30 October, 2020

Blog

Is Ruwan Up To The Job?

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Ranil is a corpse refusing to attend his own funeral. Eventually UNP members will have to rent a hearse and drag the cortege to Kanatha. Next question: “Is presumptive leader Ruwan Wijewardene (RW new style) the chap who can recoup lost ground?” Apart from the question whether it can be done at all, the way he is setting about it seems deficient, and more seriously he does not seem to have the personality for the job. Let me make it clear that I am not a UNP or SJB person; my interest is dispassionate political analysis. 

RW (new style; I won’t repeat this qualifier again) has laid out his plan as travelling to all corners to reorganise and revitalise the party. In the forefront of his mind, obviously are the indefatigable efforts of JR and Premadasa in rebuilding the UNP after the 1970 debacle. But yesterday’s cock won’t fight today’s battles. The problem now is not poor or defunct organisation. There is little for RW to rebuild; the UNP (the UNP-SJB totality) is not in organisational shambles. The new-style UNP called SJB, together with allies held on to a fair bit of the traditional vote bank (about 2.7 million) and collected about 55 parliamentary seats. Holding branch meetings, electing new office bearers, lecturing them on organisation & method, forming new district committees, that is to say all the paraphernalia called reorganisation, the kind of rebuilding that JR and Preme did, is barking up the wrong tree, it won’t yield the same results today. To do today what worked yesterday is anachronistic.

My greater criticism is that it is the wrong politics. To repeat, intrinsically, I don’t care for the UNP or SJB per se, except that any strengthening of the opposition is desirable. The stronger personality and campaigner, the one who launches vigorous activities against economic setbacks, rising costs, against 20A and authoritarianism and the betrayal of Sri Lankan workers stranded in the Middle East will make better progress. Not to go all out on a militant anti-Rajapaksa and anti-SLPP political mission and do “reorganisation” on the home front is like taking cookery classes at home when the house is on fire. It is putting the cart before the horse. RW’s labours will not be productive; he will flop if he does not change strategy. 

Conversely Anura Kumara and the JVP are firing on all barrels. The SJB made a splash and made propaganda gains by noise against bringing murders into parliament. Viggy has his eye on capturing the leadership of the Tamils by stoking militancy when the regime turns its jaundiced eye from Muslims to Tamils. What issues, what national, economic and political issues is the UNP is going to put centre stage under RW’s leadership?

And this may be a personability issue as well. Apparently RW is polite, decent, well-spoken, not prone to hurling obscenities or chilli powder and not a nasty cockroach – a rarity in the vicinity of Diawanna Oya. That’s good; but there is no reason why one cannot be decent and at the same time an indefatigable fighter on issues – NM, Pieter, Chelva, Mrs B and Anura Kumara are among those who fit this bill. Dudley was a decent fellow but a damp squib on issues. When RW’s election as deputy leader was announced, instead of coming out fire and fury on the political issues of our time, he tamely announced that he would be retiring to the reorganisation corner. That’s his personality; can he surmount it? What’s his position on 20A? Does he have views on an economic programme? What’s his preferred system of state and executive presidency? Has he ever taken a stand on minority concerns and devolution? One would expect a new leader to come out firing on all barrels on these issues. Does he have a stand at all? Seems not; seems he wants to give Sajith a walkover.

Let me sign off by repeating that as an outsider I have no skin in UNP or SJB games and no interest in rooting for any leadership contender. Of course, at this time of writing I would in general like to see a strong opposition – JVP, minority representatives, Sajith, the UNP, professionals and monks who reject 20A, and trade unions and civil society.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    3

    If he can do a DSS (1948) then he can turn things around. If he does a Ranil (2002 ceasefire) then he has no future.

    Do not forget the default is Rajapaksa which is the worst!

    • 3
      10

      Mr. GATAM,
      .
      News item just before 2024 presidential election –
      .
      UNP presidential candidate – Ranil Wikramasinghe.
      UNP prime ministerial appointee- Ruwan Wijewardene.
      .
      And Prof. Kumar David will tell us to vote JVP to make Ranil president.

      • 7
        3

        Quite possible. Only their death can save SL from Ranil and Mahinda.

        JVP won’t contest the next presidential election after the 2019 humiliation.

    • 6
      6

      One big reason for Sajith’s defeat was his “low caste”. “High caste” people didn’t vote for Sajith. Ruwan can get that vote without doing anything.

      • 7
        3

        Sajith’s mother was not ‘low’ caste.
        It was Sajith’s poor campaign strategy that did most damage.
        Also, he split the UNP at the wrong moment.
        But to defeat MR & Co after 5 years of “Good Governance” was a tall order.

    • 1
      4

      Dear Gatam

      I think Hon MR & Excellency Gota earned their way to the chair?? A post war scenario aganist all the odds?? Not a default???

      What Prof is saying is to have a credible opposition so the democracy can function from the accountability point of view.

      If one gives the credit to the voters who elected them then support the GOSL until the next election we will have a journey of development?

      How come when a minority parties (including JVP) can boast “mandates” through killing fields in their own ghettos and sit in the parilment and then we want the same to form the opposition to uphold democracy??? not sure how we fact check/analyse matters anymore??

  • 11
    13

    “Ranil is a corpse refusing to attend his own funeral.”

    Didn’t the dumbos who brought this man to power in 2015 aware that he is a ‘corpse refusing to attend his own funeral’. The ‘Regime Change’ mafia did not care about the capacity of Gamarala or Dr. Bond to govern the country. What they wanted was to remove Mahinda Rajapakshe from power. What happens to the country was immaterial to them. These ‘Regime Change’ mafia headed by Ven.Sobhitha is responsible for the man-made disaster this country faced from 2015-2019. But unfortunately these dumbos who brought the disaster to this country will never enjoy a meal in Welikada.

  • 13
    4

    Ranil rated himself very intelligent and strategic. Only fools consider themselves so highly. On top of that, the mad idea of high class birth and traditional leadership was seeped into him. All this was created by colonialism, new class of elite in late 19 century..

    His father Esmond was a businessman. His mothers side were all business people recently becoming high class. Businessman are always looking for ways of taking advantage. So was Ranil.No principles.

    He subverted the UNP and created a body called the Working Committee as its main body. This working committee was full of upstarts , social climbers and racketeers. The most intelligent man and the best leader this working committee ever knew was Ranil And Ranil appointed the working committee !

    The absurdity of this committee can be seen now. After the UNP failed to win a single seat at the elections the working committee is still taking orders from its boss. Not a single working committee member had the decency to resign after the UNP got wiped out ! That shows the true colours of its members.

    Now by appointing this useless no hoper Ruwan Wijewardena as deputy leader the working committee has shown it is following Ranil’s family strategy.

    • 4
      7

      Mr. deepthi silva,
      .
      Ranil is trying for a top international post for 6 months now. Without any success.
      .
      Now he is down to anything international stage.

  • 9
    1

    RaW replaced by RuW.

    What a farce. A rose by another name!

    Won’t resurrect the dead UNP.

    RIP!!!

    • 0
      2

      Finbiz: It runs in the blood – Ruwan shows early signs of Ranil in the last decade.

      (I think MR has secretly warned RW of his fate if RW tries to oppose him in a major way?)

  • 5
    6

    “Conversely Anura Kumara and the JVP are firing on all barrels

    WTH the 3% barrel?

    • 3
      9

      Mr. a14455,
      .
      And most funniest part is……
      “”’polite, decent, well-spoken, not prone to hurling obscenities or chilli powder and not a nasty cockroach – ………………..indefatigable fighter on issues – NM, Pieter, Chelva, Mrs B and ANURA KUMARA…..””
      .
      Ha ha ???

  • 16
    3

    By the time Ruwan masters the art of leadership, there won’t be a UNP to lead. And by the time a united, strong opposition emerges there won’t be democracy in the country to challenge Gota’s military junta. The future is bleak for the country. But the monks are feeling on top of the world. That depresses me even more.

  • 19
    1

    Poor (RW new style); Rajapaksas will make him into a වවුල් හපය very soon. Maybe it is the contract Ranil made with MR, to make RW (new style) to become a failure until Namal comes to the scene; kickback payment is to enjoy the comforts and facilities provided by MR, for Ranil and his wife. RW (new style) is the sacrificial lamb. He is a decent, nice man, but weak, not up to a fight even with a child, leave alone Rajapaksa thugs. Ranil not only destroyed the Grand Old UNP, but also the whole country. He is a CURSE to Sri Lanka.

  • 11
    0

    Senior journalist Upul Joseph Fernando, writing on the “Mawrata” online site on September 5, 2020, describes how the “Lankadeepa” newspaper, owned by the Times group, has been relentlessly critical of the UNP, since the time of JR. (In fact, the sister paper Sunday Times has also begun to side with the current government.) The Wijewardena family owns Times Group.
    *
    For that alone, Ruwan would be a disaster for the UNP. To that, add his slow-moving laziness, inability to give a rousing speech, lack of charisma and passion.
    *
    But he could also become the savior of the UNP. He could assume leadership, and invite Sajith to take over.

  • 11
    2

    Ruwan Goes to Ranil to Learn Leadership Skills
    /
    Ranil: You know what … If there is any serious problem or crisis in the party, never try to fix it right away. Always postpone … postpone … postpone. That’s always to your advantage. Just say … you’re appointing a special committee to study the problem and make the necessary recommendations. And give the committee the longest possible time. … [Laughs] … You know … the problem will just go away. And your leadership will be secure. If the problem reappears, appoint another committee. {Laughs] You can see, No? That’s how I managed to be the leader for 26 years.
    /
    Ruwan: [Muttering to himself] That’s how you totally destroyed the bloody party. Couldn’t even win one damn seat this time.
    /
    Ranil: Did you say something? I think I heard something not very nice.
    /
    Ruwan: No … No … No … I wasn’t saying anything bad. I was just saying “You’re still the most knowledgeable and intelligent leader in the whole of Asia.”

  • 6
    0

    A political party needs money to run a campaign. Both the UNP and the old SLFP had lean years. Members had to mortgage their houses to raise funds. In the old days there were aristocratic families who were able to provide funding. The UNP had the Attygalla families wealth from the plumbego mines. SWRD relied on his own wealth. Then came the nationalization mania of Sirima. She not only nationalized the assets of the UNP backing aristoctrates She cut off her own foot by nationalizing the Bandarsnaike land holdings. Then came the era of the mudalalis. The SLFP had Dasa. The UNP had Aloysius and then Nawaloka in the Premadasa era. RW could not maintain cordial relations with his donors. Having a mild form of Asburgers Syndrom he is simply put of a wierd character. Most people tended to get annoyed and angry at the man’s behavior. Therefore, the UNP’s money troubles went from bad to worse. Claiming that the party needs to be reorganized from the grass roots serves as code word for the real problem of money and the lack of it. Old Mahinda fixed the funding woes of the SLFP for next few generations by robbing left right and center to become one of the richest men in Asia while stupid RW had to dip into his own personal income to keep the lights on at Sri Kotha.

  • 3
    5

    YES. He can do it.
    From the bad lot he’s the best.
    Comes from an old rich affluent family where he will not have a craving for new riches.
    +
    I think that he needs to mature a bit more on the pitfalls in the field s of unruly rajapuka politics but yes he looks to be one with the brawn unlike his relative RW.
    +
    As for RW it’s time to at last gracefully retire to enable the party to be infused with fresh blood as the seniors too have now gone dead or kaput in their own use by date.
    +
    I wish the next RW ( Ruwan. W ) all the best in resurfacing the unconscious about to die a tragic demise.
    +
    All the best RW the second you can do it and you have to do it.
    Cheers. Rohan. A.. Johnpillai.
    Melbourne. Australia.

  • 10
    2

    Present situation of UNP is that it is beyond repairs. No matter who leads it whether it is Ruwan or Ranil doesn’t matter, people got thoroughly disappointed. It it is going to be a herculean task for any leader to put the house in order. Such is the seriousness of the damage caused to the grand old party. During the 2015 general election people gave them the mandate and power was given to Ranil and his gang on a plater but they mucked it up in style and in no time without any consideration of the betterment of the party or even the country he ruined. Betrayal is not the word but it is no doubt a ‘historical let down’.

  • 5
    3

    The simple answer to the question posed by you, Professor Kumar is, “no”. Ruwan W. may be a decent enough fellow, but if he is to be made leader of the UNP it will simply be because there’s nobody else, and there still is the feeling that Uncles and Nephews are entitled to lead the Party.
    .
    Also, they have nobody else. They should hand over to the SJB, which also will have to reorganise. There will be some M.Ps who must be allowed to depart to the government ranks.
    .
    The country, as a whole, has to turn elsewhere for leadership. Please listen to this video carefully. It was not the JVP (with its baggage consisting of horrendous crimes ascribed to them during their days of militancy), that came third. It was the NPP.
    .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o4uNjiZXGE
    .
    The people must digest this fact and vote for the NPP in huge numbers. That is the one hope that remains for this country.

    • 2
      10

      Mr. Panini Edirisinhe,
      .
      The country, as a whole, NO NEED turn elsewhere for leadership…..
      .
      We already have a democratically elected president.
      We already have a democratically elected parliament.
      .
      Do you think anyone can challenge the integrity of GR..??

      • 7
        1

        The country as a whole is already robbed by Beliatttha Rascals.

        Mr SM, you please reveal what you know about RAJAPKSHES in Tangalle. Nobody talks about their past – as I still remember, my elders were very unhappy whenever they heard the name – Rajapakshe- in late 70ties. I often heard them calling them as ” Beliatta Rascals”: Today, for some reasons, they have spread lies about their so called Walawwa. DA Rajakashes were not coming form a Walawwa. If they came from a Walawwa things would have been more human for the people in this country today.

        Family Tree
        1. Don David Rajapaksa Vidanarachchi (feudal post) + Dona Gimara Weerakoon Ratnayake
        1.1. Don Mathew Rajapaksa (State Councilor)
        1.1.1. Lakshman Rajapaksa (Member of Parliament)
        1.1.2. George Rajapaksa (Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister of Fisheries)
        1.1.2.1.Nirupama Rajapaksa (currently Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament)
        1.2. Don Alwin Rajapaksa (1906-1967) (Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Cabinet Minister) + Dandina Samarasinghe Dissanayake
        1.2.1. Chamal Rajapaksa (1942-) (Member of Parliament, Cabinet Deputy Minister and Full Minister, former Speaker) (Children, Shashindra Rajapaksa, Shameendra Rajapaksa)
        1.2.2. Jayanthi Rajapaksa (1943-) (Children, Himal Laleendra Hettiarachchi & Rangani Hettiarachhi)
        1.2.3. Mahinda Rajapaksa (1945-) (Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister, Leader of Opposition, Prime Minister, former President of Sri Lanka) ( Children, Namal Rajapaksa, Yoshitha Rajapaksa & Rohitha Rajapaksa)
        1.2.4. Chandra Rajapaksa (1947-2018) (Children: Chaminda Rajapaksa)

        • 3
          0

          Leelagemalli, the other families are just as bad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_families_in_Sri_Lanka
          .
          Here you can see the Wijewardenes connected to the Senanayakes/Jayawardenes /Kotalawalas/ Wickramasinghes who in turn are connected to the Bandaranaikes/Ratwattes/Illangakoons etc

          • 5
            1

            Stanley
            Keeping it in the family is a strong temptation. SWRDB did not intend it the way DSS did. Mrs B tried to promote the son, but the daughter got the better of him. SWRDB kept all family out of his politics I think.
            *
            But have you seen before now such concentration of power in the hands of a family?

            • 3
              0

              SJ, no I have not. 20A will make matters much worse with GR becoming all-powerful. If history is anything to go by it’s very unlikely that whoever follows GR will divest himself of this power.

              • 3
                0

                Stanley,
                I am sorry that I am inclined to agree that “it’s very unlikely that whoever follows GR will divest himself of this power”

    • 2
      3

      NPP/JVP are hopeless. NMP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya is a damp squib.

      • 3
        1

        hanchopancha ,

        What JVP doing is like preaching in a pub ! They lost their armed
        struggle and jumped into the politics they still call by many names !
        People voted , “we don’t understand you”.

      • 1
        1

        Please substantiate, Mr Charles Cooray aka hanchopancha.
        .
        I’ll get back to you in a couple of days; it would make sense (from your point of view) to get a few words in before I tear into you.
        .
        I have a great preference for arriving at a consensus rather than getting into confrontation.
        .
        The choice is yours.
        .

        • 0
          0

          SM (PE) Dumbo. Whose pup are you????

    • 3
      2

      Dear SM,

      I entirely agree with you!
      Are Sri Lankan voters smart enough?
      Perhaps not – if past performance is anything to go by.
      We are supine and the status quo will not change!

      • 1
        2

        Thanks, Sunil.
        .
        I will indeed get back here in a couple of days, as I have told Charles C. alias “hanchopancha”. Let us hold fast to what we see as true.
        .
        I agree that the voters of Sri Lanka are prize asses; that’s why they keep voting in crooks and racists. To me, it seems that our voters seem particularly asinine. However, with our limited experience of what happens in other countries, we’d better not take comparisons and contrasts too far.
        .
        See what’s happening in America. The Democrats dare not get too complacent. Despite being as obnoxious as he is, Trump cannot be counted out until the last vote.
        .
        On a much smaller canvas, observe that the Anglicans of Sri Lanka have voted for a Bishop five weeks ago – still no result has been announced.
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/archbishop-justin-welby-asks-for-sri-lankan-anglicans-to-pray-ahead-of-decision-on-new-bishop-of-colombo/
        .
        The canker of corruption spreads everywhere.

  • 6
    0

    UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe for short is RW. So can be for Ruwan Wijewardene which is again RW. Is Prof Kum implying that this change is cosmetic because the symbolical reference to two of them are the same? The author and I are not UNPers. It is the members of that party who should charter the course of the party. The party is in shambles but that does not mean it is eternally in shambles. Having badly bruised is it reasonable to expect Ruwan to come out fire and fury? I don’t think so. Long before that he should consolidate his position and put his own party into order.

  • 1
    0

    “Ranil is a corpse refusing to attend his own funeral.”
    ———————
    Perhaps he wants to attend the funeral of Democracy first.
    Losing a friend like that after 71 years! is unbearable to anyone let alone Ranil.
    ———————————

    • 3
      1

      Democracy was unceremoniously buried in 1956. Which funeral could he attend now!

      • 2
        0

        I thought that it happened in 1948.
        Buried, but still alive and kicking until 1978.

  • 0
    4

    The masses have given HE President a convincing mandate by making him the absolute monarch until the next presidential elections. He should send the mosquitoes of Diyawanna Oya on permanent vacation and save the country in these hard times a fortune. Malaria is all around us.

  • 2
    1

    “Ranil is a corpse refusing to attend his own funeral.”
    Funny logic though.
    Would a corpse have an opinion on any matter that concerns it?

    • 2
      1

      Highly respectable and honourable people pre plan their funerals .
      And those who carry their corpses do carry out their plans that
      we call last will .I have seen Ranil and some of his actions at
      very close range . Disgusting I would say ! I had never looked at
      him as a leader , he had been a leader by accident and thanks to
      L T T E assassination of Premadasa , Lalith and Gamini . No one
      can discount , L T T E connection to the downfall of the U N P .
      People express their opinion before they become corpse in the
      name of last will binding a group of heir loved ones in a limited
      way .

      • 1
        0

        w/w
        A minor correction of factual information,
        The LTTE was not responsible for Lalith’s killing. The person strongly suspected in political quarters did not live long enough to answer the charge.
        *
        There was no UNP-LTTE connection. It was something imposed on both sides by the US.
        There was an LTTE-MR connection in 2005.

        • 0
          0

          SJ ,

          Thank you for your reply to my post . The person “suspected” in
          your view and his wife were targets of Tabloid mud slinging in
          his time though short lived on his post ! My views were based on
          Judging by general world understanding and reactions and not to
          side with any one ! U N P eclipse starts with the loss of those three
          I named and the inability of the next leader simply by chance !
          This is one hundred percent my conclusion based on my study !
          You are most welcomed to differ SJ ! I didn’t try to drag unseen
          forces acting actively from behind the screen ! This page will not
          fit for that job !

  • 3
    0

    Ruwan’s name for next leadership was doing the rounds years ago. It is nothing
    unexpected . His success depends on his ability to be any better racist than the
    popular rest !

  • 1
    0

    As a result of that unholy alliance between the SLFP and the UNP more popularly referred to as the Maithri Ranil combine it was the UNP that became extinct. The SLFP survived, though with a few MPP. There is a possibility for the UNP to rise from the ashes if RW decides to disown the Thomian motto Esto Perpetua [Be Though Forever ! ] and at the same time take the Royal motto seriously: Learn or Depart!

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