The Kapukotuwa theory flawed
The United National Front (UNF) has invited applications from those who wish to contest the next provincial council elections. This call made so early is suggestive of a show of preparedness and confidence. There will, however, be a surfeit of applications and a mad scramble for securing nominations. Intra party clashes are also likely when the process of short listing gets underway.
The advertisements under discussion remind us of the recent exhortation of UNP General Secretary, Senerath Kapukotuwa that the people should not vote for undesirable elements in the fray. He will find many across the political spectrum endorsing his view.
But it is futile, to borrow a Gandhian aphorism, to try to control steam gushing out from a cauldron by means of a lid without first dousing the flames underneath. Similarly, if these violent elements could be blocked at the very entry point, the question of either rejection or acceptance of them does not arise as several of our readers have pointed out in their letters to the editor. Urging the people to be wary of voting for undesirables after they are nominated is tantamount, in a way, to allowing a group of hijackers to board a plane and then asking the passengers to deal with them!
The vast majority of electors, Mr. Kapukotuwa will agree, rarely make informed decisions. They either get carried away by political rhetoric or tend to look at candidates through the prism of their party loyalties and more often than not do not hesitate to return candidates however unsavoury they may be so long as they are from the party of their choice. That is how cattle thieves, hooch dealers, murderers et al get elected. Prejudice, hatred, friendship, personal interests, impulses, all come into play in exercising one’s franchise as we could well see. Those who are willing to barter their votes or polling cards for a few hundred rupees or a bottle of hooch are not few. Election manifestoes to most people mean nothing more than a pie-crust – something meant to be broken. This is why some political commentators say that masses are asses or refer to them as the swinish multitude.
So, sifting the good from the bad should not be entirely left to the voters.
At elections, on the other hand, what matters is not only the number of votes cast legally; much more goes into making Sri Lankan elections. Some thugs don’t believe in the popular vote and with the help of their bogeymen they ‘elect themselves’ by stuffing ballot boxes and looting preferential votes of the meek candidates. They also resort to intimidation of their opponents. Therefore, Mr. Kapukotuwa’s contention that the people deserve the representatives they ‘elect’ is not without serious flaws. Incidentally, Mr. Kapukotuwa sounds somewhat like JRJ, who once asked the people to look after their own security.
He cannot absolve himself of the responsibility of helping keep political thugs at bay by palming off the task to the people entirely. While the people, too, have to be wary of promoting thugs by voting for them, party bigwigs like Mr. Kapukotuwa have an inalienable responsibility to help clean the Augean stables that are Sri Lankan politics.
It behoves him as the General Secretary of the ruling UNP and his leaders to live up to the expectations of the people who mandated them to bring about, inter alia, the new political culture they promised at the last general election.
The Herculean task before Mr. Kapukotuwa is to deny nominations to political thugs masquerading as social workers and rein in the rogue elephants going berserk at the drop of a hat. A kraal of sorts is called for in dealing with the latter.
Mr. Kapukotuwa, who has earned a name for giving a professional touch to running of the party, and his leaders lamenting the political decadence, ought to make a difference by making education and unblemished character the criteria for nominations.
Your comments to the Editor
|NEWS | FEATURES | OPINION | BUSINESS | CARTOON | SPORTS | SATMAG|