Why I’m Voting For Sarath Fonseka
On January 26th, I’ll cast my vote for Sarath Fonseka. I’m voting against Mahinda, but I’ve also found real reasons to vote for Sarath. I read his manifesto and it sounds great. He’s pledging a nation of laws, not men. He’s promising discipline and order, not a free lunch. Mahinda’s got a slick (and unethical) marketing campaign, but I don’t think he has a plan for fixing the foundation of Sri Lanka. Sarath Fonseka does.
No More Trishaw Democracy
I have seriously considered voting for Mahinda Rajapakse. His campaign, however, just magnified everything that’s wrong about his leadership. First off, it’s all about him, using other people’s money. Transparency International has sourced reports of state buses, employees, facilities and funds being used for his campaign. I’ve personally seen his hoardings at government departments, his ads sponsored by government agencies, etc. He sent out a nationwide SMS, leaving the phone companies to foot the bill.
This is wrong not only because it’s annoying, but it also shows a blatant disregard for the law. It’s Trishaw Democracy. Cross the lines, go the wrong way, cut people off; anything to get there faster. I don’t want six more years of that, I think it’s going to make my life worse, and it leaves no stable institutions or laws for my children.
The shamelessness of this election campaign is really a symptom of a deeper problem. We have no oversight because there is no Elections Commission. We have no Elections Commission because there is no Constitutional Council to appoint it. We have no Constitutional Council because the President hasn’t followed the Constitution and set one up.
This rot pervades all our institutions and makes life unpredictable and hard. That’s why I was pumped to read that Fonseka’s first act will be to reactivate the 17th Amendment, appoint the Constitutional Council and set up Independent Commissions. He will also dissolve the jumbo cabinet, dissolve parliament and amend the Emergency Regulations. Then he’ll try to amend the Constitution to abolish the Executive Presidency. It’s a clean sweep, and I think it’s about time.
No More Status Quo
Mahinda is basically saying, ‘hey, trust me, I won the war, have some lunch.’ I like a united country and I like lunch, but that’s not enough. This country has serious structural problems and I think someone from no party could be the one to fix them.
Mahinda can give development projects, but he’s done nothing to create the institutions and laws that make development replicable. That, I think, is real growth. Mahinda can give us fish from China or wherever, but if Sarath cleans up the government then we’ll be able to fish for ourselves.
I’ve had my qualms because I’ve heard that Sarath can be vindictive and petty, but I’ve also heard that once he puts his mind to a task, he gets it done. If he can do half of what he states in his manifesto I think we’ll be in great shape. The constitutional amendment is hard, but he can certainly appoint the Constitutional Council and toss the jumbo cabinet on day one.
These may seem like procedural things, but I think that they are the foundation for a healthy and prosperous country. If we have law, we have order. If we have order, we have opportunity for all. If we have opportunity for all then the country will develop better.
If there’s one thing this campaign has showed me, it is that Mahinda is a master of looking good while being bad. In fact, he will do bad, he will break the law, in order to make himself look good. I don’t think Mahinda is concerned with fixing the foundation at all, he just wants to win. He’ll put a bunch of posters on top of the crumbling mess, but the rot will remain the same.
I, however, would like to fix the foundation, so I’m voting for Sarath Fonseka. I think he can do it. We’ve lived for too long in a trishaw democracy which is unsafe and annoying for everyone. I think we need some discipline and order. Sarath Fonseka has pledged to be a president who follows the law of the land. One would think that’s normal, but it’s actually extraordinary. That’s why I’m voting for Sarath Fonseka. I hope you do too.