I touched upon the characteristics which I believe are required for leadership in Sri Lanka, in my previous blog entry below, which I believe is expected to be published in a Newspaper on Sunday. The major disqualification I believe is a lifetime in Politics which tends to remove the person from the real world. That then becomes more a game of playing one lawmaker against the other to get the requisite backing for one’s agenda, a game that is learnt through years of insider horse-trading. Another is having dynastic politics saying a person of such and such a name has been in parliament since the year dot, as if that is proof of service of a family to a country, which is automatically not.
One must note that even in India, a dynasty gave way to meritocracy, where the dynasty is on the sidelines; as trustees only of the party, so that the capable new blood, with a fresh outlook can govern. Dynastic secession can be a self fulfilling prophecy, as elder members can groom younger ones due to the privileges and access they have to get elected. This presumption that the next generation will be as committed to the development of the country, as the prior is grossly erroneous. This should also be considered a disqualification as the logic is suspect.
Once we eliminate these usurpers or princes, depending on your point of view, one levels the playing field a little more, though not totally as that is impractical. I have advocated that the time servers act as trustees and bring in fresh ideas from people out of the mainstream political pool, and develop and promote them, through clever use of the media and advertising; persons who are more capable of being objective in leadership of the nation. We will then give those people who are really capable a chance at fair leadership, not tainted with years in the wilderness, waiting for the opportunity to take the reigns by fair means or foul.
It is obvious that power so gained as is the case in Sri Lanka, is such that they will do their utmost to hold onto, at all costs for as long as possible. Power gained on a meritocratic rise is more likely to be result oriented and limited to a time frame. This latter principle is very important so that time servers who cannot see the failure of their performance will not hold onto power. Why is 5% growth publicized as being good, when 10% should be the norm. This lack of accountability and failure on the part of the public to punish poor performance is what keeps an extremely incompetent regime in power, as the criteria that they and the public have set them is not challenging, and incompetence is shrouded. If only a fraction of the energy expended to hold onto power is used for development what then would be the result? It is time we all raise the goal post so failure is obvious.
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