28 September, 2022


“Familiocracy” Is Reaching A Crescendo In Sri Lanka

By Vishwamithra1984 –

“Familiocracy” (Pavulvaadaya) is reaching a crescendo in Sri Lanka; It’s high time it was challenged

“The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.” ~Niels Bohr

A couple of weeks ago this columnist wrote about the socio-political disaster that is looming on the horizon. Although much hackneyed phrases and clichés have described what has been happening in Sri Lanka, especially in the last ten years, the dramatically accelerated tide of affairs of politics has lent itself for scrupulous probe by all those who think rationally and reasonably about politics and matters of governance. It is rather redundant to hanker over the harsh repercussions of family-centered rule of a country in the Twenty First Century. What is more pertinent and desirable is a close look at the way that family-rule has eaten into the body politic of Sri Lanka, depths it has gone into in order to fortify itself, the extent to which it has stretched its powers to protect itself against would-be invaders and the kind of armor it is using to shield itself and above all, how a totally diabolical and dishonest ideology and a distorted and fraudulent political philosophy are being preached by the Family Patriarch while posing himself as the savior of the Nation. Yet the stranger spectacle is how a people or for that matter, a vibrant literate community of men and women, is enduring the shame and indignity of an enslaved subject people.

rajapaksa-family-colombo-telegraph1In mundane terms, the dimensions and scope of that rule are immense and immeasurable; its reach is astronomical; its spread is all pervasive and deliberate and its perverse attempt at concealing the true nature of the rule is mind-boggling. The most obvious-looking lies are being told as gospel truths; any opposition to the “Family-rule” is ruthlessly suppressed; any criticism of the rule is branded as unpatriotic and unrighteous, sinful and unholy. The lingo that is being used and abused by their cohorts and cronies has been carefully crafted and appropriately enunciated on various platforms, fora and corners. The State-controlled media outlets, manned by paid but thoroughly skilled cronies in their chosen professions, are playing an equally critical role in brainwashing the listening and viewing public.

A brand new form of governance with a brand new set of rules and regulations- of the ‘one for them and another for us’ type- is coming into being. It defies definition and explanation; it discards truth and embraces blatant lies as a matter of course; it practices corruption and nepotism as an ancestral inheritance while preaching righteous living at the same time; it treats the people as serfs and the stranglehold it has on the captive serfs is invisible and but ever so gripping and strangling; its falsehood is obvious but nobody dares to defy that or condemn it as if it’s their, the subject people’s, privilege to be under such a dishonorable living. When one mixes into the potpourri, the shameful element of the main Opposition party’s inaction (although some semblance of opposition is visible after the creation of the Leadership Council in the United National Party and particularly in timely articulation of opinions and views by its Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya), the ruling Family has taken the total subservience of the subject people for granted.

If the government of the people, for the people and by the people is called ‘Democracy” then how and by what can one describe this government of the ‘Family’, for the ‘Family’ and by the ‘Family’?

So is born “Familiocracy”, the government of the ‘Family’, for the ‘Family’ and by the ‘Family’. However, I do concede that the term “Familiocracy”, especially in the context of Sri Lanka, has already been used by one of my sister columnists and quite effectively too. Kudos to her!

Those who man each branch and each sphere of influence in government can be easily recognized and named, specially in the backdrop of fading lines of separation of powers among the three branches of government- Legislature, Judiciary and Executive. The country’s treasures, money and coffers are spread among these three branches although not equally by any stretch of imagination, with the Executive directing and managing the fiscal policies and implementation, the legislature acting merely as a spectator cheering and supporting each and every move and stroke-play that includes sixes and sevens among others and the judiciary being less than an unbiased umpire whose very existence in the exalted position of being the referee is entirely dependent on the whims and fancies of the Executive. Thus “Familiocracy” is in full swing, capturing and captivating the gullible voter who, in his hearts of hearts, is reasonably aware that “Familiocracy” is physically demeaning to the subject people, psychologically damning and morally indefensible as a system of governance.

Yet, some so-called educated academics, members of the intelligentsia and high-powered private sector executives have opted to pay unqualified puja to the one who occupies the ‘throne’ for the returns of servility to power are so lucrative and indeclinable.

In such a negative atmosphere of civil governance, how can a reasonable person reconcile himself to the shameful machinations of “Familiocracy”? The intrigues of “Familiocracy”, when one is enraptured in its seemingly non-invasive advance, are extremely intricate and a maze of inner webbing of subtle baits and sugar-coated bones of greed and it is almost impossible for a dull mind to understand the powers that reside beyond the superficially visible thresholds. Nevertheless, the challenge is to isolate the “Family” from the rest. Only extremely clever, crafty and creative minds could spell out the mechanics of isolating the Family from the rest and gain political advantage for the Opposition so that a very promising and formidable political platform could be built around and against the “Familiocracy” junta. Such creative persons who are extraordinarily capable of ‘thinking on their feet’ and who are clearly identified with the reasonability of a fight against “Familiocracy” are still with us today. Their counsel and advice and their vast experience should be harnessed by the Opposition today. They had been successful in the past and there is no reason whatsoever that they could not be successful in the future.

The basic prerequisites for this campaign could be spelt out as follows:

  1. Identify ten members of the “Family”
  2. Focus political attacks on them and them alone
  3. Stay away from personal attacks and character assassination
  4. But anything and everything on politics is on the table
  5. All leaders of the ‘joint opposition’ (if there is such an entity) should be engaged in this campaign.
  6. Use each and every platform available, such as Parliament, public functions, press conferences, press statements, media interviews and both print and electronic articles etc.
  7. Keep for the last minute exposure a “surprise announcement”
  8. This “surprise announcement” could be communicated via appropriate media in due course.

However, the above is exclusively related to the ‘negative’ campaign that any political party runs during an election season. The most critical and decisive factor in the forthcoming elections is the “Common Candidate”/ “Common Issue”.

Potential Common Candidate:

  1. Venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero
  2. Ranil Wickremesinghe
  3. Karu Jayasuriya
  4. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
  5. Anura Kumara Dissanayake
  6. General Sarath Fonseka

Common Issue:

  1. Abolition of Executive Presidency
  2. Abolition of Executive Presidency
  3. Abolition of Executive Presidency

In other words it should be the only issue.

Why did I mention only one single common issue? As a campaign pledge, that is the easiest pledge (although it has been reneged by both Chandrika Kumaratunga and the present incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa after the elections), to keep if the elected candidate chooses to do so. Then one has to compare and contrast the plus and minus factors of those whose names have been mentioned as “potential common candidate”. Issues and slogans such as ‘good governance’, ‘freedom from corruption’, ‘country first, family second’ are not necessarily relegated to a second place but would be all embedded in the single issue platform as ‘sub issues’.

To make it even easier for the reader, I give below a spreadsheet whose blanks, if filled with discern and prudence and without any personal biases, would indicate the sum total of the exercise.


  • Points can be assigned from 0 to 10, 0 being the lowest and 10 the highest
  • Names have been arranged in random order
  • No significance whatsoever should be attached to the order in which the names appear
  • Empty Closet refers to the amount of past baggage and negatives accumulated over the past era by each candidate. If no negatives, points assigned would be maximum and otherwise (a lot of negatives, both personal and political), points would be low.

Let’s try our hand.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Sri Lanka is a Miracle of Modayas.

    The opposition leader who is shameless and cowardly and morally and intellectually bankrupt, Ranil Wickaramasinghe, rather than addressing the media and the people and LEADING the country while Jarapassa (in a timely move vacated post to go to Bolivia to talk nonsense about South South cooperation while brother Gota’s Goons let loose the “chaos” promised by Lalith Weeratunge in case of an UNHRC inquiry) is a huge part of the problem.

    Ranil the clown thinks that the Parliament of Moron is supreme and he can win elections prating in Parliament! Ranil should have called for the arrest of the head of BBS Balu Sena and Gota the goon its patron’s resignation for a full and transparent inquiry and banning of BBS.

    • 0

      Why ask for things that can never happen?

      Sengodan. M

  • 4

    Why has Sobitha not spoken out against BBS and called for an end to Buddhist violence?
    Buddhism is corrupt and decimated in Sri Lanka at this time. The Buddhist monks and Mahanayakkas are living a life of luxury paid for by the corrupt military dictator Mahinda Rajapaksa, and monks are living in a world of greed, maya, and ignorance.
    Buddhists in the name of Buddhism are attacking people and the Mahanayakas are fiddling while Lanka burns -too corrupt to notice and scared to say anything.

    I do not think that a Saffron robe can or should lead Lanka. Nor do I think Ranil who likes to ponce around Parliament feeling important but is scared to talk to the Sri Lankan people is fit. CBK is the best bet to abolish the Presidency.

  • 3

    Very well written article, Specially like the familiocracy word play. Good campaign strategy but this is Sri Lankan politics its a whole different game. No one plays by the rules, hell there aren’t even rules to play by.

    Like you said but adding to it, their armor is too tough, their gripe too tight, their schemes too devious and their opposition too weak. Slim chance they can be defeated. Its good to have hope. I will put my money not on the hopeful but on the likely winners and sad to say it will be the familiocracy that will triumph.

    But hey, on the bright side I could win some money betting while watching my country pulled into the dark ages.

  • 2

    Now take a flash back at our country, since the war ended. These rulers have not done anything right starting from Education, Agriculture,economy, Health sector Transport including aviation External affairs and finally internal affairs,I now wonder how can this leader still bask in glory,drumming up that he won the war( yudde dinapu Nayakaya) It’s just hot air. Now it’s crystal clear the Army won the war and this leader voted by people for hearsay, just believing the propaganda and the cunning,scandalous tactics put forward by his corrupt team. A leader who cannot take a decision on his owner, will soon be gone leaving his siblings helplessly, to face the wrath of the people and of course his own pretending loyal team.

  • 2

    Good article…Let’s not day dream,looking at the wide blue sky. Individually no one above has the capability or the holistic,leadership acumen to compete and topple this regime built and cemented on corrupt family pillars so strongly knitted around in a people burdened iron mesh. They are backed by a set of scar faced,fraudulent and hoodwinking businesses that holds the shattered economy together, giving out a joyful message to the masses 80 percent still living below the poverty line. Its only possible by a strong team coming together with a sincere intention of abolishing the presidency first and ending the waste and corruption next.
    take a leaf from the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign, approach and his leadership.He is not only a politician.

    • 3

      Migara jayagoda

      “Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.”

      Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

      Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness…Every citizen is responsible for every act of his government…There is only one sovereign remedy, namely, non-violent non-cooperation. Whether we advertise the fact or not, the moment we cease to support the government it dies a natural death….

      Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

      Sinhala/Buddhism is evil it is our sacred duty to oppose it.

  • 3

    why is NPC CM not on your list? CBK and RW carry baggage with them and they failed to abolish the Executive Presidency when they had their chance.SF’s hand is bloodied and he is a crook.
    The other three are novices and have no public appeal.

  • 1


    Thanks for a very blunt and factual article. Familiocracy is a menace that has been made the more unpalatable by mediocrity and kleptomania that accompanies it. I also agree with the political strategy you suggest.

    However I would suggest,

    1. The change in the constitution be the single issue. What shape the new constitution should take, should be
    designed by an unofficial expert panel that should working immediately.

    2. A religious personality like Ven. Sobitha should lead the crusade to change the constitution, but should not be the a Presidential candidate. He should lead a mass movement supported by every political party that is opposed to the familiocracy. This would be within his ambit as a monk, because the familiocracy has become a moral issue. However, I fear the monkisation of politics being further enhanced by fielding Ven. Sobitha would be also calamitous to the country in the medium term. The end should not justify the means. This approach has been the endemic curse in our country.

    3. Chandrika Kumaratunge is the most likely among the list of candidates who can dislodge the familiocracy.

    4. A new constitution can be adopted only through the parliament. The parliamentary election campaign if held before the presidential election should be headed by a political coalition, with Ranil Wickremasinghe named as its kPrime Ministerial candidate. If it has to follow the presidential election and the candidate opposing MR is elected, the Parliament should be dissolved immediately and elections held with RW projected as the PM candidate.

    If it becomes possible to adopt a new constitution, those who have been newly elected can constitute themselves into a new government under a new constitution. Ven. Sobitha as the leader of the mass movement that made everything possible, should be the figure with the moral authority to ensure those newly elected carry forward the mission for which they were elected.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0

    The problem is that this familiocracy has bought over sycophancy from the main power brokers, MPs by giving them ministerial posts with no accountability, Public servants by looking the other side when blatant irregularities of tenders etc are ignored or encouraged, Large scale projects that are not allowed unless the bribes are paid,( a world bank leader has brought this to the govt notice) , projects geared to the benefit of the sycophants not for the country etc. all done by borrowing money in the name of the people or printing money by stealing from the people. These people must be made to account. Unfortunately there is nobody the people can trust who will do it. The UNP did the same so did all the previous govts. A third force is needed to save the country.

  • 1

    I am a American, living in Washington State. Your article was absolutely amazing! Intelligent, Honest, Clean, Clear, and composed with a great command of Beautiful English beyond anything I have ever heard in my own country!

    I have lived in Sri Lanka for about two years. I love Sri Lanka, I love the Sri Lankan people, democracy is about giving a fair voice to all, and providing the possibility of opportunity for all!

    Excellent writing! God Bless You and God Bless Sri Lanka,

  • 1

    CT readers will be interested that a newspaper banned in Sri Lanka reported last night:

    On 15 th at noon , Pradeep Kumara had phoned the IGP and reported , the violent situation that prevailed a few days ago had not died down , and the feelings of the people of the area are still running irrationally high. Based on reports received by him at ground level , if the meeting is allowed to be held , the already volatile situation can turn explosive. The OIC had therefore sought the IGP’s instructions to ban the proposed meeting.

    The IGP who could not discard the assistance sought by his subordinate and himself harboring fears as he himself was fully aware of the dangers had explained to criminal defense secretary Gotabaya over the phone in detail of the grave risks besetting the peace of the area and the violence that can erupt if this BBS meeting is held. The IGP had therefore asked Gotabaya to grant permission to ban the BBS meeting. Gotabaya the defense secretary alias criminal offense secretary, on the other hand had replied in the negative. Instead of giving consideration and showing concern to the dangerous violence in store for the innocent people , the criminal defense secretary had instructed the IGP not to obstruct the meeting of the BBS under any circumstance , and to give protection to the world recognized terrorist organization, and Gnanassara its demonic leader. Accordingly the IGP had given a directive to his subordinate not to ban the public meeting of BBS terrorists. Consequently Gnanassara was provided with a security detail of six STF soldiers and a defender vehicle thereby precipitating a communal holocaust – the inevitable result SL’s criminal defense and communal offense secretary Gotabaya longed and prayed for !

  • 4

    This Government under the Stewardship of the Thug from Hambanthota which was elected to get rid of the so called Terrorism ( which we call Freedom Struggle) has defied all norms of Civilised Standards, Democracy and Rule of Law.

    The Common Issue for the 20 million born Racists is not ” Abolition of Executive Presidency” but how to rally round MR to complete COLONISATION and ETHNIC CLEANSING.

    The Common Candidate is a non starter as the subjects despite the Storm which is gathering pace and about to hit Sinhala Lanka will be prepared to re elect MR and his entourage even if they have to eat straw.
    So I am afraid you will all be clutching the STRAW.

    Kalu Jayasuriya ———— No POPULAR APPEAL.
    Ranil Wickremasinghe ———— SPENT FORCE ,PAST SELL BY DATE and a LIGHT WEIGHT .
    Chandrika Bandranaike ———- A BLAST from the PAST
    Anura Kumara Dissnayake ——— Invisible and from MARS
    Sarath Fonseka ——— TRAITOR
    Ven Sobitha ———- Not to be TRUSTED.

    So it is a BLANK list

    • 1


      Mahendra Percy Rajapakse: The incumbent President and candidate for a third stolen term.

      A much PROVEN MENACE

      The choice: The best of what is available and with the lesser potential to become another MENACE and breed more menaces.

      Dr. RN

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