6 December, 2023


Facilitating Rajapaksa’s Departure

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

This piece is drafted on the premise that Mahinda Rajapakse can be defeated on 8 January 2015, which is not the same as saying it is a certainty – that is too early to judge since the   gravity of the Maithripala Sirisena (MS) challenge may or may not endure. This assumption delimits the scope and defines the structure of my essay. Brevity being the soul of wit, I eschew repeating “Assuming that my supposition is correct” in the body of the text. The logically separate matter of predictions gets scant mention; Lanka sports a bevy of pollster-pundits who lead and mislead and herds of charlatans and conmen-astrologists to fill an asylum.

Yes, MS, Ranil, Chandrika and their teams have pulled off a coup de grace. The imprecations I visited on their heads in recent months for lack of clarity, coordination and commitment, clearly were excessive.Understandably, the hazards of the stratagem made concealment imperative. Still I am delighted since it is rarely that a prophet enjoys such fulsome validation. The teams have pulled off a Single Issue (SI) challenge (MS says the Executive Presidency will be abolished within 100 days) and established a Common Candidature (CC). Every journey begins with a first step which has been taken, but the road ahead is long with many more steps  – to Survive, to Win, to Survive Again, and then to Utilise the Victory. Ok, I had better make some sense of this cryptic ordering of steps!

To Survive till 8 January and to Win

Nobody in his senses should put anything beyond the craft, guile and malevolence of the powers that be: “Beware the Jubjub bird and shun the jaws that bite the claws that scratch” (A little modified with apologies). The clan, in order of perfidy, is struggling to retain its loot, to stay clear of prosecution and imprisonment, and to evade the fate of fallen dictators stained by iniquity. Images of Mussolini strung up on a lamppost, Saddam on trial, and Gaddafi in a ditch, strike dread into febrile minds. It is understandable that the regime is scampering like a headless chicken.

Mahinda Champika Pic by Nishanka De SilvaThis however is not my point. More important is that jeopardy for the regime after the event is a precursor of deadly peril for the opposition before it. Who can put assassination, palace coups, manufactured pogroms, emergency rule, and bogus threats to national security to justify brutal suppression, beyond the pale? True the worst can be thrown back if the opposition stays strong, united and mobilised, but apart from these mega scale hazards is the litany of electoral perfidy – rigging, abuse of state resources, biased police and state officials, and handouts on a hitherto unseen scale. The antidote is to convince the public that Pakse is last year’s baggage; the prospect of future punishment may deter some government servants and less corrupt (are there any?) police officers. I have adopted a tight style; there is a lot to say and limited column inches to say it in. I beg readers to reach behind the sentences in these two paragraphs and reconstruct the perils more fully in their minds.

Now to ‘Can the Common Candidate win’ concerns. Putting aside the aforesaid perils, the prospects of defeating the incumbent have soared. The MS-Ranil-CBK move (were they or others – Mangala, Rajitha, Rajiva, another – the brains behind?) has turned the tables, but counteroffensives still need to be blunted. For sure expect more surprises, some lurid others comic, in the run-up to 8 December and 8 January. In the meantime there are five hurdles the opposition needs to clear.

  • Ensuring that the UNP mass vote turns out in strength for MS. The hard-core needs to see that once EP is abolished and parliamentary elections held, their party, in all probability, will be in office and Ranil will be national leader as new-style prime minister. 
  • Facilitating well timed defections from the SLFP to the Common Front. If CBK and her allies can pull a quarter of the SLFP base-vote, MS’s victory is assured. I cannot see old loyalists like Ratnasiri and Dimu clinging to a Pakses + rump-SLFP concoction if defections soar. (The solidity of last week’s pro-government Budget vote must have disappointed MS and CBK). A future task is for traditional SLFPers to jettison this corrupt self-seeking clan and reclaim their heritage as a populist national-bourgeois party, its proper historical position. 
  • Making sure the Tamils throw their weight behind the Single Issue Common Candidate (SI-CC). There is no need to mislead Tamils; a Single Issue is just that – abolishing EP. There should be no deception that socio-economic difficulties will be overcome for the benefit of all, or full devolution implemented for the Tamils. These lie further down the road. The gain for Tamils is that at that stage they will be dealing with a more democratic state, a less chauvinist government and a regime not tainted by war-crimes and human rights violations. 
  • Convincing the JVP that it is time to grow up. Sure, it is Marxist – hence my favourite among Lanka’s mass parties – and won’t soil itself in capitalist business. That’s fine, but defence of democracy, albeit the bourgeois-democratic variant, is obligatory. I won’t labour this; Anura Kumara and his team should know their Marx, Luxemburg and Gramsci well enough
  • JHU backing breaks Pakse in the Dharmapala Belt from Nugegoda to Maharagama, Kotte, Kottawa and Homagama; a sizable conglomeration, maybe 10% of the national electorate. If the JHU swings a third of this to the Common Candidate, the CC’s poll will swell from the mid-fifties to near sixty percent. A sizeable defeat of the incumbent is important for reasons I will advert to later. Retaining both JHU and TNA is predicated on assuring the former that EP will be abolished in ways that do not endanger Lanka’s unity, while Wigneswaran and the TNA appreciate that democratising the centre will afford greater democracy at the periphery.

Readers will observe that I have not made reference to Muslims and Upcountry Tamils in my list of key tasks. A large proportion of Muslims will vote against Pakse irrespective of what hide-and-seek game Hakim and the SLMC get up to. The SLMC has degenerated even more since prostituting itself for 18A; now well past its shelf-life it is time for replacement by younger leaders.

Whatever the gluttonous and booze-soaked leadership of the CWC says, half the Upcountry Tamils will vote against Pakse. It will be 100% if Delhi puts its foot down and sends instructions in the wake of an Associated Press story that the Pakses are toying with a ‘Trinco for China’ delusion. If they try that, forget elections, the stakes are immeasurably higher. Indira ground JR into the dust for a lesser offence. The Modi-US axis will finish off the Pakses and vaporise already flimsy Sri Lankan sovereignty. Morality, I leave you to pontificate about that; this is real-politik. However, an anti-Pakse Delhi intervention is manna from heaven that opposition planners cannot count on.

At this point in the analysis it is clear that the sine qua non for winning big is sustaining the alignment of the constituents of the Common Front. Conversely, the Pakse side, alive to the threat, will strain every nerve and sinew to disrupt alignment.

To Survive Again

I am done with two items on my cryptic list; to Survive and to Win. The next item was to ‘Survive Again’. [‘Utilising the Victory’, that is social renewal, ethnic reconciliation and institution rebuilding, will have to wait for later; it’s too much for one essay]. The constitution is unambiguous; if defeated Rajapakse must step down promptly. But the courts can no longer be relied on to uphold the law, especially if the margin is small. And in that case what about the elections commission? Will courts and commission play fiddlesticks and fabricate a hiatus allowing Rajapakse to flounder on as a lame-duck in a miserable interregnum where nothing gets done and the economy slides?

A defeated Rajapakse will flop and his parliamentary support, except the three blind mice of the Dead Left, will crumble. The UNP will do well in the next parliamentary election and the sans-Pakse SLFP faction will not do badly either. The pro-Pakse parliamentary contingent, after a failed presidential bid, will score zilch. I am not painting a rosy picture of a soon-to-be-rid-of-Pakse Lanka. On the contrary, I fear a hiatus will be a period of great danger; the ‘Surviving Again’ problematic.

Were a hiatus to materialise, government coffers will be in the grip of the venal sibling, the military usurped by the Gobbelsian one. Conspiracies reminiscent of Marcos and the worst African dictators when voted out are possible scenarios. Should the rump-regime try funny business, I see the streets aflame in reaction. Strange coming from a Marxist but I recoil from this prospect. “All mimsy were the borogoves: And the mome raths outgrabe”. This will not be a pre-revolutionary phase heralding of social transformation but a forerunner of anarchy.

Therefore a thumping defeat is best; it will compel Rajapakse to depart pronto without hanky-panky. Neither can abolishing EP be delayed; the people’s mandate must be implemented. If this parliament, which would have crumbled morally by then, fails to enact that mandate, it should be sent packing and another elected. Cromwell’s is one way of doing it!

Students of political, constitutional, and even social change concede that orderly transitions are best. MS, if he wins, should establish an all-party cabinet to stamp moral authority – a shadow cabinet if there is a hiatus. Sarath Fonseka as Defence Minister (or shadow Defence Minister) has clout and connection enough to nullify military subterfuges. Neither do the obligations of the JVP, JHU and TNA end on 8 January. They run on till amendments abolishing EP, repealing 18A and invoking fresh parliamentary elections under the new system are done.

Am I day-dreaming? I think not; I read it over and it doesn’t seem outlandish; after all it’s not the Second Coming, Land of Hope and Glory, or anything like that.  And why can’t a prophet be right twice? “Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” 

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Latest comments

  • 3

    Prof. Kumar David –

    RE: Facilitating Rajapaksa’s Departure

    You have to be quick. Write and publish the common sense Sri Lanka 2014 Pamphlet.

    Print, DVD, Flash Drive, pdf an, Facebook, Twitter, U tube and widely publish it..

    Distribution is easy these days…

    Time is running out. out Jan 8 2015…We the People of Lanka, the original land of Native Veddah Aethho…

    Common Sense (pamphlet)


    Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2]

    Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[3] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[4] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[5]

    • 2

      Kumar, to win the Joint opposition must run a massive VOTER REGISTRATION campaign aimed at YOUNG PEOPLE and must emphasize that it wants a CLEAN BREAK from corrupt politics and business as usual.

      Youth and Women should be specially targeted to be the CHANGE and REGISTER TO VOTE. There need to be more YOUNGER women in the frontline of the joint opposition – not just CBK and similarly corrupt politicians.

      The Joint opposition must emphasized inclusive governance for ALL – YOUTH and WOMEN in particular and look beyond the usual ethnic an party political vote banks to the VOTERS of the country.

      We need real change for a real victory – right now it seems like we are only exchanging one bunch of corrupt politicians for another. Of course, anyone is better than Mahinda Jarapassa. But the emphasis needs to be a CLEAN BREAK WITH THE PAST CORRUPT POLTICIANS. We need a web site which names and shames all the corrupt politicians and people should be EDUCATED to BOYCOTT them.

  • 8

    Dear God, save us from these fools’ rantings – Kumar David’s wet dreams about the end of Rajapaksa and “Amarasiri”‘s stupid and mad idea of the common sense leaflet.

    Please don’t let us suffer due to the stupidity of these fools.

    • 4

      ¬Kumar David’s wet dreams. Please don’t let us suffer due to the stupidity of these fools.¬

      Yakko land mail,

      what’s up have you got the Eiffel Syndrome – (patient with a foreign object in the rectum)

    • 0

      Mr Email, your prayer “Please don’t let us suffer ” is most appropriate for a Rajapakse stooge. Come January, you will suffer.

  • 5

    I believe Sarath Fonseka’s strong support expressed publicly will help to reduce mass killing and prevent the possibility of easy military coup. So please……
    Need to be careful, SF would be the first one Gota wants to murder…

  • 1

    TNA, the Vellala Party of Dr Kumar’s ilk who have been the real fighting force against the Government since the Thalavar bid adieu..is in the doldrums big time..

    It is funny Dr David mentions Fonny as the potential Defence Minister.

    Would Ranil who put Fonny on Bogamabara rice for nearly two years allow it?

    Specially when Fonny knows how Ranil duped him.

    And All that to save Ranil’s ass which would have become grass if he fronted up in 2010.

    Is this a repeat?.

    Talking about deceptions, Vellalas lead by the chief Sambnadan must be feeling gutted.

    Despite the fact that, the Opposition coalition is the hard work of the TNA and Surendran, they don’t even get a mention in CC Sira’s big ass interviews.

    TNA is in such disarray that, MP Abraham openly says that they are not going to Delhi.

    I thought they were begging the Hindians at one stage, to give them Visas to come over and present their case to the new PM Modi to get sel rule, with TNA Police and the Govt Land..

    But why this sudden dislike specially when the invite is to talk politics and the upcoming Election ?.

    Are the Hindians going to force the Vellalas to back JHU, Venerable Rathna thero..and Champaka Ranawaka and put Sira and Chandrika party in to power ?..

    • 0

      Hey Dalit Sumanasekeram, the fellow who ran away at the height of the war to the U.S., to work in a gas (petrol) station as a cashier became the Def. Secy and the guy who fought and won the war went to prison. Oh man, I am not sure what misfired when they manufactured you. If I remove these Vellala, dalit, Anglican…………etc words from you, you wouldn’t know how to write, would you? Have you bought your tickets just like Dogless, Karuna, the MaRas…….etc? If not, that will be a good place to start.

  • 2

    Surprise! surprise! Written in English! However, that does not nullify the monumental stupidity of this paid hack! Perhaps, there will be a job for you cleaning the chamber pots of those who’ll need them after Jan. 8th. I don’t think they will be able to pay you too well by then, though!!!

    • 3

      Not paid by the British, Canadian and US embassies though, to do their dirty work!

      Proud of that.

      • 2

        what nonsense is that??
        every asian dreams of selling to the west to make that extra for a living

        if not you some homeless man would be groping snail_mail

        nonsense, pride comes before fall its infectious!

  • 1

    Well begun is half done. But it is the other half that is most difficult. The forces of the opposition that united for a single purpose in spite of diverse views could attain that goal for which they united, if they maintain a single minded purpose to the end. Of course, set backs will be there; threats, sabotages, offers of massive bribes and so many other obstacles will be there. But all these could be overcome if there is a will to succeed!

    Sengodan. M

  • 1

    Good article Prof.David,

    The as you point out should not hold out too much hope. As this si about chaining the “Son of Soil in Deep Boil” with a freshly dug up “son of the soil”. That too is going to take too much of toil and the Manyokas can cause each other great harm to the determent to the soil.

    But a over boiled Manyokka cannot be re-planted and there will be some reluctance on their part to get off the pot. Here the freshly dug Manyokka is offering some hope and possibly some amnesty in the hope the Boiled Manyokka will decompose voluntarily.

  • 0

    There is clearly thannava (virus) in these stupid socialist who refuse to leave with grace when they lose.

    (French Pres is spending more time in the arms of his mistress because Putin has got him by the collar- supply the lethal equipment of force hefty fine)

    The fun will begin when the CJ announces that Passa can continue till his term finishes in another 2 years.

    Lanka is not Zimbabwe but yakko land therefore no pressure from the west.

    South Block did not want to even recognise Fonny before elections so are they recognising My3eee at present??

  • 1

    Oh! Prof, you are a good analytical writer. (Like your technical papers.) The essence of your article is how to make MS victorious and you provide strategies to the best of your knowledge. In doing so you are going on ethnic lines. You say that the Tamil and Muslim votes are essentially anti MR. Upcountry Tamils, need a push from Delhi. (If so are you saying that they are not Sri Lankans in their hearts?) The next is how to divide the majority Sinhala votes.

    Now this reminds me what Late Mr. S. J. V. Chelvanayakam once said. “I THRIVE ON SINHALA DISUNITY.” I need not elaborate more.

    • 0

      it is his holiness praba who created Sinhala unity.Now that sun god is no more the sinhalese resort to more natural state.I can see that you like the to revert to a paranoid state fearing India and Tamils?

      Let me asuure you that Sinalese benifit from their disunity.It curbs thier moda heard instincts that you display in your comment.

  • 0

    Pro.Kumar David has no common sense on the issue of a common cadidate.He has an extraordinary sense as this essay depicts.He is at home on all types of Power systems.In fact,if I

  • 0

    Prof. Kumar David has no common sense but an extraordinary sense as this essay depicts.H

  • 0

    “The MS-Ranil-CBK move (were they or others – Mangala, Rajitha, Rajiva, another – the brains behind?) has turned the tables, but counter offensives still need to be blunted.”

    I object strongly… How can you mix facts abnd fiction..? Does Rajiva have a brain???

  • 0

    Prof.Kumar David has no common sense but an Extraordinary sense as this essay depicts.He is at home on all types of PowerSystems.In fact,If I remember right,he was the pioneer of this idea of a single issue Common candidate.

  • 2

    Chance to pour more Scottish whiskey and rant till 8th January for the Colombo elites. Looking at these selfish fools one really wants the clear choice of rural masses which is Rajapaksa to win.
    Note how the spineless professor is sitting on the fence.

    Abstounding suggestion – Sarath Fonseka, another clear war criminal for defence minister!

  • 2

    I am not sure how many readers of the Colombo Telegraph understand the deep disappointment and sadness of the members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and all those who understand and respect the ideology, political programs and policy positions that it has espoused.

    Many had deep misgivings as to the suitability of Mahinda Rajapaksa as a leader when the question of the misappropriation of tsunami aid came to light. However following the end of the war many of these misgivings were forgotten and drowned by the hope that the Sinhala Buddhist people at last had a king-like ruler blessed with a vigorous lineage whose dynasty it was hoped would rule with justice and wisdom.

    It did not take very long for these hopes to be dashed which happened as soon as the way the election commissioner was treated before all the world no sooner were presidential elections held and the by playing accomplice to this murder of democracy India our closest neighbor has set herself up for a dose of the same that she is just beginning to feel.
    The hoped for righteous, just and wise king has turned into something far less appealing and the hopes for a golden age of Sinhala Buddhist rule have been dashed. This fact has taken almost a decade to sink in and overcome hopes that the man may change and become the sage that all had hoped he would be.

    Now there is no room for doubt. The king has declared that should he lose the election he will once again “turn defeat into victory” just as he did with the help of India at his very first presidential election. The financial affairs and conduct of this monarch confirm the misgivings that arose when the tsunami fraud came to light and these misgivings now extend to the question of what happened to the massive amounts of gold that had been stolen from the Tamil people by the LTTE and the mysterious manner in which attempts were made to move illegal ivory from certain African nations into global black markets through Sri Lanka apparently in return for golden favors granted by these nations to the king. These are now matters of common knowledge amongst children and will form parts of folklore that embellish the history of Sri Lanka’s attempted 21st century royal dynasty.

    The SLFP is a party in mourning not only because of this ugly financial conduct but also because the concentration of power in one family has prevented other noble families within the party from using political power to improve the lives of the Sinhala Buddhist people who voted them to power. These people have been languishing in neglect for close to a decade and their sorrow and disappointment knows no bounds.

    It is this boundless sadness and disappointment that has led the General Secretary of the SLFP himself to come forward with the fullest support of his party to come forward as an alternative SLFP candidate and put right the wrongs that all the world can see. The SLFP has always been a magnanimous and dignified party and its leadership has never hesitated to correct its mistakes. IT is natural therefore that it has invited all right thinking persons from all political persuasions and parties to support it in its task of cleansing the islands polity of the sickness that has arisen and restore the liberal democratic traditions of tolerance, non violence and broad inclusiveness while standing firmly in defense of national sovereignty that it and the peoples right to advance their political aspirations through democratic means that this party has always espoused and advanced.

    This is not a triumphal or vindictive or vengeful movement. It is a movement based on contrition and the disappointment and sadness generated by dashed hopes and a deep sense of responsibility that what has been allowed to go wrong due to high but misplaced hopes must now be put right and the nations made whole and healthy once more.

    May the noble party of the people succeed in this task and let us all – regardless of our political persuasions and political affiliations – wholeheartedly support the SLFP in this righteous and profoundly Buddhist agenda. May we succeed and may we go on to build a nation where all beings may be happy and live in peace and may the tree of righteousness be planted on this island this Uduvap Poya day

  • 0

    Hmmmm….. are you the same Kumar David I knew in the 70s. Strange. On another note hope you know that Prof. WPJ passed away a couple of weeks ago. mhameed50@hotmail.com

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