This is Mahinda’s election to lose. However, he seems so confused by the defection of My3 that he’s just reacting, and reacting badly. Mahinda’s campaign thus far has been plastering his face on every pole and deploying one idiotic Minister after another. He’s got all the money, he’s got all the muscle and, honestly, he’s accomplished a lot, but in this campaign he doesn’t have the momentum.
If you’re running for PC or whatever I get it, people need to know your name and number. For his own birthday, Mahinda plastered posters of his face literally every 20 meters in Colombo. The density varies, but it’s definitely obnoxious. From Kanatte to Lanka Hospitals I counted 53 posters.
It’s not like Mahinda is a new brand. Mahinda Walking In Front Of Things could be an infinite Tumblr. When I look at those posters all I see is how much they cost, and how illegal they are in terms of election law, CMC regulations, etc. He’s put up his face, but what he’s advertising is the corruption and waste that’s the worst part of his regime.
I know that I live in my own little social media world, but all I see are memes of Mahinda posters on the moon, Mahinda posters on cricket jerseys, it’s a joke. It’s not good in the context of an election to be laughed at. Even the not renowned as witty Maithripala Sirisena (the SLFP defector previously referred to by his hashtag My3) got a good line in:
Your Excellency the President there are no cut outs atop Sigiriya, you can put them up there. You can put up cut-outs at Adam’s peak, you can put them in the Sinharaja Forest too. (NewsFirst)
Of course, a lot of politicians say they’re against posters and hoardings and most of those politicians lose, but still. There’s no way that My3 can compete in terms of resources, but Mahinda’s given him the last laugh on TV.
And then there’s his Ministers. Honestly, it’s like the evil boss in a video game where he sends up some sacrificial randoms before you can approach him. Gaffe of the century goes to literal Disaster Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, to open up the campaign. The headline he offered was: We have plundered enough: Amaraweera.
“Yes, there may be corruption in the government. But look what will happen if you voted against this government and bring the UNP back to power. Members of the UNP like Ravi and Daya are hungry to grab power and they will start to amass money afresh. This is not good for the country. The UPFA members do not want to earn further,” he stressed. (Daily Mirror)
There may be some truth to this, but like with the posters, the government is basically advertising corruption. Add to this Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon crying and saying the UPFA is overrun by thugs and ethanol/drug dealers, and it’s not a pretty picture. And these are the people campaigning for Mahinda.
Then add to that Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage responding to a TV caller asking about corruption by freaking out and acting like he had something to hide. He yelled a lot, threatened the guy, insulted the host, called the station corrupt and stormed off. On live TV. His Sports Ministry is actually pretty publicly corrupt or, at the least, colossally mismanaged, but he could deny the allegations like a normal politician. Instead he makes a bigger news story out of it and, again, manages to portray the administration in a bad light.
Honestly, Mahinda must be like, ‘with Ministers like these, who needs defectors?’
These past few years have made shamelessness seem normal. MPs shooting people in the streets, Provincial Councillors raping and murdering tourists, highways which cost 16 million per kilometer. The government got away with it because they’ve acted like a Mafia. Omerta, say nothing. They protected each other and they were above the law, common sense, and common decency. Now the Mafia has broken apart and some people are talking. And laughing. All of a sudden it feels like the Emperor’s New Clothes.