By Asoka N.I. Ekanayaka –
In the annals of Sri Lanka politics through the ages it would be hard to find as diabolical an act of betrayal, back stabbing, and crass ingratitude towards ones electors as Maithripala Sirisena’s cheap little coup involving the swapping of prime ministers and re-constituting a mediocre cabinet of his own discredited political henchmen. One hesitates to push the analogy too far, but the whole scenario is so bizarre and unreal as to almost warrant comparison with the sordid betrayal of basic filial affection by the scoundrel king Kasayapa who blinded by suspicion entombed and executed his own father in his naked lust for power around 473 AD.
Whatever Sirisena’s reasons for this putsch, it was not even executed in a way that reflected the courage of his convictions by first boldly addressing the nation and taking the people into his confidence. Instead the insidious hole in the corner modus operandi involving a quick sleight of hand taking the nation completely by surprise, was surely the cowardly way to go about it. Indeed the backslapping bonhomie surrounding the sudden swearing of a new prime minister as conveyed by the video images rather gave the impression that they all enjoyed the sadistic pleasure of fooling the people and catching the nation on the wrong foot. That all this has generated instability, sown confusion, disrupted governance, imperiled the economy, bitterly divided the nation, alienated friends abroad, and opened the gateway to anarchy – is obvious . The president’s action was patently illegal, irrational and immoral.
It was Illegal because Section 42(4) of the constitution specifies that “The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who in the Presidents opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament” Needless to say that “opinion” must be based not on the President’s capricious whims and fancies, not on dreams visions fantasies and superstitions, not on who he personally likes or dislikes, but on the balance of power in parliament which can be objectively ascertained only by convening parliament and seeking a vote of confidence. Moreover Section 46(2) specifies the two conditions where a Prime Minister ceases to hold office and since neither of these have been met the President’s sacking of the Prime Minister is clearly arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Secondly the President’s action is irrational because while justifying himself by accusing the Prime Minister and government of corruption, he has replaced them not with paragons of virtue and men of unimpeachable honesty and integrity, but with those of the previous regime which was notorious for its monstrous corruption and crime. If Sirisena figured ( rightly or wrongly ) that under the present government the people of Sri Lanka were in the frying pan of corruption – then surely what he has done is to toss them into the fire ! Moreover while complaining about the indifference of his cabinet colleagues to an alleged threat to his life, Sirisena has walked into the arms of the very elements of whom he was petrified in 2014 when he broke ranks and ran for President. Such extreme irrationality by a head of state is incomprehensible.
Thirdly the President’s action is immoral because he has betrayed the aspirations of millions of decent honourable people who even at cost to themselves made him President in the expectation that he would restore the rule of law, and bring to justice those who had committed monstrous crimes during a period of unparalled criminal governance by a cruel and evil regime. The arrogant abuse of power, savage politicization of all the institutions of governance, monumental corruption, unbridled nepotism, widespread human rights violations including massacres and atrocities, abductions and extra judicial killings, attacks on the media, the pervasive use of political thuggary and even alleged war crimes which characterized that fearful regime, are now an indelible part of the sordid history of that period.
In the struggle to replace criminal governance with good governance millions of Sri Lankans trusted Sirisena to be the standard bearer in delivering them from that hated regime. Instead he has gleefully aligned himself with that self same evil conglomerate and brought it back to power ! On his invitation the return of that tainted bandwagon into the corridors of power whose swearing in now fills our TV screens conjures up images of the slab being lifted and the foetid contents of a cess pool erupting and gushing out as the pressure is released ! Well may the millions who are the victims of such treachery echo the heartbreaking dying words of Caesar “even you Brutus ?” as his close friend followed his enemies in plunging the dagger. To quote a modern idiom “with friends like that who needs enemies ?”.
So the question is how did Sirisena come to make such a disastrous move? It probably keeps him awake at night these days as he realises the bitter implications of a ghastly miscalculation that has plunged the country into chaos and may well signal the end of his own political career. A charitable explanation would be that as a general principle in politics, stupidities of this magnitude are often a reflection of the simple minded unsophistication and naivety that might be expected of a peasant.
A more plausible explanation arises from the fact that in 2014 Sirisena broke away from the previous government only at the terminal end of that cruel regime just in time to run for President himself. No doubt he deserves credit for crossing over ( better late than never ). However only God knows the real motives of men in the depths of the human heart.The Bible records that at the dawn of human civilisation “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”, so acknowledging the total depravity of fallen humanity that is alienated from its creator notwithstanding outward appearances.
The human heart has not changed through the millennia no matter whether they are kings presidents or emperors. Otherwise from 2005 – 2014 throughout the worst excesses of draconian Rajapaksa rule, through all the atrocities, crime, corruption and manifold wickedness which dotted that era, Sirisena remained a faithful senior minister taking collective responsibility and enjoying all the perks, and privileges of high office in that regime. Consequently his latest reunion with his erstwhile comrades whom he has now re-embraced and restored to high office is not surprising. It seems to exemplify a phenomenon that the Apostle Peter highlighted with a proverb (in a totally different context) writing from a Roman prison around AD 67-68 shortly before his death “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself returns to wallow in the mire”.
Whatever the reason for the President’s actions in one way it is possible to feel sorry for men like him. Having forfeited a good name and put his own political future in jeopardy the guilt of having betrayed millions of principled citizens who placed their trust in him, may haunt him for the rest of his life. All the shallow outward expressions of sanctimonious piety, with the familiar endless round of religious observances and empty ritual, going from place to place on bended knee seeking blessings, cannot expiate the evil of betraying good people who trusted a man with their future, nor restore a good name once it has been irrevocably lost nor replace public confidence once it has been shattered. Politicians would be fools to imagine that they can set off their meritorious work against their evil deeds rather like managing the debit and credit sides of a bank account. The wages of sin are inescapable.
Finally, in the bitterness depression and outrage of these times each individual will struggle to find some peace by falling back on one’s own deepest religious faith and philosophy of life. Christians may find comfort in the biblical book of the Prophet Daniel who lived through a period of extreme human wickedness and political instability and was himself exiled to Babylon in 605 BC. We are told that the purpose of Daniel’s prophetic testimony is to teach the truth that whatever the unrestrained evil and turbulence that may rock the world around us “God himself is the sovereign and ultimate Disposer of the destinies both of individuals and of nations”. So sorrounded by danger and calamity we find Daniel turning to God, in his own words “seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes” and crying out “To you O Lord belongs righteousness, but to us open shame. To us O Lord belongs open shame . . . because we have sinned against you. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy” .
Would that President Sirisena for his sake and ours, might find it within himself to acknowledge his error, repent of his transgressions before God and man and discover the Way that leads to Truth and Life.
Craig / October 31, 2018
The best crafted response to this madness I have read so far. Well said Prof!
“..Secondly the President’s action is irrational because while justifying himself by accusing the Prime Minister and government of corruption, he has replaced them not with paragons of virtue and men of unimpeachable honesty and integrity, but with those of the previous regime which was notorious for its monstrous corruption and crime.. “
nimal fernando / October 31, 2018
Agreed one of the best analyses of what happened ……….. congratulations for having the courage/balls to unambiguously call a spade a spade.
All the UNPers who crossover for ministerships ………. will end up in the political wilderness like Tissa Attanayake.
Dhushan / October 31, 2018
An excellent piece. Thank you, Sir.
old codger / November 1, 2018
An excellent piece. I wish Sirisena could analyze his own motives as well as Prof. Ekanayake does. But that would be trying to get feathers off a tortoise.
Hamlet / October 31, 2018
What is the Gun, that the Rajapakses are Holding to Sirisena’s Head?
From Day One of His Presidency MS has been insecure in His Position!
Frustrated SLanken / October 31, 2018
Where do the evils like corruption arise from? It comes from the never-ending greed. The fight for corruption-free ethical society will have to be fought against this greed and replace it with ‘what can I give’ spirit. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
I think at the beginning of MS-RW government, Mr Sirisena had been just normal; meaning not that arrogant or swollen as any other leaders would behave, but not overlooked, that he has no experience in that seat also became clearer to the spectators that he would fulfil all what he pledged to the 6.2 million voters that made him a president of the island nation.
Now in retrospect, I don’t think even it lasted let alone during the first 3-months.
Thadjudeen Murder and Rajapakshe Family
Anyways, his strong antipathy towards high profile investigations on VARIOUS allegations levelled at Rajapakshe family men gave me the sign, that the man would not seem to be honest as promised on the election campaign (main election pledge was to punish Rajapakshe high profile criminals for all high-profile cases such as state murders – Lasantha W, Thadjudeen , Eknaligoda etc. Rumours were in the air, that Thadjudeen’s murder was nearly to close with its investigations, but no signs were seen that former President ‘s Wife was called for Interrogatory sessions.
President Sirisena did not utter a single word as to why nothing seem to go forward with the interrogations.
Those intelligence officers would surely expose them if things would turn out to be worst in next days. Who was behind the protection of Rajapakshe family albeit key POLICE officer was kept in remand for a period of one year or little longer, nothing like progress was made in terms of cornering the real criminals of the murder. It became public secret that Rajapakshe sons were behind the Thadjudeen murder.
Frustrated SLanken / October 31, 2018
to be contd
That was an impious murder when considering how they did not respect the body parts of the dead. Those body parts were found frozen in the fridges of SAITM medical faculty. In fact it was exposed to be a murder after MS-RW govt came into being. Until then they kept it secret telling the world that it was an accident that killed Rugby player Thudjudeen. See one of those 3 Rajapakshe sons got killed that way, how would it have been in this country? Why these men to be treated with special privileges?
Time quickly passed with various investigation sessions until Sirisena’s direct mediation dismissed former FCID head Ms Wickramasinghe. After that I lost my full faith kept on the man -SIRISENA. There I noticed the first sign that coming color is no different to his predecessor-MR by such interference to legal authorities in the country. Rajapakshe had always been in touch with Courts and ordered what he thought was right also regarding the cases arbitrarily filed against general Sarath Fonseka. And how MR handled the unconstitutional sacking of former CJ Dr Shirani Bandranayake. To that time, Mr Sirisena was a powerful man in the cabinet of MR. Sirisena to that time, did nothing than usual nods to his head. They as cabinet minister had no other choice than doing so either.
But even if his changes were noticed by some, not much was heard through local media. Sirasa has always been polishing his image. They did not discuss anything other than Bank bond scam. They fully neglected on Rajapakshe investigation presumably, on the advice of the president. Sirasa’s performance was almost as if it was the pvt channel of MS.
to be ctd
Fernando / November 1, 2018
It is perhaps the best analysis of the present crisis.It is erudite and scholarly sans exception.It has been audaciously presented.Thank you Sir.
Frustrated SLanken / October 31, 2018
to be ctd,
Sirisena’s behaviors were totally different to his speeches held wherever he stood before. In UNO and some other meetings he behaved supporting to them promising what he was asked for, but on his return, he behaved himself as if he did not say such. This became clearer after listening to some Indians lately
He had sometimes compared his political behaviors with that of Nelson Mandela and Mahathmagandhi. Premier RW just said nothing but looked as if he agreed with President. But I believe today, he had no choice than doing so because Sirisena is his president. It was at the very beginning. Reforms brought to 78 Constitution by introducing 19 Amendment, he happened to repeat that his would belong to the history of rare president that relinquish some powers vested on him as an Executive president. We have had several presidents sofar, but none of the presidents have fallen to the levels that Sirisena is today. I now believe, it is the misleading guidance brought him to that level.
For some months now, Prez Sirisena has been focusing on his next term. All is becoming clear that Rajapakshe make every effort to find the contenders within their family dynasty. We the readers/onlookers pulse that Rajapakshe would pass reluctantly to anyone else than his offspring – Namal Rajapakshe (though proved to be an another illegal title holder possessing a degree in law)
Can any lawyer or non-lawyer with some knowledge agree with the dismissal of PM going by Constitution? We understand that the average would not ….
I read it myself– not once several times and then again for my own clarity, I also discussed it with several colleagues of mine (European Lawyers), all of them added that It is totally unconstitutional.
nalmen / October 31, 2018
sirisena has cooked his goose
he thinks mahinda will support him for a second term
when he nominates gota sira will be back in polonnaruwa
mike / October 31, 2018
nalmen – I agree, but Sillysena the idiot will be back in Polonnaruwa six feet under!
Gravedigger / October 31, 2018
that is IF they do find the body parts !!
Shakespeare / October 31, 2018
Remember the article in CT – MR never forgets –
Alas poor President Sirisena -(pardon me Bard)
MR and his brothers know very well that a man who betrayed trust twice, will not hesitate to do it again.
Lanka 9 / October 31, 2018
M&s and MR think 22 Sri Lankans are fool and idiots to joly ride over them as they like ..
Power they get is from people ..
I’m sure 70% would not like this method of power meddling ..
Shame on M&s utter misuse of executive power under duress from MR family .
M&s is a cheat ..
His name is damaged now .
He will be impeached soon.
A village man shown his viallges characters of uncivilized acts
fred / October 31, 2018
Oh, no. The average villager is a decent, honourable person who among other things will conduct himself with acceptance and when appropriate with gratitude. He will not turn on and stab in the back anyone who ever helped him. Please don’t abuse villagers because of the actions of this devious, conniving, conspiring, ungrateful, ambitious fraud. This is a villager who has forgotten all the virtues that villagers traditionally live by.
Sinhala_Man / October 31, 2018
Thanks for that defence of the decent villager (man with black Avatar, your name is not visible on this phone.
Thanks even more, Prof. ANI Ekanayake. You have written powefully using your authentically Christian voice, but you have shown that Sirisena’s errors go against more universal norms of morality and Justice.
An excellent expression of rational indignation with which I beg to fully associate myself.
Anne-Marie Kellar / October 31, 2018
chiv / October 31, 2018
Prof thank you for the article. But I really do not see this as a surprise in political history. Betraying, stabbing behind one,s back and political treachery are pretty much routine for our politicians. SF behind bars, Shirani thrown out overnight, zero casualty are few surprises to quote. The difference is above said events were a surprise only for few people, This being global is the difference. In my opinion this will not be last surprise for Lankans. One more observation is MS first saved the populace from fire by managing to put in the pan only to see dumping them back into the inferno.
Naman / October 31, 2018
A very excellent article and I hope that the President and the unofficial PM read it. It’s TIME most of the corrupt rulers in the Pre-2015 give up POLITICS and enjoy the money that they have swindled
Fred / October 31, 2018
Well said, Naman. Hear! hear!
Martin / October 31, 2018
A refreshingly insightful and brilliantly written article. This writer is a class act. The thematics of an insecure and paranoia filled First citizen is laid bare in a way, that makes him unworthy and undeserving of that high position in the first place, whilst on the other hand the whole country was deceived by his cunning and ulterior motives. We all know that hindsight is always 20/20, so if you follow every decision he made and action he took, be it bringing in lost candidates on the National List and giving them high posts (against the will of the people), preventing fraud and bribery investigations against his former contemporaries – which led to the resignation of the FCID leader, abusing his powers to prevent arrest of thieves and culprits who have got away with massive amounts of looted wealth and unaccountable properties. All this whilst making amends with Weerawansa for all that he said on the last day of the Presidential election – Ayio Sirisena talk. Unfortunately, none of us picked up the signals. In the final analysis, he can only be described as a mole who planted himself inside the UNP to effectively backstab Ranil and get his old ‘Hamu’ boss Mahinda through the backdoor.
Thushara / October 31, 2018
Thank you Prof for your wonderful piece but unfortunately the village idiot that is Sirisena and the majority of our people’s representatives who are utter imbeciles will not be able to understand a word of this essay. So please translate this to Sinhala. I guess this is what happens when lowly uneducated, idiots sit on high chairs of Governance. May there be light at the end of this dark and frightening tunnel.
H K Seneviratne / October 31, 2018
We all thankful to Prof. for his excellent, and very insightful exposition of the constitutional Coup DE ta launched by MARA forces..
H K Seneviratne
Alfred Perera / October 31, 2018
Looks like Evangelical corner is the most upset. This dath dostara is another one like the big datha, Rajitha. No morals, smells of vomit.
Rohan / October 31, 2018
We bent into two, and Salute you!
Hats Off to you!!
So far the mighty best about this huge cull-drum. These are the men of learnings who are here, and in the country, to enlighten the common forks of this highway robbery of people’s democratic rights by this illegal, undomecratic and unconstitutional power grabbing, unlike those sudeoscholars and academics who are aligned to the fake PM, fake government, and uncommon President. Even if all of them stands on their heads, and try to justify, it wouldn’t hold the water. All of them are shamelessly and truly naked. Please we tell them, though they are utterly and despicable fools but the people are not fools, and don’t take them for a ride. Period.
citizen / October 31, 2018
Prof. Asoka, agree with you. Unbelievable that our government rulers after being in politics all their lives have gone insane while repeatedly bowing to religious ritual worship of sun, moon and stars, trees, mortal remains and all idols including money and power. It is from the true and living, invisible powerful Creator God Almighty from whom they could draw the power they are craving for. He would not flood us with unnecessary surplus of wealth but only what we can handle to be able to live righteous lives without greed for power and worship of mammon. God as King rules over spiritual heaven and visible earth, called Kingdom dominion. All are his created subjects whether we acknowledge or not. Pillars of his throne are righteousness and justice, and his judgments are sure to allow us freedom to choose. His wisdom helps. All politicians of whatever hue can choose to live under his truth, with all evil past erased to live in freedom.
The real tragedy in our cultural setup is that the politician’s opportunity to serve and uplift the rural masses to build up moral and ethical values which matter has been sacrificed to amass riches which makes liars and murderers to hide the robberies with limited use and stacked away, with sleepless nights.
K.Pillai / October 31, 2018
The title chosen by Asoka N.I. Ekanayaka “A Case Of ‘Returning To Its Own Vomit’!” is in a literal sense.
But hyenas and wild dogs regurgitate partially digested ‘vomit’ which the cubs feed. Birds have fed the chicks this way.
Ruminants ‘chew the cud’ which is partially digested food. Ruminants like llamas spit the ‘cud’ as a defence. For thousands of years humans have derived nutrition from domesticated ruminants. So much so the term ‘Chew the cud’ is often used to say “Pause and Think”.
One can ‘return to the vomit’ constructively.
soma / November 1, 2018
what would be the situation today if Ranil – Prabakaran pact were implemented.
what will be the situation tomorrow if Ranil – Sampanthan constitution is implemented.
Mahavansa will record as Rajapaksa saved the country TWICE.
Lakshini / November 1, 2018
Well written. This answered the many questions I had about the current crisis. We live overseas but nevertheless we are distraught and overwhelmed by what has happened. Is their any hope for process for rectification ?
soma / November 1, 2018
“In the annals of Sri Lanka politics through the ages it would be hard to find as diabolical an act of betrayal, back stabbing, and crass ingratitude”
Weren’t these the virtues on which a common candidate was selected?. Would the “January 8 revolution ” be possible if not for these noble values of an individual?
Dr Raj RAJENDRAN / November 1, 2018
It is a well crafted article on Srilankan Politics, I have ever read. I admire you greatly for this piece of work alone.
Lokusalli / November 1, 2018
Great article and who can fault it’s message regardless of religion or political persuasion .But as was pointed out to me by a very astute Muslim business man in Matara.The problem is that the gullible and pliable voters are easily swayed by emotionally charged speeches and images of pretend piety, as politicians visit temple after temple to impress those swayed by such actions .Each has only one vote ,and there,s a lot who think MR can deliver ,sad to say .I hope for a return to democracy ,and the rule of law ,and for Sri Lanka to rejoin the world’s democratic nations
Indira Jonklaas / November 1, 2018
Thank you Professor for an excellent analysis. I hope it has been translated into Sinhala and Tamil and shared widely and that it stirs citizens to keep up the pressure for Parliament to be convened immediately.
kali / November 1, 2018
It is not a “A Case Of ‘Returning To Its Own Vomit ” at least that might be the same as MS , MR and the Sinhala Nation eating thier own s..t . But it is even worse Sinhala Lanka has dug its own grave either by DESIGN or by DEFAULT. Whiever it doesnt matter as DAWN has broken for us during the FESTIVAL OF LIGHT. Seetha ( Tamils ) have been rescued from the Evil King Ravana ( MS & to some extent RW for aiding and abetting) ).
Let us look at the evidence.
The World has finlly woken up to reality presented to it on a plate by MS.
1) Britain and US have fired the warning shot which is going to reverbrate by recogniasing the Parliament as the ultimate authority not MS and UK going even furher.
2) Yesterday I read a clip that itv is now a tussle beteen India & Cheenavedi. What a joke. It is a one sided fight and the Cheenvedi will be knocked out in the first round.
3) Dont forget India has a Consular Office in Jaffna which was set up under the THUG so MR knows what India can do and dictate. It is what you call Audio Typing.
MS said he will resing if RW is brought back . Man commit suicide you are history. Under MR & MS Sinhala Lanka has become a Pariah State. The best Deevali present I had in years.
Dushyanthi Hoole / November 1, 2018
Brilliant and elegant.
“immoral because he has betrayed the aspirations of millions of decent honourable people who even at cost to themselves made him President in the expectation that he would restore the rule of law, and bring to justice those who had committed monstrous crimes… ” What shame!
Sadly Mr. Sirisena, I am told, cannot understand even plain English correctly. Hope Prof. G. L. Peiris will translate at least the above lines to Mr. Sirisena.
Sarath / November 1, 2018
Sirisena is a fool. He will last as President only till the crook ‘rajapassa’ finds a way to get rid of him or maybe get him killed and blame it on the UNP.
As for the power-hungry sirisena; his days are numbered. ‘rajapassa’ will not forget the way he was betrayed. ‘sirisena’, watch your back!
D.Seneviratne / November 1, 2018
The writer A.NI.Ekanayaks is engaging in a series of value judgements, declarations, opinions without facts.Where is the objective,non-partisan analysis? He is shooting from his mouth sheer invectives, unsubstantiated, obviously a Ranil UNP fan who lost logical reasoning and critical thinking powers.
Gamunu Kulasekere / November 2, 2018
Within a day after Gamaralage Gong Sirisena tried to sack the PM, all the murderous vultures came out in flying colours. Gothaba & Basil, US citizens should be deported, as foreign nations are not allowed to participate in politics of Sri Lanka. They should be arrested & deported. Then we saw the clown Weerawansa, coming out with his tail up. The thugs of Rajapakses invaded all government media, illegally. The Police should arrest them & charge. If these thugs tried to turn the peace in the country up side down, what will they do, by any chance they come to power in an election. My message to all the voters is, don’t give the murderers another chance to kill and rob more. They should ask, how a Clerk at Mahaveli Board, and with his brother, the White Van murderer, who worked in a 7/11 store for $10 an hour, own all those multi million properties. Time to stop them for ever.
Nimal D / November 2, 2018
This man is a religious fanatic without any love for the nation. Any discerning individual can see how RW is destroying this country and in a matter of 3 1/2 years, this country has been taken on a destructive path in every sphere of its citizens’ lives. And these are the type of people promoting treacherous acts of the RW regime.
D.Seneviratne / November 2, 2018
You are right If A.NI. is having evidence against Rajapakses,why is he not going to the CID and submitting that?Why is ANI silent and blind to the corruption and Batalanda Torture allegations against Ranil ,W.? What about Richard deSoyza and LAL liyanarcchchi .. Gonawaka Sunil connections ,Bond Scam of Ranil W.???It is the Devil himself who quotes scriptures out of context to fit bias and blindness to the ,Truth of God Almighty!
Sinhala_Man / November 3, 2018
The writer is an old man, who has written well. Enough has been reported to Law Enforcement Authorities.
It’s now up to younger people to act
V.Jayasinghe / November 2, 2018
Those who are salivating with praise this black and white characterization on current political scene have not heard that “in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies”Disraeli’s own reality.
This Prof.of Dentistry is a stranger to Machiavelli’,s thesis on political science “,The Prince” and other social political philosophical phenomenon.He is obviously no lawyer in the vague generalisations and assumptions that he makes!The UNP could make this writer an effective Goebbels propaganda instrument as a Hornblower for the Party!
Kalu Nangi / November 5, 2018
Excellent article….! 6.2 million voters were taken for a ride by this cunning fox in sheep’s clothing.