26 September, 2020

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Ranil Wickremesinghe Won A Battle & Could Still Lose The War

By Vishwamithra

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” ~ Denis Waitley

After fifty long days, sanity returned to the government quarters. The Executive ultimately blinked. The showdown on the greener patches of Colombo, the Presidential Secretariat grounds, ended in peaceful, yet a not-so-amicable settlement of swearing in of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minster again and on this occasion, for the fifth time in his long political career. That was December 16. On December 20, the new cabinet was sworn in. When one examines the constituent members of the new Cabinet with a critical mind, the climax that was reached on December 16 was more like premature climax in an erotic sense, so to speak. The promise that was much in the air was dashed; those parliamentarians whom the critical elector wanted fired are there with more and more responsibilities and bigger Ministries. Those who failed miserably during the previous Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as Prime Minister from August 2015 to October 2018 are back in. If the United National Party’s (UNP’s) leadership is not careful and sensible, an even bigger collapse seems to be in the making. The notion of being comfortable just because you beat the President at his own game is a misapprehension.

The collapse that was referred to in the previous paragraph is coming. The average constituent is becoming disenchanted by the day. The Executive’s behavior from October 26, 2018 is not the beginning of this coming disaster; it certainly accelerated its pace. Yet the polarization of the country along the lines of the UNP-led coalition and the Rajapaksa-led league has confirmed that a party like the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has no place in the mainstream of the country’s body politic. The JVP’s history and its inglorious days of ’87 – ’89 have left a bitter memory of murder and mayhem. Its gory details and mindless and arbitrary execution of innocent fellow countrymen would take a long time to be erased. It would not be as easy as a deletion of data from a laptop which is an integral part of modern society.

In such a confusing context, against such a brutally realistic backdrop, Ranil Wickremesinghe named a ‘new’ Cabinet of Ministers. The only thing that is deceptively ironic is there is nothing ‘new’ in that Cabinet. Decorating and rewarding failures is a cruel effecting of what should not be done. In politics, as in all other affairs of human enterprise, a long-term strategic methodology to decision-making is preferable to retail-management of daily affairs. Ancient sage, Chanakya said thus: “Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions – Why am I doing it, what the results might be and will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.”I’m sure Ranil Wickremesinghe has read Chanakya’s ‘Arthashastra’, one of the original works of political science in human history, yet he does not seem to have understood the essence of Chanakya’s core teachings. Repeating one’s failed policies and lack of wisdom and guts to sacrifice even one’s own close friends for a long-term and strategic move in favor of better and more prosperous country is a very grave mistake on the part of our Prime Minister; but he has time to rectify them, but the window of opportunity is closing fast. They say that Ranil Wickremesinghe is an enormously experienced politician, yet one wonders if Ranil’s experience would fit into Oscar Wilde’s famous quote: “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”.

Nevertheless, the time Ranil and his cabinet of Ministers have is limited only to ten short months, just ten months. In the political life of a nation, ten months is a mere wink’s lifetime. Can the UNP, as it is today, without a major shakeup of its fundamental structure and its leadership at all levels, with a nagging lack of daring to change its course of the political life of the country, which is looking forward to leading a nation from the brink of insane leadership at the Presidential level and given the calm or ironic docility displayed by the citizenry of the land, be successful at the next elections?

The answer to the aforementioned question does not look to be very promising. The country is increasingly becoming disenchanted with her leaders on all sides. A voice for more stringent adherence to principles of accountability and transparency is being heard only from the JVP quarters. The alluring dynamic for a more rational and visionary politician or politicians is irresistible. Yet there seems to be none on the horizon. Nevertheless, the UNP could be that fresh face, provided it decides to choose another alternative, an alternative that which not only presents a fresh face(s) in the forthcoming elections, but also offers itself as a serious fighter against corruption and nepotism. On these new frontiers of anti-corruption, the commander-in-chief cannot be those who have been tried and tested already, nor could it spring out from amongst those who profess a rebirth of an already ‘dead-era’. Empty slogans and selfish ego trips have not taken us anywhere. The constitutional crisis that just came to a closure ironically opened many other windows into new dimensions of politicians whose hitherto hidden agendas got unconcealed.

The dilemma confronting Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP couldn’t be clearer. The crisis brought some personalities to the notice of the conscience of the people. Some displayed remarkable strength of character by taking irrevocable steps towards the safeguard of democracy and majority rule; some showed unmistakable signs of solidarity in the face of irresistible gifts of money and ministerial postings; some young guns in the UNP itself exhibited enviable sense of discipline and strategic poise by placing the future of the Party above their selfish ambitions. Yet some failed in this crisis moment. Such men would one day be revealed for those who failed had baggage to prove such selfish and sinister motives. The social media played a decisive role, not only in exposing and running to ridicule the Executive who so richly deserved such ridicule; that specific media channel also exposed the hidden ambitions of some politicians who daydreamed about the Premiership falling on their lap; relying on the Executive’s unkind and crazy orders they, those unambiguously ambitious and selfish men, were rightly measured by their fellow party men and the observations made were stored away for future reference.

But the fundamental question remains. Can the UNP as it is constituted today go forwards as a progressive force of the people and for the people? Can it be successful in future elections at which the overwhelming majority of voters are Sinhalese Buddhists? Can the failed members of the Wickremesinghe Cabinet produce the desired results which they couldn’t in the period of 2015 to 2018 October? The voter is not all that ignorant when it comes to measuring of a political party as far as promises made and promises kept are concerned. In that harsh context, the constitution of the latest Cabinet does not emerge as auspicious.

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s choices are limited and there is very little time in which he could make those choices work. He could continue to dwell in his comfort zone, amongst his closest friends and head for certain disaster; or he could make some changes in his Cabinet, replace those good-for-nothing Ministers with some aggressive and forward-looking younger ones and pursue the Rajapaksas in a very authentic way and bring them before the Courts of Law. He has a third choice too. And that is keeping the same Cabinet as it is constituted today and still pursues the Rajapaksas with more aggression and urgency. In other words, Ranil Wickremesinghe has to portray himself and his Cabinet as a totally different one from the recent past; it is extremely difficult but not impossible. The second tier-leadership of the Party and its rank and file would be more than willing and able to pursue such a novel and daring line of action.

Our county is in pain; she has suffered enough; her politicians have led this beautiful land into an ugly abyss of corruption, nepotism and political vandalism. Her children are living a nightmare which clothes itself in moving screens of television and Smart Phone. Those whose parents belong to the so-called elite and wealthy are meandering form one nightclub to another in Colombo as if they own the land’s coffers and its limited wealth.

Change is coming and its face does not look pretty, at east as it promises now. The sad and petulant countenance could be altered and it needs to be done now, not next month, not next year and not tomorrow, it has to be done now. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s burden is heavy; he cannot complain nor can he place that on another. He and he alone has to carry that. That is the burden of leadership. He has to both treat that burden as his privilege and take it to its logical end of good governance. His other choice is brutal, unkind and terminal: continue in the same mode and perish. He has won a battle; yet he could still lose the war.

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com 

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Since OCtober 26th, Santa Clause has come to every Sri lankan Journalist. Make your fortune.

    • 3
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      Vishwamithra ,

      RE Ranil Wickremesinghe Won A Battle & Could Still Lose The War

      Ranil Wickremesinghe Won A Battle & Could Still Lose his Balls, as they are rotting now, having partnered with the rotten crook Ravi Penthouse

      Once Ranil loses his balls, he will lose the war

      • 1
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        A.
        The problem is RW has no balls to lose or win a WAR; he is a spent force.
        The Grand Old Party is almost CAPUT.

    • 2
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      Since 1948 this country has seen upward and downward curves in our political and economic history – more downwards The only feature that should have changed the direction – the National Unity factor has seen only a downward curve largely to the toxic lead of the Buddhist clergy. The politicisation of the Buddhist clergy, the Police and Armed forces have added to the sensitive all round decline. Unemployment and more importantly Graduate unemployment have exponentially grown unchallenged by the political leadership. Irresponsible trade union action in sickening regularity has earned the ire of a population that has grown from 8 million in the late 1950s to almost thrice the number today. Law and Order, the judicial system, health, education, the economy have all been in the doldrums and nose-diving. On top of all that the country is run by a set of rogue politicians – alternatively of different party colours. These are nothing but scheming vultures.

      With all these negatives one must be totally insane to expect anything straight coming out of this combined crooked timber.
      I don’t enjoy saying this but the people of this country are all but politically and economically doomed. Blaming everything on the Tamils, India and the West is pure piffle.

      Vishwamitra’s pessimism is well founded.

      Backlash

  • 4
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    Ranil Wickramasinghe’s “WINNINGS” were and are very many, but very TRANSITORY. His LOSSES, if personal, we do not mind; but all those LOSSES have been and are the GREATEST loss to the country and the PEOPLE. Even this “Winning” he got a few days back has already proved to be very “TRANSITORY”. Just look at his appointments to “HIS” Cabinet. Is there any need to discuss any further of his “winnings” and “Losses”? It is a WASTE of time and energy.

  • 1
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    I confess I didn’t read the article.
    but from the title “Ranil Wickremesinghe Won A Battle & Could Still Lose The War”….I guess what its all about.

    Sri Lanka have two major political party , SLFP and UNP.
    They both had/have cycle of battles among themselves and with the Tamils.
    Both SLFP and UNP have won and lost the cycle of battle against each other and against the Tamils…..but they have all along lost the war against the economy.

    The Sinhalese people are so engrossed in the internal battle between themselves and against fellow Sri Lankans(Tamils and Muslims) …so much so that the battle is played our as a war by the media t …even Vishwamithra call it a war.

    The real war is against the economic decline of the country since independence….
    but that is lost in the internal battle

  • 5
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    ranil did not win any battle.Democracy won the battle.Ranil must be thinking he has suddenly become popular and may want to go for an election and lose like a dog like at the LG elections.

  • 2
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    ranil like the bourbons of france will never learn
    he is too old for that
    no one is prepared to bell the cat
    sajith has proved to be a disapointment he lacks the drive and ambition of his father who broke the glass ceiling of caste
    the unp will be soundly defeated at the next elections the way they are going
    if ranil contests the presidency it will be the last straw that broke the camels back
    i cant see any light at the end of the tunnel for the gop under his leadership and the end may come not in 2 years but in a few months

  • 2
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    The only way forward for the UNP is to ensure that racial, religious divisions remain intact so that 100% minority votes are guaranteed. How? Of course through massive propaganda that the other side is anti minority. This dependence on minority votes is the greatest threat to national unity.

    Soma

  • 2
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    Chanakya is old hat. RW’s favourite reading is the Art of the Possible (ask Rajiva W.)

    Anyway, cool cat RW has the proverbial nine lives. Four more to go. Phew!

    ps: Rajiva, please return the book you borrowed from the cousin you love to hate.

  • 1
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    Ranil was backed by the whole party and people in the country during the constitutional crisis, not because he was popular, but people needed a stable government to counter the constitutional coup of Rajapakse-Maithripala duo. Ranil seems to be messing up the second lease of life by appointing his faithfuls like malik, wajira, kiriella, john, sagala, and some other failed polticians who should have retired from politics and let the young and able party members to reactivate the dying party. Ranil might have the carpet pulled under before ten months and if he doesn’t stop looking after his friends instead of working for the country and the people. If the government is defeated before end of Presidents term Ranil will have to take the full blame for killing and burying the Great, once an honorable and patriotic UNP.

  • 5
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    Ranil is not a man who has any ideal or purpose but only to enjoy the privileges that came to him. As he has nothing much to say he only harps on those privileges as if they justify everything . Old family, old boy of Royal, speak in English and can communicate with the West.

    All this is false and have brought zero results to the country, UNP and himself. Today he is a despised leader only in power due to manipulation of the system and some in the UNP hierarchy believing his stories.
    Even GSP plus was given during MR regime.Then they took it away. For Ranil GSP is something to worship on our knees.That is his idea of dealing with the West !

    Look at that pretender Sajith,also old royalists. The UNP thinks its leadership belongs to sons of old leaders.So we are doomed with another version of Namal. Does the West think like that ?

    Due to the stupidity of our thinking we will always have Ranils, Sajiths and MRS

  • 2
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    The author is absolutely dilusional to think that Ranil will do the right thing by the country. 40 years in politics and he is yet to do anything of value for the country. In the meantime, he has ruined the UNP.
    I still vividly remember the stories my father narrated of the Batalanda carnage. I have zero respect for this self serving murderer. Everything he has touched in the last 20 years has ended up in disaster. The country continues to suffer. I cannot understand the mentality of the people that vote for him. I believe, the only chance the UNP has is to vote him out from his MP seat. Even then, he may try to sneak in through the backdoor national list. At least then, the younger leadership may be able to take a stand. Until then, they stand helpless and completly impotent. How can we expect the younger leadership to do any better?
    As for taking the Rajapakshas’ to task, how could he when he is so absolutely corrupt? Just like his uncle, he has always kept his hands off the cookie jar and allowed his friends and family to do the dirty work for him. No one in the UNP can tie their shoelaces without his authorization, so expecting anyone to believe that he did not direct Mahendran to rob the CB is in denial.
    Ranil will do what’s best for himself and his cabal. The voter has a great oppotunity coming up in a year or so to send this murderer home.

  • 2
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    ” Can the UNP as it is constituted today go forwards as a progressive force of the people and for the people? Can it be successful in future elections at which the overwhelming majority of voters are Sinhalese Buddhists? “

    Certainly NOT with RW as leader. UNP Needs to put its House in Order URGENTLY under a New Leadership which is Honest, Sincere and Seriously interested in Serving the People and the Country with Zero Tolerance for Corrupt elements. The Million Dollar question is whether the UNP is up to this Huge Task.

  • 0
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    There is nothing wrong with the UNP cabinet. Even before 26th October they did a lot of work especially in rural areas. Most of it was not given due publicity as there was a stranglehold on the media by the Rajapakse clan. Now there is a better chance of doing their work a d getting credit for it as the UPFA (and therefore Rajapaksas) are not part of the government.

  • 2
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    Well written article, the obvious has been brought to light. Unfortunately RW is going to be dead meat at the next election. He is so ignorant, stubborn and stupid that he will hang on to this as long as possible. That is his credo and so are his so called ‘Royal College freinds who support him’. Commonsense is not their strong point and believes some miracle will bring them back to power. All ready people have started to turn away from RW and his UNP. Watch this space. Writing is on the wall, the crash would be so damaging to the country and its people.

  • 3
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    “Ranil Wickremesinghe Won A Battle & Could Still Lose The War” – What are you talking about? Ranil never lost in the record series of losses as the UNP leader, it is the UNP that lost. Ranil is a winner as long as he is in politics with all the perks and state paid foreign travels, and with less responsibility. Which is the best position one can enjoy everything yet with less responsibility? Opposition Leader.

  • 2
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    Whenever true realities are presented in the public domain, the relevant stakeholders are unable to take it on a good spirit. What has been said by Visvamittra is true nothing but the truth. Sustaining a victory doesn’t belong to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. As mentioned in the columns earlier he was known as ‘Serial Loser’. As usual, he has the trend to disappoint his supporters owing to his political management weaknesses.

  • 2
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    Mitra, another shitty analysis and observation as always. When will the end come?

  • 1
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    After screwing the country and the constitution MS had decided to break with his family in Thailand. Where the common man is left high and dry during the festive seasons.For them the new year looks bleak and empty. The master is rewarding him self for “job well done”. These are politicians who are going around talking about patriotism, Buddhism, family values, saving the country and people, taking out there swords——etc—–etc. Looks like a D grade reality show to me. MR is one step ahead talking about saving economy, Lankan Rupee and what not.See what is happening to Trump now. Involved in all kind of illegal activities and accusing others of it, Cheating tax, running university scams, using criminals for his benefits, bringing criminals into administration, risking the very own security of the country,talking family values while “grabbing —–” , trampling the constitution , bringing proxies into judiciary and through out boasting how good economy ,share market and the country is performing.Sound familiar to Lankans during MR rule.Our criminals went one step ahead with kidnapping, ransom and political murders.

  • 1
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    It was serendipitous circumstances, Vishwamithra, which helped RW to regain his job following the 26 October ‘removal’ and the ‘crisis’ that followed.
    The next ‘putsch’ will involve trade unions. Union leaders are waiting for THAT call – to cut the agent’s commission.
    .
    RW (or anyone leading us) must bridle the culture of corruption/nepotism/impunity. RW cannot clean his own stable.
    And you, Vishwamitra, talk ‘war and battle’.

  • 1
    0

    The ‘war and battle’ has started Vishwamitra. The second putsch is on.
    Sudden increase in shootings. Started with the Batti policemen – blame of course on………?
    Kudawella shooting.
    Mawenella damage and arrest of……..?
    .
    Has the time come for the armed services and police to declare their loyalty?

  • 1
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    Man, bull shit, – Ranil won the battle, my foot! Man, when Shitsena sacked him, he was packing to leave the Temple Trees. Five times in power, what he accomplished, nothing. It’s Rajitha, Champika, Ravi etc forced him to stay and fight it out. These trios got hold of Mujiber, Marikar and Hurinka to get their crowds 6500 of them to put vigils at Templed trees for 24×52 days, that too majority of them women. Like what Obama said – hold the town, that would lead to hold the city, that would lead to hold state, that would lead to hold the country. Temples tree. Colombo and the country. The total cost 600 millions million, out of which Ravi put down 120 and the rest the party. Once all over what Ranil did, instead of those hard working and hardnuts guys, he brought in his dead wool friends, no good guys, Malik, Sagala, Marapana et al, and gave them the plum positions, and do any one think these no good guys would get at leat a 100, 000 votes, all bull shits. We have to chase out all three of them – Shitsena, Mara and Ranil – for the country to raise up again but the first should be Ranil. When his down he falls at everyone feet but when they put him up, he becomes a king, and he puts them down. Look 80 years UNP’s existance, Ranil stayed in the top for over 25 years, the rest of of seven leaders stayed at the top for the rest of the 55 years. What he did in that long period, only took the party backerwards, not forward, and to destruction. All owing to his arrogance, and not giving room for others, it’s him and his cabals. By some miracles, shire determinations and hard work of all those stayed put, they came out of this calamity but in the end what he did, same old tricks to hood wink all. Time is fast running out.

  • 1
    0

    It is useless and a waste of time and space to write about RW’s UNP. The entire bunch is not ready to unlearn past shortcomings, and correct themselves. They are still looking for loopholes in the constitution to increase the number of ministers. Minister Navin Dissanayake said it openly to Media. Does he know that almost every citizen is against it. Do these guys respect the majority people’s opinion. No.
    Then, the next step is to kick them all out! Period.

    • 2
      0

      Raj

      “It is useless and a waste of time and space to write about RW’s UNP.”

      Alright let us waste time and space writing about Dr MR, Clan, Cronies, … and their b***s carriers.
      On second thought it is useless and a waste of time and space to write about Dr MR, Clan, Cronies, … and their b***s carriers.

      Then how would you spend time purposefully?

      • 0
        0

        Native V,
        Let’s look for an alternative. MR, with the help of many others, at least saved the country and people including native Veddas from terrorism. What has RW done so far? That’s why I said it’s useless to …. RW.
        Isn’t that logical?

  • 1
    1

    Well that political illusion of UNP by win war backing of USA, UK, EU and Indian Embassies in Colombo by lobbing and interventionist of our undermined sovereignty of legal system.

    This is a case of new law reports and order of the legal matter is bluntly violation of Republic Constitution by foreign political power. This an open violation of legal history of 21st century and interfere of legal order undermined by foreign powers an” impartiality and independence” of our norms of Republic.
    We are not that supposed to accepts this kind of unknown credentials and credibility of Legal system of our country by wrong doing by UNP, TNA and JVP new role of played by old politics of corruptions of democracy.
    These evils elements( UNP,TNA & JVP) want to be corrupted not only democracy of politics, it has enlarge mishandling of to that so-called legal order and system of court of law.

    This is fine tragedy of judgment of court of law has created uncertainties and destabilization by current rule of law. Meanwhile that UNP rule of governances by rule of few interest of UNP leaders that vested interest of foreign hegemonies and federalist state in Sri lanka.

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