I have to admit. I was slightly uncomfortable towards the middle of the speech by President Maithripala. Is it Presidential go into such detail about what happened in the executive committee of the SLFP?
However, as the President went on to elaborate, I settled down in my chair and listened. He was laying it out, patiently and systematically, every thing that happened during the last 180 or so days and the rationale for the difficult decisions he had to take, using a sharp historical analysis to support. As I listened I felt President Sirisena was defining through his actions a role for a President of Sri Lanka. I see the role as been the conscience of a nation. Somebody who will have the aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong.
My earlier thought was that a President as the upholder of values, but, what values? Whose values? Conscience is a better word I think because conscience is not a static set of values. It is that little voice at the back of our minds which nags us constantly. Responding to that voice is a dynamic process. A mental process based on an aptitude to judge right from wrong.
On December 09th, 2014, seeing a video about then candidate Sirisena I was moved to write:
“The MOU signed by the joint opposition was largely about abolishing the presidency, bringing in good governance and not much more. The theme of their latest campaign video – ‘a leader to bring back disappearing human values or මැකෙනා මිනිස්කම් රකිනා නායකයා” — is much more promising. What are these disappearing human values and what structural changes, beyond the abolishing of the presidency, can we expect to see in a new government? We eagerly await details.”
On January 9th I wrote:
“People have given the green light for a bold new step to do away with the executive presidency. The next 100 days are crucial as the form and shape of the new presidency emerge. The Maithri manifesto talked about a redefined presidency representing national unity and taking on other responsibilities as needed. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena has the ability to make it much more.”
So far the President has a made a good effort I think. All the power to him to do more.