16 November, 2018

Blog

Kleptocracy To Kakistocracy

By Grusha Andrews

“Kakistocracy: noun, plural kak·is·toc·ra·cies: a government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power. Origin: 1829, coined on analogy of its opposite, aristocracy, from Greek kakistos “worst,” superlative of kakos “bad” (which perhaps is related to the general  word for “defecate;” caco-) + -cracy.” Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper.

Austin

President’s Secretary Austin Fernando has thrown in the towel. It appears that even the most experienced, patient, persevering and shrewdest of strategists cannot take it anymore. Fernando, one of the last living Humphrey Applebys in Sri Lankan civil service has lifelong training at keeping his marbles together under extreme circumstances. Even he seems to have lost it. He is no political celebrity and if at all, an outcaste in the equation of modern ethno-religious politics. At best he will be footnoted in history. But his alleged departure has serious connotations, apparently soft, yet, sinister ‘end of an era’ of sorts. According to Colombo Telegraph, the touting for a new President’s Secretary is apparently carried out by the sorry political charlatans of the caliber of Shiral Lakthilake who has approached Hemasiri Fernando with the job. Whether it is Austin Fernando or Hemasiri Fernando who continues is immaterial. The seriousness lies within the crux of the matter. Hemasiri Fernando would be the tragi-comic end to a tragi-comic Presidency. But, then, Hemasiri Fernando is actually smarter than the President of our Republic. He will not, in all estimate, immerse himself in this putrefying political mess that we call the Presidency of Sri Lanka.

Someone just can’t get along with others

Here we have a President, with eighteen good months of his Presidency left, on his third bid for a President’s Secretary. The highest office in Public Service is not an appointment to be made casually to test on the run. What was he thinking when he appointed much maligned Palitha Abeykoon  with an alleged murky history to the highest office in Public Service? That this office will suddenly transform the man in to the administrative face of Yahapalapaya? What was he thinking when he appointed Austin Fernando, ultra-liberal 75 year old at the time of appointment? That his ex-boss was going to change his ways? That his belly was going to turn black?

The inability of the President to get along with others is symptomatic of the dearth of intellectual sophistication on his part. It may be Fernando’s failure too. Did Fernando seriously think that this was going to have a Bollywood ending? That Sirisena was going to wake up one day and exhibit Presidential qualities? That with his anomalous and perverted plotting to merge with Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a conjoined 2020 bid, Sirisena was not going to block Facebook, websites and TV stations? Sirisena, whose recent verbal torrents bewilder even people with little sophistication and finesse, cannot be expected to fathom constitutional or administrative complexities or logic. Sirisena appears intellectually and temperamentally in-equipped for the office of President.

The class clash of Sirisena with anyone outside his reality is not limited to Fernando. Sirisena has consistently exhibited an abysmal inability to grip the seriousness of his office. The President of our Republic is fundamentally unable to tolerate reason. In a co-habitation government, he is repeatedly proclaiming that he will ‘claim the economy’ from the UNP with the help of the ‘economist aid’ Lalith Samarakoon, the famed wannabe Governor of the Central Bank in Sirisena’s imaginary second term. He is shuffling the cabinet like a dysfunctional poker addict. He is appointing a Catholic Karawa man as Governor of Central Province today and retracting the appointment tomorrow when the Mahanayakes agitate. He neither has the foresight to avoid such blunder, nor has the strength to stand his ground. He is unaware of the 100 day Programme. The freshly appointed General Secretary of the SLFP is proclaiming to move “forward towards victory of SLFP with Mahinda Rajapaksa” with its actual lame leader standing right next to him. He ought to understand that he’s been unceremoniously and lovelessly removed from the hearts of his electorate. Worse, no one fears him. Niccolò Machiavelli famously wrote in The Prince “better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both”. The man can evoke neither love nor fear.

Kleptocracy

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe can take the elephant’s share of the credit for solidifying Sri Lanka’s position as a post January 8th kleptocracy. Rallying millions of citizens under the banner of Good Governance to oust the demonized Rajapakse kleptocracy tainted with MiG deals, nepotistic looting, day light economic robbery and deal making, Wickremesinghe and his “Royal Boys” lost no time in executing the Bond Scam which perhaps surpassed the magnitude of the cumulative Rajapakse lootage over 17 years in just 100 days.

The smug confidence with which the kleptocrats of the government, namely Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe and ex-Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera own up to taking bribes from Arjun Aloysius with mirth and disrespect can only be paralleled by a dead Marie Antoinette. This should make Wickremesinghe hang his kleptocratic head (which was once considered a clean aristocratic head) in utter and desolate shame. But neither Wickremesinghe, nor the kelptocrats – Senasinghe or Jayasekera seem to be even tilting their heads.

The well rootedness of the kelptocracy established with Prime Ministerial sanction is further denoted by the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya appealing to the media to not vilify the MPs on ‘unfounded’ allegations of receiving monies from the Aloysius’. Jayasuriya, one of the lamest living humans in Sri Lankan politics, with his throat slash Brigadier defending son in law left the UNP with 17 other members to ‘strengthen Rajapakse’, crawled back to the UNP alone, sniveling. He remained a consistent under-cutter of Ranil Wickremesinghe since return. He’s a man devoid of moral authority and is actually a bad example of a politician. The Speaker himself is a thief of something more precious than money. He has thieved the hope of the nation as the third citizen of the country, defending thieves. The politicians of our paradise island have looted much more than money by stealing money. They have stolen the spirit, hope, pride, belief in democracy and the will of the hard-working, honest, tax paying citizens of his country. They have stolen the future of our children. These kleptocrats of this kleptocracy should go. Just go.

Kakistocracy

The disassociation of Sirisena from political sanity and fundamental reasoning send shivers down the collective spine of the nation. Sirisena appears to be at greater odds with his Prime Minister with whom has the un-easiest relationship, currently almost not on ‘talking terms’. Like teenage lovers fallen out, these two leaders of the nation are enacting “Mean Girls’. Here essentially is a silly puny version of Donald Trump wannabe in a low and middle income little island who doesn’t seem to understand that he is not the leader of the free world to be tiffing with all and sundry. He is inviting international investors to Sri Lanka today and hugging the President of Iran tomorrow. He does not understand the message it sends the world. He wants to get on a jet plane and travel. Because he can. Like a spoilt child. He threatens the Secretary of Foreign Ministry for recalling the cut throat gesturer The Brigadier for doing so. He still does not understand. He continues to beat his chest outpouring emotion reminiscent of Mahinda Rajapakse. His citizenry despise him. They call him the scarecrow full of hay and some even say he is full of human excreta. He has plummeted in approval rates and more dangerously, he has plummeted the Presidency to depths of ridiculousness. And he wants to be President, again, in 2020!

The President and Prime Minister appear to be failing at what an average school boy at the age of 8 can do: simplygetting along.Prime Minister is the political oasis for the major looters of the government. The President appears uncomfortable with deep aspects of governance, unaccustomed to deep thinking, intolerant to laborious paper work and the unpleasant and relentless decision making his position demands. The unending business of Presidenting seems to have taken a psychological toll on the First Citizen. You only have to follow his recent unstable and chest beating speeches to verify. The conspicuous absence of governance doesn’t seem to bother the Prime Minister either.

Sri Lanka is, by definition today a kakistocracy, a government run by the worst imaginable misleaders who share no pain, misfortune or the discontent of the masses. The Prime Minister is an open protector of the Aloysius’ and the infamous Rajapaksas. Gotabaya Rajapaksa with the MiG deal’s sword hanging over his head is trying to emerge as the next political messiah branding himself as a technocrat and ‘gentle’ dictator. The President appears to be setting the stage, priming the mind of the citizens to build the environment to make a marriage with Gotabaya Rajapaksa for 2020 which will self-actualize the word ‘death’ for him. Meanwhile in this same country the rupee has plummeted to an astounding 160+ per dollar. The brat sons of Ministers run amok literally driving in to citizens complete with swords and all. How many days before the brat is transferred to prison hospital?

At this time of final transition of Sri Lanka from a long standing kleptocracy to a final version of a kakistocracy, one faint dream remains. That somewhere unknown to us all some kindred souls with some sense of purpose and integrity may be, just maybe, imagining a different country. A different, just end.

May that not be a dream.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    We may not see this government running long. There is no good constitutional reason why the Yahapalanaya cannot last until January 2020, when Presidential Elections must be held, but can we keep going till then? Inexorably the Rupee is weakening. This is what it says:
    .
    1 US dollar = 159.04 Sri Lankan rupees
    .
    Like most others in the country that’s how I assess where the economy is going. I know that the US currency is not fixed either, but our confidence has been shaken. I’ve been doing my utmost to keep faith in President Maithripala, but I give up now; it looks as though he’s losing his staff, and funnily enough I gave my two cents worth ten times over when, in retaliation maybe to the Bond Saga, the story broke about the man next to Austin Fernando in the President’s Staff:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sirisena-orders-sacking-of-his-chief-of-staff-and-timber-corp-chairman-accused-of-bribery/
    .
    I don’t have to repeat it here. The 20 million story has to be investigated, even if the Chief Accused had been adroit in handling my file three years ago. I acknowledged gratitude, but that has nothing to do with this other story, although one detail was fishy. Why didn’t they beat it post haste to the home of one of the guys – not that it would have made a difference, given the careful planning.
    .
    Why couldn’t My3 do something similar about the Armed Forces? Express gratitude, but investigate. He acts spineless; his now enemy, Ranil, acts with impunity. We now await the inevitable appointment of Ravi Karunanayake as a Minister. How can we trust any of these people? Strikes loom.
    .
    Theoretically, political power can continue. But this house divided against itself, cannot stand. When the economy collapses, we are done for. The resultant kakistocracy will not be fun.

    • 2
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      Dear Gusha, do you thing that JVP’s AKD or Sunil Handunatti may be good Prez Candidate in 2020?

      Also, there is a big international dimension to the corruption epidemic (or “pay to play” global pandemic), in Lanka today with Fake Development aid and advisers as the main cause.

      Washington DC “pays to play” in Lanka for Corrupt UNP politicians like Senasinghe who got a trip to Harvard U to write a book justifying Ranil’s bond scam that was master-minded in Washington DC with help of IMF and right wing MCC! The current Fake Reconciliation pact with UNP-SLFP, Ranil- MR, to protect Gota is also brokered by US embassy in Colombo, which wants a US citizen as Prez of Lanka to fight China. Fake development experts from Washington DC, and the US Deep State are promoting its US-SL Diaspora Citizens in Lanka to further US strategic interests in Indian Ocean. Aid game is part of the security game.

      Also, Right wing Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) that drafts Bondscam Ranil’s economic policy, recently brought Ricardo Haussman from Harvard (where Sujiva Senasingha drafted the book to justify Ranil’s Bond scam ), to talk about Diaspora Talent like Nilan Fernando formally Asia Foundation, and today MCC, Gota. A. Mahndran, ICTA’s Kanagy etc. for Lanka’s development at LKI!

      US Gota’s Avant guard was gun running from Ukraine and Israel via Sri Lanka, after US citizen Gota Jarapassa, privatized the SL Navy;s Indian Ocean Marine Security arm to his US handlers.
      Just like Sira’s Russian MIGs and MR’s China Hambantota airport! Aid games are corruption rackets.

      Name of Washington’s game in Lanka: “Heads I win, Tails you loose!”

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 6
    1

    Do not think replacing Yahapalanaya or Unity govt with Pohottuwa plus SLFP is the answer to anybody living in Sri lanka.

  • 1
    1

    Another wicked lie is you saying that Mahanayake theros stopped Appointing a Catholic KArawa Man as governor. YOuare a Journalist, why either you or a Man go and verify it with Mahanayake Theros that they were responsible. I think you are lieing there. Because the present woman is a Upcountry person and she is related to one upcountry politician.

  • 4
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    Kakistocracy! Real word to define our government. (sounds like kakkaa & crazy)!

  • 3
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    brilliant stuff! A 5 star article!!

  • 1
    1

    “Karawa man”? How disgusting of the author to mention cast. A low life in my eyes.

    • 2
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      What is disgusting is not mentioning caste, but the fact that it was the reason for Reginald Cooray being removed.
      .
      The reason
      .
      Even Reginald Cooray’s other qualities are immaterial.
      .
      There are many issues that ought to be discussed more rationally and openly: sex, caste, race, origins of people. Biology won’t do. These subjects have to worked in to school curricula.

  • 7
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    Great Stuff Ms. Grusha – Thanks!

    Lanka is a Land of Fake Buddhism, Fake Democracy, Fake Development, and Fake Reconciliation and of course Fake Foreign Aid, experts and advisers.

    Fake Dev. is a co-efficient of fake Aid and corrupt “Advice” that benefits Donors security and business interests (China, USA, India), and loans that induce massive Debt with collusion of Corrupt politicians.
    Today dev. aid model and projects cause Disasters – Financial and environmental Disaster, pollution, erosion etc. and Debt to impoverish people. This is the story of Foreign Aid, Fake experts and Debt trap to crash rupee on IMF advice. Meanwhile IMF warns China about Aid causing Debt in Africa! The Pot calling Kettle black – IMF and China Aid spat?!
    The Development model is ” Colonialism by other means”

  • 1
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    Forget about kakistocracy, here we have a government reeking of “kakka”and no amount of pseudo intellectual quotations can hide the anguish, and the disappointment felt by this Yahapalana stooge. These are the people who led the country into this morassfrom which there is little hope of salvation. The economy of the country is in tatters ,its spirit corrupted to the core, and the robbers and fraudsters of Yahapalana continuing to plunder.

  • 4
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    I like the article except where it criticises Ranil. If he is not there who else can take the mantle and run? Ranil must be cherished and protected at all costs. He is our only hope

  • 4
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    The author blamed Ranil too, wrong.

    Ranil is the future for this ill fated country

    If Ranil gone, I’m gone too

    • 1
      1

      Are you Royalist or a Loyalist?

  • 4
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    Grusha Andrews goes great lengths to explain the meaning of ‘Kakistocracy’. It is simpler than that. ‘Kakis’ is from Dutch ‘Kakhus’ meaning lavatory/latrine – ‘hus’ is Dutch for house. The word ‘shittocracy’ is a bit crude but is apt!
    According to ‘The Daily Mirror’ Saturday 09 June 2016, Minister of Higher Education Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told Parliament last morning ~ “……..MP Seeni Mohammed Ismail, who was sworn in as an MP yesterday had been served a charge-sheet with regard to alleged corruptive deals during his tenure at Oluvil University as the Vice Chancellor……..”.
    Seeni was appointed as UNP National List MP to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mohamed Navavi. Duty-free limousine permit? Of course Seeni is entitled!

    • 1
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      I remember the firs time I saw the word, ‘kakistocracy’. It was used about 9 months ago by Dr Ammer Ali without any explanation of its origin:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/is-sri-lanka-descending-towards-kakistocracy/
      .
      I remember googling the word for its meaning, although I haven’t commented.
      .
      I agree with K. Pillai that for most of us Sri Lankans the word would trigger association with latrines; I knew the Dutch derivation for the Sinhalese word, but has it come in to Tamil as well?
      .
      The Greeks don’t appear to have had the word:
      .
      https://www.etymonline.com/word/kakistocracy
      .
      I don’t know the Greek language, but do know that not much of Greek writing has survived – in contrast to Latin and Sanskrit. So, the word could well have been there. Now, isn’t that deduction absolutely unwarranted, identifying me as a pseudo-scholar? I fear that part of the problem with all of us is that these computers give us too much ability to show off.
      .
      The most extensive explanation that I’ve found on the web is this:
      .
      .https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/18/donald-trump-kakistocracy-john-brennan-us-twitter
      .
      It is a most apt term for the state of affairs prevailing in this country now! however, part of the malady may be that too many of us have been granted the ability to pontificate.
      .
      Stone me first!

      .

    • 1
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      Sorry. Typo.
      Corrected ‘The Daily Mirror’ Saturday 09 June 2018,……..”.

      • 4
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        Dear K. Pillai,
        .
        I noticed that you had typed 2016, realised the impossibility, and passed on feeling others, too, would, if they cared, make the mental correction.
        .
        What does your correcting yourself mean? It means that you do care, AND you take responsibility for what you say.
        .
        In my first para, in the comment just above yours, I, too, have two obvious typos: “first” and “Ameer”, but I hadn’t bothered to correct them.
        .
        Grusha has acknowledged that it is many decent, hard working citizens (who still exist) who got Yahapalanya elected, but that their spirit has been stolen. Grusha seems to write off the chances of the Rajapaksas; I wouldn’t. They will have a block vote of those who will automatically vote for them. Our electorate is ignorant even of the fact that 50%+1 has to be reached by counting SECOND and THIRD PREFERENCES. Few will cast more than one vote, even if we start educating. Grusha stops short of identifying his faint dream.
        .
        This other article by Dr Siri Gamage, reflects similar views:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/crisis-of-parliamentary-democracy-need-for-a-credible-reformist-movement/
        .
        He names Nagananda Kodituwakku but says that Nagananda’s approach is too narrowly legalistic. That may be the reason why none of the participants (warning: more than two hours in Sinhalese) names him:
        .
        http://www.derana.lk/Aluth-Parlimenthuwa-TV-Derana&vid=20772&page=1
        .
        As is agreed there (one Rajapaksa supporter on the panel doesn’t), no individual is going to be important, the goal is important. The fact, though, is that there will be a Presidential election in 2020, and somebody representing “us” must contest – and abolish the office the very next day. Other reforms to follow.
        .
        It is important that we name the individual without delay.

  • 1
    0

    Poly ticks, many parasites. Only a miracle can save the productive Sri Lankans.. One party barrows beyond the ability to pay and the other party gives it away. The scoundrels squander the country’s wealth for personal gain. Most of the ill gained assets will be eventually frozen and then siezed by the foreign entities. Easy come, easy go.

    When will the voters wake up? Hopefully, we can learn from the new Malaysian government.

  • 4
    0

    The word ‘Kakistocracy’ describes the state of affairs prevailing in the government and in the country in a nutshell. Nowhere will you find a so called democracy being run by so many sick and corrupt persons. Nine out of ten politicians and bureaucrats are shameless crooks who have made it their business to keep robbing the people for as long as they can. God help us, the citizens!

  • 4
    0

    “The President appears uncomfortable with deep aspects of governance, unaccustomed to deep thinking, intolerant to laborious paper work and the unpleasant and relentless decision making his position demands”

    Poor guy came to rescue us from MR at the cost of his life. We did not have a choice, he didn’t/does not have the class, qualities or experience of a president, MR didn’t have the greatness to think robed-enough, Ranil didn’t/doesn’t have the guts/self-confidence/trust among people. And rest of the few potentials are not popular to win at a presidential election – Maybe too many boorish fellows live in SL, we are so unfortunate :-)

  • 4
    0

    Before he “threw in the towel”, AF did the worst act to support corruption – by sending the Bond Scam report to the archives for 30 years, thus covering up the misdeeds of many who enjoyed millions doled out by Aloysius.
    In any other democracy, he would have ended up in jail.

    • 2
      0

      Justice:
      .
      ‘Before he “threw in the towel” . . .’ – this is the problem for us. I feel that in any other place and time an explanation for why these things happen would be forthcoming.
      .
      The pressure from the public has to be made so great that the report, for which we have footed the bill, does come in to the Public Domain. It should rest neither in the Archives, nor in Parliament.
      .
      Has Austin resigned because he realised that he shouldn’t sully himself further, or because of the outcry that followed? Simplest would be for him to tell us.
      .
      Let us agitate to turn this in to the acid test.

  • 5
    1

    A fine bit of Journalism. Well done. Sri Lanka is in one mess and there appears to be no silver lining only dark clouds hovering around.

  • 7
    0

    A fine piece by Grusha.
    What and Where is the problem relating to the Presidency of Sirisena.
    Simple. The man is by no means of Presidential material.
    A square peg in a round hole!
    Therefore, the likes of Austin Fernando found themselves to be round pegs in a square hole!

  • 2
    0

    Excellent article. Very bad outlook for our future. Only shit.. …

  • 3
    0

    What a choice we have.
    Leave one Kakistocracy as is where is or replace with another Kakistocracy.

  • 3
    0

    Kakistocracy is derived from the good Sinhala word, Kakka, shit from which the Greeks (hellayas) stole it. We are ruled by a bunch of shits. The younger ones seem to be greater shits in the making. The only strategy of politics they have is to steal from the public coffers under the smoke-screen of SinhalaBuddhist nationalism. Are the public any better? We have our good rich Muslim friends cosying up with Gottaballs at ifthar parties though he was the cause of killing so many poor Muslims. We get the leaders we deserve. We are a bunch of shits ourselves voting the same crooked lot in at every election. We alternate between the same parties. We have a joke for Presidents and many jokes in waiting to be Presidents. From this shithole, my country struggles to awaken to something better. The possibility of it is so remote. Outside, in the private sphere, things are no better. The young are being cheated at tutories which have mushroomed stealing the wealth of their parents. Shops are so full of goods luring the poor into spending. Television channels propagate falsehoods for political parties. The Mahanayakes, purportedly our moral leaders, are content with their mercedes cars. Where are we going?

  • 1
    0

    Great article Grusha, an excellent read. Maybe, you must contemplate what future awaits us.

  • 1
    0

    You are wrong, all of you. Kakistocracy comes from Singhala. Have you forgotten that it was coined during the reign of King Kakille. An extremely appropriate term for the current farce.
    Helasingha

  • 0
    0

    Hi Bineka;
    Oh! what a great eye opener is your comment!
    Sadly haven’t substantiated in any manner. Ranil is only good if people are deaf and blind. He is a nincompoop.

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