25 May, 2019

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For Presidential Nomination, Mahinda’s Safest Bet Is Maithri

By Vishwamithra

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” ~George Orwell

Power, as a constantly moving legacy of those who held it, has its inherent baggage of corrupt and extremely dishonest elements. Its powerful and ambitious psychological rudiments call for more and more, exposing man’s greed and gluttony beyond all human characteristics and idiosyncrasies. No man or woman, who held political power, even for one single day, has been spared by the ugly fundamentals of this necessary but intrinsically obscene phenomenon. Our current President is one of those unfortunate creatures as well as a pathetic victim of this powerful and dishonorable venture of pursuit of power which is also called politics. His failure to rise above the fray and communicate an understandable message in un-nuanced terms is costing the country dearly. Yet the more telling tragedy is that our Prime Minister too has joined the President in this naive enterprise of political messaging and taken the country and her people to a dangerous abyss of extinction as a diverse yet united people of different ethnicities. 

The President’s deficiencies and inadequacies, his lack of intellectual prowess, his phony simplicity and above all else, his unadulterated sense of ungratefulness have been exposed in the current national crisis. Yet the current crisis is not simply a one of internal political gamesmanship; it is not a random occurrence of an inconsequential and superficial rivalry between two political schools of thought. On the contrary, it is of national and geopolitical significance and the very survival of a nation as one single community, as one single nation of Sri Lankans – not as different ethnic groups with tribal psyches – is at stake. All stakeholders are caught up in this unforgiving whirlpool of politicking.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too cannot be spared in this moment of national predicament. His lack of empathy has been largely bared open; the vernacular diction or lack thereof, coupled with a total absence of national-ness in the appeal to the people of the country, while making an otiose attempt to pass the buck, has largely contributed to a nation wondering whether she is to go forward, backward or stagnate. The resultant state of uncertainty has impaired the revival of our country’s economy and how far that impairment has reached an irreversible notch is anyone’s guess. 

It is in the midst of this chaotic governance-milieu that the country is getting ready for the forthcoming Presidential Elections in January, 2020. It is not a very conducive background for an election. Yet we must be practical and must be prepared for what is looming ahead; the long process of societal development cannot be deterred, nor should it be decelerated. But an essential ingredient for such social progress is a pair of steady hands at the helm. But what is missing in action at this very moment is a steady hand controlled by a sturdier head. 

But political intrigues and maneuverings are strange and sometimes bizarre. A political enemy of yesterday might well be a coalition partner the next day. There are no permanent enemies or permanent friends in politics. Maithripala Sirisena was just another product of the Bandaranaike revolution. His fidelity was more to the genre of the culture that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) created; his loyalty to that strand of life which constituted of servility and subservience to the elite of society, the Bandaranaikes, continued all the way up to the time he assumed some significant office in the party. The common man’s party was headed by the uncommon KGB (Kandyan, Govigama, Buddhist) element of society. Some SLFP stalwarts went to the extent of changing their names (especially to conceal the caste element) in order to fit into this decadent socio-political cabal. 

When the Rajapaksas took control of the SLFP, this culture of subservience had taken deep root in the party. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s alleged behavior, although spoke more of an uneducated suburban political ruffian than that of a product of a low-country Southern family, reflected the obscene cultural patterns so set in by the widow of SWRD and her successors. 

Defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa was a gargantuan task. Mahinda’s hold on his subordinates was absolute and with the aid of his brothers amongst whom was the one who controlled the Defense apparatus of the country, was total. But they forgot that Sri Lanka is a Democratic Republic. Her political leaders are elected to office by her people and when the election time comes, mere subservience to the ‘Lokkas’ (leaders) would not suffice. An attentive electorate always waits to pounce on those politicians whose misdeeds and abuse of power, during their tenure of office, come to limelight thanks to a more attentive civil society who had been harassed, intimidated and even murdered in broad daylight (such as Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sunday Leader Editor).   

No man or woman can forget that, in the wake of Mahinda’s victory in the 2010 Presidential Elections, he humiliated his opponent, Sarath Fonseka, the war-hero, by manacling him and dragging him out of the Hotel he was staying in, and then let him rot in jail. He fired the Chief Justice via a fake impeachment. He allowed the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge to go un-inquired for years. All that time Maithripala was in bed with Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLFP-cabal. His loyalty to the SLFP leadership has overwhelmed his fidelity to good governance. 

That inner psyche seems to have taken control of his political decision-making mechanisms again. As much as this writer can see this, there is no doubt whatsoever that Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family too must have realized the subtlety of the workings of this political process. In that tortuous context, Mahinda Rajapaksa would consider Maithripala Sirisena as his best bet for the forthcoming Presidential Elections.

Today Maithripala Sirisena, current President, is the leader of the SLFP; Mahinda Rajapaksa is the virtual leader of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP-Pohottuwa). Both are wedded to the culture created by the Bandaranaikes and their successors. Their appeal to the fringe elements in their political parties cannot be underestimated. The next President will not be as powerful, especially in the context of constitutional powers, as his predecessors. Mahinda would be quite at home and content with the office of Prime Minister; added to that governing formula, he has some internal issues with his family. Some members of his family are vehemently opposed to the nomination of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. While Maithripala being still in control of the Ministry of Law and Order, facing an election with that apparatus in hand would be not only be quite easy but ideal. Mahinda lost the election despite the fact that his brother was in charge of the three Forces and the Police. But a circumstance in which him not having any of them in an election with the opponent having access to those engines of government would spell disaster.

One minus point of this formula of Mahinda–Sirisena partnership is that Sirisena has the dubious honour of being the most hated politician in the country today. Ranil Wickremasinghe must be thankful to that inexplicable circumstance. But unlike their self-appointed advisors and other social cockroaches, this is not a reality. They advise their ‘boss’ in a most strange way. These advisors are there to tell their boss what he likes to hear, not what he needs to hear. A very few leaders read anything beyond the headlines. Their news intake is watching their favorite television and what comes out of the tube is god-sent gospel. It is indeed a very tragic aspect of leadership, especially in the third-world where exposure to balanced points of view is a totally alien practice.

Rajapaksas may still think that Maithripala Sirisena as the Pohottuwa-candidate is a very viable one; when they are left with no alternative, they would have to embrace what is at hand and the most suitable ‘friend’ they have is Maithripala Sirisena. However, strange and weird it may seem, Mahinda Rajapaksa reaching to his tormentor in 2015 for his survival in 2020 and to ensure the succession story so that Namal Rajapaksa too can one day tell his grandchildren that not only their great grandfather, but their grandfather too was the leader of Sri Lanka, is not an impossibility.

Maybe politics might play its most cruel game in 2020. The current environment that is riddled with uncertainty and fear is not conducive to any long-term strategic planning, specifically in the political field. At this point, it may be very pertinent to quote Leon Trotsky who wrote thus: ‘You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you’. Usually most politicians are not accustomed to strategic planning; they have no time for long-term planning and nor do they have the capacity for such serious planning and moving ahead, but there are a few, a very few, serious politicians and it is they, as Trotsky says, who shall be found by strategy.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    1

    The man is a moron. Well I suppose you think a bone headed moron can’t do as much damage as the other two options- killer Gota or toothless Ranil. Ha haa! well maybe you have a point.

  • 4
    0

    MR is a political animal. In politics, there is no one more beastly than him. He over-ambitiously called for elections in 2015. He has learnt a bitter lesson, the hard way. That stands to his stead, today.
    .
    What more than making the path clear for NR to become President, some day, has he got today. None.
    .
    There is a hitch.
    .
    GR is equally determined to be President. He would not have willingly relinquished his US citizenship, if he were to yield to the game plan of MR, would he have.

  • 8
    1

    When the country is burning, Sirisena is in China, probably to beg China to influence Mahinda to nominate him as the candidate for post of president. From what I have gathered, even if Mahinda does not nominate Gotabhaya, he is going to win as an Independent candidate. If it is to be a three cornered contest with whoever UNP puts forward, Sirisena will finish third, and if JVP also comes in, Sirisena will finish a pathetic fourth, and by chance TNA contests, Sirisena will be pushed to the last place.

  • 4
    0

    Interesting surmise Vishwamitra. But truth to be told, few of the big beasts of our top two parties are fit for purpose. They had their chances, and they have fluffed it; big time. I remember SWRD in May 1958 dilly-dallying at the Orient Club, while the flames licked all around him, and who can forget when JRJ atrophied, po-faced, in July ’83 when he struggled to get an order obeyed. All that pales when compared with President Hope leaving the curfew-ed country, under emergency regulations, and flying off to a seminar (on ‘Asian Civilisation’?). Sirisena has had his time, and now even a ceremonial President must bring hoots of derision.

    This is yet another watershed in our 2500+ years; are we going to waste it? (like all the others).

  • 7
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    If Mahinda thinks Maithri is his safest bet, whatever the strategy might be, he is putting himself and the whole nation for political suicide.

  • 7
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    How did this “hands in his trouser pocket’ Ranil W ( sure sign of cunning and deviousness) remain leader of the UNP for so long ? To any one with a minimum of common sense it should have been clear that he is a pretender to various expertise but in fact only a conman. One of his poses was that he was honest ! What do you think now ?

    Mahinda R is a village thug with low cunning. He too is very mediocre in every way.

    MS is a lucky man taking a easy ride on the nonsense platform that SWRD created for the lumpen elements from rural areas.Through politics he was able to have grand wedding at Hilton !

    Gotabaya is uneducated and thinks his Sri Lankan military training is a miraculous thing next to slice bread.He benefited from his brother MRs cunning efforts to turn his not so bright and not so honest family into a modern royalty with succession reserved only for family members.

    Meanwhile Sri Lanka is considered one of the most low intelligent and low performing country in Asia.

    Does it really matter who the next buffoon we vote for next ?

  • 3
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    Bonkers. The country will be inept for a long time is MS is elected. SLPP or SLFP, has no one capable of leading a pluralist society of peaceful but progressing Sri Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    Typical Punnakku for gullible.

  • 2
    0

    It is time that your sitting here comes to an end. You who sit in this Parliament and this high place you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue. You are enemies to all good government and intolerably odious to the whole nation. You, who were elected by the people to get grievances addressed, you yourselves have become the greatest grievance. Your country therefore calls upon all good people to put a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House, and in the President’s House. I command you, therefore in all good grace to depart IMMEDIATELY and take every member of your government and opposition with you. Go. Get out! Make haste.!

  • 5
    1

    I am not a fool to spend my time at the polling booths in 2020. Stay at home on that day with family and friends. They are the ones who stand by you during laughter and tears, unlike our coward president who fled to india with HIS family, knowing that a disaster is about to take place.

    • 2
      2

      Do your duty. Cast your vote. What if all sit at home ?

  • 4
    0

    Five more years of this Gonadipathi flying all over the world attending conferences on toilet sanitation? Surely, you are joking!

  • 10
    2

    For whose benefit did the Natinoal Thawheed Jamath (NTJ) that was recognized as a Political tool under the Rjapaka rule, unleash violence on the 21st of April, Is it for them to capture power or to help their benefactors to capture power after the Coup attempt failed in October last year? Any fool can see who their benefactors are. If as some claimed it was for retaliation for the Christchurch incident, then why target poor fisher folk. They could have targeted Tewatte Church Ragama, All Saints Borella, St. Theresa’s Thimbirigasyaya or another affluent Church in Colombo or Kandy. No, the Rajapaksas did not mind the poor fisher folk being sacrificed like how the fisher folk was shot at and some died when they were in power at a demonstration before 2015.
    No sooner the blast occurred even before the Churches could be cleaned of the flesh and blood of the victims, Gotabaya Rajapaksa announces his intention to contest the Presidency and confirms that he is a Sri Lankan, that he has renounced his American citizenship for him to qualify. It is further confirmed when Robert Blake from the blues descend and pronounce that Gota had the best Technocrats to assist him to finish the 30 year war of the ruthless LTTE.
    Robert Blake did not explain how the Americans got VP to help them to get MR elected pulling the rug under Ranil’s feet in 2005. Robert Blake also did not disclose how they got the LTTE to close the Mawilaru Anicut to draw the public ire to commence an open war with the State Forces. He also did not disclose, how they duped VP to bury all their weapons and abandon their stronghold Kilinochchi and assemble on the beachfront for the MR Forces to annihilate them. Robert Blake also did not explain how the Americans provided the very man Shavendra Silva who executed the annihilation, at the UN Head Office in NY safe haven, till everything died down for him to return and accept office again.

    • 0
      1

      “how they got the LTTE to close the Mawilaru Anicut”

      C’mon Gamini ! …….. The Americans are saints of the highest order ……….. but you can’t blame everything on them!

      The most plausible reason for the closure of the anicut is ………… Prabakaran would’ve never sold his soul for just 30 pieces of silver.

      The Rajapakses promised more than just money to Velupillai ………… they also promised him political concessions.

      Money was the easy part of the promise to keep ……….. political concessions were the difficult part to keep, due to the difficulty of quelling the SB backlash in the heartlands – remember, the Rajapakses were not as popular back then as they are now.

      The closure of the anicut and few other minor irritants/transgressions were to force Rajapakse’s hand to keep the political-promises.

      VP never thought it would lead to full scale war ……… but it came back to bite him in the butt.

      I’m no fan of the Rajapakses ………. but like I always say, the country has withstood monumental idiotic leaders and still marches on without missing a beat.

      Just think if Ranil had won ……… we still would have Prabakarn and the LTTE telling “leaders” how high to jump!

      Mahinda didn’t want to finish the war ……. he was all for “peace talks” ……….. but that’s how fate played out for SL, Mahinda and VP.

  • 2
    0

    Vishwa could please send a copy to Rajeewa, the expert in alternate facts. His preference in none other than GR. He is the only one who blamed the whole Muslim community for the Easter tragedy. No one else did.

  • 0
    0

    Vishwamithra suggests that Mahinda’s safest bet, for you know what, is Maithri.
    Safe for……?
    .
    The welfare and safety of the county is at stake Vishwamithra.
    Our leaders are bad, selfish and after wealth to keep for themselves.
    Soon we may have to choose one, who APPEARS to be less bad.
    Yes, a gamble!

  • 0
    0

    At this moment people of SL think how to get rid of the muslim terrorists. That is why they ask for GR who has done the job before.. My3, Ranil and other UNPers has no chance at all. After what happened 3 weeks ago. Voters are not looking at the human rights record or how clean that person. Because general public is very worried at the moment. It includes catholics, hindues and Buddhists. even though lot of people do not like GR, they have no choice. You have to live to think about future plans. That is the truth.

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