PEOPLE MUST PREVENT ANYONE HIJACKING POWER

History shows that man and society go through conflict and cooperation, progress and decline. Yet the desire for improvement persists. Man is impelled to overcome problems, live an honouable, free and interdependent human life, mutually collaborating in co-existence and community. Consciousness and community are necessary for the functioning of society.

In this social living, politics is a vast sphere of human activity through which nuclear and social authority is established and progresses. Human relations and social structures get organised and refined by people in the national and the international community in a manner that is beneficial to all. All benefit when there is good order. Good order is closely oriented to freedom. This freedom is not the freedom of a liar to deceive, a thief to steal, a zealot to be a suicide bomber or even a president to do whatever he wishes. Human freedom is responsible freedom which establishes human dealings and is related to personal relations and the proper functioning of social institutions, including governing and administrative structures where goodwill and understanding could be operative.

All are not able and competent to take on leading roles in politics or administration at the national level. Politics affects all in society, the young and old, rich and poor, clan family, group, and every community. Community engenders understanding and misunderstanding, truth and falsehood, goodness and wickedness, values and biases, virtue and vice. All have some vice. It is up to the community to produce positive values in every person. The concerns of politics should be of prime interest to all mature adults of society that all may uphold the right values and contribute to the common good as best as they could. They should come to a good understanding of the issues and problems that the people have to face as an organised society.

As the onus of sovereignty is on the people, every one of them should make an intelligent, unbiased choice of their representatives who with administrators of all ministries should be protective of that sovereignty. Home upbringing, primary, secondary, tertiary education and training in professional skills should equip each and every member of society with a consciousness to be virtuous, civic minded, responsible citizens good to society in general. Social leaders should lead the people, fellow citizens, to a better understanding of the affairs of the important issues confronting the Nation. How much more knowledgeable, expert and circumspect the policymakers and the high officials at the top most level should be?

HYPOCRITES IN POLITICS

In Sri Lanka, the social, community, democratic and political traditions have incredibly deteriorated and declined. As spending for elections is not controlled, hundreds of millions are spent for elections. Directly or indirectly that money stolen from the people also goes to increase the Cost of Living. Crooks have deceived the people, hijacked power and succeeded in exploiting social structures and inter community relations for selfish gain. Their private and public behaviour have fallen to low standards. Politicians slyly jeopardize the democratic election process; in power, they pack their supporters into permanent government jobs. To operate such projects as Samurdhi, the administrative staff they appoint is paid a large share of the budget allocation meant to uplift the poorest of the poor; similarly they pack their incompetent supporters to the CTB; a whole Airline, Mihin Lanka, is established for the top politician’s personal convenience; a couple of planes are fitted as for the super-rich at great expense for the politician and his family to travel in great comfort; close relatives, paid mega salaries become the executives who managed the airline. Their mismanagement makes it a bad business venture incurring losses running into billions of dollars.

When war becomes risky, some obtain citizenship in foreign ‘promised’ lands, returning to Sri Lanka when prospects of omnipotence seem high. During the Civil War the politicians invented ways to make big money from the purchase of fighter aircraft and war ships to procuring of weapons and ammunition. Even importing the consumer commodities bought by the poor man was not free from the sleaze of the politician. While hypocritically proclaiming total prohibition, party politicians and their relatives get licenses to open liquor shops. Some liquor manufacturers import containers of ethanol with perfunctory inspection at customs. Honest officers at the customs have met death due to corrupt coworkers and politicians.

Politicians anti-socially fudge their own date of birth and that of their family members, as well as information about themselves for their own hidden purposes. They spread false, unfounded and prejudiced information about other communities of society to create political animosity. They do not declare their assets and liabilities, according to law, when they appear as candidates at elections or when they enter parliament.

FORTUNE SMILES ON CROOKS

Such people who are not fit to be elected as people’s representatives have turned this country into a rotten state. Most of those engaged in politics today are selfish, ego-absorbed, arrogant, pretentious, self-righteous persons closed in on themselves. Their corrupt, offensive and deplorable presence on the local and national stage is acutely felt by all. Many of them have an insatiable greed for power and a lust for money, acquisitiveness and luxurious comforts. They look on the State as a bottomless mine of gold which could be quarried by the resourceful and shrewd diggers like themselves.

There are those who have stolen billions of dollars from the State, sliced off large sums of money as commissions and banked them in hidden secret accounts of the so-called tax havens abroad; while being ministers, many have been in shady transactions with the government departments with the connivance of the highest officials in ministries and state agencies and ambassadors. The time they are abroad, on supposed to be official matters, they wish to show off and spend lavishly, living luxuriously and entertaining their family and friends on government account, which means the money of tax payers 40% of whom are from the poorer class. From time to time these crooks go abroad, bring back millions of dollars of their black money to bribe their prospective supporters here and buy them over. They are also very fortunate in finding attractive and valuable lands with houses in congenial local surroundings and abroad. Fortune smiles on them in other ways too. Strangers gift to their aging grandparents satchels of gems which are passed on to them. So, many who are patently unfit for politics are in the fray today.

They escape being apprehended, investigated and subjected to the law. Even if they are arrested and investigated, they escape punishment through loopholes their lawyers find. And if found guilty and punished, they still manage to live in the comfort of a hospital bed, because they are fortunate to fall badly sick and avoid the hazards of prison life. The whole legal system seems to favour the already excessively favoured ones of the land.

The poor and the powerless are caught, tried in Courts, sent to jail on petty offences. Some drug dealers are written off to be hanged. The containers of ethanol and illegal drugs are released from Customs through the influence of a minister or the son of a political authority at the highest level of government. Drug importing politicians are embraced by the one at the top and so they are not investigated by the agencies of criminal investigations.

Therefore, a revolting disgust towards politicians and their henchmen in high office is shown by the vast majority of the people. The people realize that the blemished character of their elected representatives was hidden from them. The standards of their behaviour had fallen far below what is required by their exalted positions. Nevertheless, those who have committed crimes against the people should be arraigned before the law, judged and punished and what they have stolen should be recovered. The people still have hopes in the Judiciary. They expect the Judiciary to uphold uncontaminated justice that light up life.

People come to know that the affairs of State are not going the right way. They also know who the rogues are who even have the audacity to present themselves as prospective rulers of the people. In an apparently insoluble situation, some, among whom are also prominent religious persons, advocate a resort to a Hitler. They do not seem to know what an unbelievably wicked and cruel person Hitler was. They seem to expect a politico-religious restoration, an ideology that disintegrates human brotherhood and sows suspicion, distrust and social confusion. That is the truth, a truth many fear, a fear that is healthy. Thus Sri Lanka finds itself in a situation that is highly comic as well as extremely tragic and it is a tragi-comedy, which is not a fiction anymore.

GENUINE POLITICIANS LIBERATE PEOPLE

The sovereignty of the people seems evidently weakened by the phenomenon of the wrong-doing politicians, top-most bureaucrats and the very rich businessmen who are not only undemocratic but are anti-democratic, undermining the democratic rights and the sovereignty of the people. It has become normal for today’s politicians to engage themselves with many shady business deals with the State and make enormous wealth for themselves. Some politicians are not reluctant to be armed and violent in order to be in complete charge and control of volatile situations and direct them. They instigate and promote hateful violence to achieve their political objectives and ambitions. Low in intelligence, they are reluctant to equate their evident and manifest intentions to shoot and kill with the killing itself which they miss with the lack of opportunity. The people need to be liberated and emancipated from these violent, enslaving politicians, their henchmen and insensitive bureaucrats.

The people, convinced of the need for an overall care and planning for the whole of society in a manner that all are justly and humanely served, must seek persons of goodwill and integrity to venture into politics. Only those with sufficient knowledge, ability, sagacity and a sensitive social conscience should be elected as people’s representatives, not cunning and crafty men or women. One should venture into politics to set right the wrongs in society, to turn to good what is bad, not to create division, misunderstanding, rivalry and confusion but to liberate, uplift and improve the conditions of the people by establishing a just society. One should venture into politics to uphold the human dignity of every person in this land, to ensure the human rights of all persons, to build the people into a strong, unified, reconciled, peaceful and happy community. Politics is for persons with a sense of social compassion, responsibly able to take on the burdens of a conglomeration of people, finding in that a challenging, satisfying and life-fulfilling mission in spite of situations in which difficult community problems arise. They should enhance the meanings and values at the heart of intelligent human intercourse.

NONE SHOULD ABUSE POWER

A politician gaining notoriety as a joker, a clown, a dunce or a birdbrain is becoming ordinary. It is also becoming common for noted wrong-doers to cast stones at their minions. But when a highly placed politician's conspiratorial decision causes economic harm of great magnitude to the country what is the remedy and who is to remedy it? With knowledge growing by leaps and bounds and sensitivity of social consciousness and understanding deepening, the manifestations of thinking on the part of some politicians are anachronistic.

The new Constitution crafted by the civic conscious people should find a suitable constitutional provisions to nullify the unacceptable actions of any person in any key position from causing the country any harm of a magnitude considered reprehensible by law and the judiciary. If such person’s actions are not checked and stopped, that individual will continue to do much harm to the people of this land. Some politicians’ manner of assessing and prioritizing the most important needs of the country, the common good of all the people, care for the helpless and the voiceless marginalized, are wrong and immoral as they tend to be weighed by partisan vote-catching tactics than by strategies of national development. Thereby they also show themselves not only to be impulsive and rash managers of finances as well as the administrative apparatus of the State but also to be using the religion of the majority as a handy political tool.

To have politicians removed from the pedestals they have arrogated to themselves and the sovereignty of the people elevated to its rightful place, change of political and social structures should proceed along with the change of the social outlook and responsibility of citizens. The new Constitution could make provisions for the desired changes in social and political structures as well as the outlook of people. The coming elections should be a harbinger of a new Constitution of a sovereign people.

Though the legislature, the executive are not only symbols but embody the sovereignty of the people, it is the Judiciary, the interpreter of the Law, that could see, when the people come before them, that the legislature and the executive do not go beyond the powers vested in them and abuse their power.

The people together conscious of their sovereignty should realize that most of the politicians coming before them to be elected by them do not have the foresight nor the brain power to create productive employment for the people. The foolish and uneducated politicians selfishly wish to ensure their re-election and ignore the wise use of the country’s limited resources for the long-term and stable development of the country. The people should come to know that those who have been unfaithful to their wives, have been snatching gold chains from the necks of helpless women in trains, and snatching other people’s wives and foreign investors’ money and have been trying to corner chief justices in church premises to canvass support for a partisan political stance, have been Members of Parliament. People should not allow for election the nomination of any person who unethically promotes the interests of their sons before others whose merits deserve worthy consideration.

Those who have betrayed the people and in the 21st century have feudal minds of a bygone past and want to introduce outdated and inhuman measures to govern the Nation are not worthy of consideration for re-election. Only those known for good intelligence and vigorous energetic and productive activity, which is what is required of those in the highest positions, should be chosen by the people as candidates for election. 



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