Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the honorable Leader of Opposition, in his Independence Day message reminisces on the Late Hon. Prime Minister Mr. D.S.Senanayake and laments on the lack of realization on the goals that he put forward 60 years ago on this date.

After reminding us that those goals were: freedom from poverty, freedom from disease , freedom from ignorance , freedom from unemployment and freedom from the fetters of imperialism, he questions our progress along those goals and asks us, the country’s citizens, the reason for the lack of it.

He says, I quote: “As of now, however, what the whole Nation is trying to achieve is not the freedom the Independence hoped to accomplish, rather, it is freedom from the inordinate fear and panic that now grips them ominously. How did this come about?

In the last post, I said I love this president.

It is mostly because, despite the realities of the ugly Sri Lankan politics (Mervin et al), and all the road blocks placed on his/our path (Vellu et. al), he is quietly leading the nation to those goals.

On Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe- who in an ideal democratically opposition, would be hailed as the shadow president, the consciousness of the nation, the watchdog of democracy- I simply am very confused.

He has all the questions- but no answers.

As a person, he seems a jolly good fellow.
He probably is a gentleman- as far as Royal educated, Kurunduwatta residing, think-in-English/talk-to-the-servants in Sinhala breed of gentlemen go. However, in the practice of running the opposition and serving the country with the true spirit of democracy, he looks like, talks, and acts like a tired blundering old man.

Take his Independence Day message for example. There simply is nothing of substance off “his own thinking” in that message. He simply attaches the seal of his office (opposition leader) to the defeatist mumbles of “I need to be safe in Colombo, even if that means cutting off Sri Lanka’s head and handing it on a platter to Vellu” type of sentiments.

Please Mr. Wickremesinghe, we are tired of party politics.

We need a responsible opposition that serves Sri Lanka and its people.
We need a strong opposition leader- either you become one or you step aside and give someone better a chance.
Until around the mid-point of Mr. Wickremesinghe’s stewardship of the UNP, it was the single most powerful Sri Lankan political party in terms of the voter base.
There are hundreds of thousands of “pure green-blooded” people who will follow you off a cliff if you ask them to follow.

Dear Sir, please use that power wisely.
Do you want to be remembered as the King Don Juan Dharmapala the Second?

To be fair, your message is not all bad.
The four goals stated by the late Hon. Prime Minister Mr. D.S.Senanayake are equally valid today. As a conscientious Sri Lankan citizen, I salute you in that you have avoided (I hope, intentionally) to point your proverbial accusing finger at the government (a.k.a. the Rajapakse & Bothers Pvt Ltd.).

The presidents’ speech was excellent.
You should do better.

You should be the wise, patriotic opposition leader who meticulously follows every action of the government in office with the aim of preventing and fighting their mistakes.
That is your job, if you had forgotten.

Convince us you are better than the current president.
Show us your answers to the economic and political problems of today.
Do not hoard them till you are elected president- at this rate it will never happen.

Dear honorable leader of the opposition, millions of people voted for you.
The country needs you, please do your job.

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In a democracy, what is the role of the opposition?

Is it:

  1. to use what ever means necessary to topple the government at the earliest possible opportunity, or
  2. to work alongside the government, making constructive criticism and helping the government improve itself for the overall betterment of the country?

Today, the main opposition party- the UNP (United National Party)- is obviously acting on the belief that their sole role is to topple the government at the earliest possible opportunity.

If this assertion is not already obvious to the reader, one way to verify this claim is to visit the UNP official web site www.unp.lk and read its content and the voice/tone in which that content is written. If the reader is already familiar with the current situation in Sri Lanka, it will be very enlightening to pay special attention to what those articles mention and treacherously neglect to mention.

It is as if the MPs from UNP and the hundreds of thousands of UNP supporters are under the delusion that:

(Sri Lanka) = (the ruling party)

and that if the country is in trouble (as long as they are not personally effected) it is an exploitable opportunity.

This is very sad.

To stress this again:

  • (Sri Lanka) does not equal (the ruling party and its supporters) but,
  • (Sri Lanka) equals (all Sri Lankans)
  • These Sri Lankans are represented by MPs of both ruling and opposition parties

The government and the president are elected for a fixed period of time and until the next election, the role of the ‘opposition’ is not to ‘oppose everything’ but to ‘oppose only the wrong decisions’ and in general, work alongside the government in running the country.