Dear President,

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It has been over a month now since people’s protest began and ever since, we have had some brave hearts come forward from all walks of life to emphasise how badly and urgently we are in need of a meaningful change.

I’m sure by now you’ve caught onto our drift in terms of the change we want, even though you and your administration claim that the majority of this country’s population is still rallying for you, I’m good enough at maths to assure you otherwise. Unless of course you mean a handful of people – who took to the streets when the voice of the actual majority got louder – in the ballpark of 30 which in your books, the ‘majority’.  And you may even be considering the faction of people who changed their profile picture to the well-meaning poster with hashtag that read #WeWantGota plastered across the centre. We will try to ignore the social media analytics for just that hashtag which proved that it came from one large personal network. Yes majority, sure.

Recently you said we shouldn’t, “Focus on who is accountable for the current problematic scenario, what is needed is what action can be taken to bring immediate relief to the public”.

As we are left to wonder if you were simply just paraphrasing a quote by Mr. Five Minutes of Fame who told an Australian Journalist in a recently released documentary when he was questioned about his ties to a Australian healthcare solution provider, “No I don’t want to answer, so you can go,” or if you indeed expect us to ignore the chaos you caused and help you fix it, let’s clear a few things.

Clearly, you do not understand your role as public servant or the Head of State.

You, as the person elected to the role of President, are required to protect the nation’s interests, not yours alone. You work for the people and thus, you will be held accountable for your decision-making. If you aren’t liable for decisions you make, especially the way you do which sometimes carry the same optimism level as one generally has when switching channels aimlessly on cable TV, it simply means, anyone can do your job.  

And to an extent we are doing our best to bridge gaps that you have no two thoughts of looking into even in this dire point in time when medical equipment, medicines and basic essentials are threatening lives in one way or another. The general public is individually and collectively helping any way they can.

Remember the decision pertaining to organic fertilisers you were adamant on? How many livelihoods did you ruin almost overnight with no thought of the repercussions of that one decision? How many experts spoke on the dangers of it? How many times did you assure the public you knew what you were doing? How many times did you refuse to reverse it?

So yes, all we are focused on is who is accountable for the current problematic scenario because not doing that is the very reason we are here today. And what good is changing the cherry on the cake when the whole cake has gone bad?

And as for the second part of your aforementioned quote, you are right. What is needed is immediate relief to the public, and if we still have to spell it out for you, your family and all the rest eating off our money that have brought us to the brink, need to go – and that is the action we are calling for.

Do you detest accountability because you know, in addition to successive governments that have brought us to this precipice of complete collapse, you too have had a major role in this extreme crisis  Exhibit A: blowing up Rs 95 million to celebrate a day, we’d rather not acknowledge even under normal circumstances given the reality of how independent we truly are, let alone on the scale you did this time. It was very much at a point when we were already dealing with a plethora of crises which were predicted to bring our country to an all-time-low in the months to follow.

Does this at all jog your memory, at least a little? Or can we take it that you too have political amnesia, where most of your tenure is heavily clouded by all the wrongs only others did. And all you can see beyond that is a war you and your family – aka the present Government – won aeons ago, an accomplishment you have milked so much that we are now facing a severe lack of milk in the market. Oh and of course, how could one forget the successful vaccine drive you are so proud of, it is beside the point that this is the basic duty of a Head of State but if you want a gold sticker for that too, you got it.

Point is, decisions like these need to be questioned, highlighted and emphasised because this time, people are out to make sure we never make the mistakes we did before, and will do whatever is in our capability to rectify bad choices we’ve made in the past.

We’re in for an overhaul.

Sincerely,

The citizens of Sri Lanka

By Dilshani Palugaswewa