We are moving on to another election year, and what does that mean?
It means a helluva lot. Two Hundred and Twenty-Five to be removed, brought back, or a new pack brought in.
It is the problem people face with choosing the unwanted. Let’s just look back at the last two national choices, in 2009 and 2015. In 2009, just after the defeat of the LTTE terrorism and separatism, the pack chosen to power quickly moved to be the biggest of the corrupt the country had seen since independence in 1948. In 2015 the chance came to get rid of them from power and punish the guilty. And what a farce it was!
It was the monumental farce of the so-called Yahapalanaya or Good Governance. Apart from the beneficial aspects of the 19th Amendment, the Right to Information, and overall freedom to the media, those who came to power were determined to both fool and cheat the people.
A huge burden hanging on the necks of the people today is the delay in bringing to some conclusion even the few cases brought to the courts, about the corruption of the defeated dirty team. Is it a problem of the Judiciary itself – or the manipulation of the judiciary, and the legal and court system by those in power?
The bigger burden is the number of persons, groups, or related catchers never brought to the courts, and the continued blockage, through what is seen as a crooked or curvy judicial process, of big cases such as the killing of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, and rugby captain Wasim Thajudeen, and the attacks on so many other journalists.
It is certainly time to forget the very idea of Good Governance in Sri Lanka, as we approach a revival of the White Van syndrome.
As the New Year dawns, we will have that great achievement of private buses not playing ‘bus baila’ – the ear-splitting music of bad passenger transport. We may have another minister of so-called good governance in Remand custody. How many more? Will it be the whole lot of the past government, and why not?
Will the Pohottuva thinkers not want to quickly adopt a new law that will punish politicians, whether ministers or MPs, who have not kept the promises made to the people? Are such promises to remain vote catching ‘gundu’, and nothing else?
But as the next election draws near, the Pohottuva thinkers and associate catchers will also have to think of their own promises to the people. Can they move away from family politics or ‘pavul palanaya’ not in the birth control sense, but in the reality of crooked politics?
Will the UNP that is making big noises about being the big challenge to the Pohottuva team, really have the strength to pose such a threat? What is the record the UNP can present to show it is a party that believes in clean politics? Is the silence of Sajith Premadasa during two Treasury Bonds scams the show of its strength?
Let’s turn it the other way. Will the Pohottuva team bring charges against Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake on their roles in the Treasury Bond scams, in the couple of months left before the election? Not likely.
Will the public be given that chance to read the full report of the Presidential Commission on Treasury Bond scams, with phone call and gift details too? Not likely again!
This is the stuff of the coming national election. It is the stuff of corruption that is at the core and the covering of politics in Sri Lanka. The people will not have any choice to vote against corruption. The two main players – Pohottuva and the Elephant (and its current allies) are not the stuff of the clean in politics.
The near half of the 225 members in parliament now in the Pohottuva government, are those that were thrown out by the voters at the last election for their outrageous corruption and family power manipulation.
The other half now in the opposition, are those that pushed aside their promise to fight corruption and went on their own spree of both corrupt politics and government.
This is the corrupt reality of politics and governance in Sri Lanka today. The coming election is no solution to the crises of corruption and crooked family politics. There may be some in Sri Lanka who think we are doing well, by going back to the era of family power, crooked as it is, as in the old monarchies.
What stands out today is the monarchic power of family politics, which obtained more than 50 per cent vote in the recent presidential poll. The politics of 2020 is not likely to be any better than that – what dominates being the power of the family from whatever twist it comes.
We are stepping into a New Year with a burden of 225 MPs and the likely election of another 225 of corrupt politicions. We can wish for a Happy New Year, and a ‘Subha Aluth Avurudda’. Let’s keep wishing it, knowing the reality of the rise of a ‘Asubha Avurudda’.
Let’s have a distant dream of having an election where those who are honest by the people will be elected to serve the country.
That is certainly beyond the Dream of 2020!