21 July, 2024


Beware The Ides Of February Mr President: Times Aren’t Good For You

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

There is only one thing you should do to save yourself from the downward spiral: evict

your close advisors and be the man who once took his own brave decisions and captured the high office he  now holds. Nor should you attempt to remain in the post after your term. That would not be well received and you will lose the honour you’ve won. If I were you, I would be satiated and say,”goodbye! More is tanha.”

In 44 BC, the Ides represented the notorious date of the assassination of Julius Caesar. That was a March. This is a February.

I am getting like a soothsayer’s strange vision from afar, writing all the way from Melbourne – The Most Liveable City in the World. I seem to be  having an extrasensory perception of events unfolding in the body politic of my dear Sri Lanka: Beware, I tell President Maitripala Sirisena. Engage your damage -control system as I can see you sliding down as fast as a kid in a mat slide. Believe me, you are looking  down a spiral. I have sentiments of  loyalty to you as you saved our land from an oppressive regime of kleptocrats and murderers. I was the first to go on social media and praise your speech at Sirikotha after gaining UNP backing to make your way to be President of this country. You had the looks of a saviour that day. But what has happened now?

I would have expected you to be self gratified to the limit after having won the highest public office in the land-shooting up from the lowly grassroots-beginning as a small man. If I were you…? And how many of us can aspire to be that? I would have sat serenely in office, used the wisdom of  practical experience and deftly guided your chosen Prime Minister and his party of great experience-leaving the running of the country and the economy under his leadership. Ranil Wickremesinghe is a gentleman par excellence – a sober, knowledgeable, leader of international calibre like nobody else in Sri Lanka today. Ranil’s personal inadequacies you could have covered up for by your grassroots touch and simple peasant experience. He has his cunning – perhaps more cunning than his uncle. As Machiavelli said, cunning is an asset for a political leader and it is particularly imperative in the capricious selfish political culture that prevails in Sri Lanka.

You both seemed to have been getting on well and a lot has happened that has already changed Sri Lanka for the better. A lot is in the pipeline that is sound. Three years isn’t time enough for economic measures to show up. Typically, such outcomes have a big gestation period.Yet, there are visible signs of an attractive climate for foreign investment. Exports are looking up. Growth rates are up.Fiscal management is good. Debt management is good. Infrastructure is coming up. No Government’s can bring down prices; the economy can. For that reason the economy must grow without being hamstrung by a restrictive legal environment and by  corrupt practices by the many Ministers who were openly and unashamedly operating as commission agents. Above all, your government has achieved the restoration of the  rule of law. Independent Commissions are operative, politicisation that ruined the Public Service is declining and cops are acting without fear. We have a Chief Justice who is an impeccably honest gent. Great!

There is, to be  sure, the negative report too. But, then, you and the Prime Minster face an imperfect situation of much complexity with a sizeable number in Parliament from the other side. A significant number inside is also really outside. Complex situations contain contradictions and potential conflicts.We have to work in an imperfect contextual situation using even questionable characters who fled to your Ministries from the other side.

But you know, none of  your Ministers come out in public to shout for you at meetings? You scream alone as you did in Kandy the other day. You have unwittingly been drawn into a useless battle to build up the SLFP and to merge as a political force on your own merits. You are not an Illangaratne who was a pure bred Bandaranaike-linked SLFPer that had charisma in his  own way. You share part of the sordid  past of the Rajapaksa regime. The public remembers you to have, along with others, raised your hands supporting so many injustices that were perpetrated under the last regime. For instance, jailing of  the courageous man who fought and won the war on the physical battlefield. General Sarath Fonseka was dragged and dumped in the prison cell outfitted with jumpers. He ate out of a tin plate for three years. Such memories live on.You will, therefore, have difficulty in working out  for yourself a charisma and you are abandoning the only ground you had and have to self-create such a holy state within you. That ground was as the man who saved the country from  oppression, massive corruption, murder  and misrule.  You now appear as one who is trying to undermine that salvaging work.

Whoever dragged into this undignified position – dressed as you are in dark blue and looking so thoroughly partisan, uttering mistruths and distortions, and altogether inappropriate for a Head of State? JR used others for his dirty work. He could carry himself. So did Mahinda although the latter would often do it alone by the use of good Sinhala vocabulary. You now seem to have introduced a new era of cloak and dagger in politics. At Kandy, you blamed Ranil for the shelving the corrupt and I saw you act a pleading that Ranil should strengthen your hands in a so-called battle against corruption. It was resonant of  Mahinda asking others to strengthen his hands (deth shakhthimath karanna). Why should you drag Ranil when the powers are with you even to remove him? Besides, Ranil has instructed his own men not to drag you. On the contrary, you are dragging Ranil.

Besides, it is hard for you to build an image as a corruption slayer ready for attack with a sword as, once again, you helped keep in power for ten years one of the most corrupt regimes in the history of this country. I know you were good among the bad. You also have men in your own fold who have black pasts. Obliterating the past takes long time.

You say you want to run the economy, meaning that the UNP-dominant government is not doing a proper job. What knowledge of economic policy do you have? Can you point to one Minister in your government who might have such expertise? On the other hand, the UNP has so many. What skills did you show even when running the Health Ministry when that was under your charge in the previous government?

DS Senananake was virtually unschooled but he had great wisdom to tap the clever men to help him. So many irrigation tanks were built by that man. Minneriya, Kawduluwewa, Parakrama Samudra and so on. They  were all repaired and rebuilt to serve as a restoration of a once proud hydraulic economy. Agriculture was booming. Your own Party man runs the Ministry of Agriculture. Can you ask him to tell us what he has achieved so far? He is also charged with allegations of paying millions per month as rent for unoccupied buildings. He has suddenly realised a shortage of  fertiliser and you think you have shown managerial skill by telephone the Prime Minister of Pakistan to send  fertiliser. This is like fire control. Get all your talking Ministers like Dilan, Prem Jayanth, John Seneviratne, and Dayasiri to show you what they have done. So  you should insist that Ranil, too, gets reports from his set of Ministers. The Public wants to know if they are all running or ruining. Your secretariat can play a broad monitoring role. Re-organize it that way.

I see your campaign at LG elections as not doing that good. It is definitely succeeding in a divorce operation between yourselves and your major partner-the UNP. If you fail at the elections, you will be isolated and forced into the side of  the guillotine men in case you want a further lease of life. Your slogans and strategy only confuses the whole show; they help Mahinda’s show.

There is only one thing you should do to save yourself from the downward spiral: evict

Your close advisors and be the man who once took his own brave decisions and captured the  office he  now holds. Nor should you attempt to remain in the post after your term. That would not be well receive and you will lose the honour you’ve won. If I were you, I would be satiated and say,”goodbye! More is tanha.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0

    Shaymons has come to bury Ranil not to praise him. Bury him mind you, not cremate,as cremation is a practice of Buddhist extremists and Ranil is a baptised Christian pretending to be a Buddhist. What do we do with Sirisena?unfortunately Prabha is not here or he would have done the needful.BTW Prabha has given a solemn pledge that he will allow Ranil to graze freely in return for Ranils pledge to give him EELAm.So all’s well in the land of ungrateful people.!

    • 0

      Percy the dated disturbed pathetic

      ” What do we do with Sirisena?unfortunately Prabha is not here or he would have done the needful.”

      So you got VP to bump off SWRD Banda, Richard, 18,000 innocent people in 1971, … Kathir, Premadasa, Lalith, ……… Dutta Gamani, Rajiv, … Kobbekaduwa, ………. more than 60,000 between 1987 and 1990, …………

      You must have been well respected among LTTE.

  • 0

    For me Shaymon , you are a paid apologist for UNP and Ranil W who protect thieves and commission agents like RK , Lax K and the like.

    You are very good at sucking and licking but not visionary.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.