By Latheef Farook
www.colombotelegraph.com: So, once again yet another Parliamentary election to elect a new government!
The question is what the choice available is for the island’s unfortunate voters.
Inevitably the only choice is between the two major political parties – United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – both of which, with their racist politics, brought the country to today’s shameful state of affairs.
These two parties were solely responsible for dividing communities to promote the majority Sinhalese at the expense of the minorities to either remain in power or capture power.
Sri Lanka with very high literacy, stable economy and communal harmony was a role model for the entire newly-emerging Third World countries during the time of independence in 1948.
Today, despite all its natural resources, literate population, long and rich historic past and all other advantages, it is one of the most mismanaged countries in the world known for crime, corruption at all levels, collapse of rule and law, mismanagement of government institutions, fast declining moral values and the list continues.
Who is responsible? It is solely the short-sighted politicians of all shades of opinion.
Fed up of autocratic suicidal politics and reckless mismanagement, economic hardship, lawlessness, crime, corruption and even the suppression of press freedom under defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa, more than 6.2 million people trusted President Maithripala Sirisena’s slogan of “ good governance” and voted for him in the hope of a better future for the country.
It was a peaceful revolution which liberated the people from the era of tyranny and the dreadful “white van” culture of kidnapping, torturing and killing.
In the subsequent free environment there was a sigh of relief in the mindset of the people. They expressed their thoughts with a sense of freedom even if it was against the Government. An aura of hope and optimism pervaded the Sri Lankan society. A psyche of positivity was emerging in place of the fear psychosis that was extant previously.
Crime, corruption, plundering of wealth
However in the subsequent weeks and months the daily disclosure of crime, corruption, plundering of nation’s wealth by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family members, his ministers and other politicians, wheeler dealers and henchmen close to the regime shocked the country and the world.
It was absolute disgrace that a country with a population of around 20 million (around 1.5 million living abroad), less than one fourth of the population of the Indian state of Tamilnadu and with all its gifted resources had to suffer this fate only because of corrupt and opportunistic racist politics.
Disillusion creeps in
However within months after President Maithripala’s election, disillusion began to creep in all over. Those who were earlier accused of various crimes, corruption, drug dealing, etc. continued to enjoy their privileges without being taken into custody despite adequate evidence.
For example Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera disclosed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had amassed around Rs. 18 billion by various corrupt deals while former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, besides other numerous allegations, opened a bogus non-existent company in an address in London and maintained accounts at Virgin Island in UK.
The growing disillusionment was exacerbated by the controversial Central Bank bond issue, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe openly defending the Governor, no confidence motions against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Minister John Amaratunga. This made people ask, “What is the difference between Mahinda’s Government and Ranil’s Government?”
The corrupt politicians who were rejected by the people, realising the weakness of the Maithripala-Ranil Government, which failed to take them into custody, began to challenge the Government.
The only question that was in everyone’s mouth from north to south and east to west was: “Why did President Maithripala and Prime Minister Ranil refuse to take those accused into custody?”
For example, they pointed out, that drug dealer Wele Suda has provided enough evidence about all those top people involvement in drug dealings. According to reports, the Attorney General submitted a report to arrest former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe refused to do so for reasons better known to him.
In the same way there is clear evidence against former Minister Wimal Weerawansa on corruption charges. There are many such cases and the people continue to ask why they are not taken to custody.
Then they begin to ask whether there are secret deals between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the one hand and the defeated and rejected President Mahinda.
The latter, well aware of the weakness of the Sinhala majority, launched his fraudulent campaign to regain power using the Buddhist temples as his base. He and his cronies are hell bent on toppling the Government and capturing power by hook or by crook.
In fact one should not forget there were wild speculations about secret deals between defeated President Mahinda and Prime Minister Ranil when he was the Opposition Leader. These speculations were mainly due to the failure on the part of Ranil, as then Opposition Leader, to bring to light and raise public opinion when the Mahinda Government was plundering and misruling.
In fact the prevalent opinion in the country at that time was that Ranil Wickremesinghe was a miserable failure as the Opposition Leader.
Loss of faith
Muslims who voted en bloc for President Maithripala Sirisena were disillusioned from the very inception, saying “we didn’t vote for President Maithripala to reward corrupted Muslim politicians who lost the confidence of the community with ministerial portfolios”.
On the other hand, failure to take into custody and allowing the destructive racist forces such as BBS, whom I suspect are funded and trained by Israel’s secret service Mossad, to raise their ugly heads questioned the “good governance” and its ability to ensure the peace and security among the minority Muslim and Christian religious communities.
The failure to deal firmly with corrupt elements also led to people losing confidence in the Government’s ability to deal with serious issues. It also provided an opportunity to defeated President Mahinda to continue his fraudulent campaign against the Government.
The talk of the town was that crowds of paid and sponsored people were brought to cheer and urge former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to become the leader again. In addition, Mahinda exploited Buddhist temples to provide a religious fervour to his racist campaign which has all the potential to turn this country into anarchy.
It was in this environment the Parliament was dissolved and the people were given the opportunity to elect a new government. The tragedy is that they have to inevitably vote for one of these two – UNP or SLFP, parties which turned this paradise into the mess it is now.
In the midst comes the announcement of Mahinda Rajapaksa, accused of widespread crime and corruption and of having virtually ruined the country, contesting the forthcoming elections in the UPFA ticket. This sent shockwaves throughout the country.
The question is, how come a person with such shameful record be allowed to enter mainstream politics and that too in the party headed by President Maithripala Sirisena who promised good governance and pledged to eliminate crime, corruption and misrule?
People are speechless. They do not know what to say and where to turn to as those who should be in the jail are allowed into politics.
This is complete violation of all accepted moral principles and also a betrayal of “good governance” and the country as a whole.