23 May, 2024


Return Of The Redeemer & Road Builder

By Sarath De Alwis  –

Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Politics – A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” – AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil’s Dictionary

Contemplating a return of Mahinda Rajapaksa is a gut churning and an offensive experience to those in possession of even a minuscule awareness of the value of autonomy and freedom of the individual. Nevertheless, we must come to terms with the materiality that Mahinda Rajapaksa is an exceptional politician who continues to retain a substantial reservoir of mass support and adulation.

The return of the redeemer and road builder to that exalted status of the supreme law giver of the land is not an imminent possibility. However, his return to center stage as the parliamentary proxy of the oligarchy he spawned and the rent seekers he forged is clearly inevitable. Mahinda Rajapaksa is above politics. He is part of our contemporary world of realpolitik- that deals with not what is morally right or wrong, but what is real in substance and form.

Mahinda RMTherefore, it is essential that we understand what he did and what he is capable of doing.

Mahinda Rajapaksa presidency was successful in the systematic destruction of all independent agencies and institutions. He removed legal barriers that protected the citizen from the excesses of a state that defined the limits of its own accountability. He obtained pliant judicial decisions to justify the capricious conduct of his regime. He was remarkably successful in shaping public opinion in his favour. Above all he has constructed a massive network of Buddhist priests who are not hesitant to appeal to emotions and prejudices of the majority Sinhala Buddhists to further his political imperatives. This is a land where the official title of the Priestley follower is a paragraph of adjectives while the master is identified with two single nouns. When grandeur supersedes gravity, the faithful chant Sadhu Sadhu!

Mahinda Rajapakse losing his presidency was a near miraculous event. Pivotal to his defeat was the decision of the UNP and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to allow the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to precipitate an implosion within the Rajapakse monolith.

Even at this late hour the United National Party and its leader Mr. Ranil Wickermesinghe should chart its trajectory forward with an unreserved recognition that the ouster of the Rajapakse autocracy was possible exclusively and exhaustively due to the resistance and rebellion that occurred within the SLFP.

Comprehending what happened on 8th January requires apprehending what transpired at the New Town Hall on 21st November 2014. Elected Despots are not ousted by ballot alone. Despots survive on a combination of ideology, myth and symbol. Sinhala chauvinism was the Rajapakse ideology. The Asian hub was its manufactured myth. The Maroon shawl with its stylish knot exuding the authority of a hangman’s noose was its symbol. Dislodging the tyrant needed the kinetic energy of sudden and lightning defiance. This came from the segment of the SLFP headed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

By voluntarily making way for his successful challenger to take over the Presidency of the SLFP, Mahinda Rajapaksa averted a split in the party when the momentum was with Chandrika led dissidents. After two months of UNP rule under the SLFP President he set in motion his return which was aptly called the ‘Nugegoda’ rising.

The fall of a regime does not bring change. It is only an opportunity for change.

The UNP made the monstrous mistake of interpreting the mandate of 8th January as a license to impose its own version of ‘change’. It failed to recognize the fall of the tyrant as an opportunity to build a broad coalition and social and political relationships that would eradicate the injustices and oppression of the ousted regime. Instead, it embarked on a partisan power project that alienated all other shades of political opinion.

When the then General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena decided or was persuaded to challenge the incumbent executive president, he was well aware of the momentous consequences of his decision. In his own words failure would have sent him six feet under. Success would have given him the executive presidency, and the privilege of living his normal life span. He also calculated that once in office he could gain effective control of the SLFP which was the principal stake holder of the UPFA.

But that was not how events unfolded. The poet Robert Burns was proven prophetic. “The best laid plans of mice and men go awry.” The SLFP it seemed had more men and mice intimidated by the awesome shadow of the redeemer and road builder of the nation.

The former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was then and is now ready to break any number of eggs to make the party founded by her father and nurtured by her mother in to a palatable democratic omelet. The ousted president Mahinda Rajapaksa remains equally amenable to break as many eggs and more to make the main anti UNP party in to a soulless neo fascist hot pan of scrambled eggs.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is not a brash dictator. He is the consensual warlord who after the military defeat of the LTTE installed a “permanent campaign” that shaped and still shapes political attitudes and arguments. Give the devil his due. He can in this age of digital communication concoct and manufacture popular approval and acclaim.

To Mahinda Rajapaksa and his group that includes competent – Dinesh, cunning Weerawansa, clownish Vasu and calculating –Dulles, compromise is a temporary accommodation to regain lost power.

The UNP and its Prime Ministerial candidate can also respond with a sure to fail compromise to retain its present unearned office or forge a sensible compromise that will revitalize the spirit of January 8th and create an enduring partnership for good governance.

Resistance to broad compromise that transcends ideology is a problem for any democracy that relies on competitive politics to choose its leaders. Continued mistrust of opponents will only facilitate the return of the barbarians not up to the gates but in to the heart of the citadel.

The social movements and the protest struggle that guided the Presidential election should reestablish its moral command over the coming electoral campaign. As David Caute says in his comparative study of the Liberal and the Marxist – Isaac Deutscher and Isaiah Berlin ‘morality and mitigation in equal measure is a rare and a wise combination. These are times when plain speaking is an existential imperative. This writer will vote for the JVP and hope for a UNP led administration!

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  • 31

    A rational, truthful and well thought out piece of writing; rare among Sri Lankan writers. A breath of fresh air!

    • 6

      Sarath De Alwis

      RE: Return Of The Redeemer & Road Builder

      “Politics – A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” – AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil’s Dictionary.

      “Contemplating a return of Mahinda Rajapaksa is a gut churning and an offensive experience to those in possession of even a minuscule awareness of the value of autonomy and freedom of the individual. “

      MaRa has mass support from those whose average IQ is 65.

      Thanks. Succinctly defines Mahinda Rajapaksa Politics.

      MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa Hora MaRa Ego MaRa…

    • 9

      Sarath De Alwis

      Mahinda Rajapaksa and their cronies have now recruited the Chinese as well.. Sirisena should just Dump MaRa,.

      From the grape wine….. MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa…

      Colombo Chinese Embassy’s Pro MR propaganda

      Recently, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka has embarked on a propaganda campaign to support Mahinda Rajapakse. The Embassy has used the mobile number 0776706560 to send bulk SMS messages especially to the business community and Government officials in Sri Lanka supporting Mahinda Rajapakse. One of the SMS messages sent by the Chinese Embassy on 02 July 2015 is given below.

      “Chinese funded projects created 100000 job opportunities to SL in the past five years. 90% workers in Chinese funded projects are Sri Lankans. Spokesperson Chen Chuan of China Chamber of Commerce at Sri Lanka told media today. Chen mentioned that for example, A9 road construction in the north hired 4500 Sri Lankan staff including 2800 Tamils, only around 50 Chinese working on the project, account for only1.5-2 % of the total. Chinese funded projects created at least 100000 direct job opportunities to SL people in the past five years and trained many Sri Lankan young people to master new technologies which not only benefit them but benefited SL’s future development. One Minister figure’s allegation of only Chinese workers lost jobs at Chinese Funded projects is totally wrong. We suggest politician check facts and figures before make remarks and stop misleading people.”

      Sending these SMS the Chinese Embassy has directly involved in political affairs of Sri Lanka. No Diplomatic Mission can intervene into internal affairs of the receiving country as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomacy. In this respect, Sri Lankan Government should summon the Chinese Ambassador in Colombo and question about this incident and declare him persona non grata. Sri Lankan should request China to recall their envoy.

      It is clear that the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lankan is campaigning for Mahinda Rajapakse. The Embassy even paid some journalists to write articles in support of MR. These journalists have received various incentives from the Chinese Embassy including money, foreign trips, computers and training opportunities in China.

      • 3

        Amarasiri – What would be MR’s slogans at the propaganda meetings
        in the coming election. The following will of course will get prominence

        1. Ltte at the door step

        2. Tamil Mahendran, Governor Central Bank will be deported and
        Cabral reinstalled

        3. Lands given back to the owners will be retrieved as military
        to be strengthened in N/E to protect the country against newly
        detected terrorism.
        4. US, European and UN offices in SL to be closed after the war
        crime report is released.
        4,5,6,….. not known yet.

      • 2

        The UNP made the monstrous mistake of interpreting the mandate of 8th January as a license to impose its own version of ‘change’. It failed to recognize the fall of the tyrant as an opportunity to build a broad coalition and social and political relationships that would eradicate the injustices and oppression of the ousted regime. Instead, it embarked on a partisan power project that alienated all other shades of political opinion.

        Above is the best part that I read.

        Ranil wickramsinghe as the opposition leader had ten years to study the system. He even did not understand what happened on January 08th. He did not understand what people said. Probably, he thought, voters are not important and it is the Indian or the Western influence that caused every thing.

        Anyhow, Ranil did not change anything. He just continued the existing system with slight differences. He proved that he is not a leader and he has nothing to give to sri lanka except his experience which is not much useful to sri lanka. Because, there are other people who can do it.

        Therefore, Ranil and his henchmen must go.

      • 0

        Dumb Amrasiri:

        You are very dumb.

      • 0


        Given the extent of the Chinese investments and projects in Sri Lanka, can you disprove the fact that Sri Lankans have been given job opportunities ? Do you object to it ?

        How many Yahapalana jobs have been created ? Did John Kerry bring hundred thousand jobs and give to Ranil ?

        So far, the Yahapalana Greatest Achievement has been only Talk and hiding their own corruption.

    • 3

      Who the fook is this man?

      He seems to know it all. But his desperate attempt to portray his erudition only proves his mediocrity.

      Please save us from such characters.

  • 20

    We know Ranil Wickramasinhge is a stupid or act like a stupid (especially in parliament) and sometimes, err bringing equally corrupt Arjun like his predecessor Ajith Caabraal to office but he himself not corrupt or racist like Mahinda Rajapakse.

    Imagine, what would happened if Mahinda wins…. He’s a wounded beast- all what he would do is spill the blood with full revenge and ransack the nation to the core.
    His Brother GOTA licking the wound for an ambush…..
    Future of Sri Lanka increasingly becoming bleak MaRa & Thieves Family !!!!!!

    • 6

      There is no doubt that Ranil Wickramasinghe is not only stupid but also cunny fellow who isnot an ideal leader who will be able to reach the people. It is also true that he is much much better than Mahinda in comparison and it is not the time to look for alternative to Ranil. The nation and people cannot afford to go back to Mahinda which is a disaster. Ranil should realise this truth and unite with all the forces that worked together with more effort as in the presidential election. Mahinda stiil powerful in terms of money and he will use this money to buy more and more people. Mahinda is also capable of creating fear among people and it is the duty of President Srisena, Ranil and Chandrika to make sure to remove the fear factor from people.

      • 1

        Ajith – You said it right. Ranil is in politics, nearing half a
        century and he still cannot fathom the hearts and minds of the
        people. He thinks that he is the darling of the people but people
        have other ideas about him. He is a true and sincere, politician a rare kind among the politicians, past and present.He kicks off well but spoils his case half way by his gaffes, impolite and undiplomatic statements and one route policy of his. One example was, he made a “Royal”joke that he will shoot Indian fishermen if they intrude our territorial waters and this joke upset India and there was a diplomatic wrangling over it. Even if he meant to shoot them, he should have put it in diplomatic language. Years of political experience has not changed his ways and UNP high command should rein in,whenever party reputation is at stake due to his gaffes, as this time UNP has a good chance of winning the election and people are willing to give the reins to Ranil.He is suspected of a love affair with USA and taking anti India/China stance and he should, instead follow a non aligned policy as any tie ups, will make SL become a slave to the other nation/s, like what we were to China during the old regime.

    • 0

      Grow up.

      Even if Mahinda Contests he is contesting first for a MP position. HE is not going to be the president and forces are repoting to him.

  • 11

    AliBaba and his innumerable gangsters, hoodlums, killers, drug mudalalis, ethanol mudalalis, treasure looters, land grabbers, commiss kakkas, fraudsters, tsunami horas are worshipped and adulated by the foolish masses as a modern day Dutugemenu.

    Above all the Monks have been bought over by providing vehicles, facilities and lots of bucksheesh. The great religion prostituted at the altar of Power and Politics.

    Hope the masses have realized the true nature of the Rajapakse Clan.

  • 2

    Mathripala is the biggest opportunist among Srilankan Politicians ever.

    People spend their family fortunes and whole lives aspiring to get this plum job .

    Not many make it.

    Sira was offered it on plate by the Elite, Anglicans , Vellasa, West and’ its current enemies, the Muslims.

    How could Sira refuse it?.

    In the process My3 Sira not only betrayed his beloved SLFP but also the welfare of 5.8 Million Sinhala Buddhists.

    And left them at the mercy of the UNP and its Christian Faction Leader. who not only signed a MOU with Prabakaran but also organized Pongu Thamil to honour Orabakaran.

    Ranil and his mates are well on their way now to take us back to the 60s, when the Elite ruled with Anglicans and the Vellalas while the Muslims made money.

    And kept the Sinhala Buddhist majority in the bush feeding them crumbs, denying them proper schools and hence preventing them entering universities accessing descent jobs.

    In just 150 days Ranil has put over 200,000 Dalits out of jobs.

    1000 High Tech Central Schools have been stopped.

    Plans are hastily made to sell off Govt assets after spreading false allegations how bad they are in order to sell them as Two Dollar Companies.

    Give them five years and Uni Admissions, Public Sector Jobs, Heath and Education facilities for the Dalits will drop significantly.

    But Ranil will be the all Executive PM who will be running the South , while Vellalas and the Muslims will be in charge of the Northern and Eastern Provincial Governments respectively with full autonomy and without any Srilankan military presence.

    • 2

      @K.A Sumanasekera
      Hugely Overstated and calculated to stoke some racist sentiments, no ? Sadly I don’t think your ploy will work. The mass of people in Sri Lanka are no longer the uneducated, ill-informed peasants that you think they are

    • 0

      Well said Sumane, everytime when the power of the country goes out from this elite, The big conspiracies come!
      Same fate befell on Premadasa.
      How can someone trust when your closest betray you like this?
      Latest saying,
      [Edited out]Lesson I learned!
      Never trust your best mates. They are the most likely to stab you!

  • 11

    A brilliant piece of writing by Sarath de Alwis.

    Mahinda Rajapakse’s popularity among the Sinhala-Buddhists is an interesting phenomenon. Here is a man who misappropriated tsunami donations, wasted borrowed money on utterly stupid projects such as Mattala, allegedly bribed Prabhakaran to stop Tamils vote in the 2005 election, protected prominent drug dealers, made a mockery of the justice system, made puppets out of parliamentarians, abused public institutions, appointed cronies and relatives the state institutions incurring monumental losses, instituted a culture of fear, and so on and on. Yet, he is very popular among a majority of Sinhala Buddhist.

    It is not that those who support Rajapakse are unaware of his corruption, his inept governance, his economic stupidity. They know and they know it very well. The thing that endears Rajapakse to the Sinhala-Buddhists, however, is the undeclared racism of his supporters. And there were 5.8 million of them at the last election; perhaps more at this election. Almost every one of them a racist, a communalist at heart. Rajapakse plays on this unfortunate sentiment of the Sinhala Buddhist majority.

    This writer too will vote for the JVP and hope the rest of those who are elected are at least less corrupt than those supporting Rajapakse.

  • 6

    Thank you for this article.

    The President has NO choice but to refuse nominations to anyone who has a taint against his name if he is bring in ” GOOD GOVERNACE ” – so this would be an acid test.

    Pray Sir, why would you vote for the JVP ? Your answer, if justified, would bring about many more votes for the JVP. I must warn you though – that making nice speeches and a lot of noise – is not the way forward to good governance.

    Action speaks louder than words. When they were active – they were rebels.

  • 5

    A very balanced analysis> bEnsen

  • 5

    A very balanced analysis. Bensen

  • 7

    It is a FACT that if by chance Mr. Ranil W contested against Mr. Mahinda R, Mr. Mahinda R would have won a land slide victory. It is to the credit of Mrs. Kumaranatunga to have “manipulated” and “decisively” hatched the “PLOT” to bring Mr. Maithripala Sirisena to contest Mr. Mahinda and that I would term as a “Grand Plot”. This plot put Mr. Mahinda’s election into a disarray and confused to an extent of making him a “mad man”. That is why he used all those State Resources including its Manpower to win the election by “hook or crook”. The other FACT was, if Mr. Ranil W contested; NO CIVIL SOCIETY organizations and some Political Paries would have come forward in such a force “unitedly” to get rid of Rajapakse regime. So Mr. Maithripala S , FACTOR was the “Bridge” between the UNP and all other FORCES that waited for the chance and the moment. This is the TRUTH and the result of that winning of the truth came about on 08th January 2015.

    Since then, who made the MISTAKE of giving “ROOM” to Mr. Mahinda R & Co. to emerge from that defeat? The simple answer is: None other than the “Administration” of Mr. Ranil W. This is the BITTER TRUTH. During the “100 Days” and beyond the people estimated and evaluated the “Government Machinery” as that belonging to Mr. Ranil W and not so much that of the President. The elected President fell into the second place and the PM was seen and placed as the “Front Liner”. The only redeeming factor for his “failures’ was that his cabinet was composed of SLFP component that stood a “stumbling block”. Yet some of the mistakes he did would not absolve him from at the receiving end of the failures. Three prominent cases in point: (1). The appointment of MR. Mahendran as the Governor of CB and the “Bond Scandal” that followed, (2). The confusion and related legal questions that came about with the establishment of FCID and the “miserable” slow process of Investigations and Inquiries that followed.(3) The failure to move quickly and initiate action on the “Waliamuna Report” in relation to Sri Lankan Airline. These three matters “SHATTERED” all hopes of YAHAPALANAYA and all those connected with the 8th January “VICTORY”. The people are today QUESTIONING mainly the “CREDIBILITY” and “COMPETENCY” of “Ranil Led Government”. Added to that the President too has made matters worse by not making DECISIONS showing his “Leadership”. So as of today, every political party must now realize that “FEED THE MOUTH” is not going to be the major factor in winning; but people NEED and DEMAND that YAHAPALANAY (Good Governance) in ALL GOVERNMENT MATTERS – political, social and economics.

    So, the above synopsis, in my opinion, is the ROOT CAUSE for the “Emergence” and “SPREADING” of the “TENTACLES” of “NUGEGODA MAN”.

  • 1

    It would have been more apt to have titled, ‘Return of the Cheat and the Killer’.

  • 2

    Why can’t they create a highway from point Pedro to Mullaitivu. The millitary and the southerners can Travel easily.

  • 0

    “morality and mitigation in equal measure is a rare and a wise combination.” God wishes for Sri Lanka by Sarath De Alwis.

    But knowing the general Lankan ego-centric and individualistic aspiration, it is practically impossibility for one Lankan politician to compromise with another Lankan politician. We can certainly strive for it, but in the end it will be a hard core JVP or ultra-capitalist Rajapaksa that will actually get things moving, albeit in opposite directions.

    For Sarath De Alwis’ suggestions to come about, Chandrika should be the person to bow out and let the others sort things out by themselves. If Sri Lanka is to continually live for the allegiance of the SLFP, we’d be forever ensnared in the doldrums.

    (Glad that Sarath Alwis mentioned the JVP together with UNP, but that Weerasansa is holding hands with Rajapaksa, puts Rajapaksa in very idyllic light also).

    • 0

      ~ corrections : Good wishes for Sri Lanka by Sarath De Alwis.
      ~…..practically an impossibility……

  • 1


    What can I say; you said it all.

    You said well when you said,’When grandeur supersedes gravity, the faithful chant Sadhu Sadhu!’

    I may be crude when I say this, but must say,

    When a corrupt magistrate exhonerated MR for stealing tsunami money the faithful chanted Sadhu Sadhu.

    When MR built an utterly useless Mattala airport close to nowhere, the faithful chanted Sadhu Sadhu.

    When thugs dressed in saffron robes lambasted hapless muslims, the faithful chanted Sadhu Sadhu.

    And now when the robber barons return to their roost, to unleash another wave of thuggery, intimidation, gross thievery and screw the very same faithful in every known way, they will still chant Sadhu Sadhu.

    This is the lot of the common man in Sri Lanka. The faithful will never change.

    Yes I will vote JVP also, and hope JVP will win. I am convinced even an unknown devil is better than this very well known benign faced devils.

  • 0

    I have heard this story most of the time. They want to vote for JVP.
    Why ? Can JVP form a government. Even it forms the Government can it get the support of the international community.They will make this country another Cuba.At a time when Cuba is also entering democratic path
    so do not waste your vote. Allow UNP to fulfil its promises. People know why Ranil could not deliver even after 100 days. The defeated politicians
    upset the progress planned by UNP .

  • 0

    “People know why Ranil could not deliver even after 100 days. The defeated politicians upset the progress planned by UNP.” Mugalan Cooray…

    Why can’t they create a highway from point Pedro to Mullaitivu. The millitary and the southerners can Travel easily.” pACS…

    “Ajith – You said it right. Ranil is in politics, nearing half a century and he still cannot fathom the hearts and minds of the people”

    its a right Royal Battle China vs the West on Sri Lanka soil.
    China has loads to speak of while West can say we sent John Kerry there and he was punished soon after when holidaying in the Apls when he was puched off his cycle and there by fracturing a led. Rajapakshe is suspected?
    Kerry learnt the hard way messing around with sri lanka internal matters.

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