Among the monsters the 1978 Constitution has created are the executive presidency and the preferential vote or manape. The latter is the mother of all battles at general, provincial and local government elections which are usually turned into dogfights by candidates jousting for manape. The only political party that is free from the manape dogfight is the JVP, whose candidates do not promote themselves.
The on-going affray in the Galle District among some UPFA candidates is also attributable to a bitterly fought battle for preferential votes. Popular actress Anarkali and an aggressive male candidate apparently with a misogynistic trait have crossed swords and their sparring has developed into a legal wrangle. Nishantha Mutuhettigama is the name of the macho man who has, instead of acting like a chivalrous knight-errant looking for damsels in distress to rescue, taken on a beauty.
However, our worry is not about Anarkali. She should have known better than to plunge feet first into the cesspit of politics. Now that she finds her popular self there, she can either wallow in it in the exalted company of Mutuhettigama and others or scramble out of it. (Is it that she also believes in the adage: Where there is muck there is brass?) Poor Anarkali, wherever she goes, seems to have an overbearing tyrannical provincial politician tangling with her!
What should be of grave concern to the public is the despicable manner in which Mutuhettigama is riding rough shod over the police. He has had the temerity to declare in public following a confrontation with the police that even the IGP is not too big for him and he will have the police personnel who dare cross his path transferred out of the Southern Province as the first thing upon his election. Does he consider himself the King of South? The price the self-appointed King of North, the tinpot potentate flexing muscles and claiming to have the ability to shoot with both hands should realise, had to pay for his arrogance was to breathe his last in a mangrove swamp in spite of his superior shooting skills! Had an ordinary person threatened the police in this manner, he would have been beaten to a pulp with hobnailed boots in record time!
Several moons ago the UPFA said it would not nominate people with criminal track records for elections. We expressed scepticism. Some politicians are born monsters and others` monstrous cruelty becomes manifest only after being ensconced in power. In the Southern Province, the ruling coalition has belied its much advertised claim of not fielding violent elements at elections. We have a UPFA beast on the rampage not sparing even a beauty.
We thought bashing the police was the preserve of ministers and their brats. We stand corrected! Even lesser minions of the ruling party have proved they are capable of that feat.
The question is what if Mutuhettigama got elected. Wouldn t his election be tantamount to an endorsement by the public of his deplorable conduct as well as his pledge to kick the law enforcement officers who have ruffled his feathers, out of the Southern Province? The problem with `political jokes` is that they get elected. The same goes for political dregs, some of whom are either returned or appointed on the National List. A notorious drug czar, it may be recalled, successfully contested the last election to the Colombo MC as an independent candidate. So, the blame for having turned politics into a playground of the scum of the earth must be apportioned to the voting public as well. People, it is said, get the government they deserve.
Political leaders are, we believe, known by the candidates they nominate besides the thugs they mollycoddle. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the leader of the SLFP, cannot absolve himself of the responsibility for the presence of the likes of Mutuhettigama in the southern PC fray. In nominating candidates, the President may have blundered by succumbing to pressure from his cronies who want their near and dear ones given the UPFA ticket so that they could build their small empires. But, he has no way of preventing the blame for what is going on in Galle being laid at his doorstep.
The President must either appoint Nishantha Mutuhettigama IGP or put him in his place.