As I have said before, I didn’t mind Mahinda that much. In fact, at one point when it seemed like he was Ruler for Life. I even recommended that he be made an honorary Kolombian, provided of course that he dropped ‘Mahendra’ for his other and much-better sounding name ‘Percy’. Gota was different.
To begin with, it would be hard to come up with a name so un-Kolombian as ‘Gotabhaya’. On the other hand, Gota obviously felt for us. He turned what was a squalor-ridden, slum-infested glorified township into what could legitimately be called a garden city. He even managed to ‘upgrade’ the slums into apartment complexes. He made sure, however, that they would look at best like poor relatives of the luxury condominiums peopled by Kolombians. That’s class. Class that is almost Kolombian. Almost, but not quite.
So, when this talk of arresting him came up, I was in two minds. The perverse part of me was naturally happy that a non-Kolombian was in hot water. He was crude in the way he dealt with his detractors. Threatening editors, using his brotherly connections to get things done, etc. ,was hardly ‘Kolombian’ in character. We do things with finesse; do things in a way that desired outcomes are obtained but so that no one notices who did it or how. We laugh all the way to the bank.
The gentleman in me, however, was upset. Gota did a lot for us. I walk on Gota-walkways, gaze on Gota-beautified cityscapes, invest and reap rewards in a Gota-cleared, terrorist-free land, after all.
It was all very confusing. I didn’t like him being hauled to the Bribery Commission, but was put off by the riff-raff that turned up to protest Gota being questioned. They were not Kolombians and they’ve not done anything for us.
Even now, a part of me is happy that the Supreme Court stopped Gota being arrested, but the other part of me is upset that this non-Kolombian is being treated with kids’ gloves. He may have looked after our interests but then again he wasn’t ready to take orders from us.
The other problem in Gota-less Kolombia is the issue of upkeep. What was spick and span under Gota has lost some of the sparkle. It makes me wonder if Ranil is really calling the shots or worse whether Ranil is at heart anti-Kolombia.
What really worried me is that there was this voice inside that kept whispering disturbing things to me. I heard it say, ‘things were better with Gota around’. I ignored. Then it came up with this worrisome idea ‘maybe Gota will come back’. Got me thinking. Was the interim order by the Supreme Court staying Gota’s arrest some kind of ‘deal’? No insult to the learned judges of course; they would surely understand my concerns considering the way things have happened in this country under the Rajapaksas and yes, even under Maithripala when Presidential powers were used to sack, reinstate, facilitate resignation and appoint judges to the Supreme Court.
Is this some kind of deal where Maithri offers the premiership to Gota (as Mahinda’s proxy) so that everyone is happy, the SLFP obtains unity and the UNP is shown the door? That question makes me want to wring Gota’s neck, never mind the walkways, the beautiful city and a terrorism free land that makes it easier for us to make our bucks earn more bucks.
I don’t want OUR guys out. Sure, they are no better, no worse, but the thing about commonality is that it gives comfort. Kolombians need to have Kolombians running Kolombia. ‘Seeming to run Kolombia’ is the icing on the cake. We all have a sweet tooth and our sweet teeth have been denied for a long time. A few months is hardly compensation.
When Mahinda, after losing, looked like making a comeback I wasn’t worried. He can be dealt with. Gota is a different kettle of fish. He confuses. He worries.