18 September, 2021

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GR’s Political Agenda & Nation’s Multidimensional Crisis

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Sri Lanka, like many parts of the world, is trapped between two unprecedented catastrophes. One is in the health front arising from the most contagious delta variant of the corona virus, and the other in the economic front compounded by the pandemic itself. There is a vicious link between the two, which makes efforts of governments to minimize disruption to health and economy very difficult. For example, controlling the spread of the virus requires vaccinating at least the entire adult population of a country, and until that is done, partial or total lock down of inhabited regions and isolation of individuals and families becomes unavoidable. Such health protection measures, recommended by medical experts, cripple the economy, which demands not isolation and quarantining but participation and active engagement of people in economic activities. It is a tricky balancing act with which all governments are grappling today. But what is crucial in this management is the extent to which governments are prepared to adopt a set of coordinated, innovative and emergency measures, like for example, the Australian government’s job seeker and job keeper programs that are designed to assist struggling businesses and their employees while minimizing major disruptions to market operations.  What make such government intervention possible is the democratic political environment where a vigilant opposition inside the parliament and free media outside keep the government on toes by putting pressure on the Prime Minister and his cabinet to do what is right for the occasion and do it effectively. This is where Sri Lanka has failed. There are no checks and balance in the political system to make the government accountable for what it does and the opposition in the parliament is so disunited, dispirited and directionless that the ruling regime with an authoritarian president at the helm feels free to do what it wants and how it wants. The regime has politicized the health and economy of the country.          

This is the reason why civilians and their organizations are compelled to come out in frustration to agitate for an end to an oppressive environment in which they are being crushed. Official data reveals that in the month of July alone there had been a total of 120 public protests and in each of them an average of 1500 people were said to have participated. A proposed rally by the teaching community was only postponed because of a request from health experts. Given this escalating public discontent and the regime’s failure to solve a multidimensional crisis, it is puzzling to understand the necessity for President Gotabaya to declare his intention to run for a second term when there are three more years to complete his first. What was the necessity for him to prioritize this political item when people are demanding relief from suffocating economic and health distress? What did trigger his announcement? One can only surmise.

The rapidly declining popularity of the regime must have created some consternation within the ruling family and its immediate circle of friends and supporters. The question, how to arrest this decline and prevent the demise of the regime at the end of its current term if not earlier could not have escaped the mind of the veteran politician and patriarch of the family, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR). If one could recall events surrounding the 2019 presidential race one would remember that there was an inordinate delay in announcing GR’s nomination. It was rumoured then that GR’s candidacy was more a family choice than of MR and his party. Apart from the uncertainties surrounding GR’s citizenship at that time it was the authoritarian character of a military minded brother that must have made MR to have his reservations. That seems to have been proved by the President’ record of jackboot administration particularly in the post 20th Amendment era.  It is no secret therefore that the unpopularity of the regime is largely the result of GR’s authoritarianism and his policies on the run.

It is with this backdrop that one should consider the significance of the entry of Basil Rajapaksa (BR) into the parliament and cabinet. BR is younger than GR by three years and is generally considered by many as an amenable person and the mastermind behind the formation and stability of the ruling coalition under SLPP. MR therefore had no qualms in handing over the Ministry of Finance under which was under him to BR’s care.  Following that portfolio reshuffle, it was widely expected within the ruling circle and official media that BR would immediately concentrate on bringing relief to millions of voters by bringing down the cost of living. Prices of certain essential items such as rice, gas and fertilizer were expected to be reduced, and an announcement was made to allow import of chemical fertilizers that was banned by GR.  Even before that announcement percolated through the farming community, GR’s office repudiated that announcement and reassured the status quo. More recently, BR is also said to reopen the dialogue with TNA which was originally proposed by GR and the given up indefinitely. Thus, the rising popularity of BR must have signaled GR that there may be a family coup or palace revolution underfoot before the next presidential election. Hence, GR’s preemptive strike by declaring his intention to run for a second term.  Is this conclusion farfetched? Let the readers be the judge.

Whatever happens within the ruling family, the way the pandemic has been handled by the regime by putting politics before health has worsened the situation.  From election rallies to funeral processions and from cremations to New Year celebrations the implementation of health rules and restrictions were used by the regime to gain political mileage. There is still a running controversy between what the health experts want and what the government delivers. In this tug of war people are dying.  In the meantime, hopes of a quick recovery of the economy, whether in the shape of U or V, as touted by the Central Bank authorities and some economists, cannot materialize unless there is, firstly, a U-turn in the regime’s attitude towards approaching international agencies like IMF for assistance, and secondly, addressing seriously, issues raised by UNHCR resolution last year, which are going to be revisited in one month’s time.  Without that the economy can expect at best a wobbly flat-bottomed existence for a prolonged period.

On the economy side, access to IMF could open several doors for the regime to help ease the economic cum foreign policy pain experienced now. To the GR-MR duo China has become the new qibla to worship.  Beijing’s stranglehold on the economy is also the reason for Sri Lanka’s foreign policy disasters. The crisis that is enveloping the country now is therefore multidimensional. The regime has proved again and again its incapacity to solve it. The damage done so far cannot be repaired by policies on the run. It requires a radical change in objectives, shift in strategy and coordination in action. Unfortunately, even the opposition seems to lack a promising alternative or a manifesto to address this crisis.  

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Dear Dr Ali,
    .
    the biggest problem with GR is he is not open enough to be a leader. See how many times he has come before the nation, despite the fact that the rate of COVID deaths in the country is almsot similar to that of india few weeks ago. This does not matter to them for some hidden reasons. Not even that BULL DOG of Brasil behaved the way srilanken GOTA-BAYA gets on with the numbers today. And it is believed by the experts that what they have in ther reserves is not even good enough to 1.5 months for purchase of the essentials to the nation, but the govt led by stupid Gota does not seem to take it serious.

    Media mafia that brought them back to power, does not want to take the SIDE of the public either.

  • 3
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    One is in the health front arising from the most contagious delta variant of the corona virus
    ———
    There is no delta variant. It is the vaccine that is making people sick or killing them

    • 0
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      Humble,
      “is the vaccine that is making people sick or killing them”
      Freemasons have miniaturised themselves as viruses. Be careful.

  • 2
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    the way the pandemic has been handled by the regime by putting politics before health has worsened the situation
    ——————-
    The reason why the rulers world wide dont follow the lockdown rules they enforce on the public is because they know its a scam that they themselves created.

  • 1
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    Dr.Ali, You say that the leading duo god worship is China, and that there is no accountability due to authoritarian military character of leader. In fact SLPP was simply birthed without a plan for the nation, but only for the family. Still there are politicians who understand the economic pathway to follow and the health service still looks after patients even under difficulties. For Xi education is very important as it was robbed from him as a child. Much later he got a chemical engineering degree and was funded for gain of function research and bat virus to a new genetic mutant covid and vaccine production. His daughter was educated in Harvard university under a false name. Deception and hidden knowledge of CCP has still not been experienced by SL top chasing personal yuan dollar accounts hoping to sell SL. A joint opposition must wake up with a unified plan. No Buddhism. Tsah of Russia family shot in the revolution in 1918

  • 2
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    “GR’s Political Agenda”. GR has a “Hidden Political Agenda” and that is to establish a “Military Dictatorship”. That too is not an open “Military Takeover” but a very subtle process through which “Military” will be made to play a vital role in the day-to-day administration of the Governing functions. At first, he appointed a “Task Force” to be in charge of the “COVID 19” project under the “Chairmanship” of the Army Commander, subjugating all other “Medical Specialists” and other personnel in the medical field. Next, he has “Planted” the “Retired” Armed Forces personnel of “High Command” to head the Government Commercial and Consumer Establishments including the Ports and Aviation establishments. In addition, there are two dozen “Army” personnel placed at “District” levels to “Oversee” and “Coordinate” the administrative and developmental functions that are normally handled by the District Secretaries. Alongside, he has also built a “Strong” “Intelligence Apparatus” to collect, assess and report on “Security” matters and “Civil Society” functions. This is only a very “Brief” account of GR’s “Political Hidden Agenda” placed under his “Command”.

    • 0
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      Simon, The political hidden agenda you mention to be in place is like the Maradana platoon last of defence secretary and could not last as good triumphs over evil in the way this world was created to be. Finally it has to be God dictatorship of divine outworking of justice and righteousness, love joy and peace, mercy and forgiveness with restoration to the original intent of his kingdom reign which is not human military dictatorship which fails. What is now allowed is the absolute evil lawlessness to reach the endpoint for judgment. All humans are meant to be restored if only they will choose the non atheistic benevolent dictator.

  • 1
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    continue…. If anyone happens to discuss the situation of the country in terms of “Politics” and “Economic” status, with the ordinary masses, all that you hear is nothing but “Condemnations” expressed in utter “Filthy” vocabulary. That “Ordinary Masses” include the “Stalwarts” (including the prominent Buddhis Clergy, Artists, Public Servants, and most number of Civil Society members). Anyone can see them very frequently appearing through “Social Media” (Video Channels) and expressing “REGRETS” of bringing “GR” as the President. One noteworthy feature of all these “Condemnations” and “Regrets” is none talks of an “Alternative” and so “Emphatic” to condemn all other existing “Political” outfits and completely “Silent” even bringing in a “New Political Movement” to handle the Governing functions. Even the “Public Media” has joined this “Group”.
    The “NEW TREND” has slowly begun, in that, all PRAISE is for the “Armed Forces” who are placed at high levels in the “Administration” (excepting a very few in Politics and Administration). Even the “Common” men and women at village levels speak in “Praise” and of “Hig Levels” of the services rendered to them by the “Armed Forces” personnel. The “Politicians” and “Parties” of all “Shades” are not “Favoured”, but always mention with “Honor” of the “Integrity”, “Honesty” and “Straight Forwardness” in dealing with all the functions entrusted to the Armed Personnel.

    • 0
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      Simon, you say “New Trend” is highly placed “Armed Forces”. The one world army is what national leaders are after in this militarization. Wuhan virus mutates because it was genetically manipulated and when it escaped from lab the sick in Wuhan had increased hospitalization and on September 12, 2019, data bases were taken offline. But Military World G ames in October were allowed and carried Wuhan virus world wide. Behavior of Xi who wanted world’s economies to fall like in China by General Jack Keane, Fox news and other investigators confirm. Why would our military join world military. There is even a current accusation to prevent our police joining UK training due to our dismal deception and lies.

      • 0
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        DTG@
        !Not just Scottish trainings but entire world will close doors to Gota administration sooner than later. They will have to realise that the situation is similar to that in Belarus, North Korea and several states in tribal Africa. 😡😡😡😡😡😡

    • 0
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      Dear Simon, a group of military men and few medical docs have been manipulating the number of deaths, new cases, PCR positive etc. OVER the past few weeks, revealed by SIRASA TV last night. Some SLPP representatives were among them to criticise this hidden mlechcha acts of the govt. GOTA knows all these well and pretends to be other way around. He does nt know atleast some silent potions in the society would be watching all these. Unfortunately not even 30% of the population is among the internet users that stay alert on the mlechcha acts of GOTA led groups. 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡

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