Bemoan the non-availability of fresh material in the upper tiers of politics to replace the decrepit. For survival, the decayed leadership is ready to reach alliance with a devilish opponent. Unsuitable descendants await, both kinsmen and sycophants, located craftily in the wings of the second tier.
Among this wild bunch, TNA’s honest Sampanthan stands like a beacon, living under trying circumstances under his invented avenger Wigneswaran and his crazy coots, making TNA, the official minuscular opposition – an unstable parochial outfit, unable to reach acceptability outside the province.
Return of the UNP under a Wickremasinghe administration is out of the reckoning – a cause long lost. Process will be accelerated if an unacceptable constitution is presented to the South leading to a breakdown. Ongoing stupidity will bind the divided SLFP.
UNP as a party is ahead of its leader in public esteem. Maybe a UNP govt under a new leader is a more pragmatic alternate: prevents their first line of defence from crossing to enemy territory in disgust? Ranil is less self-centred than Mahinda, prepared to yield place to a stronger candidate, as he did in 2015,a decision he rues in hindsight.
President Sirisena short on votes; waits long to eat into the disgusted UNP’s bases to strengthen his domain. Wings of the SLFP will re-merge under a Sirisena and Rajapakse combine. Promises another corrupt regime in the making. Join the devil to keep afloat is a staying principle. It sidelines Gota – suits Mahinda and Basil. Necessity will make Gota play second fiddle.
If Gotabhaya stands instead of Mahinda as the Presidential/Premiership candidate, majorities will soar in the south as he reflects the want of the Sinhala youth and voters express confidence in his delivery service. He holds a proven track record as against a lackadaisical Mahinda, whose chief executive stands convicted of failing to keep his boss on the correct path. Amount of Rs. 600 million is not peanuts sanctioned out of public funds near election time in distributing sil clothes to devotees. That is not a form of charity that acquires merit. Amount is mind-boggling but the price is equidistant to the fringe benefits picked by “Yes Minister” gentlemen.
Elbowing the entrenched elite is virtually impossible where experienced Mahinda upstaged the politically naïve Gotabhaya Rajapakse – came on invitation but took over the centrefold at a seminar organized by an inexperienced coterie displaying Gota’s bare cupboard of talent from an over-crowded think tank [more a reservoir] that took months to gather. Worse, carries segments of the contaminated muck of the last regime.
Initial reaction was a horror story notwithstanding the presence of astute Kamal Guneratne, the military heavyweight with a spotless record and the wavering intellectual stimulator Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke; appear to be the maestro’s attaches for beckoning. Neglected to tap encyclopedic Prof. Gerry Pieris, an intellect par excellence at a well-attended seminar organized with military precision.
Writer declined an invitation to the podium at the seminar, felt uncomfortable in the company of a few disreputable that makes Gota, no more than a provider of sub standard intellectual feeder to his brother’s ancient wannabe cabinet. Gota committed hara-kiri at a posh seminar while a few good men lost their independence in the allotted six minute cameos to be branded as “Gota boys” while the corrupt thrived in showing they are soon in business on the back of Gota’s name to mar him success in politics.
The ‘man of the match’ was Mahinda Rajapakse – his domineering personality made his kid brother look juvenile. Gota in a cabinet will play a lesser role than as Defence Secretary: being feeble in the tricky unaccustomed art of politics. His organization lacks depth in knowledgeable politics. Wasted, a chance of a lifetime, with many expecting a change that did not augur well, looking at the front rows of invitees.
He needs to change his palace guards discreetly. Most likely ‘Team Gota’ is congratulating each other for a pop show presented with the same old timers singing the same signature tunes. It is economics that matter: a new economic order counts; constitution is the instrument of jointer of the two wings of the SLFP, to place old faces in new places.
UNP can only cut down losses (not win of course) if it brings in more dynamic players into key offices – otherwise leaves the field wide open in bringing – the twice rejected MR back to office with Gota in a reduced role, that would falter from the beginning to fail miserably only to re-establish the UNP at the next session of electioneering. In short the prime cry is for a leadership change. Spirit of our electorate is to rightly fault the holders in office and look lovingly at the team they defeated once, forgetting their sordid past. This psyche leaves Mother Lanka in a state of a troubled trauma?
UNP dropped a ‘sitter’ in a dream situation. They had overcome MR, colossus that won the war overcoming terrorism that created a mini world record; brought a majority of the SLFP under the UNP fold to present a coalition govt; split the SLFP down the centre; won goodwill by restoring the independence of justice; made friends with the heirs of terrorism in the north; replaced the opposition in the hands of a sympathetic TNA; boosted the confidence of a shattered police force that was loyal to the UNP at the elections.
UNP are the repository of financial wizardly but handed the subject to the least qualified for the assignment – Ravi Karunanayake. That was the beginning of serial undoing for the UNP. It is finance and economics that bodes ill for the UNP with Ranil Wickremasinghe shattering his claim of a clean image after the bond issue.
Both Ranil and MR are fighting for survival and have no time to think long. Ranil begotten with affairs of state, with a few to rescue him from the mess his countrymen are facing due to the economic collapse caused by two successive regimes. A more leisurely paced MR was never a thinking man, as a esteemed columnist once stated – his comprehension was not beyond what he last heard from the last meeeting. Understatement of a man that won the war many said was unwinnable. Yet, there is an element of wisdom in the utterance.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike rid the party of corrupt parliamentarians that were found guilty of bribery under the Commission of Inquiry Act. She held bye-elections on schedule, won most but lost a few, but never feared of an ouster. She lost a Bill in Parliament and called for general elections and lost it, handed over power and returned to be restored at the next election with a 2/3 majority. MR’s and Ranil’s problems are that they give cover to many alleged crooks and inevitably carry questions marks on their shoulders?
It needs a hostile take over for a genuine regime-change within the political parties: a friendly succession would carry the renewable sewage, reincarnated to resurface as the next coming leader adapts on coming to power. Leaders are preferable to their handlers as they held moments of worthwhile glory. ‘Follow the Leader’ should not be the motto.
A parallel leadership must be placed on a gradient/incline where few more of the front liners are trained to succeed in times of need. MR out of office looks at dowdy kinsmen and the boot licking fraternity while Wickremasinghe in office goes for dude friends alienated from realities of local conditions making amiable friends for fellowship on dull evenings. Maithripala Sirisena is a victim of hanging on with too many of dead wood sycophants waiting to jump ship and MR waits to pick any discarded rubbish let loose as he hopes to come to power without the peoples vote if possible under the queer provisions of the constitution. Old men are often in a hurry.
Remember both MR (a great man that dethroned deadly terrorism with bare local hands) and Ranil (never in the mould of the great UNP’s of the past like Gamini Jayasuriya, U.B. Wanninayake, M.D.Banda and M.D.H. Jayewardene) came to politics in the 1970s in the midst of two violent insurrections in the North and South.
Two generations have by-passed them but yet there is no replacement in a country sprouting with emerging unexposed talent because the party structures are non-democratic to any challenge to the leadership, is off-set by a kept second tier. Both leaders need each other to keep them in office as they work in tandem. If one falls other is likely to fade away by compulsion. Ranil – the more likely candidate to back down made a compelling sacrifice being the less selfish in agreeing to make way for Sirisena at a time UNP peaked in popularity after the Badulla provincial election results. Parliamentarians matter as their sole desire is to be re-elected unlikely for many under Ranil’s leadership.
Nation can be proud of a born-again judiciary with brave and bold like Judge Gihan Kulatunga at the helm who listens to both sides attentively, studies the law and gives judgements on the merits, mindful of the needs of society, without delay. What more can be asked from a Judge? Most of his judgements stood in appeal and the respected young Judge has won esteem. We live in hope, as is in many Asian societies to be kept within civilized bounds by an un-kept judiciary.