| by Helasingha Bandara

( December 12, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mahinda, you ask us to vote for you on the claim that you have defeated terrorism and you have given us roads. Yes we agree that your claim is well founded. Yet we have numerous other questions for which we are desperate to get answers before deciding to vote you in for an unprecedented third term. We cannot do it just because Dayan Jayathilake says that you deserve a third term. He has lost our respect a long time ago. We held him at high esteem during the time he showed his ability to defend Sri Lanka at UN battles. His greed for positions at the cost of his self-esteem and dignity has made us change our minds. So whatever he says holds no water for us. We cannot elect you just because Tissa Attanayake sided with you. In our view Maithree did not defect but formed a new alliance for him to lead. Both Tissa and Rajitha have defected, one to the old alliance and the other to the new. We do not believe either of them. On the part of Tissa, one day he cried and swore that he would stick with one party and he smiled and defected to another on the very next day. No decent fellow can follow him. Now that he has been offered the Health Ministry, is it not a bribe? In fact this could even be against election laws. Someone called Mahindapala is writing in your favour. His stuff is all about Chandrika and Ranil, not about Maithreepala. Besides, his style of attacking people is disgusting. We cannot learn anything from such a malicious man. You call Maithree a puppet. That is not good enough reason for us to choose you. In this sense, your entire government is full of puppets. They do not have views of their own. It has always been your view they represent. Nonetheless, if you can answer our questions properly and defend your case we may still support you.

Why did you decide to hold an early election?

Was there any internal pressure from the opposition to do so? Was there any international pressure for you to hold an early election? Was there a pressing economic or a social issue that could have been resolved by holding fresh elections? Was it that you thought your governance is getting worse and your popularity is diminishing? Was it your greed for power and opportunistic nature that made you decide to have an early election thinking that you can still play the race card?

Why do you protect rogues?

You are being accused of protecting murderers, rapists, plunderers, criminals and the like. We are sorry to see your government is full of them. Mervin Silva is known to have committed everything that a citizen would not approve of. He has famously invaded media stations, harassed opponents, damaged night clubs together with his son, tied people onto trees and uses a language utterly unbecoming for a Minister. He is still there under your protection. Duminda Silva is alleged to have murdered one of your own party members. His hand in the murder is utterly true. Yet he is free and close to you. Yes we know that a person is not guilty until proven. In this case he should be guilty until proven otherwise. He should therefore not be functioning as a parliamentarian. Johnston Fernando is a pole-vaulter and is of the fame of Ethanol. He is still earning dirty money under your protection. Sajin Vass has assaulted the Sri Lanka High Commissioner. Only in Sri Lanka such an incident is overlooked. Why do you not remove them from your government or party? Are you afraid that they have your files or do they pay your family a big share from the black money they earn?

Is it not mainly your propaganda material littering the country?

People say that billions of public money is spent on your own propaganda material. Is it untrue that you have got ministries and other public bodies to spend public money on your behalf? Is it your own money that you have spent on that promotional material? If so how did you earn that much? Is it the money that your cronies pump into your election campaign? Have they stolen that money from the people? Have you promised to give them many more opportunities to steal double of what they have spent if you are reelected?

Did you win the war on your own?

Is it not right to say that political leadership and the military leadership are equally important to win a war? Is it not right to say that the defeating of the LTTE was a collective effort of everyone including the journalists and opinion writers? Is it not right to say that the former army commander was entitled to some share of the glory that you have attributed only to you and your family? Was it right to incarcerate the former army commander just because he democratically opposed you? You ask us to vote for you because you would not let the LTTE raise its head again. Can we not vote the other camp on the belief that the former army commander who won the war on the battle field is in that camp and he would not let the LTTE raise its head again either? Finally would you do the same to Maithree that you did to Sarath if he loses the election?

Why did you reduce prices of various items suddenly?

Has the country suddenly drawn Euro millions lottery or was there any divine intervention with money for you to reduce prices in the election time? Is it part of your dirty politics to deceive people to vote you in gain?

Are you intimidating state sector employees?

Is that true that you and your Ministers, MPs and other disciples force people to come to various election campaign meetings? Is it true that they are threatened with serious consequences if they do not attend? Is it true that even the University teachers comply with this for the fear? Is it true that you are unleashing a terror campaign against the opponents? Do you not think that it is unwise to physically harm opponents because people of this country do not approve of such intimidatory tactics?

Are you truly a nepotistic person?

Is it true when people say that you give your immediate family, your extended family and your friends undue responsibilities in the government, in the local government structure, in the Foreign Service and in many other areas? Is it true when they say all your Ministers have complained, secretly obviously, that they have no freedom to administer their ministries as you and your brothers dictate terms to everyone? Is it true that there are plenty of people in your party wanting to cross over for that reason but they have no guts and they fear losing perks? Finally has Yoshita paid for his own ticket to Katmandu? If you have paid his ticket with public money, is it ethical, legal or acceptable?

Do you know of Julius Caesar?

Have you heard that Julius Caesar was one of the greatest commanders of the Roman Empire? Do you know that even he was murdered when people suspected dictatorial tendencies in him? Do you know that like the Romans, we the Sri Lankans do not want a dictator amongst us or a nepotistic despot who is full of himself and has no respect for the rule of law, democracy or the ordinary people like us? If you are not in a position to answer all those questions and clear yourself, we are afraid that we would ask you to go home this time.