I once read an article written by Prof. Kumar David in The Island. He says that the interview given by Ven. Maduluwave Sobitha, to the Sunday Thinakural, was the most significant political interview in the last six months. Prof. David says that the interview was a stunner when Sobitha Hamuduruwo said that, if he got elected, within six months he would abolish the executive presidency and the electoral system and step down from the position of President.
Prof. David, who has written extensively about the Tamil Diaspora and the LTTE, has said, “Let us not waste time pussyfooting with Ranil, Fonseka, Anura Kumara, Karu, Sajith and Shirani (in order of credibility), they are all nonstarters. I will bet a 12-bottle case of Scotch against any of them. Mahinda will win with a hefty majority.”
None of the above leaders or Sobitha Hamuduruwo challenged Mahinda.
But, Sobitha Hamuduruwo created a mass movement which gathered momentum and toppled Mahinda Rajapaksa. The most important factor is that a person like Prof. Kumar David, who has the interest of Tamils at heart, wholeheartedly supported Sobitha Hamuduruwo to contest for the presidency. But, today most of his dreams have been shattered. His movement against corruption has taken a severe blow with the dissolution of Parliament. He hoped and prayed that the 20th Amendment would pave the way for a new electoral system which would prevent the corrupt from being elected. The people rallied around the campaign to defeat the man who had defeated the most ruthless terrorist movement in the world and thereafter not only ushered peace but also launched a development programme which would make Colombo the fastest growing city in the world even surpassing Tokyo.
The Hamuduruwo truly believed that if he came to power he could amend the Constitution. It was well known that amongst the number of civil society members who supported the Thera were top notch constitutional legal experts. The important thing is not believing what ought to be done, but whether your beliefs could be translated into actions. As we know, all of us would have our own Utopian schemes for the welfare of the republic. But, to achieve such fantasies is a virtual impossibility. If Ven. Maduluwave Sobitha had contested and defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa and become the president how would he have changed the Constitution, a task which would have required a 2/3 majority and a referendum?
History has shown that to obtain a consensus, on anything, there have to be human robots ready to raise their hands and say aye on the command of the Government Whip. When the 18th Amendment was presented to Parliament the government members raised their hands paying no heed to the consequences of their action. When there is no way a majority could be mustered in that manner in Parliament it would be preposterous to think that the members of Parliament would rally around a Buddhist Monk simply because he has won the confidence of the people but not of the members of Parliament. This was clearly exhibited when the 19th Amendment was debated. If not for the initiative of President, the 19th Amendment would have never have received the backing of all the MPs save one. But, when the 20th Amendment was introduced, it was very clear that the UNP was opposed to it, as the UNP believed the Amendment to the present Proportional Representation would be detrimental to its interests. Whether the UNP made the right decision is to be seen only after the 17th of August.
We, who were immensely impressed by Ven. Sobitha Thero’s bold stand, were wondering whether we should vote against the hero who had defeated terrorism. The people, nearly 6.2 million, decided in favour of the righteous movement, spearheaded by Ven. Sobitha and voted to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. I know a number of families who were swayed by the preaching and the campaign of the Opposition, which made them vote against Mahinda Rajapaksa, without realizing that they were also responsible for his defeat and did not light a fire in the stove for days. This was one of the great days for democracy in this country, said the supporters of the present regime. The people have re-soundly defeated the evil empire, the others said. But, one of the major promises given by Ven. Sobitha and the others was that the preferential voting system would be struck off.
Parliament has been dissolved. Elections are to be held on the 17th of August. It is now that the most important challenge faced by Ven. Sobhitha and the others comes up. That is to prevent the members of the evil empire from getting nominations from their respective parties. Ven. Sobitha has said that the Parliament is full of heroin dealers, ethanol importers, mega dealers, casino entrepreneurs and corrupt men and women. He has urged the party leaders not to nominate them. The question is who these persons are and how the voter can identify them. Recently, I read that a certain police officer and two others had been arrested for having in their possession a drug called Ecstasy, which is sold to the youth, who frequent night clubs in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe the Chairman of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board was interviewed by the TV channel and he made a startling revelation. He said that the drug, Ecstasy, which is much more potent and dangerous than Heroin is manufactured in Iran and Afghanistan. This drug is imported by a certain Minister and his son, through a diplomatic channel and is brought to Colombo through the VIP lounge. Therefore, the law enforcement agencies were unable to apprehend the trafficker, as their baggage couldn’t be touched by them. According to him, if this is true, the entire government and its agencies are protecting these monsters and their progeny.
But, unfortunately, the good doctor was reluctant to name them and the guessing game goes on and on. The time has come for the civil society leaders to rally around the Ven. Sobitha Thero and take a bold stand to prevent the leaders of parties from nominating these agents of evil from reversing the formidable victory of righteousness ushered in on the 8th of January this year.