Make a glimmer of democracy a blaze | Daily News


Make a glimmer of democracy a blaze

The immediate future of Sri Lanka is getting heated up daily with emotions going beyond control as well. The nomination of Sajith Premadasa as the UNP’s Presidential Candidate has made people’s wishes come alive. The glimmer of democracy which was in danger of even getting extinguished if not buried further underneath the embers has been inflamed. The people should turn it into an intense blaze. Upholding of a lively democracy is of vital importance for the people of all the diverse communities of the plural society of Sri Lanka. It is important that a clean, just and fair democratic election is held, where every vote counts. It is absolutely necessary that after the election, no ballot papers are found thrown into drains and other hidden places.

Man most likely to prevail

In the actual given circumstances those not belonging to any political party could make a choice at least between the autocratic candidates who wish to turn the law into their subjective tool and a more democratically minded candidate who could uphold the human dignity and rights and still further the well-being, unity and equality of all the people.

This election could strengthen democracy and democratic traditions. Now there is once again a new chance of hope of a better future for all. Many expect Sajith Premadasa as the man most likely to prevail and get elected President of all Sri Lankans. This time the chances of success and stability seem far better than what the people have experienced during the last four years and nine months. There are those who do not entertain that kind of hope in the now unlikely event of his main opponent winning the election.

Answer people’s questions

Even before asking for the people’s support, the contenders have many questions from the people to answer. Sajith’s main opponent has many questions to answer clearly; whether it is regarding the questions raised by the journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga – he had asked questions that the people have been asking – and the case filed by him in the Courts over the acquisition of MIG planes and people’s questions about Lasantha’s assassination in broad daylight within the high security zone; the disappearance of the journalist Ekneligoda and the killing of the ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen. He is also asked to explain the loss to the government of Rs.11.4 million due to Avant Garde transactions.

The people may have other questions to ask from Sajith and the other contenders. The people need straightforward answers.

All these and many other issues about the independence and supremacy of the law, the independence of the judiciary and the various agencies of the state, the leeway given to one’s close supporters to act according to their private discretion are matters that affect all the people and the people especially among the minorities are concerned about them. They cannot be swept aside or under the carpet. Even Presidents cannot get away with anything they do or say, without much forethought.

Privileged shouldn’t stoop

The President, Prime Minister, Speaker, Chief Justice and all judges of the judiciary, Presidential and other Government Commissions and all Government employees are paid by the people and the people have a right to expect a service of an acceptable standard in keeping with their prestigious position. Dishonest men and women cannot hold those positions.

Unfortunately, some crooked men and women stoop down to satisfy the greedy yearnings of the politicians who appoint them to such high office. Most unfortunately the highly privileged, even chief justices, have fallen very low in that regard. Those who seem to possess wealth more than the total of their legitimate incomes should be explain such matters to the appropriate tribunals. When important questions go unanswered, the people are disappointed and the people are rightly suspicious of those in high places. Further, the Sri Lankan people become a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

Support a realizable vision

The person elected has the chance of accommodating the sovereignty of the people and all their democratic values, the supremacy and respect for the law and all that he wishes to accomplish in the projected programme of his presidency. Sri Lanka will be very fortunate if he stays strong and marks out a firm new course of a durable public relationship with the people so that he establishes a good tradition.

Sajith Premadasa who seems to have the best chance of being elected has this great opportunity.

He cannot succeed alone. Those most concerned about the future of Sri Lanka should help him to embody in his programme the beginnings and an outline of a realizable vision that could not only get the support of the people but also enthuse them over it. For this, he must unite all the different sections of the people who have their identity and who love their Motherland. He has met all sections of the people in his political life and inherited many good things from his father and from the good traditions of his political party. He now has the chance of translating those values to the realities the people of Sri Lanka expect.

Human and economic development

Economic development and prosperity are important. Distribution of progress and advancement should also spread as evenly as possible among the people. Even more than exterior and material development, it is more important for the people to develop themselves interiorly, have a right sense of values, appreciate their human dignity and rights.

Today, it is by ignoring and omitting to do our duty, forgetting our responsibility, being negligent, inattentive, uncaring and unfeeling of our fellow citizen that we fail to be accountable. Very often the majority, the rich and the well-to-do who have all their affairs taken care of, fail in the services they need to render to others. And they forget to serve their fellow-citizens they have solemnly undertaken to attend to with oaths and promises and codes of conduct. Not only the President and his closest collaborators, all who serve the public need to be mindful of this sacred bond. Unfortunately, all have failed from top to bottom. When they fail, they do not have the backbone nor the humility to admit they have failed; they shamelessly find fault with their subordinates.

Matchless access to a vast region

A President once elected also has the chance of interpreting the country to all the friendly people in other lands and sharing the good values of our country with them and keeping our people up-to-date about the things of value that are there in other countries which could be of benefit to us. We are not only fortunate in having friendly relations with others, we are most fortunate in being uniquely placed with geographically privileged access to a vast region. The ministers of the government should be intelligent enough to be conscious of the economic potential of such a situation and have the capacity to exploit such prospects. Most of our ministers have been below par in this respect. In the forthcoming parliamentary elections, persons with ability to hold very responsible ministerial and deputy ministerial positions should be nominated by the parties to contest.

Benefit and honour

None of us are meant to be loners. Provided Sajith Premadasa is chosen by the people, he has the chance of meeting many important and highly qualified people during his presidential term. He will have many more chances to consult the most reliable experts in many fields. He has the capacity to mature still further in matters of just and righteous governance and he could benefit from the new opportunities his position will bring him and become an adept and wise statesman who will bring benefit and honour to Sri Lanka.

Benefit and honour cannot be had for nothing. And it does not depend on a President alone. It will depend on an honourable President singularly supported by a hard working ministerial team with a united people living in solidarity, fraternity and peace.

From those in the fray the majority may find Sajith Premadasa the most suitable to be President.

It is to be hoped that the new President will make a meaningful advancement in establishing and consolidating a united, fraternal people and usher a new era befitting the twentieth year of the twenty-first century that will dawn in Sri Lanka. 

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