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Presidential election and the Mervin Silva factor

“Corruption is rampant from the top to the bottom of the government machinery. This is not covert. It is explicit everywhere. Commissions and bribery are at the forefront of the manoeuvres for stealing the public money that could be invested to develop the country and to improve the quality of the ordinary citizen.”

By Helasingha Bandara

(December 04, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mahinda Rajapaksha was at the peak of popularity at the time of the defeat of the LTTE. What went wrong within the past six months was no mystery. The glorification of the Rajpaksha family, condoning of violence, nurturing of corruption, nepotistic centralising of the power to the Rajpaksha clan, arrogance and dictatorial behaviour, abuse of power are some of the reasons that can be attributed to the popularity decline of the government in general and Rajapakshas in particular.

Mahindra Rajapaksha did not pay heed to any of these allegations, perhaps because he had no defence against the allegations. He has not so far uttered a word about corruption among the politicians and party supporters or of the law and order situation. The common candidate has already promised to cleanse the country of corruption and to restore of law and order.

The family glorification

The Government and its cronies went overboard in glorifying the Rajapaksha clan. The unofficial coronation of Mahinda Rajapaksha as the great king of Sri Lanka, albeit on the large scale billboards, not only became an eye sore but a nuisance to the people and the world who have rejected monarchy or the one man rule long time ago. People would not believe that such glorification went ahead without the knowledge of the President. If he did not approve of this, billboards would have come down sooner than they went up. Also adding insult to injury it was the politicians who shared the credit for the victory over the LTTE. Some have now come out and admitted that it was a team play and there were many stakeholders to the military victory. It is too late for the government politicians to acknowledge that the soldiers should have got the biggest slice of the cake. Indeed the political leadership was equally important as was the contribution of the media and other people. From time to time we still hear some opportunistic vultures claim that the army had been there before without winning the war, it is the political leadership that counted for the victory this time round. In the same vein Sarath Fonseka can claim that he was not there earlier as the army commander to lead the troupes to victory. This argument does not get us anywhere. The conclusion should be that it had been team work in that both Mahinda and Sarath played equally important roles.

Condoning violence

Lasantha Wikkramathuinga was considered a traitor by many Sri Lankans. Not many people have shed tears about his death. Yet there are plenty of people who would not agree with the manner in which he died. This was a high profile case. Crimes are committed upon the people who do not toe the line of Rajapakshas on a daily basis. Many such low profile cases tend to go unreported. Some perpetrators receive government clemency and go unpunished. This has brought the individual freedom for leading a dignified life to the lowest possible ebb and people are feeling helpless in a lawless society.

Nurturing Corruption

Corruption is rampant from the top to the bottom of the government machinery. This is not covert. It is explicit everywhere. Commissions and bribery are at the forefront of the manoeuvres for stealing the public money that could be invested to develop the country and to improve the quality of the ordinary citizen. The government does not show any sign of ending the nurturing of corruption as long as cronies are ready to harm the political and personal opponents of the government. For such people perks are displayed out in the open.


Sirima Bandaranaike fell from grace for nepotism. Rajapakshas have been the worst on this front. Starting from the sending off his son to Sandhurst and the altering of the statute to allow his nephew to be both Basnayaka Nilame and the Leader of the Uva provincial council, Mahinda Rajapakshas has shown to be all about his family. There is no harm in getting a some of his own people to key positions for his own safety and protection in a war stricken country. Yet it was said that the plan was to appoint core Rajpakshas and peripheral Rajapakshas to lead the majority of districts at the next general elections. People would not justify that.

Arrogance and dictatorial behaviour.

Apparent arrogance was the key reason for the Rajapakshas to kick out those who supported them to win the war. Arrogance made them forget the contributors. Once they were home safely, dictating terms to all others became the norm. Those who showed guts and expressed differing opinions were kicked out.

Abuse of power.

The prime example is the unacceptable behaviour of Mervin Silva. If not for the government’s policy of abusing the power, Mervin Silva could either be in jail or six feet under. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate by a Sri Lankan University. That says a lot about our Universities and the people who manage them. This doctor does not have any sense of the dignified behaviour of a civilised citizen. He has got no respect for anybody other than the Rajapakshas, at least while they in power. The Mervin Silva factor is the key to the unpopularity of the Government. He is denying people their fundamental right s to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of expression and the freedom to live. Sri Lanka electorate is literate and people do not tolerate the behaviour that Mervin Silva has demonstrated time and again. The voters wonder why Mahinda Rajapaksha has not taken any action to stop Mervin Silva. Can he not? Perhaps he cannot. If so people may elect someone who can.

I will be writing again on “Presidential Election and the Ranil Factor”
-Sri Lanka Guardian


Perera said...

Interesting article. Pretty straigtfoward and true. 100% agree with the facts. Mahinda Rajapakse is the one to be held responsible for his own down fall.Looking foward to next article.

Jiffry said...

Well said and the real truth

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