My Dear Green Man, I am writing to you because I heard that you had unveiled a proposed new constitution for us this week. Naturally, I was curious to know how you wanted to run the country if and when you came to power — and I must say I am not disappointed. You say [...]

5th Column

Green dreams are made of these


My Dear Green Man,

I am writing to you because I heard that you had unveiled a proposed new constitution for us this week. Naturally, I was curious to know how you wanted to run the country if and when you came to power — and I must say I am not disappointed.

You say you want to abolish the Executive Presidency. We have heard that tune before, from Satellite, not once but twice — and it never happened. But you are not Satellite, and we hope that you will keep your word unlike her. I must, however, say that this came as a surprise.

I always thought that you believed in what your uncle, the wily Old Fox, created and hoped to inherit the job one day. The big question is, to implement this constitution of yours, you will first have to become the Executive President and will you then be able to let go of all its powers and privileges?

You also say that you will restore the independent commissions that will control the Police, the judiciary, the public service and the elections. That too is praiseworthy and I will believe you even though you are saying all this from the opposition benches.

Another wise move is your suggestion to abolish the ‘manaapa’ vote system. That will surely stop a lot of infighting among people of the same political party and also ensure that every electorate in the country will have an MP — unlike now when a few well-known people always make it to Parliament.

Then you also promise to limit the Cabinet to 25 ministers. That too is an excellent suggestion because I am sure the country will be able to save a lot of money that would have been otherwise spent on vehicles, fuel allowances, telephone bills and expenses for hangers-on.

However, Green Man, I don’t know how the remaining MPs among the greens will feel about that, having stuck with your party through thick and thin and nearly two decades in the Opposition, if at least most of them do not get at least a ministerial post when you are eventually in power.

You have also decided to do away with the current practice of crossing-over in return for a cabinet portfolio. Why, Green Man, when you look at Mahinda maama’s cabinet, most of the leading faces are those who have at one time or another been with the Greens!
They left you, probably because they thought that you didn’t have much of a chance of making it to the top in the near future. I suppose that was a main reason for the downfall of the Greens and now you want to put a stop to all crossovers. But before you do that, just ask Karu how he feels about that.

You say you will retain the provincial councils. I am not so sure whether this is such a good idea but then, you must appear as if you are helping our brethren in the North and East, otherwise they won’t vote for you. Be careful though, the Blues will again try to stick the Tiger label on you!

You also say that you will make sure that the judiciary is independent. The problem with that promise is that even Mahinda maama made such statements when he was in the Opposition — and you wouldn’t, for instance, promise to give CJ 43 her job back, would you?
All these promises and noble ideas are well and good, Green Man, but you are forgetting a little something, aren’t you? And that is, to make any of the changes that you promise, you and your Greens will first need to beat Mahinda maama and his Blues in an election and come to power!

And right now that sounds a bit far-fetched, don’t you think, because just last week the Greens and the Reds together couldn’t get the people to participate in a one-day token strike to protest an issue that is as crucial to everyone as the electricity price hike?

And don’t forget, Green Man, that one of the main reasons for this is the lack of unity among your ranks. When you say something, the young-man-in-a-hurry who challenged you says something else. If you attend a meeting, he is conspicuous by his absence.
Why, Green Man, come to think of it, I didn’t see the young-man-in-a-hurry among those present at the ‘launch’ of your proposed new constitution. So, if you cannot put up a joint appearance at least for the cameras, how can you expect the masses to unite behind you and vote for you?

I know you mean well and your proposed new constitution is a reflection of that, Green Man. But you will need to sort out that little problem with the young-man-in-a-hurry before you make all these grandiose promises of reforming the country.

Green Man, there are a growing number of people who feel that the Blues have now overstayed their welcome even if they won the war for us, but they are not convinced that you can govern because all you Greens do is squabble among yourselves over petty issues such as who should be deputy leader.

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS: I heard someone say that time is still on your side because your uncle, the Old Fox, reached the top when he was seventy one years of age . I know you are not there yet, but don’t forget that the Old Fox reached the top four years after taking over the leadership of the party — and you have been party leader for almost twenty years now!

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