My dear citizens in Paradise,
I thought I must write to you to wish you a Happy New Year as well as to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year that is to come. Most of you will be exhausted after the big race last year but 2020 promises to be as exciting, with another big race to be held soon to elect our representatives.
The majority of you voted for Gota mama at the big race last year. That was because most of you were sick of the in-fighting between the chaps who promised ‘yahapalanaya’, Cheerio Sirisena’s ad-hoc decisions and the Green Man’s spectacular inefficiency and greed to stay in power at any cost.
So far, Gota maama has made a reasonable start in the few weeks he has been in office. He has talked about improving efficiency in government, eliminating corruption and developing the country. For someone who has never been in politics before, he hasn’t made any spectacular blunders either.
Gota maama has tried to show us how to do things better. He visited the Department of Motor Traffic, wanted a change to the ‘system’ there and warned officials against bribery and corruption. This ‘hands on’ approach, without even the relevant minister in attendance has been welcomed by many.
However, Gota maama will have to visit most government institutions to make sure that they too become more efficient and free of corruption. Also, I wonder what he will do to keep Parliament free of corruption- just visiting Parliament once in a while for a ceremonial address won’t be enough!
Speaking of visiting Parliament, it was impressive to see Gota maama travel in a small motorcade without the usual horse-riders. He is trying to tell us that he will be a different leader. He is different in some aspects: he is the first President in coat and tie though he spoke of the ‘kurahan saatakaya’.
The big question, however, is whether he will be allowed to be different and run his own show or whether Mahinda maama is pulling strings and trying to get things done in his own way. As citizens of Paradise, we have to ask that question because of some appointments that have been made.
For instance, in his speech to Parliament, Gota maama wanted it to be an ‘exemplary’ place which had the respect of the people. Yet, on the same day we heard that Johnston, who tried to hurl a chair at good old Karu during the days of the constitutional crisis, being appointed Chief Government Whip!
We also heard that Keheliya and Mahindananda have been appointed ‘spokespersons’ for the government. One would have thought that they could have found some fresh, honest faces to represent the regime rather than one with questionable assets and another who keeps falling off balconies!
You, dear citizens of Paradise, also come in to the equation because there is another big race that will be held shortly. That is when you get to decide whether you should re-elect the same people who led Mahinda maama astray because, from the looks of it, they are very likely to stand for election again.
Then there is the little matter of the 19th Amendment. Only a few weeks in to his term, Gota maama is already complaining about it and wants to do away with it. To do that he needs a two-thirds majority. It is up to you, dear citizens, to decide whether he should get that majority or not at the next big race.
Historically, Paradise hasn’t done well when governments had that kind of majority. Sirima’s majority led to her downfall. JR scrapped elections, holding a referendum. Mahinda maama also lost the plot. So, when Gota maama asks for the same mandate, you must ask whether you want GR as the next JR?
What is also interesting is why Gota maama wants to get rid of the 19th Amendment so much. What it does is to make the PM more powerful. In this instance the PM is his own podi aiya. Does that mean he wants to overrule his podi aiya or is it a ruse to enable podi aiya to run for the top job yet again?
Citizens of Paradise, if you thought you did your duty by voting for the leader of your choice, you are wrong. You did only part of your job. There is an even more important job to do now. That is to elect the others who will carry out the work ahead. That will decide whether we perish or prosper.
You don’t have many options. The Greens are running around like headless chicken, not knowing whether the Green Man will stay or go. Sajith is sulking in a corner. Still, you have to elect a stable government but not a dictatorial one, so, citizens of Paradise, you have to choose wisely in 2020.
PS – Already two parliamentarians have been detained and Wije who shares Gota maama’s surname has proposed amendments that will increase Gota maama’s powers. So, 2020 promises to be as exciting as a 20-20 game of cricket but remember, in this format, it is Sri Lanka which usually loses!
Courtesy: Sunday Times