30 September, 2020

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An Open Letter To President Maithripala Sirisena

By Ranga Kalansooriya

Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

Dear Mr. President,

If my memory serves me correct, it was June 26, 1996 at Polonnaruwa Rajakeeya Vidyalaya’s anniversary educational exhibition where Prof GL Peiris, a high profile cabinet minister of that regime was the Chief Guest. I went there to cover the event for the Daily News. The speech you made there – the then Mahaweli Minister – would never fade from my mind.

You recalled how you as a kid took part in a zonal music contest by playing a borrowed violin, as you had no means to buy one for yourself. And you wore a borrowed pairs of longs (probably of your brother) and as it was too big, you needed a rope to tie it up around your waist. I think you said you went to the competition empty stomach. Tears came to my eyes, but they were there in yours before mine. That was the day I realized your humbleness and compassion.

When I heard last December your decision to become the common candidate, this story returned to my memory and I repeated it to some of my friends.

But many would not know about your internal character until you emerged challenging one of the most charismatic national leaders of the country’s history whose popularity still dawdles as a ghost within your circles. Though you were the General Secretary of the biggest constituent of the ruling coalition, you were not a national leader until last early December. But you were extensively successful in challenging that charismatic leader and sending him home. Not because you, personally, were a better choice compared to him as we did not know you as a national leader. But you sounded sense, you spoke on reality, you aired the voices of suppressed, you promised revival of democratic values – and all progressive elements mobilized with you within “three weeks”. And you arose as ‘the national leader of our era’ and we all looked up to you for a new political culture, new social order and a new era of humanity under your Presidency.

To be honest, we saw the dawn of this new era during the first three months (I do not want to use the word 100-days as it now looks more pro-UNP, though it was your election pledge to us) through various aspects and I do want to mention them since you know them all by heart. But the intention of this letter is to highlight what we are now beginning see in you which may not be visible to yourself, or those who surround you may not allow you to feel them.

When you claimed that you will not be contesting for the second term, you will reduce the term to four years (as you wished), you will form a national government of reconciliation for next three years, you will be strict on state discipline, we dreamt of a Sri Lankan Mandela who would be an apolitical head of state who will not fight for petty party politics, but who would struggle for the revival of democracy and good governance – which was your main political slogan. Hence, you could create history and pen a new chapter in Sri Lanka with dignity and honour.

But are you on the same path as you were in three months ago? Are you still working for political cohabitation for national reconciliation? Will you remain an apolitical head of state for the betterment of the country or will you become a non-ending fighter for your share of leadership within SLFP, the party that threw you out (legally or illegally) within minutes of your decision to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa?

May be I am wrong, but to my mind this is what happening to you. Rajapaksa fraction is playing a chess game with you and you have become a poor subjective reactionary element to the agenda of that vicious camp. It seems you are regularly watching MR movements and adjusting you strategies on daily basis. At the end of the day your strategies are determined by the MR camp. It is not strategic politics but reactionary politics.

Of course, as the party chair, you have an obligation towards the party, but at what cost? Did those 6.2 million people voted for you en masse on January 8 to grab the power of SLFP and fight with Mahinda for the power? Or did those voters in North, East, South and West – irrespective of ethnicity or religion- brought you to the highest post of Presidency in order to form a SLFP government with Mahinda and Chandrika as you claimed in Nuwara Eliya recently? Did you mention this to us in your manifesto? Or are we being fooled again as it has repeated in many a time in our political history?

Please do not think for a minute that I am trying to bring you down and defame you in public. We as citizens of this country, but most importantly as stakeholders of your victory – have an obligation to voice these concerns and bring the vehicle back on track. And please do not forget the fact that I am using the very same press freedom and freedom of expression that you have brought in on January 8 to raise these issues. I would not dare it before January 8. You could certainly be proud of it.

I see a rigorous campaign from your end to gain the grip of the SLFP in a situation where even your own General Secretary (who replaced you within a day at the will of Mahinda Rajapaksa upon your defection) is on the fence – or rather more towards MR camp. All your efforts to retain the party grip have so far in vein. [But this does not mean at all that MR should be allowed to regain power. This is the last thing that pro-democratic movements would like to see in Sri Lanka].

Thus, whatever we see within your political perimeters is a clear sign of this struggle, neglecting the national priorities that you laid down during the electioneering process. I would put the debate on 20A also into this category. More delays would further strengthen MR camp and that has been his strategy from the day one, and on contrary you continue to lose the grip.

Though you claimed that you will minimize your media visibility, now we see your long speeches with massive pictures in media on daily basis. This reminds me of Premadasa era where he wanted to see a speech of him on daily basis on op-ed pages of daily newspapers. Though you instructed that no state funds be used for newspaper advertisements by state institutions, we not only see them on daily basis but carrying your pictorial massages as well. You ordered no cut outs, but they are everywhere with your pictures. I think this is the efforts to build up your own charisma – but could be counterproductive.

Please be mindful that this struggle could make you blind and desperate as you are fighting from a less powerful wicket. So, this could sabotage your decency, discipline and accountability which the other camp does not possess but you do. [Did we see any hint in the weekend English media that there were some inquiries by state intelligence agencies into the sources of journalists mainly for stories relating to your internal party meetings?]

Desperate Muslim Minister Rauff Hakeem has made an alarming comment in House this week. He mentioned about a dictator and a dangerous “kitchen team” within your circles. If this claim is true, then we all should get alarmed as these “kitchen operators” were the dangerous and misguiding elements for many leaders in the past. “Kitchen Team” is not a new or bad phenomenon but the ulterior motives of those team members should be carefully calculated before implementing their advises. That is how you should be careful with them.

In different contexts we had many lost opportunities. Tsunami, Chandrika’s victory as the President, Ranil – Chandrika coalition, end of war were among the significant. But your emergence was the most significant opportunity we experienced which we do not want to loss at any cost. Therefore, we will do our outmost to protect you in whichever way we can. Because, we still feel that your own protection is the protection of the democracy in this country and that trust is not yet lost. So, you can still count on us.

With regards,

Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya

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  • 9
    3

    Dr Ranga Kalansooriya

    RE: An Open Letter To President Maithripala Sirisena

    “The speech you made there – the then Mahaweli Minister – would never fade from my mind.”
    “When I heard last December your decision to become the common candidate, this story returned to my memory and I repeated it to some of my friends.”

    “But many would not know about your internal character until you emerged challenging one of the most charismatic national leaders of the country’s history whose popularity still dawdles as a ghost within your circles. Though you were the General Secretary of the biggest constituent of the ruling coalition, you were not a national leader until last early December. But you were extensively successful in challenging that charismatic leader and sending him home. Not because you, personally, were a better choice compared to him as we did not know you as a national leader. But you sounded sense, you spoke on reality, you aired the voices of suppressed, you promised revival of democratic values – and all progressive elements mobilized with you within “three weeks”. And you arose as ‘the national leader of our era’ and we all looked up to you for a new political culture, new social order and a new era of humanity under your Presidency”

    “Therefore, we will do our outmost to protect you in whichever way we can. Because, we still feel that your own protection is the protection of the democracy in this country and that trust is not yet lost. So, you can still count on us.”

    Thanks for sharing this piece of information.

    Every Voter who voted for Mr. Maitripala Sirisena to be President should send a letter of appreciation.

    What a far cry from the Medamulanna Mahinda Rajapaksa Clan, Abusing the Hero General Sarath Fonseka and all that Corruption and nepotism that goes with the Mara Family.
    [Edited out]

    • 2
      2

      An Open Letter To President Maithripala Sirisena

      “The million-dollar question is who to be blamed for all this nonsense. Surely it is none other than spineless Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe for their total failure to restore and enforce the Rule of Law to the letter, against those criminal elements who plundered the wealth of the nation ruthlessly. These elements who ruthlessly engaged in all sorts of anti-social behavior are now demanding returning to power, thanks to Sirisena administration hitherto failed to realize the burning desire of the people for corrupt free rule with due respect and regard to the trust and confidence placed in it by the people.

      Are You going to be a wimp or a statesman? Do You have guts to flush out the Mahinda Rajapaksa Clan by teaming wu with CBK?

      Yes or No?

      Wimp: Definition:

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/WIMP

      A timid or unadventurous person: “the impression that he is a colorless, indecisive wimp, and not a leader among men” (James J. Kilpatrick).

      o be timid or cowardly. Usually used with out: wimped out and refused to jump off the high diving board

  • 17
    5

    Ranga Kakanasoorya,

    Thank you. Your words reflect the thought of many. We have to once again for the future of this country. Your story of MS, when a poor village boy, is touching. However, he is now in the position of the Dutch boy who plugged a hole in the dyke with his finger and saved a whole town from inundation! I hope the circumstances you describe so well, will not make him forget that he has yet only his finger in a much weakened dyke of good governance. the dyke itself will collapse if he does not work to strengthen it. The finger plug cannot hold the flood much longer. MR and his goons are the floods pushing harder and harder on the dyke. They are confusing and confounding the president. Let the President not forget to whom he owns allegiance – the desperate and forlorn people of this country!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 14
    4

    Great piece Dr Kalansooriya.

    Dear Mr President,

    Just do the right thing at all times by the nation (and not by the party) and this Nation will not let you down.

    You are a statesman not a politician. And we thank God for that.

  • 8
    4

    The good doctor doth protest too much..

    As an ardent fan of RW, Ranga’s vision is Nelsonian when the UNP leader who had a very strong agenda to use Maithreepala to win the election and then to ride roughshod over him. The middle class arrogance that cannot be shaken out of RW is what eventually brings the party down – time and time again.

    He ignores the pathetic fate of those who really work hard for the UNP with zero recognition as they are casually dismissed at every electoral loss – and there were many. Whilst the BMW 7 series reverses into the Fifth Lane abode and as the gates slam shut until the next election, the bamboozled party workers will be told to sit tight.

    Clearly, MS has seen the light – he has been used and now has placed his own party at risk. The writer’s letter did not come before but now that there is a possibility of an alliance with MR, the knives are out.

    The end result will be that the UNP will end up will lesser seats than they had before and MR will reemerge.

    Thanks to Ranil, square one is very much in the horizon.

    PS- stop prostituting your doctorate. Such titles are to be understated and if you need to add that to every writing, some subliminal inadequacy is evident.

    • 2
      2

      My3is no fool. And there is a mighty God, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. He rewards the just but punishes the wicked.

  • 4
    7

    Mr. President, You are in the process of BETRAYING the very voters whom have voted you in to power. You did not get a single SLFP vote for you to become President of the country. NOW, unashamedly you have accepted the leadership of SLFP based on the power of Presidency you have obtained from anti-SLFP voters. WHAT MADNESS THIS IS!! WHERE IS YOUR MORAL CODE!! WHAT A DOUBLE CROSS THIS IS..!! I hope You are aware of the fate of those who double cross!!

    Mr President, you are cutting a very sad picture of yourself, in such a short period, may be a Guinness record for any leader. By your pathetic display of leadership, BY BEING A PRISONER OF A FEW POWER HUNGRY lunatics, you are making MR once again more valuable to the masses.

    Mr. President, you have done your job of getting rid of MR. That is enough. Thank you very much. You are now showing your ‘capability’ as a leader. please STEP DOWN before this goes out of control and the country along with you.

    • 3
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      IO

      It is not worth being a MaRa Shill and White-washer any more. Can you get out of the MaRa Shilling contract if you have any. MaRa should be made History, NOT Future.

      So, You want Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa to be Prime Minister, and stop the Crooks, Robbers and Criminals going to jail.

      MaRa Ma Ra Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa Chatu Gota Amana Gota…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DN57FUlwasQ

  • 3
    4

    With all his background of a humble peasantry beginning, Sirisena has placed in power a neo-liberal Prime Minister who is batting for the US and the West. Sirisena is a man who became a pawn in the hands of Ranil and Chandrika who were in turn used by the US in their grand master plan to unseat Mahinda who crossed their Letchumana rekha by inviting China into Sri Lanka. Sirisena is in this tight situation because he is obliged to UNP, the party that enabled his victory in the January 8th Presidential election, while at the same time he has obligations to SLFP/UPFA because he accepted its leadership.

    Nobody forced him to accept the SLFP/UPFA leadership and in fact he should have been expelled from SLFP the moment he decided to contest against the SLFP/UPFA candidate Mahinda. If he really wanted to be a neutral President, he should have rejected the SLFP/UPFA leadership. He was the common candidate of the rainbow alliance engineered by the Americans and he should have remained a neutral President.

    Despite all his opportunistic tendencies, Rauf Hakeem had the guts to expose in Parliament what he called “a small group of dictators” that is guiding Sirisena and running the country. That is a shaming indictment on Sirisena himself for having allowed a coterie of ambitious persons to influence his decisions . In fact, Hakeem regretted his role in bringing down MR and said “sending former President Mahinda Rajapaksa home was a great mistake”. The SLMC leader exposed in Parliament something that many insiders already knew. He had rightly said that “supporting the ouster of former President Rajapaksa had paved the way for a crisis situation in the country”. Yes, the country is in a crisis, the Parliament is not doing anything worthwhile and the business community, investors, as well as the people have lost confidence in the Sirisena/Ranil government.

    Despite all the accusations of corruptions and misdeeds, MR has not lost his popularity among the Sinhalese. If an election is held now and even if he decides to lead a group independently of SLFP, he may still finish with the largest number of MPs though may fall short of the number required for a majority in Parliament.

    The right thing for President Sirisena to do now even at this late stage is to dissolve Parliament and take a neutral stand in the parliamentary election that would follow. SLFP members are not listening to him and he should therefore resign from his position as the President of SLFP/UPFA. Let the SLFP/UPFA elect MR as their leader and see whether he will again be the winner or whether the Sri Lankans will opt for Rani. If President Sirisena steers clear of party politics he will be admired by all Sri Lankans.

  • 3
    2

    President MS. You were elected mostly from the UNP votes. You had said somewhere that you are a U.N.P. president.

    I am not aligned to any political party. The People trusted you when you spoke to them at election meetings. Keep to those promises. Don’t stand an a shield to the corrupt politicians

    You are loosing your popularity fast. Please don’t let it happen.

    • 0
      1

      UNP has a traditional vote block of 4 million and that went to MS at the last election. UNP campaigned for MS and MS wouldn’t have won if not for the UNP and if he is forgetting that now, he is another traitor. I only hope he is not

  • 4
    3

    Mr president,

    We thanks to Mr Ranga Kalansooriya giving you a good message.

    Still we have hope that you will deliver what you preached.
    Sri Lankans want a democratic governance without any corruptions.

    We do not expect us to be ruled by Killers, Rapists, rouges, Thieves, scoundrels, extremist and Uneducated fools, [ Educated fools too.]

    We like to have countries law implementation with out partiality or bias to each and every citizen, irrespective of ours positions.

    now there is a newest trend in political thieves and killers are human right violations.
    Does not we, the poor citizen have [human] rights to see ask, what is happening to or tax money.
    Please do some thing to implement to avoid, to get away with our nation’s economy of depending on Women’s earnings.
    All of you are sucking of their blood and sweat getting billions of rupees to run our economy.
    that is not a right and fair for them.
    what rights the members of parliament have of getting a pension within 5 years for doing nothing and spending of public money on personal and their families security and other perks.
    Further that Your majority Votes came from Majority Sinhalese of South,
    Not as others says from Minorities from north and east.

    As the 1st citizen of sri lanka and a representative of POORS OF SRI LANKA, You have an obligation to protect your self as well as to protect us also.

    Thank you Mr president.

    PS.Mr president, Are You a Sinhala Buddhist, Or BUDDHIST SINHALESE????.
    Because, We did not see you visiting any Indian Hindu Temples for Begging for BLESSINGS to stay in power forever.

  • 3
    2

    A good piece by Ranga.

    I agree with comments made by commentators in this forum in favor of Pres. Sirisena.

    If I may, nudge the conversation on the kitchen cabinet. This is normal practice in other countries too. Many developed countries are run by their PMO’s office or Prime Minsters office, which are run by non-elected people. During the past regime, though we had a Jumbo Cabinet, the country was run by a micro-kitchen cabinet. The Rajapaksa Brothers.

    So carry on Mr. President. You will have my vote again, if you decide to have a go at it. Honestly, we may ask you to do just that.

    Thanks for reading Mes Amis.
    V.

  • 1
    0

    “there is a mighty God, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. He rewards the just but punishes the wicked’ – Kumaran

    Yeap !!! You are spot on. In Tunisia the gunmen killed 28 British, Irish & German Tourists.
    Iornically these are the very Countries who harboured and continue to harbour TERRORISTS and preach to others Human Rights & democracy.

    Sira is at sixes and sevens puppetered by a dictator or tors and a kitchen cabinet. Yours humbly or truly puppet me as I am one time President with no clout. I know to serve my Masters.

    Get back to your Roots Sira the SLFP and unite the party or else you will have no future with your puppet masters. How long did it take for the egg hoppers to digest for you to realise.

    You wanted to be a One Time president only. Kindly give up the UPFA/SLFP leadership and be a neutral observer.
    Let the party handle affairs by themselves.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. President
    You brought about a silent revolution to this country.You also would have seen the good work as well as mistakes done by politicians you admire. They brought good as well as misery to the people of this country. Appreciate their good work and criticize the mistakes. You have the best opportunity to correct the past mistakes and avoid another bloodshed. As you said at the time you became the common candidate you made Ranil the Prime Minister.This combination is the best that happened after independence in this country.This reminds me “Mawo sethun and Chu en lai” combination in China after the revolution. Former being from peasants and latter from the elite. Please ensure that the combination is maintained after the elections now that you have dissolved the parliament.It is best for you to be neutral and allow a person like Nimal to lead the election campaign of SLFP. Look at the big picture. You can make this country a real “Miracle of Asia” provided this combination is maintained.

  • 0
    2

    Thank you Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya for this erudite article with respect to the manipulations of the people within the President’s circle of advisors. The “sine qua non” in these manipulations seem to be the party – the SLFP, being more important than good governance for the people of Sri Lanka?
    President Sirisena, the people of Sri Lanka matter more than party politics!
    The people have been cheering you from day one – with the hope that you would arrest the rampant corruption that has prevalent – beginning from the top and going down all the tiers of authourity. The highlighting of the financial crimes gave us, the people, hope that the corrupt would get their just dues. However, with all the highlighting they remain scot free – still continuing their corrupt ways and manipulating the people around you with their ill-gotten gains.
    The modus-operandi seems to be the fear factor! So let us ask you Mr. President – what are your current fears? Have you or yours been threatened in anyway?
    Why is it that the miscreants have not been called to task? Why, are they still able to use their ill-gotten gains and use the fear factor to influence the outcome of the future?
    It is mind boggling – when we hear reports from people who have been the highest authourity, in a particular field – openly stating that they have been guilty of negligence in their sphere of activity – considering that it is directly due to their negligence that we find ourselves in this predicament.

    CITATIONS

    Sri Lanka’s former Chief Justice apologizes for his 2005 judgment delivered in favor of current President
    Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 11:28 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
    Oct 18, Colombo: In an unprecedented move, Sri Lanka’s former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has apologized for his verdict in the “helping Hambantota” case that paved the way for the current President, Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest for presidential election in 2005

    Tissa Vitarana, the leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja party and the former senior minister has obtained a promise from Mahinda Rajapaksa that there will be “no corruption” under a future Rajapaksa government. In an interview with Ravaya newspaper Vitarana said; “I admit that there were issues of corruption. We have already discussed the matter with Mahinda. He has assured that he will stop all corruption if he comes back to power.”

    http://www.ceylontoday.lk/resizer/news-images/550/330/FFFFFF/96536_Untitled-1.jpg
    Minister of Urban Development Rauff Hakeem yesterday told Parliament “in our haste to get rid of President Mahinda Rajapaksa we may have got ourselves into a bigger muddle.”

    Mr. President, please do not allow for anything that you would regret like the failed people of authourity cited above.

  • 0
    0

    Don’t trust this man any more! We wait that blind astrologer’s prediction comes true soon!

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