Oh How We Long For Sobitha Thero

Sri Lanka is a country full of diversity. That diversity apparently extends to the collective
good fortune of all Sri Lankans who yearn for real democracy to pervade the environment
they live in.

By 2014 the public of the land had grown weary of the growing authoritarianism and the
perceived corruption and departures from due process. There was a reliance on single-bid
proposals for key national procurement matters and costs on infrastructure projects sky
rocketed reaching hitherto new heights. Perceived because, the groups who made these
claims now in power have yet to prove a single case of corruption on any large scale matter.
Apart from abuse of vehicle use and other not-so-large deviations, the claimants now in
power have found it impossible to hold those they accused, accountable before the law. A
law they now say is independent and applicable across the island for all.

Sobitha Thero remained the only one who not only was the catalyst for change but who
facilitated the coming together of various persona including President Sirisena. He was
possibly suffering from an air of having been ill-treated when he realised he would never be
given any higher post than that of Cabinet Minister. Had Sirisena been given the
premiership, Rajapaksa would probably still be President, in his third term. Ranil
Wickremesinghe’s pound of flesh was of course his insistence that he should be premier
even if at the time of the Presidential victory, he commanded the support of a paltry 42
members of parliament.

Sobitha Thero gave it his all for Sri Lanka. He passed away perhaps disappointed at the
painfully slow progress made towards an equitable lifestyle for all. Not just for those drunk
with the intent of securing power solely for self-enrichment.

Even for the most die-hard of UNP members, the so-called BOND matter is hard to miss as
being the most significant item of high-level corruption in SRi Lanka ever. The attempt to
deviate from due process as highlighted by the Maharaja media stable, News1st, in terms of
the Central Expressway Section III project and several other apparently dodgy matters
including the supply of coal (which famously aroused the conscience of the Supreme Court)
are highlights of the good governance brigade who came into power in 2015. President
Sirisena must bear his own share of responsibility.

On the passing of Sobitha Thero – to the lasting sadness of all Sri Lankans – Sirisena made
solemn undertakings which he has not kept to as we write. Excuses he has many – joining
his team member Ranil Wickremesinghe on this aspect. Both have shown an astounding
silence when it comes to implementing the soundest of democratic principles.
Wickremesinghe and his boys with the help of the once famous CCEM managed to award
several procurement matters which to this day is questioned by advocates of good
governance.

Sri Lanka must be the only place in the world who gives out official certificates to prove that
one is ‘poor’. The fact that the authorities spent Rs 300 Million of the same ‘poor peoples’
monies to celebrate this occasion simply beggars belief at the whole insensitivity of it all.
Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy is sadly not best suited for the role of Governor. Not
because he is a rogue or inclined to transact deals. Oh no. It is simply because who he is.
An outstanding gentleman simply unsuited to even keep company of the present lot. The
forensic audits have taken forever and the good Governor remains steadfast in his
declarations: it will be delivered under my stewardship he says. We do not doubt him for a
moment. Although we aver that he will leave office with only some audits completed and our
scepticism leads us to believe that those audits will relate to periods not involving this
2015-government of good governance.

Both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe have shown an uncanny ability to be economical with the
truth – making one believe that they are both, masters of the art of political dancing. They
may not be doing the tango but they are certainly performing the baila.
Sobitha Thero sadly did not have enough time on this earth to guide these errant leaders
towards good governance or even an understanding of how badly the populace have been
left thanks to poor fiscal management and an utter failure to capitalise on global sympathy
for SRi Lanka on the premise of a return to good governance.

Instead they have almost systematically destroyed the aspirations and professionalism of
our armed forces, the Police and of the intelligence apparatus. Constant meddling,
unwarranted investigations, partial application of the laws of those once proud members who
fought the war from the front and not from the comfort zones of heavily barricaded offices in
Colombo, has paid a heavy toll. The events of April 21st 2019 remains the proof.
We do not know how much SObitha Thero will be able to influence our political leaders now.
He has left behind a legacy which the Proffessor is trying his best to fly the flag for.
Unfortunately rather like curing drug addicts, the first process must be an acceptance of the
facts. Corrective course can follow.

In Sri Lanka today we have a political leadership who show not even the slightest inclination
to instill the real notion, the real concept, the achievable concept of ‘one nation, one country,
one law. For everyone’.

As we maintain, roll on elections. We miss that as much as we miss the late Venerable
Sobitha Thero.

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