The world is looking towards Myanmar for a miracle in democracy, with the Military grip loosening and positive steps being taken to hold free and fair elections. The international community is expecting a miracle in parliamentary democracy, but the reality back on the ground is different.
Its legitimate leader of the Opposition Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winning former political prisoner, on whom all have placed their hope, does not appear to have a plain sailing path, with her opposition divided, and not on one focus, but in disarray and without the needed funds make an impact.
If one reads the link in the New York Times of Sunday 10th of March, it sounds very similar to that which the UNP in Sri Lanka faces. The lesson in this is that it is extremely difficult to dislodge an incumbency that has spread its wings into every aspect of life. It is like changing the way people behave. It takes more than just fighting an election. It has to get to the heart of the majority of electors, that good will replaces bad. Much like the ethnic problems that beset Sri Lanka that have taken a new direction under this administration, the similarities with Myanmar are also uncanny, and the unfounded fear of the mythical minority wishing to take over, using the neighbor Bangladesh as the bogeyman has forced Suu Kyi to compromise her position for the sake of seeming political necessity.
It is a lesson to the Sri Lankan opposition also that if they are to dislodge this Kleptocracy, there has to be genuine understanding of the masses as to the extent of theft and that it is the responsibility of the citizens to stop the mass rape of the country’s resources by a cabal using political patronage. Unless the people believe that this problem outweighs any other and that the use of Ethnic tension as a modus operandi to incite fear that is unfounded is merely an electoral gimmick, it is difficult to dislodge.
It is this clear message, what is wrong and why and how it affects you personally and what the opposition plan to do instead that must be put forward in a meaningful way. People must not only understand it but also believe the opposition can deliver. The way this message is communicated to the people that matter, and how it is received and the publicity given to its acceptance all form part of the package of changing the hearts and minds of people which offer hope for the future