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Mervyn Silva

(Dr) Mervyn Silva wants attention. He craves it so much it’s no wonder he was the Minister for Public Relations once. At present though, he’s an orphan. Has nowhere to go. Having been denied nominations from his own party despite his overtures to President Maithripala Sirisena, he’s seeking a way out. He’s trying to find an ally. Trying to worm himself in.

This is not the first time he’s tried to jump ship. Not the first time he’s regretted the past and vowed to repent. If anyone reads up on his history he or she will come across instances where he’s begged for forgiveness, promised repentance, got largesse, and broken that promise. Wherever he is, whatever he joins, he’s shown himself capable of forgetting the past and doing wrong by everyone around him.

He’s planning to jump again. He’s launching a campaign for Ranil Wickremesinghe and his good governance brigade. He’s betting on victory. To substantiate all this, he’s also accusing Mahinda Rajapaksa of denying him nominations when worse rogues are campaigning from the UPFA. He then foretells doom: if Mahinda returns, so will the White Vans.

Point well made, Doctor. But well taken? Of course not.People have preferences. Silva has his. They change as soon as his patrons do. Explains his allegation that the Rajapaksa family has taken over the SLFP. Explains why he remained blissfully unaware of what they were doing throughout these past 10 years. If words are indeed worth a dime a dozen, the Doctor is selling himself. Cheap. Yes, if it’s about preferring one outcome to another and choosing the lesser evil, he’s no different from most politicians.

But he’s insufferable. Then again most politicians are. In his case however, he has demonstrated that he is arrogant, doesn’t care for anyone’s dignity, treats state property as his own, and pays obeisance to whoever calls the shots. For him, politics is all about flattering patrons. Not democracy. Not helping the voter.

The Doctor has a plan. He wants to campaign in Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota, and Tissamaharama. Among other districts. He’s supporting the Ranil Wickremesinghe-led United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG). He’s forgotten that he was once a beneficiary of the same regime whose big-shots continue to oppose those in that Front. Sure, he’s offered excuses. “I was threatened,” he said. “I couldn’t budge,” he whined. “I’m with Maithri!” he yelled. All words. All rhetoric. Cheap.
This isn’t all, however.  There’s more.

Mervyn wasn’t just “Mahinda’s Man”. True, nearly every political party (even his own) loves to portray him that way. That’s how they get leverage and edge over the former president (in terms of “show”, that is). Yes, his association with Rajapaksa didn’t do him any good. Yes, this explains why Rajapaksa’s defeat can be explained by this man’s callousness.
But if he was only Mahinda’s man, what was he doing with the UNP in the 1990s? Why was he allowed back to the SLFP (which he had jumped over before)? When he lost in 2000 in Colombo, why did Chandrika Kumaratunga salvage him through the National List? Where were the feel-good activists then? Were they dumb? Myopic?

Silva wasn’t (only) Mahinda’s Man, therefore. He was page-boy and pinup-boy for everyone who took him in. He was complicit in everything he’s known for today. Not just with Rajapaksa. Not just with the UPFA.

But if that’s the case, and this good governance brigade wants him out on account of his association with Rajapaksa, why are some of its representatives still with him? Why isn’t Ranil Wickremesinghe making his stance clear? Why is he silent? Why is Arjuna Ranatunge doing himself no favors by endorsing this thug, never mind all his chest-beating words about good governance, democracy, and corruption? And why did we elect these people to office if all it took for the Doctor’s return was flattery on his part and in-effect endorsement by those he wooed?

Let’s be clear here. If Silva is taken into Wickremesinghe’s campaign, it won’t lose much. But it’ll be blemished. Forever.That’s why he should be put out. Why Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, both would-be custodians of good governance, must come out. They must declare position. They must align with one side or the other. That side cannot include Silva. That’s not because he’s an orphan. Not because he’ll revert to his usual antics if he’s taken back in. It’s because he’s done this before. Pathetic if history repeats itself. Again.The good Doctor has ranted. Time he’s given a talking to. Time he’s kept shut. For good.