A leader like no other
I thought of writing to you because you were “celebrating” four years in office, just the other day. I suppose congratulations are in order, although I am sure they are few and far between these days because of what you have been up to in the last three months, plunging the entire nation into crisis.
By a co- incidence, your anniversary fell on SWRD’s birthday. When you were at his statue at Galle Face to lay a wreath, you got the cold shoulder from Satellite who didn’t speak to you. You can count yourself lucky - I’m surprised she didn’t utter a few choice words to tell you how she feels about you.
We saw advertisements describing what you have achieved in the last four years and I think no one will dispute that you have achieved what no other leader - even men like SWRD or JR - have achieved before you. So, you don’t need to worry when people criticise you for no reason at all.
You did form a gover nment that brought the Blues and the Greens together for the first time in almost seventy years of independence.
Many people were uneasy about where this was heading and how it would end - and they were proved right, when it finally collapsed - but no one had done that before.
Aiyo Sirisena, we are used to our politicians making promises and then failing to honour them, so we shouldn’t be complaining about you not honouring your promises. Still, we are not used to politicians making promise after promise and then doing the exact opposite. You are unique in that way too.
You promised to abolish the Executive Presidency. You said so during your election campaign, just after being sworn in, at the Dalada Maligawa a day later and months later at Sobhitha hamuduruvo’s funeral. Yet, in the last three months, you used your executive powers like no other had done before.
You promised to be a one- term President and retire after your first term. To be fair, you haven’t formally announced anything, but your recent actions suggest anything but that. Even so, you might still end up keeping that promise - because the people might send you home if you run for office again.
You promised to catch the crooks of the previous regime and put them behind bars. That didn’t happen. Only Lalith went to jail. Instead, you are begging these crooks to come and join you to form a coalition to contest the next election because you know that if you run by yourself, you will lose.
You promised in an address to the nation just before the last general election that, even if the Blues won that poll, you would never appoint Mahinda maama as PM ever again. The other day, you did just that, even though no one knew why, and he didn’t have sufficient support in Parliament.
You promised a clean government. Your slogan was ‘ yahapaalanaya’ (good governance). Yet, after the last general election, you appointed defeated candidates like SB and Thilanga to Parliament. Now we know why. Without the likes of SB, who would have said, ‘Rangey, oya enawada’ on your behalf ?
You promised to uphold our Constitution and act according to the mandate you received. Yet, the highest court in the land found that you violated the Constitution. Only the courage shown by those on that bench and Speaker Karu prevented you from becoming an absolute dictator, Aiyo Sirisena.
You promised, during the constitutional crisis you triggered, that you will never re-appoint the Green Man as PM even if all 225 MPs endorse him. If that is their wish, you will go home in an hour, you said. Yet, Aiyo Sirisena, the Green Man is now PM and that hour is long past!
You promised to make the Blue party great again when you took over its leadership, but you had no mandate to do so because you were elected with Green votes. Yet, you, its longest serving general secretary, have appointed four secretaries in four years, and you are now presiding over its demise.
Aiyo Sirisena, because of all this, you have indeed been a leader like no other before you. You have also convinced the nation, beyond any doubt, that we should get rid of the Executive Presidency because it can be disastrous when it falls into the wrong hands. For that at least, we must be grateful to you.
Aiyo Sirisena, you have also demonstrated that you can fool most of the people most of the time, which is why they elected you four years ago. Still, you can’t fool all the people all the time, so, with one year to go, your days are numbered. I don’t know whether you are counting, but we certainly are. Yours truly,
PS: You had some good news this week - the courts said they couldn’t compel you to be examined by a psychiatrist. Only that Nishantha chap has been examined and found to be sane. It was good the courts didn’t have the authority to do so. If it was possible, who knows what they might have found?