By Hema Senanayake –
President Mithripala Sirisena has begun to act proactively. This is something I was expecting. But I was expecting him to act decisively immediately after the conclusion of the general election. Instead, President Sirisena has begun to act proactively and decisively on the eve of the election in order to ensure the political stability of the country for the next five years after the general election. I being an economic analyst have been keen about the political stability of the country. No economic development agenda is possible without peace and political stability. In this particular moment of history I knew that political stability should arise from the Central Committee of SLFP. There cannot be any stability if the general secretaries of SLFP & UPFA and present members of respective Central Committees do not understand the vision and wishes of the President Sirisena.
The President sacked both Anura Priyadarashana Yapa and Susil Premajayanth from the positions they held in SLFP and UPFA. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha had now been prevented from functioning as the General Secretary of SLFP and Secretary of UPFA respectively. Instead of them President has appointed Duminda Dissanayake as the secretary to SLFP and Dr. Wiswa Warnapala as the secretary to UPFA.
I have been expecting this to happen for a while. Yet, I expect it to happen immediately after the conclusion of the general election. I have documented it by writing an article titled “Thinking of a president” to Colombo Telegraph on July 15th. Let me quote it. It may be a little bit long quote. But it says what has to be said. I wrote as follows:
“However, I guess, the Nomination Board of UPFA willfully ensured that they would do maximum disrepute to president Sirisena. They never considered the wishes and aspirations of the president. This was amply evident from providing nominations to Tissa Attanayake and Jayantha Ketagoda. Also, it was evident from media briefings that both Susil Premajayanth and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa call all the shots. Immediate prior to nominations, they made it clear that their words would prevail, not president Sirisena’s. In such circumstances president Sirisena might not have had any option other than distancing him from nominations even though he tried to prevent some big shots crossing over to UNP.
Such distancing cannot be without much visionary thinking. It could be a situation to let them do it and own it. It seems he is not going to own any nomination. Perhaps we will see that he would hold accountable all the members of the Nomination Board for the mess they have done for the good image of president. The country might need such signaling of firmness immediately after the election. Immediately after the election the President Sirisena might get a space for such decisive actions. President must ensure that he make things happen and it is not Anura Priyadarshana Yapa or Susil Premajayantha who make things happen. Such signaling is important for political stability.”
Even before the general election, President Sirisena has acted and provided the necessary signal. He has now sacked both Anura Yapa and Susil Premajayanth as was expected by us. Any sensible leader would do what President Sirisena did. His decision did not have to come from UNP Headquarters. It does not have to be a conspiracy of western powers. We have predicted it immediately after the conclusion of nomination.
We are relieved now. President Sirisena took further action to seal his decision legally too. Accordingly, new general secretaries of the SLFP and UPFA went to courts. They obtained an enjoining order preventing SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayanth from functioning as the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA and that Mr.Dissanayake and Dr. Warnapala be empowered to function as the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA respectively. Colombo District Judge Harsha Sethunga issued the enjoining order valid till August 24.
By August 24th, many things could have happened. Primarily we could expect that individuals more aligned to President Sirisena would be appointed as MPs from the National List. Perhaps we will see that individuals such as Dilan Perera and Tissa Attanayake might not be in the next parliament. It is a necessary move. President has to run the country and must ensure political stability. This anarchism of Mahinda Rajapaksa must be defeated.
I hope President Maithripala Sirisena is a man with unprecedented courage. Also I hope that his focus will be to maintain peace and political stability. For that he needs to have a Central Committee which understands his sincere vision rather than having a majority in the parliament.