Rise in corruption
Lankan politics is at a critical juncture. The political culture that
gradually evolved over the past few years has undoubtedly been the root
cause of both good and ill: defeating terrorism on the one hand and
widespread corruption and emergence of nepotism. The danger now would be
the inevitable rise of corruption over the years to come if those who
swindled the government treasure were voted to the House again. This, in
turn will weaken the worsening political culture that was brought to a
halt by the people on January 8 of this year.
What should be the prime duty of the people at the general elections?
Is it merely to elect the members belonging to their respective
political parties and just to rejoice in their victory, or to withdraw
to themselves meekly in their defeat? Sadly enough, conventional
political ideology of the people of the country still to a greater
extent seems to colour the political landscape, and it has been and is a
decisive factor in sending members to the parliament. For the majority
of the particularly rural masses, their political party is their blood
and what shapes their political behavior is their emotions.
This situation enables us to build an argument that the expansion
educational opportunities have not made the conventional voter an
intellectual. However, as was discussed in one of my previous articles,
there has occurred drastic qualitative changes in youth’s political
The most important obligation of the voters today is either to learn
or to be taught of what is expected from them in the current political
scenario. They should not get influenced or childishly hooked to their
traditional political parties.
It is high time to think of the political journey of the country and
intelligently and wisely decided on who to vote. It is also up to the
media to educate the people so that they can become politically
conscious and not get hoodwinked by the political manoeuvers of the
candidates. People should not allow their emotions to govern their
decision making process; or else their hasty or impudent decisions can
plunge the country into a dark abyss.
Voters are required to take cognizance of the future of their country
without yielding to political gimmicks of deceptive politicians who will
with their eloquence ‘fly’ you into a heavenly world replete with all
the comfort you can think of. Though the average voter has got to
struggle to admit his or her son or daughter to a good school, how many
politicians have sent their children to foreign universities or
colleges? Don’t they use foreign exchange which otherwise would have
been spent on the poor children in the country? Doesn’t that money come
even from the children who drop out from school and do odd jobs for
their own survival? People must be aware of or made aware of those
politicians who should not be given the opportunities to become their
I have heard that in the past there was one minister whose daughter
was sent abroad for higher studies on a scholarship. Yet, when the
matter was debated in the house, the following week the minister went to
that country and brought his daughter home. Such were the genuine
politicians who worked for the country.
Though we do not have such exemplary figures in the country today, we
have to do our best to send genuine and honest people to Parliament.
A candidate’s personality was a much talked about topic at the last
presidential elections and some politicians ludicrously tried to bring
forth the view that the personality of the one to be elected president
has to be given priority. Personality does not necessarily mean one’s
bravado or the words uttered show one’s bravery. It is, as the writer
feels, a term that gives different meanings in different contexts. For
example, in a country such as Sri Lanka, a politician’s ability to
integrate different ethnic groups must be a salient feature of his or
her personality.In this respect, President Maithripala Sirisena displays
good personality traits which we have not seen in other leaders.
People must be wise enough not to be misled by the political
theatrics used by politicians andit is their duty to be analytically
look at the unfolding political scenes to take wise decisions at the
The term ‘statesmanship’ seems to have been given misnomers, and many
appear to bear misconceptions of what a good steamship is. It does not
mean opposing either the west or the east and getting aligned with
either of them.
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike is an epitome of a leader who
showed good statesmanship. In her government there were extreme
rightists and extreme leftists and she struck a marvellous balance
between the two factions.
Her’s was a period when the world superpowers were at loggerheads and
there was immense influence from both the groups on small countries like
Yet she in her rule antagonized neither the Capitalist Block nor the
Socialist Block. The people must be very intelligent to have a critical
outlook of the present day political affairs, when they are deciding to
vote for a particular candidate.
Though politicians work hard to win the confidence of the people
saying voters today are intelligent, they work with an ulterior motive
to talk their way to the people and deceive them for their own political
ends. Thus, the people must assure themselves that they would not let
them be cheated by bogus politicians and must vote for the correct
Anil Pagoda Arachchi
Siyane National College of Education