By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
Not a Strange Host
This country of ours isn’t a strange host for trade union strikes and for mass protests. The last significant trade union action had been in 1952, which succeeded in bringing down the benevolent Prime Minister of the UNP government, Dudley Senanayake. Dudley is still one of the most beloved of persons to have held that top position, which was then the CEO spot in our island Sri Lanka.
Dudley Senanayake had good ideas but a bad reception by stupid people who followed wicked politicians and trade union tailwags. Soon after he fell from his position, “the Prince”- as JR called him – fell from his life.
A very just man who wouldn’t hurt a fly, Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, successfully planned and executed an import substitution scheme. He grew potatoes and the Leftist Red Shirts coined the slogan, “Dudley ge bade Masaala Wade.” As you could infer from that slogan, racism was taking hold at that time and hundreds of “jaathyalaya” racists were festering in the landscape.
JR in power introduced the UNP affiliated trade unions that manned every public undertaking. It was known as the Jathika Sevake Sangamaya or JSS. Other union types like Bala Tampoe growled at the JSS like Rotweelers but real worker- power gravitated to the JSS.
That was a good tactical move looking at it from the persecutive of stabilising government.
Mahinda Rajapaksa was a different breed. He used counter gangs that marched into strikers and protestors, with cinnamon sticks. Mahinda also wore the patriotic tag and that had been effective defence, then.
The war came in and the trade union focus took a back seat.
“Jaathyalaya” invaded the minds of unthinking people – a stock never in short supply in Sri Lanka.
A corruption era was set loose with everyone including politicians, officials, professionals, clergy etc. making hay while the sun shines.
That corruption process eventually evolved into our recent bankruptcy. However, post bankruptcy Lanka could not be the same again. Government MPs had to go hiding to save their lives from the wrath of people who suddenly awoke from their sleep to hear announcements that island paradise was broke. Not a cent for basic necessities-all manner of queues for petrol, for kerosene, for gas, for diesel and so on. Everything, everywhere drying up. Selling points had downed tools and there were reported incidents of persons dying on gas cylinders or of cylinders bursting in homes.
Gota’s Wise Managerial Move
At this apoplectic moment, departing Gota took the wisest decision he had ever taken in management: To get Ranil Wickremesinghe to take over the job. Previous to Ranil, Gota attempted a faint-hearted offer to the Leader of the Opposition. Sajith was out of depth to develop the courage to take it over. JVP wasn’t attracted by anything but the prospect of negative screaming. Fonseka? Was he jittery? This was not like the war!
To Ranil Wickremesinghe the decision was clear. Ranil has the capacity level, the experience and maturity and international relations to give a go. That self confidence he had. Even in defeated situations there is also an air of public confidence that can emerges from Ranil’s image. It seems clear that Ranil has won Pohottuwa confidence except that of Dullas Alahapperuma.
Day by day, Ranil is achieving what he had promised. Any second thoughts of voters will veer toward this existential real experience.
Ranil Wickemesinghe is a rare man among our political leaders. He is brilliant. Nobody knows how his mind is moving. He has the toughness of mind and the political sagacity to work in the right direction
True, trade unions and protestors are all over, everyday. But Ranil possesses two keys to unlock their hold: first, managerial capacity. second a rare quality of emotional management. Machiavelli in his classic “Prince” stated that a ruler must have a Lion’s heart and a Foxy cunningness. This man has it.
However, Machiavellian analysis missed something crucial: a leader must have an inspiring vision for great future moves. I regard Ranil Wickremesinghe as a modernizer. Given a free arm this man will take Sri Lanka along progressive social paths. He is geared for system change as no other living political leader is.
The IMF Light
There is a social media post going around -like this:
“They said the IMF will not come
Now they say the IMF has flaws…”
The IMF will come in as the heralding platform for an island people who don’t deserve the label of a bankrupt state.
*The writer can be reached at email@example.com