By Emil van der Poorten –
Considering the political evisceration of the Yahapalanaya lot, I make no apology for the title of this piece.
It is easy enough to say, “I told you so,” particularly since one has consistently sought to get this bunch of self-aggrandizing political has-beens on track for far longer than should have been necessary.
Not having any pretension to being a statistician, I will not seek to compare this with the epic defeat of the UNP in 1956 or that which it sustained fourteen years later.
However, that said, let me embark on an attempt to provide some relevant comment on what happened on the 10th of February.
Sirisena, despite his periodically displayed chauvinist leanings, seemed to stay above the kinds of collaboration for financial gain that many of the UNPers were obviously guilty of.
The “Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai,” accusation of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna continued to have resonance with anyone watching how things were unfolding after Sirisena beat Mahinda Rajapaksa.
On the fateful night that Mahinda bit the dust there was, if a mass of circumstantial evidence is to be believed, an attempt to throw out the election result and establish a dictatorship. Mangala Samaraweera, a very senior member of the current Cabinet, was reported, on several occasions, to have made a formal complaint to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in this connection asking that a prosecution be launched against those seeking to overthrow democracy in Sri Lanka.
What the hell happened to that complaint?
What is also interesting is that only much later was the third member of the group that visited Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on that fateful night named. For the longest time, the names that were quoted were those of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Thirukumar Nadesan who is married to a female relative of the ex-President and has a reputation as a wheeler dealer par excellence. Why did it take more than a year, if memory strikes me right, for the Third Musketeer to be named? If one were to follow the career of our diminutive Aramis, this conduct would not be considered out of place for someone who has most effectively run with the hare and hunted with the hounds, doing very well in that endeavour, thank you!
That some elements of the media have been complicit in these cover-ups is beyond question but, typically, it is hard, if not impossible, to hide this kind of stuff in a place like Sri Lanka where the gossip grapevine is so active that, periodically, it produces some material the veracity of which cannot be doubted and which then proceeds to develop a life of its own!
Before the coalition government can even think of a mass clean up of both constituent parties, Ranil Wickremesinghe has to begin, like charity, at home.
He needs to remove EVERY one of those with so much as a taint of corruption. We can no longer tolerate people resigning as Ministers when found covering up for those running offshore armouries only to return under one cover or another to positions of equivalent power in the cabinet once the heat appears to be off. Continuing to re-arrange the deck chairs on the Sri Lankan Titanic is NOT an option. Mr. Wickremesinghe has to stop insulting the intelligence of his fellow countrymen by, for instance, apportioning a different deck chair to the man who could be a multi-headed monkey – not seeing, not speaking and not hearing any evil – when it comes to his immediate family accepting “goodwill gestures” amounting to millions of rupees in the matter of personal housing. Then there was the other bright spark who had a wonderful explanation for a multiplicity of calls to the now infamous Arjun Aloysius, the head of Perpetual Treasuries. His explanation for the calls at a time when there was all kinds of scurrying about to avoid appropriate action against those accused of the biggest bond scam in Sri Lanka’s history? He was researching material for a book he was authoring on the subject. One little problem with that explanation was that the “research” was being conducted after the book was published.
That Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena should pay for this kind of insulting conduct towards their countrymen is beyond question. However, what complicates matters somewhat is the fact that there appears to be documentation of the fact that those seeking to take the place of the Yahapalanaya lot utilized the services of the self-same Mr. Aloysius when they had their hands on the levers of power. And that was but a very small piece of the litany of wrongdoing and violence that occurred on their watch. Back to the old JVP accusation, but with a little twist: “Unuth horu, munuth horu,” would be more appropriate in these circumstances!
Despite Mr. Wickremesinghe’s mea culpa in which he included the co-leader of the coalition, Maithripala Sirisena, it’s hard to believe that he is going to mend his ways or change his modus operandi. It will be a cold day in hell when someone who surrounds himself with loyalists, without regard to their documented conduct, turfs those very individuals from their positions of power and prominence. This will not happen under Ranil Wickremesinghe’s watch.
What then is the option for those who, unlike Wickremesinghe and his most prominent colleagues, put themselves at significant risk in criticizing the Rajapaksas and their buddies when they were running wild on the Sri Lankan turf?
The coalition has to be compelled to remove all those who are Rajapaksa collaborators and those who have lined their own pockets in the time that the Yahapalanaya government has been in existence. Mind you, more often than not, the Fifth Columnists have also been the “Kommission-Kaakkas” and the numbers of those who have to be purged might not be as large as they would have if each of these miscreants belonged to only one of those categories.
That another insurrection like those of 1971 and the late eighties might be the logical outcome of the scenario currently developing is cold comfort when one considers that the net result of those two “uprisings” was simply a reduction of our youth population and little else. Those with clean hands in this coalition and I daresay there are enough to make a difference, must act now and strike while the iron is hot. If it means a “palace revolution” you need to accept the fact that you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs. It is now the need of the hour. You need to act, act decisively and act now.