23 September, 2019

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Politics Of Promise: Between Sirisena & Rajapaksa

By Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.” ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

On Easter Day, a day of rejoicing and celebration for Christians, shrapnel and ball bearings pierced through innocent civilians in a children’s park in Lahore, where a majority of the victims were children. This disgraceful suicide attack, which killed 69 and injured nearly 400, was a sad day for Pakistan and the region. Days before, another terrorist attack, in Brussels, targeted innocent civilians. The world has become unstable due to terrorism across the globe and the highest priority on the global agenda should be towards combatting it. Without a safe environment, it is difficult to talk economic prosperity, a lesson Sri Lanka learned from its brutal three-decade war. The physical and mental scars that terrorism causes are deep. They are not easy to forget as victims.

For this, consensus at the highest political level is important. The daunting task of bring the two different political parties with different values – United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – together, was established a year ago in Sri Lanka. The recent developments within the political party of President Sirisena have not been so positive, with some members being questioned for supporting the former President Rajapaksa at a rally organised in Colombo’s Hyde Park. With the recurring electricity failures, the advantage has moved to the former President, with the creation of the slogan, “Rajapaksa is the President of the street and Sirisena President of the country… give it to me if you can’t.” Sri Lankan civilian engagement with social media on this has been negative, especially given the billions of losses incurred by Sri Lankan Airlines being exposed by a Government Minister. The sentiment is, ‘we have given you the power, so fix it’.

Mahinda MaithriHigh expectations and promises were set at the beginning, and the delivery has been slow but steady. From 8 January 2015, beginning with the 100-day reforms, until now, demonstrates 16 months of the new Government. The Right to Information (RTI) Act was tabled in Parliament last week – a considerable achievement – but this needs further amendment as it prevents access to some important areas that de-feat its main purpose. The RTI act could take a considerable amount of time to take the proper shape, as it did in India, with many amendments and public debate. This exercise would have been impossible under the former regime with its control and censorship of the media, and attacks on media outfits and individuals.

Some people are now looking at change that could bring back the former regime. They tend to forget the environment of the past where power revolved around one individual who took over the independent commissions, including the bribery commission, under his control, further extending Rajapaksa’s political term by more than two terms. His once powerful family member has now taken a back seat at the Hyde Park rally, giving front seats to other SLFP seniors, which was not the practice in the past as all the senior party members had to get the blessings from the family member. One senior Minister and a party leader, now a supporter of Rajapaksa, who had a small Ministry office and a nominal budget, showed his displeasure during the Rajapaksa period but is now a front runner in the campaign to bring Rajapaksa back to power. Another senior politician from SLFP who got many more votes than several other candidates elected from the national list spoke to this author of his displeasure at the giving of positions to the rejected lot by the people.

Despite all obstacles, the triple power centres of the Government – President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and former President Kumaratunga – have found a working order for some crucial subjects despite their differences and public disagreements with one another, which is a great achievement. Even within the Government, a Sirisena faction Minister recently made some harsh comments against the Prime Minister, calling him an enemy of the SLFP, which angered the UNP Ministers.

Internationally, there has been much praise for the Government’s efforts to move towards introducing good governance, minimising massive spending, and working towards a more citizen-centric government. The colossal spending included expenditure for state events foreign visits filling entire flights, establishing overseas missions at places that have no direct benefit for Sri Lanka. Now, restructuring in all these areas can be seen, and they cannot be fixed overnight. The case Rajapaksa is trying to create is weak and does not have much support, especially from the youth who believe in creating a society with less corruption – the central theme that toppled Rajapaksa’s regime. If the delivery of the central theme, anti corruption, is as equal or worse than the past regime, things could go against the present regime. Still there is much positivity in the present regime, with attempts to correct the economic downturn created by the former regime, with massive loans and financial misappropriation at all levels.

A perfect balance in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy will be sought after the PM’s visit to China, “a time-tested friend” that has assisted the country during many difficult times. Geo-strategically well posi-tioned with its centrality in the Maritime Silk Road, Sri Lanka will thrive economically if this perfect foreign policy balance is achieved.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    6

    A good piece Asanga.

    • 7
      1

      What is there in the hand of MR? A fool’s magic?

      • 2
        3

        It is, AKD said it was a ” maturang “.And the believer, believes in the hocus-pocus.

        • 3
          0

          That was Indra’s Thunderbolt that he stole so it turned into a Blunderbolt in his hands- Vajra > Dorje

      • 2
        2

        AKD during the Pres Campaign called it ” maturang “.
        Pres Rajapaksa, still believes in the occult. Good luck with that.

  • 7
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    Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

    RE:Politics Of Promise: Between Sirisena & Rajapaksa

    Interesting. Thanks. You are too young to read between the lines. Please read Amerisiri’s comments and digest it. That way only a few will accuse you of poor general knowledge.

    1. “On Easter Day, a day of rejoicing and celebration for Christians, shrapnel and ball bearings pierced through innocent civilians in a children’s park in Lahore”

    2. “Days before, another terrorist attack, in Brussels, targeted innocent civilians.”

    3. “The world has become unstable due to terrorism across the globe and the highest priority on the global agenda should be towards combating it.”

    Amarasiri’s Comments:

    Asanga, have you heard about the Great Game? British and French Imperialism? World War 1, the First major colonial war? World War 2, the Second major colonial war? Wahhabism? Arab Israeli Wars? Korean War? Vietnam War? The Afganistan Wars? The Iraq-Iran War? The Gulf War? Iraq War, Iraq “Civil” War, Libya? Syrian “Civil” War etc. What you see in 1, 2, and 3 above is mostly the effects of the causes above.

    Have you heard about the WMD? Neocons? Western Imperialism? Don’t you think you need further education?

    Aristotelian Philosophy, Love of Wisdom, talks about cause and effect. You are describing the effects. You need to dig deeper into the cause or causes.

    4. “Sri Lanka learned from its brutal three-decade war. The physical and mental scars that terrorism causes are deep. They are not easy to forget as victims.”

    “The sentiment is, ‘we have given you the power, so fix it’.”

    “RTI Act,This exercise would have been impossible under the former regime with its control and censorship of the media, and attacks on media outfits and individuals.”

    “Internationally, there has been much praise for the Government’s efforts to move towards introducing good governance, minimising massive spending, and working towards a more citizen-centric government.”

    They are fixing but slowly. Rome was not built in a day after Caligula, our MaRa. MaRa and their cronies are on the outside, and it is in their best interest to show the deficiencies. That is politics, just like in religion.

  • 8
    3

    The thirty year old war must not be forgotten . The main reason was poor foreign policy and getting involved in a geopolitical war by an ignorant and foolish PresidentJRJ. Well the question to answer is whether the present regime has improved its foreign policy. The FP of President Sirisena is confusing a) allowe the Indians interfere in the North and East building Railway Houses and a questionable Trade agreement ,? building a Bridge to India etc 2) Allowing free equity to china in Hambantota etc 3) Playing with military agreements with America. To cap it all we are continuing employing relatives and friends to foreign missions. Its difficult to ascertain the quality of the foreign policy experts. MR used to employ his two brothers in dealing with India interestingly their quality of expertise was questionable. The present Foregn Minister who is expert on Dress designing may not necessarily be an expert on foreign policy. The foreign policy of today is comparable to a husband who sells his wife. He has no say in the matter. When these trogens start their geopolitical games violence and use of our country as the war grounds is inevitable . Do we seriously think that our half baked foreign policy experts can cope. God save Sri Lanka.

  • 3
    8

    “Please read Amerisiri’s comments and digest it. That way only a few will accuse you of poor general knowledge.”

    What a conceited prick is this Mohamed Amarasii Pooten?

    • 5
      0

      Boom Boom

      Read Word History.

      It will improve your poor general knowledge. You will be more knowledgeable than a sheep.

      This reminds me of a story narrated in one of Richard Dawkins books, where he related interviewing a student in Biology who wanted to get into Cambridge or Oxford University, where the student had no idea where Africa was. When asked why she did not know where Africa was, she said that it was nor taught in any of the courses she took.

      This is generally called poor general knowledge.

      By the way, the student probably did not know that humans came out of Africa either.

  • 7
    0

    Quote “expectations and promises were set at the beginning, and the delivery has been slow but steady”

    Slow & steady…. My foot ot your foot Asanga.
    What have we got ? Only Wigneswaran aiya. Mavi talking of federalism?
    Did your Yahapalanaya deliver on promises? Oh!its coming SLOW & STEADY

    What is this TRIPLE POWER CENTRE OF GOVERNMENT ??
    How did that Former President CBK creep in there. She is a spent force. Are you being paid to promote her? her sell by date has long passed and getting hooted by the masses at every turn.What business has she got? Who gave her a mandate?

    Then that SIRA lying between his teeth the other day and talking big saying he gave 02 helicopters for MR to return home. PEOPLE ARE NOT STUPID. SRI LANKA COMMON MAN IS A POLITICAL ANIMAL.

    Then Ranil goes to China.

    Now ASANKA GO BACK TO AMARASIRI ABOVE There is a serious East West conflict on out soil with India tilting to the West………..

    INTERNATIONALLY WHAT HAVE THEY GOT TO PRAISE? To lead Sirisena/Ranil up the gum tree? What is that they see & we don’t see?
    Our dress designer’s feet are more in the air than on the ground. He visits SL to change his Jangi only.
    WHY HAS RW GOT TO SHOULDER ALL THE WORK WHEN THERE ARE 92 MISTERS?
    West must be quite impressed.

    YOU PEOPLE CAME TO FIX IT & RECEIVED A MANDATE. THEREFORE DO NOT CRY OVER SPILT MILK OF THE PAST REGIME AND DO NOT FORGET US IN THE NORTH
    AND DON’T BE BIASED IN YOUR WRITTING.
    Remember the undertaking…….

  • 8
    0

    Asanga is obviously a stooge of China, for reasons not yet clear.

    He talks of a “perfect ‘balance’ of foreign policy after Ranil’s return from China”.

    Now, Ranil has returned after having been threatened/pressured into continuing the ‘Port City’ for which sri lankans will pay for the next one hundred years and more.

    Asanga must now state why this happened.

    • 7
      0

      “”Asanga is obviously a stooge of China, for reasons not yet clear.””

      Obviously, he had to find solace in China because like his gangster grandfather, father (both chair of port cargo Colombo) friend of Ossie Corea did not like India (south Indian refugees)

      Though British rule was from Madras Presidency India is not Tamil Nadu only.
      He is living for the moment and digging the grave of the island.

      He knows very well that the Chinese unlike the white man Russians will leave and run when the war cards are played like at Oil rich Sudan.

      He might know Chinese psyche and if he has an iota he is hoodwinking the nation from a position of Youth where his father failed.

  • 2
    1

    [Edited out] Triple power centers wonder what he has been smoking. The problem is power centers or not the government is lost. Losing popularity day by day. What is coming slow and steady is the peoples pressure to boot this government.

  • 4
    1

    So Slow and steady that it is invisible . only the garbage strewn streets in Colombo and Negombo are visible .

    I guess you see what you want to see . Lots of Talk no work . I think if you read btw the lines the Chinese said go get your shit together change the laws so that infantile politics does not interfere will Bilateral commerce agreements and asked MS gona to continue the MR projects . Again you see what you want to see.

    I hope things work out for the sake of the country but a few months will tell for sure .

  • 6
    0

    Practically every change of Government sees the new lot criticising the previous one and going on a witch hunt – waste of time. Come to think of it the 2005 change produced at least one good result – defeat of terrorism.

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