Calamitous predicament demands
a new political force
by Dr. Mervyn D. De Silva
Former Advisor, Ministry of Plan Implementation and
Member of Parliament
(Courtesy: The Island 28th July 2004)
The editorial of The Island of June 20th 2004 titled "UNF and
UPFA - Are there differences?" Is supportive of what the author
had been emphasising during the past few years. It was perceived as
the seminal cause of the political bungle this country has reached.
Even a kindergarten child who happens to listen to the daily TV news
casts, and/or, overhears the conversations of their elders abhorring
the abysmally low depth to which parliamentarians and parliamentary
debate have descended to, will surely rise up in righteous indignation.
The peak in the graph depicting the decline was reached when some
Buddhist monks, in this strongly Buddhist country, were assaulted
within the chamber of this august House. The unmitigated disrespect
exhibited and the bestiality of the act itself, whatever the legality
or illegality of the issue that was debated, is indefensible.
Our country has been steadily and quite progressively led to this
very critical state of disarray and is plunging down the slippery
precipice, predictably into political, economic, and social turmoil
and chaos. We have reached this pathetic situation where democratic
principles are unrepentantly violated, ironically while we boast of
our having attained 56 years of independence (political) and freedom.
It is a freedom we all treasure and for which we have to be grateful
to those revered leaders of the past who played important, courageous,
honest, and determined selfless leadership roles in the march to independence.
As a people once united we now find that we are being divided on every
conceivable difference that exists between us by the selfish exploits
of the new breed of political leaders, the unpatriotic, the unprincipled,
and unscrupulous pretenders as the saviours of the people. Again,
as a nation we have been on fire ("Alu Yata Geendara"),
the handiwork of the two main political parties, namely, the UNP and
the SLFP acting in tandem with the "able" support of the
two main ethnically based "democratic" minority parties.
The governments they formed were dismal failures in discharging their
sacred duties to the very people who brought them into power.
The political culture that was given birth to and nurtured during
the past decades for all intents and purposes has become internalised
and is systemic in the political parties. To that extent the reality
is that these two parties can never ever lend themselves to any radical
reforms and changes whatsoever in the forseeable future. As the worthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lakshman Kadirgamar, voiced boldly and
publicly, both main parties are flabby, tired, and corrupt. That they
are terminally ill and made our country also so, must be clearly recognised
by the general public and particularly, by the national minded men
and women who can do something and, will come forward to do that something.
Politics have become almost completely dysfunctional and the people
brood for a political party and a leadership that is more truthful,
more insightful, more righteous, more wise, more sensitive, more compassionate,
and most of all more humane.
The two main political parties appear today like two genetically engineered
entities with almost identical economic, social and cultural policies.
The amalgamation of the similarities became will never be bartered
away for anything. All patriotic citizens, no matter what their race
or religion, no matter what their station in life, should join in
clamouring from the rooftops for a new national political force and
then strongly supporting it. There is no point in civil societies
and the J-biz fraternity making pious appeals to the present two leading
parties. They should put in place a new force that can transform this
nation into one that will be politically stable, economically strong,
and independent, socially just and fair, with a truly vibrant democracy
as its corner stone. J-biz should found it generously without strings
attached remembering that their own survival is at stake. They can
take an initiative and be the brokers.
How can this be achieved? Let us appeal earnestly to the honourable
members on both sides of the political divide in parliament to bury
their personal differences in the larger interest of this nation and
break off from their present parties, the UNF and UNFPA (SWRD, Lalith,
Gamini). The appeal should be directed to those honest, principled,
honest-intellectually, truthful, members of parliament whose hands
are not tainted with blood and ill-begotten money. They should join
hands and form the core of a new national party, national in character
and spirit, just and fair in governance.
In order to achieve this goal they will have to through a process
of careful selection assemble a team of other concerned politicians,
technocrats, administrators, and businessmen who have the capacity
and the will to place the interests of the country and the people
before their own, at all times in carrying out duties and responsibilities
entrusted to them. Honesty, integrity, diligence, and faithfulness
to that goal are the hallmarks.
The core of concerned politicians referred to in the above para will
be supported by a strong inter-disciplinary team of local experts
in the various fields who are qualified, experienced, and fully alive
consolidated after both parties began to take into their respective
folds crossovers, no matter what their past records, for political
expediency in the numbers game.
Both parties are packed with men with, alleged and proven, records
of corruption, bribery, illegal kickbacks, criminal acts, and a litany
of politically and socially incorrect acts of commission and omission.
This is the gravest problem facing the people because the members
at the higher echelons of both parties are inextricably entwined and
inter related. They have lost their identities at an intellectual
level and it may be quite accurate to say that today, their is virtually
one single party divided into two warring gangs whose only goal is
to capture power and enjoy the "forbidden fruits" of power,
privilege, and money.
Even a casual investigative journey into the inner workings of the
entire political system at all levels, the legislature, the executive
branch, and the administration, the appalling state of the once brilliant
bureaucracy that has been pulverised and substituted by the politics
of subservience and patronage, would make all the shameful episodes
and incidents reported throughout the country seem the inevitable
Just like looking for a needle in a haystack it is becoming increasingly
difficult this day to find even a handful of politicians at all levels
who are committed to meet the aspirations of the people and have their
own visions for the future of the country. Is this country bereft
of men and women who do not see and understand that we as a third
world people have become the victims of the global disorder and as
well as the helpless playthings of our corrupt politicians??
The need of the hour is a new set of truly dedicated politicians who
are sincere in purpose, honest in their thinking, modern and dynamic
in action who will hold as sacrosanct age-old values that to the ground
situation and, more importantly, committed to the cause.
Those constituting the teams will be persons who at no time will act
in a manner that will be detrimental to any individual or organisation
on racial, religious, social, or political grounds.
The country desperately needs a new political force (party) that will
work faithfully and honestly to correct what seems a damnable situation
and lay the foundations for a truly government that is democratic,
solidly just, economically, and socially fair towards all member of
society and with a value system that regards identities, cultures,
and the countrys common heritage with pride.
Patriotic countrymen with brains, guts, and courage take up the gauntlet,
get on to the phones, make e-mail connections, contact any one prepared
to help, assemble groups, contact professional associations, inspire
confidence, do more and talk less, dont throw cold water. Lets
take one step in the right direction. If the people lead, the leaders
will follow our attempts to end this unapologetic barbarism. Rise
up to the occasion please.