Why do Sri Lankans want elections?


Elections are far more than simply going to an election booth every 5 years and casting one’s vote, yet how many of Sri Lanka’s voters realize the importance of an election? Is it simply a day where they can’t wait to take revenge & vote out the party in power not caring who takes over or not bothering to even wonder if the successor is able or capable to lead the nation. The unimportance of elections were seen in 2022 when a small handful of the 22m population stormed the President’s House/Office to oust an elected President & were happy to continue with a rejected politician as president. It is these same handful & their sponsors who are now ironically demanding elections to exercise their franchise. We certainly cannot understand their logic!

How many of Sri Lanka’s voters ever read a single line in the manifestos issued by political parties prior to elections? Then again how many inside the parties read their own manifestos? This job is often outsourced to a PR agency who charges millions and produces a document the party eventually doesn’t even refer to!

This is where voters and parties have gone wrong. They contest without a proper plan while voters vote not even demanding a plan.

The contenders only plan to come to power and enjoy the perks and privileges of power while the voters generally vote thinking how they will personally benefit. This is seen in the ugly manner businesses fund every political party so they are on the good books of every party coming to power. The media is tasked alongside other hired groups to sway the people’s conscience in particular the floating voters.

People’s thoughts are easily swayed because they do not put the country or the need to protect the country first. They do not realize that it is only when the nation is safe & secure, that their own personal lives become safe & secure. When the Colombo cannot understand this simple fact, can we expect rural Sri Lanka, though speaking to them, it is easy to realize that they have a better understanding of politics than the Colombo elite.

Voters who do not read a manifesto & parties that also don’t care to follow-through the commitments made in their manifestos are not doing any good to the nation. Both parties are equally at fault. If we turn this statement to numbers, we will be shocked to come to terms with exactly how many of our voters are ignorant of party manifestos & vote because of the manifesto primarily because they too know the parties will not follow their own manifestos. So essentially the voters & their parties are equally guilty and are to be blamed.

When there is no plan for the party – there is no plan for the country.

All political parties are guilty

All voters who vote for parties that produce cosmetic manifestos simply to bolster their campaign are guilty too.

Next is the issue of nominations.

When political parties present the same list of old stooges, some jumping from one party to the next, why are their supporters silent? Is it because these stooges take care of their electorate? Voters that selfishly vote for corrupt politicians simply because they take care of them are doing more harm than good to the nation. Thereafter, these same voters point fingers at other politicians of different electorates and call them corrupt without realizing that these politicians are also in parliament because of the selfish voters of that electorate.

Nominations are a key area where the party can be forced to omit failed politicians.

To decide that criteria the voters themselves must be knowledgeable.

One key area that should be of concern to voters is to identify politicians who promote sale of assets and resources of the nation as well as giving away state land & attempts to separate or indulge in treacherous acts. These vices pose more dangers to the nation than corruption. There appears to be a well-planned & funded move to keep people’s attention towards corruption only & away from the bigger dangers of treason, separatism, siphoning state assets & resources.

People must demand that any government cannot make commitments beyond the period it is in power without seeking a mandate. The voters give a mandate only for the term of office which is 5 years – therefore, no Government has any moral right to be making commitments beyond the framework it has been given powers.

People must be able to come to terms with the fact that the power of a State comes in the ownership of its land. If land is sold or leased or even given away to citizens it becomes private property and do not fall within the gambit of State power. The smaller the land area owned by the State means that a government has less power to govern & less control. Giving away assets & resources is equally hara kiri. In a scenario where there is less land to govern, hardly any assets and resources under the government (except the annual taxes by those controlling the assets) the most important question is whether we need 225 + 1 people in Parliament.

Therefore, by now people should have raised their voice that the more assets and resources and land that the President or Government gives away, the Parliament should reduce proportionately. People should not have to maintain a Parliament that does sweet nothing as it has nothing to govern as everything has been outsourced.

This means even the Public Sector should also be pruned. It should first start with the treacherous senior secretaries who are happy to draft or agree to clauses by external parties giving them complete control over Sri Lanka’s resources/assets with no exit clauses and heavy damages if Sri Lanka were to negate these agreements. Voters need to demand not only accountability from the Secretaries and senior officials in the public sector but take them to court & hold them accountable.

Unfortunately, we lack a patriotic legal team sans political allegiance to legally address anti-national decisions and use their legal ability to challenge these in courts without waiting for clients to fund them. As citizens, lawyers too have a role in protecting national interests.

The most important aspect that ails our voters is their lack of political knowledge & the geopolitical threats as well as the entities working within to divide people. It is this lack of understanding in particular amongst the so-called educated who having read and seen about the same tactics happening globally, and should comprehend the threats that prevail for Sri Lanka, but cannot read between the lines.

We can stop the levels of external interference in politics – in our economic decision making – in our education & cultural platforms only when and if we can identify the players and what they are up to. It is not difficult because they apply the same templates in other countries. The colored revolution or regime change that happened in other parts of the world was cut & pasted to Sri Lanka on several occasions. We should have taken lessons. Yet, the so-called elite of Sri Lanka not only were the first to be gullible but were happy to be gullible too! Thus, the upper strata of society and key segments of even the middle class by their inability to stand & defend the nation are the one’s that make the nation more vulnerable.

To apply peer pressure, Sri Lankan voters need to be aware of the dynamics at play. If external players interfere in the elections and even appointments of public officials in other countries, Sri Lankans cannot be naïve to think it does not happen in Sri Lanka. However, as a result of the ignorance (feigned or real) of powerful segments of the vote base, the problem becomes more confounded & the situation is made worse by not putting pressure on political parties to nominate powerful politicians able to meet the challenges. This results in weaklings entering the nomination list, they are propped up by people who selfishly seek to gain from them & these weak politicians become eventually all powerful as a result of the dirty deals they end up entering into with the corrupt internally & the nefarious external entities out to weaken Sri Lanka & destabalize us.

The voters must stop revenge voting and learn to cast their votes asking some key questions because people need a strong and stable nation to survive and thrive. Voters should not by their ignorance or selfishness make a nation weak – eventually it backfires upon the citizens.


Shenali D Waduge

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