26 October, 2021

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Regime Failure, Grassroot Anger & Ineffective Opposition

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The GR-MR regime is failing on three key fronts: economy, public health and clean administration. Already, with the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President, democracy was farewelled and, with the 20th Amendment, the regime is not going to retreat from its resolve to establish a family based militarized autocracy with Buddhist supremacy as its ideological edifice. Rajapaksa siblings with their mélange of power brokers, among whom are a hard core of politicised ethno-religious monks and businessmen, thought that by delivering economic prosperity and clean government they would be excused by history for depriving the nation of its legacy of parliamentary democracy.

To their misfortune however, Covid-19 came as a shocker from outside to spoil the agenda, and it added public health as the third and more immediate issue to tackle, because the pandemic proved to be a calamity not only to peoples’ lives, but to the economy as well. Though successful in controlling the virus during its first wave, the regime relaxed that control in its haste to revive the economy, and lately, with seventy percent more virility, as detected in UK, the pandemic is adding to the economic woes of the regime.    

The sickness of the economy has already been diagnosed by several experts both locally as well as internationally and they all agree that unless some tough and systematic remedial measures are undertaken the condition of the patient would deteriorate. Without sustained budgetary and balance of payment surpluses over successive years the nation is warned that it would not be in a position to fulfil its international debt obligations, even though the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance are putting up a brave face to refute that possibility. Economic rationality is clashing with political expediency. 

A good example of that clash is evident from the withdrawal of the $480 million MCC project by the US. Even though there were some negative elements associated with that project, which threatened the sovereignty of the country, there was a positive side, which Sri Lanka could have exploited to the maximum. Already, several international rating agencies and global financial institutions have downgraded the country as an unreliable financial borrower. That downgrading is a warning for international investors thinking of investing in Sri Lanka. Therefore, to counter that warning the MCC project of such financial magnitude could have been flagged to show the rest of the world as a vote of confidence by the super power on the country’s economic potential. Moreover, with Chanakyan diplomacy and negotiations, MCC negatives could have been minimized while its positives maximized. But the rulers had already rejected the project outright on political grounds, even before they came to power. MCC withdrawal would now seem an endorsement of international warnings and would deter other prospective foreign investors.    

It is now becoming clear that the regime is losing the economic war. The situation in the consumer market is advertising that loss. Wholesale and retail centres are running out of adequate supplies, shortages are multiplying, and prices are totally unpredictable. In sheer desperation, the government is trying to impose price ceilings without appropriate mechanisms to control the black market. Several mafias and their shenanigans with access to corridors of power are ruling the market particularly in essential consumer items such as rice, vegetables and condiments. Import controls and their relaxation are undertaken whimsically without a planned strategy. Controls reduce public revenue and relaxations kill local production.  

With economic failure and mismanagement of the pandemic, corruption at all levels still remains a problem in spite of GR’s promise to eradicate it. On top of all this is creeping militarization of public administration. Rule by diktats is taking over rule by consultation and consensus. As a result, there is growing anger at the grassroot level, sometime erupting into sporadic street protests, which are selectively hidden from public view by a subtly controlled media. Yet, the defeat of annual budgets in several SLPP controlled Pradeshiya Sabhas, is an open manifestation of that anger. This dwindling popularity may be the reason why one section in the regime wants to hold the next Provincial Council Elections sooner than later.  However, PCs have become a red herring in the process of constitution making. That the supremacists are canvassing hard to do away with PCs altogether underscores their unwillingness to devolve power to minorities. 

‘When in doubt play a trump’, is a convention in the game of bridge. Likewise, as the regime realizes the growing unpopularity it will not hesitate to play its trump card, and that card is the perennial ethnic issue, which is now emerging not in its usual Tamil frame but in new Muslim frame. Since 2009 and particularly after the Easter Sunday massacre, the Muslim card is earmarked as trump to be used whenever a need arises to deflect public anger at the regime. The continued intransigence over Muslim burials that has angered an entire community is based entirely on political grounds and has nothing to do with science and epidemiology. It is to the credit of Muslims that their community leaders are keeping that anger under control without allowing anything untoward happening that may provoke widespread violence against them, which would be a total disaster.  

Given this scenario the question arises, where is the opposition that could channel the growing dissatisfaction and anger into an organized political challenge to the regime, but with an alternative policy package to win support of the people? The existing opposition seems to be ineffective and on an electorally suicide mission by picking issues at random to criticize the regime while lacking a comprehensive alternative to pull the nation out of the prevailing rut. To start with, without a united country the economy cannot be revived and its productive capacity cannot be optimized. No amount of economic theorizing could hide this vital truth. The stumbling block to forge that unity is the unwillingness of aspiring leaders to denounce publicly the Buddhist supremacist hegemonic agenda, and declare the country as belonging to all communities and their people who all have equal rights politically, economically and culturally. By not doing this the aspirants demonstrate their own political opportunism and capriciousness, and their willingness to adopt at least part of that agenda when need arises. The only one who dared to denounce was the former Yahapalana minister Mangala Samaraweera, and we all know how he was ostracized by the Buddhist clergy community.       

There is a growing generation of youngsters across all ethnic and religious communities in the country who realize that Sri Lanka cannot prosper economically and culturally without democracy and national unity. GR’s so-called vistas of prosperity and splendour will never become reality in a Sri Lanka so disunited as is now. Where is the redeemer?      

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Latest comments

  • 14
    10

    There are bigger issues in Sri Lanka than tribal issues. Sadly the anti-Rajapaksa camp is divided into ethnic tribes. Sajith just shot himself on his foot. He cannot win the next presidential election either. Game over for him. He is doing the same mistakes Ranil did.

    • 27
      3

      Dear Dr Ali,

      It was inevitable- and it was the mistake of the people. Govt changed into Junta Regime number 2 was well planned by Rajaakshes with that disaster on Easter Sunday 2019. Main actor was MR and his men after getting tamed and approved that POLONNAURWE DONKEY who should be hung by his balls today when still looking at the victimized families, I have no words to express my sadness. People are let to be in lurch as no times inthe past. Not a single person a victimization was fully investigated yet in the country, with JVPrs only attacking UNPrs sometimes for no reason. Like for example, Satana on Sirasa TV I heard JVP panelist saying that UNP destroyed the economy during good governance, but the truth is, there was nothing to destroy and that was the REASON, ballige putha Mahinda Rajaakshe held election 2 long years befoer his offical termination of the term. JVPrs fall is connected with their REVENGE and malice on UNPrs for 89 insurgency related incidents. Let alone today, JVPrs should learn see it in big picture. Who did more harm to the nation ? Looking back Rajakashes should be HUNG by their balls for all the mlechcha politics they played and being played yet today.

      • 5
        0

        Dear Friend LM: I note your frustrations and commitment to making our country a better place. But please do not allow your sentiments to override you. Can you please tell me what the Leader of the Opposition contributed so far to deal with burning economic issues of the country? Only Dr. Harsha de Silva and MP Wickramaratne have done some exposures of the GR Regime. Then the next one is MP Sumanthiram of TULF. As far as I have noticed so far the biggest and the major contribution to exposing the malpractices and failures of GR led Government was done by NPP MPS Anurakumara Dissanayake and Ms. Harini Amarasuriya. Have you noticed how many Media Briefings done by JVP, the latest being that of 22.12.’20? Who revealed the Rs. 10 Billion “Diverted” to Vilma Co, owned by the Chairman of Shangrila on the “Sugar Importation Deal”? Who revealed the “Vilma & Adani” (of India) deal to take over the East Terminal of the Colombo Port? Who revealed the “Palm Oil” importation “Deal” facilitated through a “Multy” number of Gazette Notifications by the Minister of Finance – MR the PM? What was the Leader of the Opposition, Sajith Premadasa doing in Parliament? Has his political outfit has at least a “Web Page” or so far held a SINGLE Media Briefing on these economic issues?

        • 4
          1

          My Dear Simon and SM,
          Thank you for your posts.
          .
          Immediately I heard that DHAMMIKA BANDARA and his “WONDER PANI BEEMA as panacea to COVID infections”, what came to my mind was – if the person is not identified as ” Dhammika Bandara but as ” අප්පි කුට්ටි කන්කානම්ගේ ධනපාල “ is it legal to address him further as “Dhammika Bandara” by srilanken media?

          If this would have been the case in Europe, the man would have been arrested on the spot.

          And srilanka is not a primitive country it should have a pharmaceutical institution that could easily check the composition of the “drink” within hours, because CHROMATORGRAPHY and the related analytical methods could easily reveal its healing powers. Of course people should be free from KALIAMMA or RAJAKASHES in their minds.

          Besides, GOVERNMENT ministers themselves introduce the kind of MEDICAL decoctions to the people publicly (to the manner they did it in the parliament), any citizen of the country can file a case against them, to have misguided the people. Why dont people (senior medical professionals incl. senior virologists) forward to CLEAR the doubts ? That Jaysum,an should equally be identified with WIMAL BURUWASNE (school drop out) to my eye. WHoever let him wear PROF TITLE should also be investigated. Why should people fall that deep yet in 2020 ? I now feel decades ago people were more knowledgeable in our country.

      • 4
        0

        My Friend LM: I forgot to tell you where to look for the exposures of “Corruption” of GR Government. Pl. go to “Lanka Truth” and follow the Media Briefing by JVP Leader AKD. GR Government has requested the World Bank for a loan of Rs. 10 Billion to order the “Covid 10 Vaccine”. But just see how Rs. 10 Billion has been “Diverted” to Vilma Co.owned by the Chairman of Shangrila on the “Sugar Deal”. You will be stunned with those revelations, so far not contested by GR or a single of his cohorts.

      • 3
        0

        Dear LM,
        .
        When I first read this article, I just read it! I didn’t bother to find out who the author was, I read it through, and thought “What a wonderful article!” Why?
        .
        It is concise, yet it comprehensively covers the entire political situation as it now is. Rational, objective, clear-sighted. Written from a properly Sri Lankan perspective.
        .
        There is a bit of nastiness in me, I guess. Else why did I fleetingly ask myself, “now why don’t I have the talent or the ability to write so well.” The green-eyed monster within me!
        .
        I have commented on this article even here, at the very bottom:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/desperate-times-need-desperate-measures-so-comes-kegalle-peniya/comment-page-1/#comment-2372494
        .
        Now I see that the author is Dr. Ameer Ali. It may be that he’s now an Australian Citizen, perhaps he’s dual. Makes no difference. There’s nothing at all sectarian about this analysis. It is perfect. Any Sri Lankan (with the ability!) could have written it.
        .
        Hell! It’s 8 am. My yesterday’s dinner had better become today’s breakfast.

      • 2
        1

        “Regime Failure, Grassroot Anger & Ineffective Opposition”
        The regime has failed, without doubt. It would have failed even without Covid. Its game plan to win the election was to conjure up bogus gonibillas like the “Bond scam” , Muslim terrorists, MCC, etc. It has failed to even bring down rice or onion prices in spite of many pompous Generals being on the job. The merchants know the govt can only issue gazettes. There are no plans, only back-to-the-past options like a closed economy , or snake oil solutions for Covid.
        There isn’t much real grassroots anger at the moment, because the dumb masses are too shocked at the collapse of their self- proclaimed saviours. But it will come.

    • 16
      3

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPUWxtMXiyc&list=TLPQMjMxMjIwMjDNRPrAguuHVw&index=2

      Witchery has become above burying the SCIENCE and MEDICINE under the carpet

      If VIETNAM and the like minded countries managed it flattening the curve, why a smaller nation of 22 million failed to do was solely because incumbent Leadership is a greater failure.

      Today, SRILANKENS are popular being ULTRA racists. Actually not all sinhalayas are racial. Ipso Facto why should we be silent anymore ? My wish is to strenghthen the OPPOSITION and get rid of this nation FROM Rajakashe criminals.

      • 2
        0

        Yes, LM.
        .
        I listened to that effective 6-minute Youtube in Sinhala. We must be honest enough, to tell the truth consistently in whatever language.
        .
        here it is clearly stated that World-renowned Hong Kong-based virologist Dr Malik Peiris has stated clearly that burying COVID victims is an acceptable practice.

    • 7
      21

      Mr. GATAM,
      .
      When authors like Dr. Ameer Ali who doesn’t want GR/MR government in the first place say “Regime Failure”…… it’s a win situation for GR.
      .
      When they say “Ineffective Opposition”…..
      They have already accepted that “Opposite of Opposition” is very much effective. At least politically in their eyes.
      .
      ‘And “Grassroot Anger”…..
      We are the Grassroot my dear…..

      • 15
        2

        Ms SCP

        We can read your mind NOT having enough offers these days. You may focus on your savings being offered by RAJAPKSHES. Oldest profession is too facing COVID restrictions.

        Anyways, You guys would not be able to work on EXPONENTIALLY growing angers against Rajapaksehs rascals. No doubt, we will corner them to the drains to the very same manner, we then found LYBIAN counter parts shortly before in their last moments.
        :
        Divine forces too will join hand with us – NAMELY Mafia Boss gave us clear MESSAGES that days seem to be numbered for him…… How Karma would work on him is becoming clear now – I see the light at the end of the family rule…. We are patient and can wait for the sake of the GOOD people of my mother lanka.

      • 2
        1

        “‘And “Grassroot Anger”…..
        We are the Grassroot my dear…..”
        .
        Well said.

        Soma

  • 12
    0

    Only yesterday I posted this to Tassie’s article: 95% rural voters are oblivious to these good ideas and the situation. And only they can change things… If we need to change the things we identify and rail against here at CT, then ………………..? Uphill task.
    Dr Ali ends up with a similar stance.
    “There is a growing generation of youngsters across all ethnic and religious communities in the country who realize that Sri Lanka cannot prosper economically and culturally without democracy and national unity. GR’s so-called vistas of prosperity and splendour will never become reality in a Sri Lanka so disunited as is now. WHERE IS THE REDEEMER?”
    Indeed Where ? Where indeed is the unity for action – we rail at each other only.
    Reminds me of that game we played ‘eons’ ago.
    You Sir. Not I Sir. Who then Sir. He Sir. Not I Sir……………… Going nowhere.
    As things are, may be we are “ Waiting for Godot”.
    Two men waiting for a third, who never appears. ‘And if he comes?’ one of tramps asks the other near the end of the play. ‘We’ll be saved’, he says.
    Punchline : . ‘And if he comes?’ If ever.

  • 5
    11

    There is nothing new in this article.

  • 14
    0

    I agree with the Author. Govt Fail, People Angry and Opposition ineffective.

    Lets take the situation where the SJB MPs participation in TV debates. One would have noticed that SLPP MPs who participate are well prepared and above all they will not allow the opposition voice to be heard by shouting, when valid points are presented. Unfortunately when there are so many points that could be brought out to counter and defeat the Govt points and arguments, the opposition MPs do not challenge or even ask the moderator of the show to stop those who are not allowing them to speak. Opposition MPs most of the time give me the feeling that they do not even read social media and news papers, if they did they will have enough and more points to argue.

    Today TV is the most important tool to bring out major issues in the country but the opposition does not use it. In fact the opposition does not even challenge the sitting arrangements during these debates. One will notice that the Govt members will always be the ones who will conclude a debate and this gives them time and space to spin what ever they need to spin.

  • 11
    3

    What the people urgently need is leadership, bringing the people together, and the intelligence to have in their cabinet, qualified, competent, experienced people, who will steer the country out of the mess. Sadly we have NONE.
    Instead we have a bunch of goons, some out of prison, some war criminals banned in other countries, people suspected of being involved in murders, in the government, and the Rajapaksa’s doing the bidding of those racist monks. A good leader has around him/her a capable team, not cronies who will cover crimes and even kill for him/her. The Rajapaksa’s have divided the country, and there is a lot of internal strife, including the discrimination of the minorities.
    We have come to a sorry state when international bodies have downgraded us, and we are not trusted to honor our loans. I guess when we are held accountable for war crimes, or investigations are called for political arrests or assassinations, we are full of arrogance, and we shout about “foreign/western interference”, but when our coffers start dwindling, we want those very same foreign entities to bail us out, and our arrogance evaporates, as we go around with hat in hand, our indignation towards them all deflated out like a flat tire.

    • 3
      5

      Ashan,
      Rajapakshes did not divide the country. They unified the country that was divided by Ranil who handed over North and East on a platter to megalomaniac terrorist Prabhakaran.

      There is no internal strife between ordinary Sinhalayo, Demala Tamils and Muslims. There is a problem between the Government and racist separatist Tamil politicians who supported LTTE Tamil terrorists and Muslim politicians who had supported Wahhabi Muslim extremists who carried out the terrorist attack.

      Government is not discriminating the minorities. Vellala Tamils discriminate and oppress their own Tamils who are considered as low caste (Dalits). They do not even allow a Dalit to drink water from their wells.
      —–
      “The Rajapaksa’s have divided the country, and there is a lot of internal strife, including the discrimination of the minorities.”

    • 1
      0

      /
      GATAM / November 7, 2020
      Sri Lankan Buddhists are the most intolerant, superstitious, jealous and naive people I have ever met across 34 countries I traveled. They would worship any tree, clay thing, alien or politician for benefit. World Buddhists must steer clear of this intolerant tribe.
      /
      Ashan, do you think WE want to live together with this category, EVEN IF THE LEADERS WANT US TO?

      Soma

      • 2
        1

        That is why we call them ” buddhagama monks”. They are not buddhist monks as regarded by the literiture. Srilanken buddhist monks are more or less business men. They would do any low work if politicians would abuse them to the core. Rajaakshes have abused them on and on, for their power gains. How the monks be fallen by the easy tricks being played by Rajakshes says the levels of intelligence of the srilanken monks. Alle gunawansa, Madagoda BP; mURUTHETTUWA are known pinguthara business men that ruined this nation.
        :

  • 0
    0

    When first time UN SG asked his Expert Panel to investigate what happened in Lankawe, Rishard organized every Friday afternoon, for more than a year, protests in Slave Island. Protesters wanted UN leave Lankawe because Chitanta government was very supporting to Muslim minorities, but UN was trying to hurt the spies by investigating War Crime in support of Tamil Terrorist. As gesture for that, latter, Aanduwa broke down part of a Slave Island Mosque. Today, there is no Tamil political leader left not requesting Aanduwa to allow Muslims to bury their Corona Virus dead bodies in safe manner. So, government retaliated for that by proposing as the water level is low in North, so they can bury all bodies in that side. Tamils have to fight back burying Muslims bodies over there. Hakeem asked his brother not to appear in the case of Cremating of Muslim Bodies. Today there was a protest took place against cremating by Vaalaiththodam Jr. After that Rishard is saying he is going organize protest all over the country. Does one can give the count of how many women protest has taken place in North and East already? Rishard has just come out of prison for transporting Puttlam voters to vote for him in Mannar on SLCTB buses, free, an act to teach LTTE reminiscent. Rotten comedians these Muslim politicians are. Political opportunist!

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