By T. E. Kotte
We all know that the first is quite often long winded while the second acts faster. We also know that Ayurveda seeks to eliminate the cause of the illness, while more often than not Allopathy seeks to suppress the symptoms and control the illness. While this may be an overly simplistic view, it is by and large a public consensus.
Whether it is in the interest of Allopathic Pharmaceutical Manufacturers to cure the disease or mask it is an ongoing debate.
Corruption is no different. That no politician is paid enough to sustain their patently obvious lifestyles; that virtually all enter politics with no vocation or vision with the sole objective of enriching themselves is equally obvious to every citizen on this island. How in God’s name do they continue to get away with it?
Hard won independence?
It is not the economy, stupid. There is none. It is the population. When the Elephants declared the much touted open economy in 1978, it was much like the British granting us independence. Britain was bankrupt after the war. They couldn’t sustain the realm. They had to unburden themselves of the colonies. Mountbatten’s brief was to grant the colonies independence without losing face. What a grand job he did.
We bumpkins were none the wiser till of late when confidential period documents were released by the Brits. So much for hard won independence! Harsh as that judgement may sound, it is fact. This writer will not detract from the credit due to those who in good faith and ignorance actually did believe they were fighting for independence, little knowing that it was the British plan anyway.
British magnanimity in freeing us from bondage in return for sacrificing our lives in their war effort was ingeniously engineered. We gifted them their generosity.
Still, credit to them for leaving us with roads, administrative systems, plantations, and engineering infrastructure. Most of which we successfully destroyed ourselves since “independence”.
Brits vs. Elephants
Much the same argument with the open economy of 1978. We were bankrupt. Declare an open economy, keep your fingers crossed and pray. Meanwhile, work diligently and purposefully to consolidate absolute power. Forever.
The difference between the Brits and the Elephants? The Brits left us with a thriving economy as a dowry. The Elephants let us loose into a bankrupt economy. That was their only option. We the people did the rest.
Where is the writer going with the forgoing? Corruption of course. Is there anything else on the national agenda other than protecting the corrupt and the right to continue with business as usual? If not, pray do tell.
They are all elected by the people, to prey on the people. No more. No less. They proffer honourable intentions, aspiring only to graft.
Do we need a solution? Desperately. Who wants a solution? The people. Do they deserve it? Not as long as they keep voting for the corrupt on misplaced loyalties. Loyalties of the people and indeed the President should be to the country, not to political parties and patrons.
How to stop the rot? Close the graft tap; the source of all corruption. No aspiring millionaire would see a possibility of graduating from a bus or a three-wheeler to a luxury abode and vehicle if graft was cauterised at the roots. What roots you ask? All local government institutions.
Well, that train/bus was just missed. Happy to report that the foundation and cradle of corruption is intact; more so than ever before. The lyrics of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” come to mind. More colloquially, “operation successful, patient dead”.
Protection from corruption
While this writer dreads even the thought of a party like the JVP ascending into the upper echelons of government, given their pre and post general election posture which has re-mellowed of late, could it really be as bad as executive action no less, in prohibiting women from throwing underwear at celebrities and banning alcohol for women in the name of culture!
Leastways, they are proven watchdogs who remain unblemished at local body level. We need watchdogs that bite. Not just bark. This writer actually believed the grassroots level was politically savvy enough to realise that the JVP was probably the only party that could protect them from corruption in their own electorates. Obviously not.
While this writer steadfastly refuses to give the common man the benefit of the doubt on their dubious vote, one can only assume it was due to the highest in the land elevating the local election to the national level in an effort to hold his own party together.
Why blame everybody else when he couldn’t keep the Elephants within the confines of the electric fence that is the Constitution. It took all of them one week to wake up to the fact that they could hide behind their very own and very recent 19th Amendment. This writer offers no conjecture on why the SLFP/UPFA secured no more than 10 seats. That topic has been debated to death in the media and elsewhere.
Would the SLFP have been more successful had the Gammadda team chosen his candidates to run for local elections.
The country has gone way past the point where it can be remedied by a conjurer reshuffling a deck of cards. The deck is on fire. Tossing it from one hand to the other if seen as a remedy is sadly misplaced.
What to do? Well, let’s accept that we are at the bottom. So, the only way to go is up. No room for lateral machinations within the snake pit aka house of Parliament. What can a president now confined by his own straight jacket, the 19th Amendment, possible do?
Accept the contention of the JVP that the coalition does not have a mandate from the people beyond two years, form a single party government or at least a sizable majority government. Bonus, reduce the number of ministers to 30 as stipulated in the constitution!
Heaven forbid we would be left with the highest number of unemployed politicians per capita. Another Guinness Record perhaps?
Sad is the day when the president of the republic is more fearful of his predecessor than cleaning up his government. Two years of pandering is enough. Time to be President.