An old infographic from the Daily Mirror.
I’ve been trying to figure it out. Recently more and more politicians have been accused of crimes ranging from murder to rape to, well, combinations of the above. Now the Deputy Mayor of Moratuwa has been arrested in connection to the killing of a monk (which seems complicated, the main suspects also being dead). My question is, are politicians getting more criminal, or are there just more politicians?
The main effect of various devolution moves has been to increase the amount of elected officials in Sri Lanka without actually devolving power that much to the people. Hence you get a lot of provincial councillors and the like who resemble capos and soldiers in a mafia family more than they resemble elected officials. Sri Lanka (like India I suppose) lacks any idea of a political scandal so no sex, rape or murder can really derail a politician that much. The only thing that ruins them is disloyalty or perhaps not being criminal enough.
At the same time, however, there are still a lot of good local officials doing good work, as much as they can. What’s not clear, however, is the proportion. What we do hear about is politicians in trouble, and the broad impression is that they really can get away with murder. Minister Mervyn Silva went from various assaults on the media and innocents to becoming Minister Of Public Relations, which shows Mahinda Rajapaksas stance on the issue. On the local level, the main suspect in the brutal murder of a British national in Tangalle is out on bail with no sign of a trial.
What I think we’re getting is both – there are more politicians and they are committing more crimes. With seeming impunity. Being elected these days seems more like getting made than making a difference.