By The “Sunday Times” Political Editor
With just five days to go for the local polls, a joke doing the rounds on mobile phones this week is about an old American, a Russian and a Sri Lankan talking to God.
When will my country come out of the recession asked the American and god replied “a hundred years.” He cried saying “I will not live to see that day.” The Russian wanted to know “when will my country become prosperous?” He cried too lamenting he will not live to see that day when god replied“it would take fifty years.”
It was now the turn of the Sri Lankan. “When will my country become corruption free,” he asked. This time, the joke goes; god began to cry saying “I will not live to see that day.” The moral of the story, if there is one, is how sceptical even gods are when it comes to Sri Lanka and the suggestion that corruption at its high levels is an eternal affair for the country.
However, jokes apart, the word corruption has been echoing in both Sinhala and Tamil, in the far corners of the country, both villages and towns alike, in the past many weeks. Tragic enough, like the predator and the prey both preaching the same ideals, the corrupt and those claiming to be ‘Lilly white’ are vying with each other to punish or even put behind bars those involved. Their hoarse voices from campaign platforms have reached a crescendo with just five more days for the local council polls, the first since 2011. Promises, like those made during the presidential and later parliamentary elections in 2015, to deal with high profile cases no sooner the polls were over were galore. Then, for three years there was little or no action. Whether, like the proverbial god’s cry, the old and the new issues will go into the limbo of forgotten things until the next election campaign remains an obvious question.
Though election violence or violations of election laws are reported to be minimal, back-stabbing among the three main parties is known to be taking place in subtle ways before the February 10 election to 341 local councils. Pic by Indika Handuwala
The credit for introducing a national issue into a local polls campaign goes unquestionably to President Maithripala Sirisena, the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which is under political siege. At first he spoke of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry that probed the bond scam at the Central Bank. That it gave a more startling version of how a father-in-law (former Governor Arjuna Mahendran) and son-in-law (Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries) literally looted public money at the bond auctions.
Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena’s Trail of Contradictions and Bizarre Remarks Raise Concerns About His Credibility as President.’ »