Columns - 5th column

Change, you must and put Humpty-Dumpty back together

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Green Man,

I thought I must write to you, because you have once again become a hot topic of discussion among the Greens, the question being whether, like the honourable Sanath J from Matara, you should be dropped from the team after a string of poor performances or whether you should be allowed to play on.

I know, Green Man that you have weathered many a storm such as this before but I worry for you this time because this appears to be the strongest challenge yet to your leadership. I say so because even those who have been your supporters previously are now appearing to slowly but surely change sides.

And you have been in politics long enough, Green Man, to know that politicians are peculiar animals: they change loyalties at the first hint that the person they used to support is likely to be out of office soon. Just ask Nimal, Maithri or GL how they switched from supporting Satellite to backing Mahinda maama almost overnight!

The sad part of your story is that you have always been betrayed by those you trusted the most, Green Man. Remember Green Man, when you got a Green government going nearly ten years ago, you trusted Satellite. So, when others asked you to place an impeachment motion in Parliament to prevent her from dissolving the House, you didn’t. But dissolve, she did, and you have been in the Opposition since then!

Then, you entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Tigers trusting them to keep the peace with a little help from the Norwegians. The Tigers violated the ceasefire over and over again and all that happened was that you got branded as a traitor and a Tiger sympathiser-labels which you are still trying desperately to get rid of!

Not being once bitten twice shy, you then trusted Velu to deliver you enough votes to win the big election five years ago against Mahinda maama. You even preached a settlement that was slightly favourable to him. Again, Mahinda maama beat the war drums and won the votes in the south while Velu prevented the northerners from voting for you. True, Velu lost his life as a result, but you lost that election too…

Then you trusted Mahinda maama and entered into an agreement with him to co-operate with his government. And what did your most trusted men like Karu and Milinda do? They joined Mahinda maama in his government and that is why the most influential positions in his cabinet are even now held by Greens who deserted you in search of greener pastures.

Then, Green Man, it is also strange that among those who are challenging you for the leadership of the Greens is someone who has done little for the party, except to hold the fort against Mahinda maama’s clan from Hambantota.

Some would argue that his claim to fame is nothing other than his surname, but then, as the ‘R’ brothers would tell you, in this country that maybe all that counts. Why, after all, the ‘S’s and the ‘B’s have ruled this country for thirty six of the sixty two years since our independence!

Of course, being the keen student in history and politics that you are, you might find it ironical that the young man who is emerging as a challenger to you now has forgotten that you stood by his father when he was impeached nearly twenty years ago. But then, that is politics, isn’t it?

Then we hear that even the Man from Kotte wants your job now. I wonder, isn’t he one of those who stood loyally by you on the many occasions when some of your party men wanted you ousted? So, what has happened for him to change his mind, Green Man?

Anyway, Green Man, even I would agree that the Greens need a radical change. We all know that there will not be any major elections for the next six years, so they still have a long time to wait before they can even think of returning to power.

But that is also time that they should spend well, re-organizing the party and restoring the peoples’ faith in them as what was once the country’s single largest party. We say so not because we want Mahinda maama and his rainbow coalition ousted right now, but because we feel it is dangerous to concentrate so much of power for so long on any single individual or in a single party.

So, Green Man, we wish you the best of luck in the coming weeks-you will need a lot of it, if you are to emerge from this still keeping your job as party leader. But then, knowing you, we all know that it is still possible!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-What worries me though is that most of the Greens seem to believe that just by getting rid of you they will be assured of winning the next election. There is much more to be done and the sooner the Greens realize that, the better it would be for all of us…

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