By Sarath De Alwis –
At long last, the gauntlet thrown down during the recent hoopla at the Shangri-La has been taken up. Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera has not only taken it up but has decided to run the gauntlet. The metaphor is appropriate. It describes the painful but necessary task of confronting something or someone that is intrinsically abhorrent.
Mangala Samaraweera is perhaps the only Minister in this Government who is ideologically alert to the menace in the form of the former strongman Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
‘Viyathmaga’ is not what it claims to be says Mangala. Instead the name of the movement that seeks to install the former Defence Secretary as President of the Republic is a ‘Vipathmaga’he asserts.
It is not, as the ‘intellectual movement’ seeks to posit, the erudite path traced by professionals, entrepreneurs and academics. It will be ‘vipathgama’ or a path of pitfalls and peril.
The intimidating history experienced in the decade 2005 -2015 has begun to breathe down our collective necks again. It sends cold shivers down our collective spines, warning of a return to the dark days of abductions, disappearances and unexplained and inexplicable executions.
Mangala Samaraweera presented a catalogue of reasons explaining why he feared the former strongman’s current attempt to recapture state power and gain control over its machinery.
While welcoming his forthright opposition to a return of unbridled tyranny, it is important for Minister Samaraweera to remember that the purpose of inventing the clock was not only to tell time but to remind us that time does not stand still. Tick tells us that time is ticking. Tock tells us that time has passed. We are fast approaching the sound of ‘tock’!
Soon after the Presidential election, Mangala Samaraweera complained to the police of a conspiracy hatched on the historic night of January 8, 2015 to prevent a peaceful transfer of power. The case fizzled out after a few inquiries were made. Nobody knows why.
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris has warned us of a Rajapaksa restoration on the lines of the return of Dr Mahatir Mohammed in Malaysia. The parallel the learned Professor seeks to draw is a bit of a stretch. That said, there are some lessons to be learnt from recent developments in Malaysia. Anwar Ibrahim has revealed how a distraught Najib called him in his prison cell and what advice he offered Najib in return.
What passed between the outgoing President and the then Leader of the Opposition who went to see him at Temple Trees at dawn on January 9, 2015, the morning after the presidential election, remains shrouded in mystery.
While applauding the Minister of Finance for his principled stand against the looming tyranny we must remind him and through him the powers that be, that oligarchic collective that masquerades as the ‘Viyathmaga’ is a hydra-headed monster with a massive war chest at its disposal.
Viyathmaga ideologue Nalaka Godahewa treated us to a homily on Facebook founder Zuckerberg’s genius in amassing billions by innovational excellence. It was intended to impress our young entrepreneurial talent that his boss Gotabaya was the man who will offer a level playing field for the country’s youth.
It would have been more helpful if he had expanded on his own entrepreneurial achievements under the solicitous shadow of his godfather.
His masterly presentation on behalf of his master described the times we live in. We live in the age of facts, alternative facts and negotiated truth.
Godahewa’s success trajectory was as spectacular as that of Zuckerberg if we locate him in context. Each toad is destined to thrive in its respective pond.
On August 28, 2012 he spoke to an English daily on the possibility of his succeeding Tilak Karunaratne as the SEC supremo.
It was then widely reported that he would move from his perch as Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to be the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission following the resignation of Tilak Karunaratne.
Godahewa told the journalist that despite speculation he had not yet been appointed. What he told the paper then gives an insight in to the psychology of the charlatanry in the charade that describes itself as ‘Viyathmaga’ .
“Yesterday alone, I received more than 100 calls congratulating me for the new appointment as the SEC head. But I have not been communicated about this appointment so far,” Godahewa said.
Now that is Orwell’s Oligarchic collective in its embryonic stage.
He expanded on his strategies as an investor.
“Yes, as any investor, right throughout, I was buying and selling shares. Also, like any normal investor, I was leveraged and given the present high interest rate scenario and sold some of my holdings. Apart from that, certain shares were disposed because I didn’t want them in my portfolio,”
The news report then informed readers of its business pages: “Among other investments, Godahewa is the 7th largest shareholder of Colombo Land & Development PLC, where he sits as the Chairman, and 10th and 16th largest shareholder of Waskaduwa Beach Resort PLC, a subsidiary of Citrus Leisure PLC.”
Let us not reinvent the wheel. The newspaper report is widely available on the internet.
What is relevant to this discussion on the oligarchic character of ‘Viyathmaga’ is that at the time at which the interview was published, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the patriot who was steering the activities of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and Godahewa served on the board of UDA, Liberty Holding (Pvt) Ltd, and Liberty Plaza Management Corporation and Agrispice (Pvt) Ltd.
He also served as the Chairman of Divasa Finance, a company controlled by advertising tycoon Dilith Jayaweera.
The newspaper report explains that Divasa Finance was later renamed George Steaurt Finance and received preliminary approval from the Colombo Stock Exchange to list its shares by way of an Introduction.
The hoopla at the Shangri-La was a professional job executed by the best in the business of image engineering. It had the sure professional touch of the masterminds of ‘Api Wenuwen Api’. That brilliant opinion refashioning, social reengineering campaign, no doubt was a pivotal factor that contributed to the successful resolution of the civil war.
That said, it also laid the foundation for some lasting crony connections. The principal producer of the Api Wenuwen Api campaign at a press conference was candid enough to reveal how the then Defense Secretary called the head of the SEC on his behalf.
That the SEC chairman left his job soon after is matter that would have rankled in the mind of the Viyathmaga prophet who has now discovered the need for upright men in public service.
Interestingly, the fascination with Zuckerberg is not confined to Godahewa alone. The self-made Ogilvy who claims to have amassed his fortune by sheer gut and grit in the post-war years tells journalists quizzing him “The CSE is a place where perception takes a huge role. Mark Zuckerberg thought his Facebook share was going to be 100 plus per earnings ratio. it is a belief. “
We like to think that we fight injustice. But in the last three years and four months, we have done little to change an unjust system. A brazenly predatory system of state capture was put in place by the Rajapaksa regime by leveraging patriotism to create a plutocracy that was committed to advance their hold on power. It has not only survived the regime change but has brilliantly succeeded in coopting pivotal players of the successor government.
Unjust systems cannot be changed in the absence of a focused and determined effort. The complacency of an indifferent citizenry and a Government impervious to the lurking danger are the main factors contributing to perpetuate unjust systems and a corrupt social order.
When this government assumed office, we were assured that the pumping and dumping deals in the Colombo Stock Market would be probed and fraudsters exposed.
Dear Mangala, the opposite of memory is not forgetting. The opposite of memory is justice.
Fathima / May 27, 2018
Why can’t the government punish Kothapaya for war crimes, abductions and killing and displacing minority people? Shameful. If he comes back to power he will again resume the only thing he know.
nimal fernando / May 27, 2018
You have said most of what needs to be said about the Colombo Stock Exchange ………. and the “pumping and dumping” players involved. ………..all what I’ll add is all the “pumped” shares were “dumped” on the hard working workers’ EPF ……… by the champions of the ordinary working-man, the Rajapakses and their side-kicks …………… Who can save the working-man if they vote for their own hangman/funeral? Only in the sunny isle of paradise!
Godahewa and Dilith Jayaweera et el ……… where were their talents hidden before the ascendency of the R-Brothers?
Good ol’ Donald is an out and out crook from way back when ………….look how much a talentless bumbling imbecile like Michael Cohen made in a short time by hanging onto Trump’s coattails.
The majority in the recent Forbes’ World’s Rich-list ……..are people who have not produced anything but political-insiders who have just stolen their loot.
Of all the SL “investors” – not businessmen; I think there are some talented businessmen out there who are making worthwhile contributions – in the Colombo Stock-exchange I have to acknowledge that Dhammika Perera is a talented and clever cookie who has learned his art well ……….. the fact that he happens to be a Rajapakse licker and ethically is in a similar mould is besides the point ………… gotta give the man his talent ……… especially when the country is full of politically-connected talentless nincompoops like Godehewa trying to dazzle the naive young with talk of Zuckerberg’s brilliance.
I know the rich ……….. let me tell you ………. there’s nothing to admire. …….. But, that’s a whole different shebang. :))
“The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” – Lesson 101 …… The Human Condition……………
And the women ……….. that’s a whole different kettle of fish ……….they run the world on their little finger!
No wonder Lacille is MIA!
Fathima / May 27, 2018
Singhala people act like fools if they forget the 161 Singhala people killed by Kothapaya in 1989 buried in Matale mass grave. He escaped to USA after that. Modayas never learn do they?
Ajith / May 27, 2018
The fact is that it is easy to manipulate Buddhist Sinhala masses. You don’t need to anything other than tell that there is a threat from Tamils by our patriotic leaders. They go to Pansala and tell them that Tamils are getting closer to us. If you ask most Sinhalese when did Tamils & Muslims come to Sri Lanka they will tell they came only after 1833. The place they tell this lie is a Pansala. Buddhist Sinhala thinks that this is the word from Lord Buddha. Until 2009, the same story was told and in 2009, they started to send another story about Muslims and Tamils together. In 2015 after Mahinda lost, he straight away and started his propaganda from where. It is from Pansala. Today, one thing they tell, they are going to give Eelam and we should stop it. It is our duty. Once you said Sinhalese mind get into fear, forget about everything that happened to them whether who massacred 10000 Sinhala youths in 1971, who bombed Dalada Maligawa, who masscred 60000 Sinhalese and buried in Matale mass graves or how billions were pocketed by the same patriots. Did they ever ask about the murderers of 600 Sinhalese policeman killed by Karuna or the KP who smuggled arms to fight Sinhalese forces? Patriotism is about how good you are in creating fear among Sinhalese?
Lion / May 27, 2018
Very well said..
Nalaka Godahewa…Dilith Jayaweera ..Rohan Fernando …are among the many many cronies built by MR & GR regime… their starategy to get power and be in power is to get Bose in power.. .they cannot afford beyond 2020 ..as such for UNP 2020 will be a much bigger challenge than 2015 …
As you said the clock is ” tocking ” at the moment for both sides….
Ad / May 27, 2018
Govt. Ministers and opposition members have nothing inside their sarongs to be called as patriots.
Native Vedda / May 28, 2018
Is it true that Arabs and Africans are the real patriots according to your observation?
K.Pillai / May 27, 2018
There was this news in ‘lankanewsweb’: GR sent in papers renouncing his US citizenship but US government is supposed to have refused to even consider it!
GR and US neither denied or confirmed this news.
Curioser curioser curioser!
kolla / May 27, 2018
Gota like Mahinda is just another over blown clown. In a developed system he will be a security supervisor always wearing a tie and zealous about his job !
The LTTE ( and Ranil) just played into their hands and let them be cardboard heros.
He has no ability to run a big organization . Only good with dictatorial power and guided by rascals like Dilith Jayaweera and Godehewa.If he has to account for all the money he spent on big projects the people will realize that there is no return at all. Only show.
Nilame / May 28, 2018
Dear Mr. Alwis;
Good that you have appreciated Mangala’s efforts to criticize “Viyath Maga”. Your failure to question Mangala as to what his government plans to do counter Viyath Maga or for that matter the general flow of masses towards the Rajapaksha camp is beyond my comprehension. Mere empty warnings would not help. They need to take action that are explicit and effective to reverse the trend. As you have rightly said there is hardly any time. The UNP will be annihilated at the next elections. The resurrection of Rajas is inevitable whether it is good or bad for us.
chula singakorale / May 28, 2018
“The hoopla at the Shangri-La was a professional job executed by the best in the business of image engineering. It had the sure professional touch of the masterminds of ‘Api Wenuwen Api’. That brilliant opinion refashioning, social reengineering campaign, no doubt was a pivotal factor that contributed to the successful resolution of the civil war. “
Sarath I wonder whethr Gota has bought you over or not
For your information Api Wenuwen Api was run by Sarath Fonseka. After his demise it dropped like a dead elephant.
Chula singakkorale / May 28, 2018
“The hoopla at the Shangri-La was a professional job executed by the best in the business of image engineering. It had the sure professional touch of the masterminds of ‘Api Wenuwen Api’. That brilliant opinion refashioning, social reengineering campaign, no doubt was a pivotal factor that contributed to the successful resolution of the civil war.”
With this type of comments has Gota’s money got our beloved Sarath De Alwis as well!
Saratho, Api Wenuwn Api was Sarath Fonseka brainchild. Soon after his demise it died like a dead elephant.
Saratho I am sad it seems you are drifting away from us towards Pohottuwa.
Hela / May 29, 2018
How low Sarath De Alwis can go? Now clutching at the straws offered by the self confessed serial liar, Mangala Samaraweera…..!