09 January 2015

A note to President Maithripala Sirisena

Dear Mr President,

As a seasoned politician and as a one-time staunch supporter of your predecessor, you are eminently qualified to understand the challenges ahead as you think about delivering the promises you made to the people of this country. 

The road to the Presidency was rocky.  There were pitfalls and booby traps.  You walked not alone, but you would know as well as anyone that we live in times where friend turns foe and vice versa without warning.  You took on a strong leader, a proven competitor and a man who is clearly one of the most loved national leaders this country has known.  You went against a candidate in a political culture and an institutional arrangement which gave him a massive edge.  You prevailed. 

You prevailed because you walked not alone.  You prevailed because even when you rested after a long day of campaigning there were thousands who kept on working for you.  These very people, as you know well, backed your opponent on two historic occasions.  He lost their confidence and their support.  Nothing, Mr President, is guaranteed to last forever.  If you look around you, you will see many who were once best friends with your predecessor.  You know of salon-doors.  You know that politicians, just as they are made of promises, are also made of self-interest.  Trust, Mr President, is a good thing.  In moderation.   

There will be praises sung today.  And tomorrow.  There will be criticism too.  Well-intentioned and anger-made.  You can put aside the love and hatred and obtain the critique.  You need it.  Make it your best friend. 

Begin, Mr President, where you stopped, so we can be convinced that you are a man of your word.  Begin with the ‘lost’ policy on drugs.  Begin with decisive action against the tobacco industry.  Make us a healthy nation. 

You came with a promise.  You came with a ‘tag’, you promised that compassion will be the signature of your tenure.  You set yourself high standards and this is good.  Sometimes we need to trap ourselves in frames which force us to be better than we usually are.  You will err, you will falter and even fall.  We will forgive.  As long as we are confident you are walking in the right direction and taking us with you. 

May you always be blessed by the Noble Triple Gem, in which you’ve taken refuge. 



Anonymous said...

It can also be argued that he betrayed his leader with whom he had been for so long. Saw what happened to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd in Australia, difference is Sri Lankans forget what happened the previous day. Why did he have to join up with RW who could not hold his own party together and stalled a strong opposition for years, then came into power with the help of minorities. Wishful thinking that this will get him anywhere.