don’t ask for elections with the intetion of robbing the motherland.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sane political thinking needed for Sri Lanka.

    Only PATRIOTS should lead Lanka.

    Is UNP led Yahap Patriotic ?

  5. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    FULLY AGREE WITH LORENZO

    WE HAVE BEE TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR A LONG LONG TIME. HOPE THAT DAY WILL DAWN.

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