By Suranimala Umagiliya –

Nominations have been filed and Sri Lanka will go to the polls on 16th November to elect a President. The Constitution demands so and this will be a crucial election to all Sri Lankans and especially so to the young first time voter. Though over 30 nominations have been presented only two serious contenders have emerged. This has been the pattern and not much has changed in our history since Independence.

We Sinhalese have governed since Independence and therefore must take responsibility for the economic, social and other indicators of our country.

A new catch phrase has crept into our way of life. Sinhala/ Buddhist. So be it then. If that is so, we Sinhala/ Buddhists have ruled this country since Independence and must in the same breath take responsibility for the state of the nation. This Sinhala/ Buddhist phenomena will definitely rule Sri Lanka for the next hundred years. No Muslim, Tamil or for that matter a Sinhala/ Catholic President will emerge even if such groups have twin children each year. Do not forget that it requires a man and a woman to bring forth a child and these groups are actually half of their number ( a man/ woman) and the Sinhalese far outnumber them. Given our peoples proclivities to vote upon ethnic and now religious lines, this maybe a fair comment.

Are we happy with the way our Sinhala / Buddhist rulers have governed us? Obviously we are not. Every party in Opposition says so. We are in serious debt. Our people are ever with the hand outstretched. Debt restricts us from spending for education and state of the art health. Our government service is overburdened to such an extent that pension payments will be another serious debt burden the future generations will have to pay for. We are proud of our history. Proud of our ancient irrigation systems. Proud of our engineering skills of the ancient kings. That is the sum all of our pride. We are not civic conscious. The manner in which we drive, walk on our roads is but one indication. We do not have social graces. We assault a driver if he meets with an accident but yet have total indifference to speeding maniacal bus drivers speeding totally out of control till he meets with an accident.We ignore loud horns of buses driven by moronic drivers who use them indiscriminately even if there is no room for him to overtake. Overtake he does by pushing others but stop thirty yards away to pick up his next passenger. This is but one example to show who we are.Yes that is our thinking. So then what yardstick will we use to elect our next President?

He has to be Sinhala / Buddhist. He must be able to speak loud. He must be concerned of our national security. He must give handouts and have plenty of money to spend at election time. Then it must be Sajith and Gotabaya. The rest will matter for extraneous reasons. They will whittle away important votes from the top contenders.

Gotabaya, seriously? No one was hunting him down when he left the Sinhala / Buddhist country. Quite unlike many journalists who did in fact run away from him. He decides to return only when his brother became President. He never gave up his US citizenship till he was to be nominated to run for President. That too we are uncertain if he indeed has done so. No one has the guts to ask him to show such certificate simply out of fear. If Gotabaya wins they know that their fear would be justified. His wife is a US citizen at this time as is his family. The Sangha does not mind that. Hisbullah fronting for him at this stage does not matter to them either. But, if Hisbullah does so much as smile at Sajith it would certainly matter. Does that mean Gotabaya’s support base and that is a considerable number, ( Mahinda’s legacy ) is racist?

His personal file in the Army is missing. His evidence led in the MiG Court Case where he said under oath that it was a Government to Government deal and now proved otherwise, yes you guessed correct. Missing.

His application for dual citizenship…… Missing.

His application for a fresh National Identity Card……..Missing

His application for a Sri Lankan Passport…….Missing

Lasantha’s Note Book, where he recorded numbers of motorcycles that followed him and eventually killed him, given via IGP to Gotabaya……Missing,

These cannot be coincidental nor negligence of government officials. There is a definite pattern. Eerie is it not?

Do we need such a candidate or is it the reality that we need such a candidate?