By Kumar David –
There is a conventional theory that you have heard many times:
Scenario 1: “This man’s reincarnations beat the Jataka tales; in encores he is more prolific than a cat. GR gave him the job since he can squeeze his (RW’s) oranges to forestall prosecution of Paksa embezzlement (too many to name), murders (Lasantha, Ekneligoda and more), abuses of presidential power (promotion of war criminals, pardoning murderers) and violation of human rights by the military (at war’s end and Easter Sunday cover up). The Deal is: I will make you PM, you cover up my and my family’s arses. Meantime RW “can command a majority in Parliament”, that is disgraced and discredited SLPP scum want him. Presumably he will defer elections and let the wretches keep robbing”.
There is an alternative scenario which also I find credible:
Scenario 2: “True it started like this but life moves on; there is no honour among thieves. Crafty-RW will, and is, gaming residue-GR and vice versa, but RW is on a stronger wicket. Why? Because the political landscape is bitterly hostile to any Rajapaksa, more than to anyone else. (And if RW loses the taxi fare from Temple Trees to Fifth Lane is only Rs.200 but when the curtain comes down on GR it’s the finale for the Paksas). The streets are on fire against GR but will let RW drag on for now. Aragalaya will say: “What the hell some piece of shit, RW, Sajith, Foney, XYZ, has to carry the bucket till the elections”. RW of course is playing a deeper game than meets the eye by befriending GothaGoGama. He knows that GR can’t match him, catch him, or ditch him for cleaning Galle Face etc. for purportedly public health reasons, but actually to curry favour with protestors”.
The GR bandwagon did hurl its first tarnish-RW canard: “It was not shoot-on-sight-Kamal who pushed GR to send the troops; it was RW”. But it is Kamal’s twitchy trigger-fingers which relish bumping-off widows with hungry children who steal loaves of bread. If those who “plunder public property are to be shot on sight” shouldn’t the Royal Clan be first in the firing line? The Rajas fit the criterion to a tee; bars of gold versus loaves of bread. The Royal loot will not be recovered as long as Kamal tenderly attends to his former boss’s needs and RW buries state investigative responsibilities as he did in Yahapalana days.
RW hopes to reunify the UNP, absorb the SJB and offer Sajith a peanut. True the SJB lower-orders see it as a sell-out, so plans are stymied for now. Eventually will class solidarity count? Will the SJB’s liberal-bourgeois leaders dump the boy from Kesekwatta. The rumour that the IMF insisted on RW’s appointment is dubious. Why would the IMF stick its neck out for a discredited has-been disdained by febrile protesters? What is true is that till the IMF works out a bailout package, Japan will dole out a $1.5 billion soft-loan and India chip-in more handouts into the begging bowl.
The response of aragalaya to these pranks must be firm and clear. The Gotha-Go demand must stay up-font despite RW-GR (note order) shenanigans. The Interim Administration (IA) should function though it is incapable of and has no mandate to implement even a short-term programme. It needs crisis-space to use the emergency funds and ease hardships of the people, especially the poorest. This is a no-brainer, but the overlaps involved may create confusion in younger, bolder aragalaya minds; so let’s lay out the tasks.
Tactical: “Gota Go” is unconditional but timing negotiable within limits; max up to the election but the end date must be announced NOW. Why? Every day is perilous; he will manoeuvre to undercut aragalaya. So long as he is at the helm emergency, curfew and military-on-the-streets will be Lanka’s lifestyle.
Strategic: The election date must be announced now. Why six months, why not four? IA has no mandate for even a short-term economic programme, its only job is distribution and management of emergency aid. It has no right to initiate a short-term economic programme without a mandate. Neoliberal, laissez faire, state-directed, franchises to capitalists or concessions to the people, etc.? IA has no mandate this way or that. It must not be allowed to set an un-mandated course for the future. The fertiliser bungling, greenwash amateur who thought renewable electricity grows on trees, the chieftain who sent in the Armoured Corps to battle covid, he must not be permitted within a mile of decision making. Hence getting a new government with a mandate into office is imperative.
Basic: Constitutional amendments: The Executive Presidency must be abandoned; the BASL proposals go much of the way. I am mulling over whether this should be done by the current parliament or after securing a nearly all-party mandate at the election. (The electorate will have sight of a near-unanimous draft). Of course it can be pushed through this parliament; the pissing-in-its-pants SLPP will vote for anything GR decrees, so two-thirds is assured.