19 September, 2020

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Circles Of Political Vengeance & Demise Of Yahapālanaya!

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them, they take vengeance.”  – Machiavelli

Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19

Jesus taught his disciples to turn the other cheek.” – (Matthew 5:39)

How Things Began?

It is said Maithripala Sirisena left Mahinda Rajapaksa four years ago, after a hopper treat, because he was not given due recognition as a Minister, and the PM position. That may be true. Otherwise, he even voted for the 18thAmendment to allow the possibility of Rajapaksa to contest for the Presidency again and again without a term-limit. There must have been other reasons to do with family rule or authoritarian handling of things.

The Lord (the people) took vengeance from Rajapaksa on the 8thJanuary 2015, and he left for Madamulana on the same night without a whimper, whatever Mangala Samaraweera talked about a military coup. Romans as quoted above were correct about the Lord. That was justice. After another attempt at power as the PM on 26thOctober 2018, Rajapaksa is again eating the humble pie, still waiting to be declared as the Leader of the Opposition. Justice often means punishment, and this time by the Supreme Court.

When Sirisena was elected as the President, to the surprise of many, he was quite amicable to Ranil Wickremesinghe, the schemer behind all the political gimmicks since then, and even called the latter ‘Sir.’ However, Ranil apparently didn’t like anyone above him and most certainly a ‘gamarala’ from Polonnaruwa. Most disliked was his continuous and rigmarole Sinhala talk. Sirisena was meekly humble at the beginning, and even gave the Temple Trees back to the PM.

Then there was this 100 day program (whoever drafted it!) to clip the presidential powers of anyone above the PM, among other things, and Sirisena was obviously trapped. Only obstacle was the presidential constitution itself which could not be totally changed without people’s consent, a referendum. Therefore, many constitutional jugglery had to be performed, as evident from the 19A. An expert from the left movement was hired for the job, who has some experience in these type of matters.

Naivety and Offense

Sirisena was obviously naïve at the beginning. When he realized his predicament, he was rather late. Therefore his anger was doubled, and trebled. This is where what Machiavelli said about ‘offence’ became true. Sirisena was not destroyed, but offended to the brim.

This is not to relate Machiavelli’s advice literally into democratic politics today. Complete destruction of an enemy is not possible today, except in civil war or by punishing someone for criminal offenses. Now Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Mahinda’s first cousin, is trapped in the USA. Similar things might happen in the near future. Otherwise, politicians have to live with perceived enemies, whether they like it or not. Mahinda Rajapaksa (also his gang) is still there with renewed vigour, although slightly bruised after the abortive attempt at unjustified grabbing of the PM position. Sirisena is to be blamed mainly for this tragicomic happening.

There is no question that politicians should be punished for financial fraud and corruption. However, this should be done without bias, and equally for one’s own side, and not merely targeting the opposition. Otherwise, the Lord will be angry. The opposite is what has happened since 2015 and the appointment of Ravi Karunanayake would confirm the situation in the eyes of the people. Whatever said against Sirisena, he relatively appears clean in respect of financial matters (so far!). Although called Mr Clean, Wickremesinghe is still a prime suspect in the Bond Scam.

Revenging in Circles

What has happened since 2015 is revenging in circles, not mere circularity. The reasons are not so byzantine. Politics is understood, or used by politicians as power, and absolute power in the case of some. And power is used for personal interests rather than for public good. Politics should be for justice and public good instead. Sirisena took revenge from Rajapaksa as he was marginalized. Wickremesinghe took revenge from Sirisena as he was not toying his line as anticipated. There were overt or alleged policy differences as well.

The first policy difference between the two was the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor to the Central Bank. This reminded Sirisena of old stories about Wickremesinghe –  that he is inclined to work with his Royalists. By that time Wickremesinghe has taken over the Central Bank under his wings and was quite determined to control and direct the economy according to his neoliberalism. The obvious immediate result was the Bond Scam.

According to Wickremesinghe ideology, an uncle giving inside information to his nephew is not a big issue. What is important is money to the Treasury. It appears that Wickremesinghe wanted to fudge the situation from the beginning and even Sirisena corroborated by dissolving Parliament in June (2015) before Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) giving its damning report on the matter. There are so many other people who don’t consider the ‘bond scam’ as a financial fraud or corruption, according to probably their capitalist thinking.

Things soured between the two eventually and much after the general elections of August 2015. Even by that time Sirisena was like a bruised cobra (pollen bateka naya) because of the 19thAmendment and other matters. His first major counter attack was the appointment of the Presidential Commission on the Bond Issue in March 2017. Even that was a late reaction. Nevertheless, it was a major turning point of their soured relations. Although the national government marriage continued uneasily even thereafter, it was without a proper direction either from Sirisena or Wickremesinghe.

Overreaction?

Sirisena appears to be a slow, but an over reactor. As he was leading the SLFP, the party’s performance at the local government election was a major setback. He correctly attributed that set back to his alliance with the UNP and its unpopular economic policies. First, without properly assessing the relative strengths between the opposition and the Wickremesinghe government, he encouraged the aborted no confidence motion in April 2018.

Then came his major reaction in October 26th. He ousted Wickremesinghe, but Wickremesinghe refused to leave Temple Trees or his position as the PM. Now R. Sampanthan is doing a similar adventure without leaving the office of the Leader of the Opposition. What strength did Wickremesinghe get in October even without a clear majority in Parliament? It is not merely the support of the TNA or the JVP that allowed Wickremesinghe to come back to power. Some of the Western embassies and international NGOs were believed to be behind the comeback, not to speak about the local cohorts. Sampanthan might be banking on the same.

More importantly, it was possible because of the miscalculation on the part of Sirisena that Rajapaksa could muster a majority. S. B. Dissanayake was behind all the machinations based on pre-2015 experience of parliamentary politics. It was not purely a constitutional obstacle, but a political one. Whatever the objectives that the people or even Sirisena had in mind in bringing a change of government in January and also in August 2015, Wickremesinghe government probably survived and survives because of the backing of the Western powers.

This backing is premised largely on the objective of preventing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. It was not by accident that the Chinese Ambassador was the first and also the last to greet Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister. This created more fears or anxieties on the part of Western embassies.

Overreaction was accompanied by overconfidence on the part of both Sirisena and Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa’s overreaction became more evident by taking the membership of the SLPP, or allegedly applying for it, without considering possible legal ramifications. When Sirisena’s three trump cards of ‘Dismissal, Prorogation and Dissolution’ came one after the other, at a quick pace, the Western educated middle class or the Colombians also became genuinely alarmed. They were thriving under Wickremesinghe economics.

Sirisena’s actions and boasted declarations undoubtedly had an element of authoritarianism. The return of Rajapaksa also united the UNP ranks and it was only for a short while that people like Wasantha Senanayake could flirt with both sides. The UNP/UNF Ministers, State Ministers and Junior Ministers undoubtedly have generously gratified their support base through public funds. This is something that the SLFP had failed to do, giving priority to their acrimonious or talkative politics. There are clear indications that both Sirisena and Rajapaksa have not learnt the lessons of the 2015 democratic change, where people don’t want to go back to authoritarianism or even semblance of it.

A Lost Opportunity

When looking back at last four years, it is at best a lost opportunity. It was also a betrayal and treachery from almost all sides. What they promised and delivered as Yahapalanaya were different. When friends (although new) become enemies they obviously become extra bitter. This is what happened to the UNP and the SLFP or more correctly to Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. It was by  chance that the UNF government was salvaged thanks to the TNA and the JVP in Parliament. In actual sense it is still a minority government. No one knows at what time it will fall or disintegrate.

Was it too ideal or impractical to have a national government? Perhaps yes. Primarily because the objectives on the part of the leaders were short sighted or rather opportunistic. Nevertheless the positive achievements or people’s aspirations behind 2015 change should be continued and even enhanced. They are primarily (1) to have independent commissions to oversee not only appointments but also government performance and (2) to resist authoritarian tendencies on the part of the President or even the Prime Minister.

As most of the authoritarian deviations in the future might come from the PM or the new government, the President should step back and allow the PM to expose himself before the people. Unnecessary reactions or attempts at imposition of authority might confuse the situation and boomerang on the President himself. There is a need for a strong opposition in Parliament (not a fake one!) and in the country. Opposition activities in the country should not be destructive, but peaceful, engaging and constructive as much as possible.

There is no question that the so-called Yahapalanaya has exhausted its potential. It is a lost opportunity, par excellence. The problematic however in the New Year would be its required alternative. Ranil Wickremesinghe has got a lease of life through the Supreme Court and therefore he should either deliver or get out. Jesus’ advice to his disciples is too ideal, at least for laymen like us, or for the sovereign people of the country. If their living conditions are attacked, people should not turn their other cheek, but should give a good hammer!

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Latest comments

  • 17
    5

    // It was by chance that the UNF government was salvaged thanks to the TNA and the JVP in Parliament. In actual sense it is still a minority government. //
    It saddens me to read this from someone of Laksiri Fernando’s stature, basically saying the TNA and JVP are not part of our country (they don’t count, hence UNF is still minority). Both the TNA and JVP behaved with admirable responsibility, and spoke so much sense as Sri Lankans, during this Rajapakse-Sirisena coup. Much reservation I had about the TNA (speaking as a Tamil) has been put aside because of their responsible behaviour.
    True, yahapalanaya did not deliver as expected; true Ranil protected Royalists (but don’t forget the son-in-law is in jail and the father-in-law is absconding). But we are holding yahapalanaya to far higher standards now than we ever did our politicians in our post-independence history, are we not?
    I fail to see how you can make your judgements of the present world based on yahapalanaya under-performance without reference to the murders of Wasim Thajudeen and Lasantha Wickremathunge, and the white vans and grease yakkas roaming around pre 2015? Any wish you might have for a Rajapakse return is not only not in the interest of the country, but will be a stance based on your refusal to accept the TNA (and by extension the Tamil people) and the JVP (by extension those speaking on behalf of the working class) as part of our country. That is very disappointing.

    • 4
      6

      Dr. Laksiri, Right on! Washington-backed Bondscam Ranil and his partner in Crime must share the same Prison Cell for Financial Crimes and Hate Crimes against the people of Lanka.
      Today, religious conflicts and (Buddhist-Muslim) attacks are happening again, now that Washington-backed Bondscam Ranil is back in power, in order to Divide and DISTRACT people from Ranil’s crimes and push US Security interests and the neoliberal agenda to asset strip Sri Lanka, in the Cold War with China, and Loot strategic lands and transport infrastructure after crashing the rupee.
      During the Cold War Period the CIA and Asia Foundation Weaponized Buddhism in Southeast Asia Against Communism. Same thing is happening today.The book: Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in South East Asia by Eugene Ford (Yale University Press 2017) provides this history. Today the US agenda is to maintain
      Trumpland’s puppet Bondscam Ranil, hence the Religious Riot Machine is starting up to distract Lankan NGOs and civil society from the Fact that Bondscam Ranil works for America First and the Global 1 percent and is asset stripping and selling of Lanka which is a security choke point in the Indian sitting on strategic under-sea cables where 80 percent on global internet traffic flows..
      Long live Miracle of Modayas!
      Ethnic and religious violence always happens when UNP is in power and neoliberal reforms ongoing as with Anti-Tamil riots in 1983 and when the PCOI report on Bondscam was released Muslims were attacked, to Divide, Distract and Rule the masses.

    • 3
      0

      there is no stature to ti
      his man. He was my professor at Peradeniyaa and did not know how to differentiate facts from fiction when teaching. Always confusing what he says. Didn’t he say in a previous column that MY3 can constitutionally dessolve the Parliament. If I remember correctly this guy also serves in the MR administration as a political appointee.

    • 0
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      Tee Twenty,
      Like you I also saddens me to see behaviour of the most of the left oriented academics and politicians who are happy to become antidemocratic, anti Tamil (racists). They still endorse bribing of MPs in order to capture power illegally and forcefully. Ranil or UNP may be not good enough to run this country economically, socially but we cannot forget the period of 2006 and 2015. We all, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims had a hope at the end of the war in 2009 that the country will turn into a peaceful democratic nation. But it turned out to be more brutal dictatorship. Who will forget it? Apart from the massacre of over 50, 000 Tamils, the brutal murder of those who surrendered, the murder of 10 year old Pirabhaharans son, abduction & murder of number of journalists including Lasantha, human rights activists, attack on Muslims etcc., unimaginable bribes in every corner. What a period? Can you imagine back? Shivering! You cannot speak, you cannot talk to your neighbor.
      Thanks for the brave people, and civil societies to get rid of that monsterous evils. Do we need to go back to that? I cannot forgive Laksiri for his rascist writings.

  • 20
    5

    Nutty Professor, I see you back in action.Looks like you took some time to recuperate from the mental health issues. Now it is obvious your opinions have changed. Before you were trying to be up to the point, but now like the rest, you go about beating the bushes and in between insinuate your altered facts in disguise. You trying to present MS as a naive person who woke up from slumber in vengeance is hilarious. MS is a born double talker and MR is a born criminal. Go ask their respective spouses who will vouch for it.If RW bringing Mahendran is a issue, what about MS appointing his own brother in SLT. The truth is from day one the goal of MS was to see UNP not making any progress what so ever. What is your opinion on MS not allowing judiciary to function??? Is that is part of naivety ???? In your crooked mind a lawful tenant should vacate the house for a thief who entered through the back door to rob.The western powers including your own Australia are going by doing the right thing and not propping up frauds as you say.Pretty much you are giving excuses for the wrong doings of your criminal bosses ,and trying to justify by saying two wrongs make a right. Did you become a political scientist for this. If not you must be demented. Other explanation will be post retirement and being jobless Lankan PhD,s (not all but most) convert to this kind of filth for their supper.

    • 14
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      He too proved that he is no different to average srilanken academics.
      Betrayals of lankens are common regardless of their achievements in academ

      Once I thought Dr Fernando would never BETRTAY lanken academics. But he for some reasons sang his song this time in favour of recent unconstitutional steps taken by uneducated president Sirisena. How come ? May well be Fernando was taken to that years, he himself became a panelists to award Rajakashse rascals with DR titles.

      And the elderly emeritus prof went on saying that all the actions taken by Sirisena were constitutional. You dont need to be a lawyer but anyone with sanity would easily get it, that all the actions taken by President of srilanka during the last 2 months were far from constitutional paragraphs. Alone his appointment of Fake Premiership to Mahidna Rajakapakshe is beyond all ethics and morals, since 6.2 mio of voters kept much hope on SIRISENSA by appointing him as the president in 2015. No excuses can he ever bring regarding his unexpected actions taken lately.

      But to the eyes of Laksiri Fernando, there had been nothing wrong having done them by President…. how come ?

      See, that GLP – by education is said to be a professor who had once been the dean of a local uni. And academic acomplishments covers also his performances at Oxford, but ridiculously enough the so called Prof. GLP is caught by most vicious lanken politicians (Rajakashe and his abusive bunch).

    • 8
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      Hold on Chiv; you act like a wild tiger that got shot but survived. What Prof Fernando analyses is the current situation for which RW and Maithree should be mainly responsible.
      He brings in several good points that need our attention. If you are a blind supporter of the UNP you can ignore them but they are important to the majority people of SL.
      Please look at the most recent gimmick of the UNP: to increase the number of ministers in the cabinet.
      Do you support it? Do you want Sarath Fonseka as a minister in any cabinet? Do you agree with the Central bank robbery? Colombo-Kandy central highway robbery? Taxing the poor who worked abroad since there are no decent jobs in SL? Do you know what happened to the 1 million job program of the UNP? Do you want RaviK in the cabinet? Do you want tall guys to be security guards and short men to be laborers?
      Chiv, give me a break, man!

  • 7
    0

    We agree with you, Laksiri Fernando, that THE particular Yahapālanaya has no hopes of survival not because of “Circles Of Political Vengeance” but because of the culture of corruption/nepotism/impunity.
    The concept of Yahapālanaya must not be abandoned.
    .
    Yes, MR, for a few few days exhibited his own ‘Rogues Gallery’ and now RW has a rearranged version of his ‘Rogues Gallery’.
    There is a silver lining though. People are getting tired of the ‘turning the other cheek’ stuff. This will turn into a rebellion.

  • 7
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    What was at stake was not who or which party was to continue in power, but the way the Constitution was willfully misinterpreted to fit the whims of a group of conspirators.
    To be put that right was a priority.
    If Laksiri Fdo cannot appreciate that, all his comments reduce to a futile academic exercise to defend his earlier ill-considered, if not totally dishonest, stand on the matter.

    • 0
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      Shyamon Jayasinghe knos the Constitution too.

  • 2
    5

    LAksiri Fernando: I remember what every one said here. Anyway, Everything you say is correct (Leaving some TAR WEIGHT aside). I am sure, you know the whole picture too. What ever it is What Ranil always say to Maithripala sirisena is I understand what OBATHUMA says. but, let us forget every thing happened and let us revive Yahapalanaya and go. The reasons are People think now differently. further to that the FEDERAL GOVERNOR living nearby sasys, “Ranil it is time to step down and hand over the Chair to PENTHOUSE RAVI. We look after the rest”

  • 3
    0

    Now that his predictions have gone wrong, Laksiri Fernando has emerged with very different views than before, it’s time for Dayanage to emerge with his modified theories, explanations, and pretensions of political knowledge.

    So much for political research and theories.

    Enough is enough.

  • 0
    0

    “The first policy difference between the two was the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor to the Central Bank. This reminded Sirisena of old stories about Wickremesinghe – that he is inclined to work with his Royalists. By that time Wickremesinghe has taken over the Central Bank under his wings and was quite determined to control and direct the economy according to his neoliberalism. The obvious immediate result was the Bond Scam.”
    That is a baba – Nona story. Media reported what happened. After the complete cleaning of treasury by Old Royals, CB was not sure if it could raise Rs 1B in bonds. Ministers, including PM, were involved in the plan to put together a deal with PTL. New King was part of it. They were able to raise Rs 11 B. It was done in ordinary business way. CB then changed the tender from 1B to 10B. A fraud becomes present when the mind of the actor (doer) thinks of illegal. 1).They raised the interest rate. That was beneficial to PTL. If they (CB and ministers) wanted only 1B there were cheaper quotations for that amount. 2). Then they raised the tender to 10B. 3). Out of that proceeds many politicians were paid to hush. That indicate they were doing fraud. But there is no illegality when a tender was called, PTL quoted at higher price. One must remember it is not PTL was aware tender going to be for 10B and quoted for 11B, but PTL quoted 11B and CB raised the tender to 10B. So there was not insider part on PTL. PTL did not work alone. PTL worked hand in hand with ministers. The earlier Dictator had 80% of the Budget in his house and thus sent out $18B to foreign Banks. Then is that a big deal when Ranil had the CB under him?

  • 0
    0

    But that is not a big deal. Big deal is the guy saying appointing Mahendran is “policy difference” with New King. What an imbecile talk? May know when did New King publicly state the appointment of Mahendran created a policy difference between him and Ranil?
    His prove of the policy difference is they both (RW and Mahendran) are Royalists. Even a kindergarten child would not talk like that. Does this guy know what Policy means is? Here is a National Unity government. Without any conditions, New King had said in 2015 election Campaigns that Ranil will be appointed as PM. Where did the policy difference go then? It is repeatedly said because Mahendran was a Singaporean, so he was not suitable for CB governor. May I ask a question from the learned guy who set up the CBSL? Isn’t that an American? If one took citizenship in US they don’t have dual citizenship, but only one; the US citizenship. One cannot easily shrug off US citizenship like the Singapore one. Then how did the Economic Minister, defense secretary and Army commander were US residence and citizens? It is not just citizenship, but even if you work in US that is a serious issue. Isn’t that what Jaliya has created to the Old Royal family? Where did the policy difference went a man came with the word of abolishing corruption and restoring the Law and Oder appointed a criminal as PM. That criminal wanted that job only to save him, his wife and Children! That is what he told to the SLFPyers who went and asked him to resign. What a policy coherent there for this erudite imbecile! This guy is talking about the 10B bond. But recently New King has said from 2002 to now CB has lost 1 trillion. That is about 70B each year. The game is they are accusing Mahendran to have destroyed those theft documentations. Comedy thamai!

  • 0
    2

    One Referee out of seven (“I do not know which one) had said to a former CJ, Eventhough it is not the legal decision, they took the CORRECT DECISION. If they did not do more civil disobidience inside parliament would have happenend and they would have used more Letter Operners to get rid of Enimies coming closer to them. Ranjan Aphonso Ramanayake would be confined in the Gallows. I think Ranjan Aphonso and the Other HEro Palitha thevarapperuma, both, got Minister posts.

  • 2
    0

    RP with due respect, for most of your questions, I do not have enough facts to answer. But trust me I am NOT A UNP supporter. About SF I had written elsewhere, as a politician he is just like the rest but by word I will believe him over double talking MR/MS. The point is what ever the wrongs of UNP administration will not make up for the criminality of MS/MR. Two wrongs never will make up for right. Regarding Nutty Professor, please tell me what is that you found POSITIVE which I could not.My issue with him is his double talk and hypocrite views. Politicians may do it on daily basis. But people like Laksiri who pretended to be independent and honest now turning out to be fake, disguised rogue is what making me wild(in your words). My question to you is if all what you said about UNP,s misdoings are true , do you think MR/MS are the answer to solve ????? (corruption, scam,cheating, murder,looting,nepotism —-etc—–etc—–etc). I think we both need the break.

  • 2
    0

    Runnil’s plan was to create a clash between MR and MS,and win the next presidential election convincingly.He subtly acted with this aim right from the begining of the ‘yahapalanaya govt’He did not want to put thieves and murderers of MR regime into jail.But pretended to do so.when allegations are leveled that cases are being dragged Runnil removed law and order minister putting the blame on him, MS at one time accused that thieves have colluded. later separate courts were set up to hear MR time frauds to show RW’s honesty in hearing the cases.When MS realized Runnil’s ploy the whole episode began

  • 1
    0

    Now Ranil and his merry men are living in a fools paradise enjoying the portfolios oblivious of the danger
    Looming ahead, as Sira and the Rajapaksas are plotting and plotting of the destruction of government and
    the creation of

    racial clashes among the citizens of Sri Lanka . No one will ever destroy Buddha statues and create mayhem ,now as all know the heavy price of doing so, the clash that has occurred in Mawanelle is politically done by
    the losers of the Supreme Court battle . Ranil and his men must wake up and crush this .

  • 5
    0

    Sour grapes and lack of political reality in a wider context.

  • 0
    0

    Good to see the change of mind of the learned Professor/
    It is strange that he does not see the impact on the chain of events after the results of the PS elections in Feb.2018

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