30 November, 2020

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The Failed “Political Marriage” 

By Gamini Jayaweera

Gamini Jayaweera

The Hon. President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena has publicly announced that he is currently writing a book about his failed “Political Marriage” to the Hon. Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. He has stated that he is going to reveal all the details which have led to his decision of sacking Mr. Wickremesinghe and appointing former President, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. Millions of people who supported the “Political Marriage” between Maithri and Ranil had high hopes that the two partners would deliver the promises given in the presidential and general elections. The aim of this brief analysis is to remind the Hon. President of some factual information about the “Failed Political Marriage” which have been witnessed by the public during the last four years. I believe that any help that could be given to the Hon. President to write his forthcoming book accurately and honestly, is considered as providing a great service to the nation. I would be pleased if this brief account could make a small contribution towards that goal.

The “Political Marriage” between Maithri and Ranil was established in 2014 with the blessings of the well-known Buddhist monk late Ven. Sobitha thero, former President Madam Chandrika Kumaratunga, and selfless members of several Civil Societies. The primary goal was to ensure that the country would be free from potential dictatorship amongst other important issues which were crippling the democratic values in our society. Having defeated the authoritarian previous regime, the nation expected the newly “married” partners Maithri and Ranil together with their “Blue and Green relatives” to work in partnership to restore the good governance in our society. 

The main objective of the “marriage” is to remove the powers granted under the constitution for an executive president to act as a dictator if he wishes to exercise his authority. It is now crystal clear that after nearly four years in power, the Hon. President in particular has failed to implement his pledge which he has made at the funeral of the late Ven. Sobitha thero to abolish the executive presidency. Instead of fulfilling the main objectives of the previous “marriage”, the nation had witnessed in horror how the Hon. President justified his illegal “marriage” to the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse without going through the proper “divorce proceedings” to end his legitimate “marriage” to the Hon. Prime Minster Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe in an ethical, moral, and legal manner. 

Partnership – A Marriage 

It is widely established that a successful partnership in any field would depend on by observing certain essential criteria such as honesty, openness, integrity, humility, and sharing praise & blame equally by the partners to the agreement. It is like a marriage. Two people from entirely different backgrounds get married to live as partners in a new relationship on common objectives while recognising and adapting their different cultures, values and obligations under the new partnership. 

A successful marriage is not measured by the marriage certificate or trying to fulfil the requirements of the relatives and friends of both partners at the expense of their core objectives of the marriage. Extra marital activities and marrying another person without obtaining a divorce from the first marriage are unethical, immoral, or illegal under the prevailing law in Sri Lanka.

It has been said that to have a successful marriage the couple need to put the marriage certificate beneath the bed and they must concentrate on the activities on the bed. So, where did it go wrong for Maithri and Ranil? 

Equal Partners

Modern marriages recognise the importance of treating the husband and wife as equal partners with specific roles to play in their married life. In gay marriages too have these two equal roles to conduct the family affairs in a peaceful, harmonious, and progressive manner to achieve their common objectives. A “Political Marriage” is no different.

But unfortunately, the “marriage” between Maithri and Ranil was different. They did not recognise themselves as equal partners. Both wanted a lion share of the “marriage” to impose their independent authority irrespective of the damage they were causing to the partnership. Both wanted to safe guard their “Blue and Green relatives” and friends despite most of these relatives’ actions were against the principles of the “Yahapalanaya” government. Some of the “Blue and Green relatives” and friends have become “self-made” millionaires by being Ministers, MPs, and supporters of the two parties.

Janus-Faced “Relatives” 

It appears that some of the “Blue relatives” who had been appointed to his cabinet by Maithri have had an ulterior motive at the outset. They did not like the marriage at all and they wanted to wreck it at any cost. They were very close to Mahinda (“Appachchi”) than their obstinate and stubborn relative who got “married” to Ranil against the will of the “Appachchi”. It appears that some of them had accepted the ministerial posts in Maithri’s cabinet with two objectives in mind. Firstly, they wanted to enjoy the ministerial posts with all the perks and luxuries as long as they could. Secondly, they wanted to get together with Mahinda and the other “Blue relatives” at a future date to break the “marriage” and oust Ranil as soon as they get an opportunity. 

Some “Green Relatives” did not want Ranil to break the “marriage” with Maithri because they were genuinely committed to the “political marriage” to fulfil the promises that had been given to the nation. It appears that other “Green relatives” and friends were no better than the “Blue relatives”. Some were inefficient and relied on Ranil to protect them. The rest wanted to enjoy the ministerial perks and earn as much as they could during the 5 years behaving exactly the same way as some of their “Blue” counter parts. 

Corrupt “Relatives” and Friends

In the recently held swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister, the President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena has given one of the reasons for dissolving the parliament as there was a large number of corrupt MPs in the current parliament. It would have been better if the President had acknowledged that he and other party leaders were responsible for approving nominations and campaigning to elect these fraudsters to the parliament. 

It is worth reminding ourselves about Maithri’s first action of appointing some rejected “Blue relatives” as Ministers of the newly form government against the stiff opposition of the “creators” of the “Political Marriage”. It was considered as laying the foundation and reintroduction of “bribery and corruption” in to the ‘Yahapalanaya’ government. It was also recognised that some of the “Blue relatives” appointed as Ministers, State Ministers, and deputy Ministers by Maithri, were allegedly involved in corrupt and fraudulent activities during the previous administration. But it appears that they have been well protected from prosecution because of their “loyalty” to the party leadership. 

Some of the “Green relatives” and old friends appointed by Ranil to prominent government positions were no better than the “Blue relatives”. They have allegedly involved in fraudulent activities. It appears that some of these guys have behaved against the values, ethics, and principles of the grand old party. He allowed his top political appointees to act as they wished without checks and balances. The genuine supporters who wanted the “Political Marriage” to succeed were highlighting the unacceptable activities of these appointees but no actions were taken to rectify the situation. 

Most of these “relatives” and friends have brought a lasting damage to the “Political Marriage” and Ranil’s reputation as a clean politician. The Sunday Times columnist “Punchi Putha” on 8 April 2018 stated “You must also discipline your own miscreants. Every time Ravi says he is still the ‘assistant leader’ you will lose a few thousand votes – and eventually, the elections. If you really want to appease him, you can give him a diplomatic post after you win. That way, he will still get an apartment to live in!”

Lack of Wisdom

It is fair to say that during the last three years, instead of acting to implement common objectives, both Maithri and Ranil have acted to protect their own interests, favouring and taking decisions on behalf of their “Blue and Green” relatives and friends. They did not act together to address the issues which were threatening the stability of the “Yahapalanaya”. The Ministers, MPs, and their political appointees to top government institutions were rewarded with various benefits from the public funds. But Maithri and Ranil were not working together to resolve the economic hardships and other social injustices faced by the majority of the people. Both leaders, who were exhibiting their egos instead of showing humility to implement “give and take” policy to resolve the issues, had made a substantial contribution towards damaging their relationship as partners. They were preaching one thing, perhaps the right thing, during the election campaign but in government, they were practising something else.  

Maithri and Ranil believed that they were very clever politicians and therefore they could resolve any problem by forgetting the basic principles of the partnership and acting independently of each other. Of course both of them are very clever politicians.  But what they did not understand was by being clever one could not resolve all the problems. One needs to have developed Wisdom rather than Cleverness to overcome the difficulties and find right solutions to certain complex problems.  

Different Strategy

Having failed to break the “odd” couple’s “marriage” at the very first attempt in March 2018, most of the “Blue relatives” abandoned their sibling and wanted to re-join “Appachchi” to get his blessings to win their parliamentary seats in the 2020 general election. To their credit, Mr.Namal Rajapakse and Mr. Prasanna Ranatunge who are appeared to be members of the newly formed SLPP, strongly refused to unite with the “naughty relatives” who served in Maithri’s cabinet for more than 3 years enjoying ministerial perks and other benefits. It is my view that long years of exile in the political wilderness would have been the best option for these kinds of politicians. But it appears that “Appachchi” had overruled their opposition because he was working on a different strategy. Behind the scenes, Mahinda was working with his “naughty” relatives to break up the “Political Marriage” between Maithri and Ranil to become the Prime Minister with the blessings of Maithri. A very big mistake and a narrow minded strategy to grab the power without following the constitutional procedures.

“Political Bigamist”

Maithri has recently revealed that he tried to get “married” to two of the “Green relatives” behind the back of his legitimate partner Ranil. But they had refused his proposals because those two “Green relatives” thought it was not in the best interest of the country as well as Maithri’s proposal was immoral and unethical.

Having failed to win the hearts of the two “Green relatives”, it is reported that during the last 4 to 5 months Maithri with the help of the “naughty” relatives had involved in “extra marital activities” with Mahinda. On 26 October 2018, Maithri had announced that he was now legally “married” to Mahinda without going through any “legal proceedings” to end the previous “marriage”. It is widely accepted in the civilised world that a person who marries a woman while already married to another woman is called a “Bigamist”. Is it fair and reasonable to assume that Maithri has earned the title of “Political Bigamist” by “marrying” Mahinda without going through the legal proceedings to end his existing legitimate “Political Marriage” to Ranil? 

“Political Prostitution”

Most of the “Blue and Green relatives” have a common disease. They suffer from this unbelievable and disgusting greed for money, perks, and fame. These ”relatives” have no shame, decency, honesty, integrity, and self-respect as they can jump from one side to the other several times in a matter of days if their desires are fulfilled. 

It appeared that the brokers of Maithri and Mahinda were openly offering bribes to satisfy the “Blue and Green relatives” so that they could win the support of the most “relatives” in the house to approve their illegal “marriage”. Maithris recent admission confirmed that they could not raise the “going bribery rate” of Rs.500 million for each political “acrobat”.  

The political leaders who organize to buy other party members to change their party colour in crucial elections are no different to people who pay prostitutes for sex. This is the kind of “Political Prostitution” which is being taken place during these uncertain times. This episode reminds me the words of Ronald Regan, former President of the USA. “Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” 

Sincerity or “Double Standards”?

Mr. Kumara Welgama is the only SLFP politician who has got the courage to criticise the Mahinda’s illegal “marriage” to Maithri. He is the only SLFP member to highlight the illegal action by Maithri and asked him to resign for violating the constitution. Most of the other “Blue relatives” were blindly following personalities, distorting the truth. This episode reminds me the story of the naked Emperor who appeared in public announcing that he was wearing invisible cloths which were admired by his ministers and supporters who failed to tell the “naked” truth.    

It is common sense that one does not require “legal opinions” to find out who has got the majority in the parliament to become the Prime Minister. Until the mid-night on 9 November, Maithri and his “Blue relatives” were publicly boasting that they had got the majority in the parliament. Maithri dissolved the parliament against the provisions in the constitution because he realised that his illegal “marriage” to Mahinda did not have the majority support in the parliament. The way these politicians lying through their teeth to grab the power is despicable and every decent honest citizen in the country must teach these liars and power-hungry fraudsters a lasting lesson in the next general election. 

It is reported that Maithri has refused to give ministerial posts to the SLFP MPs who are supporting the UNP led government. The SLFP leadership is proposing to take disciplinary actions against these MPs. But Maithri and the SLFP CC had failed to take disciplinary actions in the past against a number of SLFP MPs who had violated the official instructions, warnings, and deadlines given by the SLFP leadership on many occasions. Many SLFP MPs have joined the SLPP during the last few months and they have announced it publicly. Maithri had failed to take disciplinary actions against those SLFP MPs but rewarded them with ministerial posts in his “illegal” government. Is Maithri exhibiting “double standards”? Please refer to my article titled Are The SLFP CC Members Naïve & Day Dreaming dated 31 March 2016 published in the Colombo Telegraph

Therefore, is it fair and reasonable for us to question the claim made by Maithri in his recent speech that his actions were sincere and well-intended?  

Attempted Murder Plot 

Maithri has also highlighted in his recent speech that an attempted plot to assassinate him was another factor which contributed to the breakup of his “Political Marriage” to Ranil. It appears that the latest CID reports indicate that there was no evidence to suggest that such an attempted coup had been organised by the former minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. Furthermore, to date there is no evidence to suggest that Ranil had known such a plot to assassinate the President. Reports indicate that Maithri has refused to grant a ministerial post to Mr. Sarath Fonseka until the investigations are complete.  

But after winning the presidential election, Maithri accused the previous rulers of a planned assassination plot of him and his family if he had lost the presidential election. In order to make such an accusation by Maithri, a close associate of the members of the previous regime for more than 4 decades, would have had the first hand evidence about the people who were responsible for it. If so, why Maithri did not take any action against the previous rulers for the last 4 years? How could he explain his recent illegal “marriage” to the previous rulers who had been accused of planning to kill him and his family? One cannot have both ways when it suits one.  

Protecting Democracy 

Having briefly analysed the reasons for the “Failed Marriage” of Maithri and Ranil,

I am sad and disappointed to see the man who has been elected by the majority of the people in Sri Lanka to protect the democracy from possible dictatorship is now behaving worse than the previous leadership. On 8 January 2015 we have saved our country from possible dictatorship but since 9 November 2018 we are experiencing that the country is going backwards to destroy our democratic values. As Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda recently stated “Even Mahinda Rajapakse did not violate the constitution in this way.” Fortunately our independent judiciary overruled Maithri’s illegal act of dissolution of parliament and restored the parliamentary democracy once again.

Conclusion

It appears that the “Political Marriage” has failed due to number of factors which I have briefly summarised above. A golden opportunity to change our “corrupt” political culture was lost. The dream of millions of people who had placed their trust and pinned their hopes that the new “Political Marriage” would re-build a Democratic, Law abiding and Sovereign nation had been destroyed. The Vision of working together towards the advancement of social, religious, cultural, economic, and technological developments had become a Fantasy instead of a Reality. Please refer to my article titled “New President’s Vision – A Fantasy or A Reality” dated 5 February 2015 published in the Colombo Telegraph.

More emphasis was placed to demonstrate ‘who was right’ but not ‘what was right’. It appears that both leaders did not have the courage to conduct honest, open, and hard conversations to resolve the issues which were threatening the “Political Marriage”. The two leaders failed to put their country above party politics. The “married” couple did not focus on the “job” in hand to deliver the common objectives, hence the “Political Marriage” between Maithri and Ranil was a failure.  

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Latest comments

  • 10
    0

    Our country is in this deep SHIT because so far we did NOT have a truly sincere Sinhala Buddhist STATESMAN to rule.
    Their aim was to capture power and swindle the country by whipping up hatred towards the minorities. The minorities have so far supported the less evil ones. It’s time for the Sinhala Buddhist to solve the ethnic problems FIRST.
    Federalism is not asking for separate state but asking for a united Country. All the Sinhalese need to accept this and help us to have a New Constitution ASAP
    This will eliminate the post of President.

    • 4
      0

      Naman,
      You are right. If the Sinhalese wants a true independence, they need to get rid of Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism. Sinhalese are now under seige by a few families and few Buddhist Institutions. People who talk about freedom, justice, and rule of law are labelled as unpatriotics. They use the patriotic drama to violate human rights, rule of law etc. If there is no ethnic problem, they can’t escape from economic policies, rule of law and justice.

    • 2
      0

      Gamini Jayaweera,

      Sirisena said he will write a book about Ranil. Now he wants to write a book abut the failed political marriage. He said that they would abolish the executive presidency. said that the crooks will be rounded up, prosecuted and punished.

      Then he does an illegal and unconstitutional coup with Mahinda as the Fake PM.

      Are you, like the millions of others confused? To understand Sirisena, need to understate the circles of Sirisena . Says one thing, announces another yhing, and does something completely different. Then, he repeats with s new circle.

  • 3
    8

    President should have broken the marriage soon after the first ‘Bond Scam’ happened just after three months from marriage. When they married both vowed to eradicate corruption. That incident showed that Ranil is not a husband who stick to his promises.
    The irony was those Civil Society guys who backed this marriage were dead silent when the ‘Bond Scam’ happened as if they were sedated. When Ranil kept on postponing elections, these Civil Society guys who acted as if they are saviors of Democracy were again silent. However, as soon as President appointed Mahinda Rajapakse as PM, these Civil Society crooks suddenly woke up from their deep sleep and started running around like mad dogs barking ‘Save Democracy. Save Democracy’.

    • 5
      0

      Eagle Eye “President should have broken the marriage soon after the first ‘Bond Scam’ happened just after three months from marriage.”

      Eagle Eye – he also got a cut from the bond scam.

    • 6
      1

      Eagle eye are you blind?
      As the writer has highlighted, was it ok for the wife to appoint rejected corrupt “blue relatives” as ministers?
      Was it ok for the wife to offer bribes upto Rs.500m to get votes for his illegal action?
      Was it ok for the wife to protect corruptors?
      The list goes on………..
      Eagle eye, Clean you dusty eyes to see the both sides of the coin.

  • 3
    1

    The author keeps tripping over himself by analogizing what essentially is a political joint venture with a marriage. Just because the two contract managers could not work with each other, JV agreements do not become void or fatally flawed. All key aspirations of the society that the author mentions in his “Conclusions” are very much live and, even more strongly so than they were in January 2015.

    Ranil is the mastermind of the 2014 agreement, yet is 50% culpable for its failure. No less. But ironically the process will not move forward if he is removed now. Therefore which of the two contract managers needs to lose his job is clear. It is the employment contract of Sirisena that is being terminated, not the contract he was employed to execute.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Janaka,
      Thank you for your comments which I have read with interest.

      Can you please tell me how the UNP and the SLFP organisations have a “Joint Venture” when more than half the SLFP organisation led by one of the Patrons of the SLFP is publicly working against the “JV”?

      How do you explain having the “JV”, the SLFP Group led by the Patron supported another organisation (SLPP) to capture the lion share in the “market place” during the LG Elections?

      Aren’t they against the basic principles of a JV?

      When I was writing the article I thought about the JV, but because of the above fators I ruled it out.
      I think that the behaviour of the two leaders and their supporters fit well with the “Marriage” concept.

      As this is a forum where we could learn from each other, I would be pleased to hear your views on the above two factors in relation to the JV.

      Regards
      Gamini

      • 1
        0

        Gamini.
        Appreciate your invitation to comment.
        Illustrative models are never perfect, and analogies are the crudest of such models. The emotional entanglement at lease Sirisena showed, makes the marriage analogy attractive. But in a marriage, individuals don’t represent anything else but themselves. Yes, it is a social contract too, to their parents and the larger society etc. But marriage is by large of, by, and for two individuals. The 2014 Dec (or thereabouts) contract was created for facilitating an anti-Rajapaksha groundswell through a Joint Venture between UNP and anti-UNP to achieve a specific political outcome. That plan worked well. What caused the earthquake was that the two fractions of the JV decided to carry on disregarding the economic policies and social doctrines that separate them. That decision was self-serving opportunism and was never was going to provide basis for a sustainable government. The sentiments that created the JV in Dec 2014 is still live. What died was the delusion that a JV government can go on without an agreed economic and social agenda, especially in Sri Lanka at this point in time.

        • 1
          0

          Dear Janaka,
          Many thanks for taking your valuable time to comment on the matter as requested by me.
          As I understand a JV is a contract (verbal or written) between two or more individuals and two or more organisation to achieve a common objective. In 2014 Maithree had 3 or 4 MPs with him and he did not have an organisation (SLFP) to have a JV with the UNP. I also believe that it was not practical to have JV with all individual UNP MPs with the 5 or 6 Members of Maithree’s group at that time.
          Therefore I believe that 2014 Maithree and Ranil unity was a “Marriage” with common objectives but not a formal contract such as a JV, Alliance, or a Partnership.

          But I think that the JV was agreed between SLFP and UNP after the General Election and Maithree had authority to do so as the Chairman of the SLFP.

          I also believe that the JV contract was violated by the SLFP MPs by forming a group within the SLFP organisation and they were publicly undermining the JV contractual conditions. As such under the JV rights and obligations the UNP organisation could have taken the SLFP to courts for breaching the JV contract conditions, if there was a formal JV between the two organisations. The SLFP Group’s open support and campaigning for the SLPP in the LG Elections to win the lion share in the “market place” (elections) was a prime example of it.

          After breaching the JV contractual conditions by the SLFP organisation, I really do not know under which contract agreement, the less than half the SLFP Group and the UNP organisation govern the country for the last 3 years.
          Because of all the above complications I decided to treat the partnership between Maithree and Ranil as a “Marriage” which was established in 2014.

          Many thanks for your contribution.
          Regards
          Gamini

  • 5
    1

    Eagle eye are you blind?
    As the writer has highlighted, was it ok for the wife to appoint rejected corrupt “blue relatives” as ministers?
    Was it ok for the wife to offer bribes upto Rs.500m to get votes for his illegal action?
    Was it ok for the wife to protect corruptors?
    The list goes on………..
    Eagle eye, Clean you dusty eyes to see the both sides of the coin.

  • 4
    0

    how can you have a marriage in a brothel?

    • 1
      0

      That is the reason why the marriage has failed.

  • 0
    4

    Civil society is not there to support Sri lanka. They are working for their employer. So, all these B.S.

  • 2
    0

    No need for My3 to write a book on why the “Political Marriage” failed because we all Know why it failed. It failed Only because Both Parties were Very Selfish and Both were Only interested in using the “Political Marriage” for the benefit of their Own Families and Friends.

    In any case, who is interested in reading what My3 writes when we have had enough of
    the BS that comes out of his garrulous mouth.

  • 0
    0

    Gamini Jayaweera gives an analogy of “Political Marriage” to our predicament. It is much more serious than a “Failed Marriage”.
    The leading players are in a friendly fight for their own survival. They nonchalantly do not worry in the least that we, lay-Lankans may get pushed over the cliff to languish as a ‘Failed State’.
    .
    Right now replacing our leaders is well nigh impossible. Our hope is proper sense will prevail. We must do the needful to make this happen.

  • 2
    1

    As long as 13 amendment is around, Executive Presidency must be there in order to control situations similar to Vartharajah Perumal declaring Elam in 1989 and also to defeat political forces called for Elam or FEDERALISM or any other similar non senses.

    In this country, there will be no division under any circumstances on racial or language lines . Besides, Tamil masses or Sri Lankan masses never ever asked such demands.

    Any LTTE like activity in the future will be annihilated as same as in the past and any other tries to give in to such a demand on a platter will also be annihilated.

    • 0
      0

      Nimal Tissa Wijethunga,
      Federalism is not a non-sense. Briefly it can be called an expansion of democracy where everyone will equal rights. Remember, Federalism is more beneficial to the Sinhalese and also discourages earning fat commissions by Ministers. There is transparency in Federalism and unshakable unity among the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Even the Sinhalese need not go to Middle-East countries as housemaids, some of whom returmed to Sri Lanka after being tortured and some as dead. First experiment Federalism and then talk.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Rajasinghem,

    Thanks for your very decent reply to my comment unlike many other commentators in these forums.

    However, I would like to mention that Provincial councils are not suitable to Sri Lanka as are experiencing only more administrative red tapes and huge burden to government coffers as an Admin cost without any benefits.

    Tamil massess or Sinhalese majority never ever asked or demand federalism or even Provincial councils as these are forced up on by Vellalas specifically in Jaffna.

    The problems in Sri Lanka are exclusively economic to all Sri Lankans and if anybody talks otherwise simply because of mental derailment rather than realistic to the ground situation.

    Since the annihilation of LTTE TERRORIST Organisation, Tamil masses have definitely realised it more than ever and knew very well that their politicians deceived them on fantasies taken in a destructive path since 1933 formation of racists party called Tamil Arasu Katchchi by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam.

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