My dear Maithri, I know that you are busy these days travelling to London to visit the Queen and then, soon after your return, playing host to Modi. Still, I thought I must write to you to remind you that nearly two thirds of your ‘first 100 days’ have now passed and that we are [...]

5th Column

The importance of being Maithri


My dear Maithri,
I know that you are busy these days travelling to London to visit the Queen and then, soon after your return, playing host to Modi. Still, I thought I must write to you to remind you that nearly two thirds of your ‘first 100 days’ have now passed and that we are still waiting for you to fulfil your promises.


I know you are doing an extremely difficult job, Maithri. You have to divide your loyalties between the Blues with whom you have been doing politics for over forty years and the Greens who sacrificed their own interests and worked hard to bring you in to office a couple of months ago.


Add to this, the Rathu sahodarayas and Champika’s chaps also made significant contributions to your victory over Mahinda maama, not to mention Sobhitha hamuduruwo and others like him who spoke on your behalf. You are supposed to satisfy all of them, despite their different agendas.


Still, I hope you won’t forget that the people elected you — with a comfortable majority at that — to bring in an era of ‘Yahapaalanaya’ or good governance. After the first couple of months though, with so many people pulling in so many different directions, we need to ask whether this is ‘Hayapaalanaya’?


We frequently find different ministers telling us different stories. There is your official spokesman the Dentist, telling us either that the CJ will resign or that the Port City will go ahead. Two minutes later, a Green minister will issue a statement contradicting him. Pardon us, Maithri, but we are confused!


This week, the Dentist was saying that You-Know-Who would be arrested after consulting you on your return from Britain. As far as we know, Maithri, it should be the Police who decides on such matters and not you, isn’t it? As Mahinda maama points out, if this is ‘Yahapaalanaya’, God help us!


Then, we also remember those allegations that were made against Mahinda maama and his cronies from your election platforms. There were charges of bribery, corruption and abuse of power and many people believed them which is why they voted for you instead of voting for Mahinda maama.


They want to see all those who plundered the country’s wealth and built up their own bank balances punished. I know that you can’t round up all those who have charges against them, lock them up and throw away the keys. They need to be investigated and charged in courts and that takes time.


Even so, the speed at which this is happening is more like that of Rangana Herath than that of Lasith Malinga. The manner in which people who should be caught are getting away while everyone is getting their act together is like some of the catches we dropped at the World Cup!


We are also baffled, Maithri, as to why so many people who held important positions when Mahinda maama was in office and against whom there are serious allegations, are still holding their jobs. Surely, your don’t want officials loyal to their previous masters sabotaging you good work?


Then there is your promise to reduce the powers of your office. Maithri, don’t get me wrong: no one doubts you still want to do this but Satellite and Mahinda maama made the same promise and never honoured it, so we are twice bitten thrice shy. That is why people want to see something happening.


I know that you also have a big problem on your hands about the general election. The Greens want it to be held under the present system so they can win more seats and the Blues want it held under a new system so they can win more seats-and you are caught right in the middle. I don’t envy you, Maithri.


Nevertheless, I think we all agree that the Government we have now where the Blues have a majority in Parliament but are in the ‘opposition’ and the Greens though a minority are governing, cannot go on for long. It is not good for the country — and it is not good for Nimal’s blood pressure either!


Believe me, Maithri, many people who supported you would want you to see you clean up the Blues and then allow the Blues, the Greens, the Reds and everyone else to have a fair contest at the next election. And I think it is important for you to keep that promise, or else people will lose faith in you.


Of course, you also have to deal with Mahinda maama. We all know the sycophants around him are leading him on only because they wouldn’t have a political future without him but I am not sure whether Mahinda maama sees it that way which is why he is now holding bodhi poojas!


We wish you well, Maithri. The next few weeks will be crucial for you and also for our country — and I am not talking about the cricket World Cup either. We hope you will play a good innings and, like Sangakkara, when you do leave, people will ask why you are leaving instead of why you aren’t.


Yours truly,
Punchi Putha
PS: Whatever you do, Maithri, don’t ever think of going overseas to watch the cricket matches at the World Cup. That is another mistake that Mahinda maama made that you should never repeat!

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