THE BIG PICTURE
WAITING FOR GODOT
Why some of us are destined to play a waiting game
An election that will cost taxpayers a whopping Rs. 7 billion (reportedly the latest estimate by the Election Commission) – that’s more than what Sri Lanka’s leading listed company earned in five working days in financial year 2018/19 – must surely come with a promise of better things to come…
And that is seemingly the billion rupee question. Permit me to explain this…
Of the record 35 candidates, it would seem that only two have a real chance of making the grade of president on 16 November although two or three others may find themselves to be among the kingmakers by virtue of preference votes should neither of the frontrunners pip to the post of the requisite 50 percent plus one vote.
While the so-called ‘minority vote’ will count like it always does, there are other ‘minorities’ such as yours truly who refuse to vote for the ‘lesser of two (or more) evils’ because the end result of such a motive would be… well, evil.
In stark contrast however, the majority of eligible voters maintain that they are obliged to vote for someone – something along the lines of ‘exercising one’s democratic franchise’ is how many among them justify their actions, which is fine since we’re supposedly living in a ‘free country.’
Let it be said too that the majority of those who cast their vote on election day are strongly aligned to one political party or the other – colours, symbols, dynasties, ethnicity and even religion are among the drivers of those who virtually hero-worship their idols.
And in accord with the so-called ‘democratic process,’ the rest of us are obliged to accept the majority view or vote… and wait another five years for a saviour to appear on the political landscape.
So what do those of us who are in the wilderness see…?
First and foremost, we see politicians making promises that they know they’re not going to keep. All of them say they have the ‘national interest’ at heart whereas we see them prosper while the rest of us are at risk of perishing.
We know full well – as do many of those who vote for one or the other – that they will appoint corrupt politicians, hooligans and uneducated ministers to cabinet portfolios so that their seats are cushioned with the power that’s needed to stay in power.
We know too that nepotism will prevail so their kith and kin will be handed many of the top jobs (e.g. the next PM, cabinet portfolios, heads of state institutions and even diplomatic posts!) while high calibre civil servants are left in the cold by virtue of being apolitical.
So will there come a day when Sri Lanka is blessed with a presidential candidate of the calibre of Singapore’s founding father the late Lee Kuan Yew?
Not in our lifetime seems to be the majority view among us minorities. Which is why some of us know not what to do or where to go on election day.