By Gamini Jayaweera –
The SLFP rebel members well supported by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the “Gang of Four” namely Dinesh, Vasu, Wimal, and Udaya are ignoring and violating the official instructions, warnings, and deadlines given by the SLFP Leadership and the Central Committee on several issues which are detrimental to upholding the discipline and the unity of the party. The warning letters issued by the General Secretary of the SLFP based on the decisions taken by the Central Committee, were torn or burnt by the rebels in public thus humiliating the leadership and the CC of the party. The negative response exhibited by the SLFP rebel members for the recent announcement made by the SLFP CC banning the SLFP members’ participation in the anti-government rally at Hyde Park organized by the “Joint Opposition” need to be dealt with promptly and authoritatively, if the SLFP wants to survive as a major political force in the country. As Lance Armstrong said, “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say: Enough is enough.”
On Sunday 13 March, the General Secretary of the SLFP Mr. Duminda Dissanayake publically declared that all SLFP MPs including the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa had been informed that they would be barred from attending any meetings, rallies, conferences or discussions that were not organised by the SLFP. He went on to inform the media that the ban would also be applied to the forthcoming anti-government rally scheduled to be held on 17 March.
On 16 March, the Treasurer of the SLFP and Social Empowerment & Welfare Minister Mr. S. B. Dissanayake publically warned the SLFP parliamentarians that they could lose their parliamentary seats if they would attend the “Joint Opposition’s” rally at Hyde Park on 17 March. He went on to say “The SLFP Central Committee has taken a decision that no SLFP member should participate in a meeting or rally organised by other parties other than the SLFP without prior permission from the party,”.
The rebel SLFP MPs including the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, attended the rally at Hyde Park organized by the “Joint Opposition” despite the official warnings from the General Secretary and the CC of the Party. At the Hyde Park meeting, the General Secretary of the SLFP was ridiculed by some speakers and the SLFP rebel MPs were cheering and applauding the speeches given by the “Gang of Four” indicating that they would whole heartedly agree with those statements. Most of the speakers at the Hyde Park rally were directing their criticism towards the President, his government, and the SLFP ministers who had taken ministerial posts in the present government.
After the rally at Hyde Park, the SLFP Vice-President and newly appointed UPFA General Secretary, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera stated that the SLFP parliamentarians who had attended the “Joint Opposition” rally at Hyde Park on March 17 in defiance of the decision taken and imposed by the CC of the party, would not be punished as they had not criticized the party or its leadership. He further stated that they had observed the speeches but no SLFP member criticised President Sirisena, only NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa had denounced the President and his government. But Minister Amaraweera has ignored the fact that all the SLFP rebels on stage were cheering and approving the statements made by Wimal, Udaya, Vasu, and Dinesh to the delight of their supporters in the audience. The behavior of the Minister Amaraweera appears that he also wants to keep one foot in the “Joint Opposition” and the other foot in the MS Camp as exactly the same way most of the senior members of the SLFP behaved during the Presidential and the General Election.
Minister S.B. Dissanayake speaking recently, has also changed his position about the rebel MPs, to say that it is difficult to control the rebel MPs with strict warnings. He further stated that his biggest concern of the SLFP at present was to avoid a split in the party at all costs. It appears that Mr. Dissanayake is not much concerned about the members of the party acting against the wishes of the leadership and the CC. How can you run a party when some members are acting independently, ignoring the policies advocated by the leadership and the CC of the party? Turning a blind eye to the unacceptable and negative behaviors of the SLFP rebel members by the party leadership and the CC, will undoubtedly inflict an irreversible damage to the party’s progress in the long run. It appears that the SLFP CC is paying a very high price for trying to avoid a split in the party which seems to be inevitable.
Naïve CC Members
If the SLFP wants to get the policies right to achieve their vision, they cannot have callous and undisciplined individuals who sanction infighting and bickering to undermine the leadership and the CC of the party. This reminds me of Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe’s recent statement: “The aim of the Joint Opposition is to cripple the work of the government to create a political environment where their personal ambitions can be achieved.” If so, we do not see any problem in taking actions against the rebel members.
It appears that it is naïve of the Minister Amaraweera, Minister Dissanayake, and some other members of the CC to believe that the rebel members of the “Joint Opposition” are waiting in the wings to make peace and join the “Yahapalanaya” government, if no disciplinary actions are taken against them. The rather naïve members of the SLFP CC have been cleverly misled by the rebel SLFP members who are marking time until they are confident that they have sufficient support in electorates to set up a new political party under the leadership of the former President. They do not have to hurry and set up a new political party because they can make use of the well-established SLFP electoral machinery to advance their positions in their electorates until the last minute. It has been reported that they are organizing another anti-government rally in the very near future. They know very well that in this instance SLFP CC is “blowing a lot of hot air” with no strategy in place to deal with them. It is a fair and reasonable question to ask whether the SLFP CC is naïve, gutless and spineless to take disciplinary actions against the rebel party members for disobeying the party orders.
On 21 March, former President and SLFP Patron Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, quite rightly so, hit out at the SLFP rebel MPs and Local Government members who participated at the Hyde Park rally organized by the “Joint Opposition” stating that they would be removed from the SLFP in the very near future. She accused that the SLFP members who have stolen the public property have joined the “Joint Opposition” bandwagon and some murderers are also among these fraudsters.
Mr. Udaya Gammanpila, a member of the “Gang of Four” and a leading figure in the “Joint Opposition”, immediately responded to CBK’s statement saying “She speaks whatever is in her mind without thinking twice. This may be a symptom of being a victim of the bomb blast,”. Mr. Gammanpila should apologies to the former President Mrs. Kumaratunga for making a distasteful remark about her physical injuries which she sustained due to the Tamil Tiger Terrorist attack in 1999 while she was performing public duties as the President of Sri Lanka. Mr. Gammanpila should also note that the former President is not showing any sign of mental weakness. On the contrary, she is an active Patron of the SLFP and very much mindful of what is happening in the Sri Lankan political arena. People of Sri Lanka are grateful to her for providing an invaluable contribution during the last presidential election to defeat the previous administration and saving our country from moving towards the dictatorship.
Mr. Gammanpila without being hypocritical, should take a look at himself before judging others. Mr. Gammanpila should be reminded that he, as a former member of the JHU had “lost his mind” in December 2014, within 10 days of signing a MoU with Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. The Leader of the JHU Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thero participating in a media conference held on 12th December 2014 said “All clauses in the MoU signed by JHU with the common candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena were compiled with the direction of Councilor Udaya Gammanpila. It is puzzling as to how or why he would suddenly have an issue with our decisions just ten days into signing the agreement”. At the time, according to the political analysts, it was reported that Mr. Gammanpila had told a blatant lie about his resignation from the JHU.
On 20th February 2014, Colombo Telegraph reported under the heading “Gammanpila Compares His Hero Gota To Buddha, Jesus And Gandhi”. It is interesting to note that Mr. Gammanpila had made his findings public, after he had left the JHU and joined the previous regime. Mr. Gammanpila is not doing any favors to either Gota or any other person by comparing Lord Buddha to lay people who are engaged in worldly events with greed, ill-will, and ignorance. One cannot compare Lord Buddha to even a person who has attained Sothapaththi because that person has only eradicated 3 Fetters out of the 10 Fetters which are needed to be eradicated to become an Arahath. As Abraham Lincoln once said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
This reminds me of certain poems in a well-known Buddhist poetry book called “Buduguna Alankaraya” written by the late Ven. Vidagama Maithriya Maha Thero. According to the story, it is worth reflecting on the reply given by one of the Ministers to another Minister in the “Raja Sabha” (Parliament), who compared the Lord Buddha to a group of wandering yogis such as Niggantanatha Puttha, Makkali Gosala, Kakuda Kachchayana, Sanjaya Belatti Putta, etc. For the interest of the general public, I quote the following three poems from the “Buduguna Alankaraya”. The people may find some of the characteristics highlighted in these poems are in common with what we experience in our daily life with some of the political, religious, and public figures in the country.
ජඩ නිවටුන් නි සා
බුදුනැයි නමක් සල සා
ඔහු කී එ බස සා
කියයි මැතිඳෙක් සෙබෙහි මෙලෙ සා
පව් පින් දෙකම නැ ත
රකිනා තපස් කම් නැ ත
ඔවුන් බුදුනැයි යෙ ත
මෙසේ අනුවණ කමෙක් නම් නැ ත
බොරුවෙන් වඩන බ ඩ
එ බැවින් දුරැර මුන් ජ ඩ
දත් සිව් වේ නොක ඩ
ගෙනැ’ර බමුණන් කරව ලෝ වැ ඩ
It has been reported that some powerful members of the CC are working very hard to bring the two factions of the SLFP and their leaders, Maithree and Mahinda, together to contest the LG elections under one banner. The two leaders, current President and the former President are very different individuals. Their thinking, their behaviors and the way they want to implement their visions, policies and strategies are miles apart. One follows the Buddhist philosophy as far as reasonably practicable to govern the country under a new political culture, in a harmonious manner, with a clear foresight of uniting various communities to live and work together to bring about sustainable peace and prosperity to Sri Lanka.
The other and his followers rely on the blessings of the Gods such as “Kataragama”, “Paththini”, “Munneswarum”, etc. to protect and bless them to run the country irrespective of their ingrained narrow minded nationalism together with ill-legal activities and bad behaviors exhibited during their previous administration. They believe that smashing coconuts in the Devalas will bring them good luck to recapture the lost power to govern the country again. It reminds me of an old saying in Yiddish, which explains the outcome of the rituals practiced by the “Joint Opposition” to regain the power as “If my grand-mother had wheels she would have been a bus.”
Some senior SLFP figures are now shedding “crocodile tears” to unite the three leaders (MS, CBK, and MR) to save the SLFP. It must be said that the very same senior figures were in the last administration’s cabinet and they knew very well what was happening within and outside the party. It was alleged that even some senior ministers had to go behind Mr. Namal Rajapaksa to get his approval to carry out some of their ministerial works though Namal was a very junior, ordinary MP. But none of these ministers raised a single word of disapproval or objection to the way in which the last regime was managing the party and governing the country. They all were silent and accepted the instructions from the members of the Rajapaksa family whether those instructions were right or wrong. The general public and the SLFP supporters want these senior figures to be part of the solution by giving their unequivocal support to the leader of the SLFP, President Maithripala Sirisena to lead the party to its former glory. The SLFP cannot have two leaders. The party needs to move on because we all know that we cannot drive forward looking in the rearview mirror.
The efforts of some senior SLFP ministers to bring Maithri and Mahinda together under one banner to run the country also reminds me of the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev statement: “Do you think when two representatives holding diametrically opposing views get together and shake hands, the contradictions between our systems will simply melt away? What kind of a daydream is that?”
Hope the SLFP leadership and the CC will wake up to face the reality without daydreaming about a reconciliation with the rebels and take immediate actions that are necessary to safeguard the party and the country.
punchinilame / March 31, 2016
Rebel problems are tackled in many ways, say a Commercial Undertaking would try out “divide & rule”. Should not the CC meet-in-Camera and
work out an ad-hoc process to weed out chosen Rebels tactfully, so that the break-away is `spread-out`, detrimental to a break-away Unit?
Ignoring the rebels or getting obliged to Ministers with a hidden agenda will eventually break the back-bone of the SLFP. MS`s working
attitudes in Governance is reflected in the way SLFP is managed! A
strong Leader is always revered and admired, in any field.
A short-term method would be to expedite all FCID cases by lawfully
establishing a Special Court, as US has made a Grant of USD 46 Mil. to fight corruption?
Gamini Jayaweera / March 31, 2016
There is a minor typographical error in paragraph 4 of the Section titled “Mindless” Gammanpila.
The word “after” in the 3rd sentence should read as “before”.
My apologies for the error.
Douglas / March 31, 2016
Perhaps the CC members of the SLFP are “Day Dreaming” and the rest of the card carrying ordinary members are “In Waiting” for “Some Thing” to happen. But, the President of the SLFP and the President of the country and a few “close Allies” are planning “Some Thing Else”. Let the “Circus” go on, because the President knows the “Gang of Four” who started the circus viz. Weerawanse, Denish, Vasu, Gammanpila are not the SLFP; although they have mustered the support of others like, Bandula, Aluthgamage. Johnston, Welgama, Dallas like are the SLFP. These two groups have different “AGENDA” in the move of “Bring Back Mahinda”, in that the former group has to “hang” on to Mahinda for “political survival” while the second group who emerged has to clear a “Huge Burden” of alleged “Crimes”. That is the “Prime Agenda” of Mahinda too, because he has not only to “clear” himself, but his wife, sons, brothers and other relatives. In that struggle, Mahinda has, as usual, crafted a “political plan” of “getting together with MY3” through the negotiations already put in place in the hands of some “Big Wigs” of SLFP including some CC members. The only “stumbling block” in that pursuit is nothing else other than CBK. If Mahinda succeeds in “cutting that Deal”, he will even leave politics for good in “exchange”. If that happens the group of Wimal, Dinesh, Vasu and Gammanpila has no where to go and they would become the “Wanderers” in the political field. So these four are also working hard to get the the formation of a “Political Party” headed by Mahinda. In that pursuit they have now gone to Geneva, a venue that was described as “Hell” but suddenly discovering it to be a “Heaven”. Such is their “Hypocrisy” and “idiosyncrasy”. The people in Geneva and here know it very well.
So WHO is watching this “Tug of War” -The President of SLFP and the country. I believe he too will not give up that easily. He is fighting a war in two fronts, one with his own SLFP and other other with UNP to maintain his standing as the President of the country.
Let us watch the “GAME”. But the question before us is: Can we afford to watch the game and wait? Something has to be done or happen.
Patriot / March 31, 2016
Another [Edited out] of Bodhi Sira at work. He foegets to mention which part of the SLFP faction is with Bodhi Sira. Because all what we know he won on UNP, TNA and Muslim Congress votes. That is why at the Muslim Congress convention in Ampara he was cheered as a hero. As for SLFP the grass root part and people are anti Bodhi Sira. That is why he attends only school price giving not party meetings. Mahinda Amaraweera knows how tasteful those meetings are. There is a ground swell of support to eject Bodhi Sira with the CC this will happen closer to an election. And for Gammanpila he polled more than 200k preferential votes no one in UNP other than Ranil got more amount of votes. If this writer read of Sha of Iran he will understand what happens when leaders are out of sync with people.
rew / March 31, 2016
He won by the votes of a majority of SRI LANKANS.
jj / March 31, 2016
Well stated, Gamini.
The photo speaks a thousand words about most ‘Politicians’ – hypocrites par excellence!
And here’s something that exemplifies it with tongue firmly in cheek:
Two crocodiles were sitting at the side of the swamp near the lake.
The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said, “I can’t understand how You can be so much bigger than me.
We’re the same age; we were the same size as kids. I just don’t get it.”
“Well,” said the big Croc, “what have you been eating?”
“Politicians, same as you,” replied the small Croc.
“Hmm. Well, where do you catch them?”
“Down the other side of the swamp near the parking lot by the Capitol.”
Hmm. How do you catch them?”
“Well, I crawl up under one of their Lexus cars and wait for one to unlock the car door.
Then I jump out, grab them by the leg, shake the shit out of them and eat ’em!”
“Ah!” says the big Crocodile, “I think I see your problem.
You’re not getting any real nourishment.
See, by the time you finish shaking the shit out of a Politician,
there’s nothing left but an asshole and a briefcase.
Bodin / March 31, 2016
The writer should have followed the precept:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
that he attributes to Lincoln.
Amarasiri / March 31, 2016
RE: Are The SLFP CC Members Naive & Day Dreaming?
“As Lance Armstrong said, “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say: Enough is enough.”
“The SLFP rebel members well supported by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the “Gang of Four” namely Dinesh, Vasu, Wimal, and Udaya are ignoring and violating the official instructions, warnings, and deadlines given by the SLFP Leadership and the Central Committee on several issues which are detrimental to upholding the discipline and the unity of the party. “
So, the Party needs to learn to Shoot.
Can somebody give the Party the book by Niccolo Machiavelli, the Prince?
Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici to whom the final version of The Prince was dedicated.
Machiavelli’s best-known book Il Principe contains several maxims concerning politics. Instead of the more traditional target audience of a hereditary prince, it concentrates on the possibility of a “new prince”. To retain power, the hereditary prince must carefully balance the interests of a variety of institutions to which the people are accustomed.
By contrast a new prince has the more difficult task in ruling: He must first stabilize his newfound power in order to build an enduring political structure. Machiavelli suggests that the social benefits of stability and security can be achieved in the face of moral corruption. Machiavelli believed that public and private morality had to be understood as two different things in order to rule well. As a result, a ruler must be concerned not only with reputation, but also must be positively willing to act immorally at the right times.
As a political theorist, Machiavelli emphasized the occasional need for the methodical exercise of brute force or deceit including extermination of entire noble families to head off any chance of a challenge to the prince’s authority.
Violence may be necessary for the successful stabilization of power and introduction of new legal institutions. Force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to coerce resistant populations, and to purge the community of other men strong enough of character to rule, who will inevitably attempt to replace the ruler. Machiavelli has become infamous for such political advice, ensuring that he would be remembered in history through the adjective, “Machiavellian”.
Vanguard / March 31, 2016
“As a political theorist, Machiavelli emphasized the occasional need for the methodical exercise of brute force or deceit including extermination of entire noble families to head off any chance of a challenge to the prince’s authority.”
He forgot FCID
sach / March 31, 2016
Sira came with UNP votes..and he favors an RW government…so there is no reason for SLFP to have him.
Sira holding SLFP against its will is anti democratic
sr / March 31, 2016
“Sira holding SLFP against its will is anti democratic”
Sira came with both UNP and SLFP votes so he has the responsibility to make both groups happy.
However the best thing he can do is becoming a UNPer with some support from SLFP MPs in the government.
What our country wants is a stable government at any cost.
Steve / March 31, 2016
Ali Baba and his thieves will always be Ali Baba and his thieves.
So even even though he has lost, He is thinks he and his thieves are always right