Sri Lanka – what is our problem & can protestors solve it?
What exactly is the problem or problems Sri Lanka is faced with? Who can solve them? What are the solutions protestors have given? Are protestors representative of the whole of Sri Lanka? Can protests remove a democratically elected President & Government? What happens to electing people by elections? Is the new way of selecting a government – by protests? What is the flip side of the situation?
Protestors have been selective in their protests – electricity was cut during A/L exams – no protests. Treacherous agreements ceding land, sovereignty & territorial integrity – only a handful of protests, privatization of state assets that belonged to the People not a government – hardly any protests. Corporates doing tender deals, tax concession deals & tax holiday deals – silence.
How many are uncorrupt to be throwing stones?
Those who have not sinned throw the first stone!
Protests & Protestors
We have seen all types of protests but a protest of this magnitude was only seen recently which initially started out as very peaceful pocket protests presenting people’s anger at power cuts, gas queues, petrol queues, cost of living etc.
All very valid reasons but all not exclusive to Sri Lankans.
Every country has had post-covid issues, post-Ukraine issues but Sri Lanka’s was a sum of mismanagement & lack of planning.
Then suddenly, a protest outside the President’s residence became unruly resulting in destruction to property. Days later the Galle Face became venue for the world’s most unusual people’s protest – nowhere has structures emerged at a protest ground, nowhere have protestors been lucky to be given all types of food, nowhere have protestors had an onsite library, nowhere have protestors had daily entertainment. Many protestors round the world must be watching in awe.
Having protested by staying the night & turning the protest arena into a protest zone – what have they actually accomplished, apart from getting the attention of the international & local media, drawing more people to arrive at their venue, what exactly are their plans?
The slogans have confusing messages
- Go Home Gota – asking the President to resign
- Go Home 225 – asking the entire Parliament to resign
- Go Home PM – the newest slogan
- Stay Home Sajith – making clear that Opposition Leader is not their alternative
- Don’t even think about it Ranil – quite self-explanatory!
- Maybe AKD – some were peddling this notion, but the JVP antics and indiscipline has ruled out that possibility
- Church is taking lead in most of the events https://youtu.be/F11J-J4cfJY
- There is quite a number of hurtful & insulting anti-Buddhist slogans, posts & even dramas enacted in GalleFaceGreen – highlighting these are referred to as ‘racism’, so there is little point in pointing out the hypocrisy.
What are MPs demanding
- TNA favors a NCM against President
- Sajith says he opposes a national government – probably because it would end his title as Opposition Leader
- WimalW, UGammanpila, DullesA, NalakaG, CharithaH are asking PM to step down – why don’t they step down & give their positions to Opposition MPs?
- JVP is making controversial statements as usual
What is the government offering
- President will not resign
- PM will not resign
- Now suddenly an all-party represented cabinet is being mooted without the current PM but headed by the very #GoHomeGota How can protestors accept this compromise when their original slogans were #GoHomeGota – #GoHome225+1? We can test who is twisting the slogans & whose advantage the spin is being spun.
What are the other options available within the democratic framework
- President cannot dissolve Parliament
- If President resigns the PM become interim-President
- National Government is a waste of time – we saw how that experiment ended up during yahapalana – no one had control over anyone!
- President can dissolve Parliament after 2 ½ years – therefore under a very limited number of Cabinet ministers, the President should function removing all perks and privileges of all MPs including convoys, unnecessary travel, no foreign trips, no opening events, no state functions. President can make public intent to dissolve parliament as per constitutional provision & parties and individuals can prepare for an election including the protestors if they wish to form a party to contest, which would be ideal as they already have a large following.
What mischief can take place when a country is vulnerable?
Sri Lanka is not the only country that has faced internal issues. Many a country have faced similar or worse problems. Amidst all home-made problems are other hyenas at play.
What are the home-made problems
- A corrupt governance system – primarily as a result of the election/voting system & the unlimited luxuries made available to politicians
- A corrupt bureaucracy that has created a bunch of “yes” public servants who bend the rules and laws as per political orders. Hold all public servants accountable (past and present)
- A corrupt law & order – where the police more than the armed forces are treated as lapdogs of politicians and their cronies. Their dignity must return
- A corrupt business mechanism – where top businesses and their heads have found it a piece of cake to woo any politician & gain corporate advantage as well as funding election campaigns and gaining payback concessions.
- Few or little opportunity for talented individuals, their proposals for self-sustenance projects in Sri Lanka, innovations & inventions are hardly entertained or financially supported – this is a key reason for brain drain with many leaving the country because their talents are not recognized & due credit & opportunity given. Often their proposals are hijacked giving no acknowledgement.
- Lazy and jealous society – greed for wealth & selfishness has eroded values across society
- Education & Youth – not inspired enough to bring out their abilities, test their capabilities & divert their energy to productive purposes. This has resulted in frustrated youth easily manipulated to any type of ‘new generation’ campaign that includes the ‘fads’ that eventually end up in misery & disappointment. The state has failed the youth & not used their capabilities to prevent frustrations.
What are the external-problems infused into society
- All countries are victims of subversive elements and when Sri Lanka is a strategic location, we are more prone to attempts to divide people
- Division of people has already been successfully achieved through colonial rule & our people are divided by political parties, ethnicity, religion, caste, class etc. Within each of these divisions further divisive ploys are at play – all with the ultimate objective of diverting our attention to fight each other, while the subversive elements carry out their agenda.
- The pumping of funds to various entities operating in Sri Lanka is a clue to what they are tasked to do – their mission, goals and areas they are funded to cover when consolidated reveal an intrinsic plan rolled meticulously & backed with funds far better than the state mechanism to serve the country. A handful of these foreign funded entities have proven far successful in the damage they have done than the good the government is tasked to do by their voters.
- These external entities are quick to jump into any societal unrest & steer it artfully to their ultimate objective without anyone even knowing. Therefore, when the slogans keep changing, the wise are able to pick up the innuendos at play.
The sudden #GoHomeMR slogan is nothing other than to break the command he has over a large segment of voters which the President lacks. Given that Ranil has disappointed his vote base and with no successor to UNP, UNPers are also in a doldrum. Sajith and the SJB function as headless chickens and probably the next election these supporters will get further divided. JVP will always ensure it remains to make a noise in the opposition as that is the role JVP is tasked to do. With the removal of MR – we will have a fragmented voter base with no charismatic leader to unify the country – this is the objective behind the #GoHomeMR campaign. Undeniably, he remains the best person to woo voters. There is no one in the political scene to match him even in his old age & even with a well-funded tarnishing campaign against him. Most are using local names & social media taking Goebbels to a different level!
The President will be self-isolating himself & lose the protective political support he has. Protestors have failed to identify the real persons behind the collapse – who deviated from the original manifesto to create economic-defense-foreign policy of Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka’s envoy in Delhi. He and his team are the main reasons behind the collapse vis a vis the decisions they have forced the President to take. The protestors should divert attention on them.
Imagine the President & entire Parliament steps down – then what happens, can the Protestors answer or provide solutions! A weak government ends up in Parliament. Whose objective has got fulfilled – who will take accountability? Yes corruptions exists & has existed increasing not only amongst parliament, in public sector but also in private sector sadly even the judiciary is corrupt – however, unless anyone is found guilty by a court of law it is unfair to be slandering them. Governing a country is not as easy as governing a home or an office. Only those in the hot seat will know – all others can complain & criticize, only when one is seated the scale of the problem is known & solutions are not black or white.
However, a change is needed but the change cannot come overnight & with a brushstroke erasing a barrel of problems increasing with each government since 1978.
Let us constructively come up with solutions as none of us want our beautiful island to end up auctioned because of debt.
Answers can only come by removing emotional attachments & personal hatreds.
Shenali D Waduge