17 June, 2024

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The Lost Revolution

By Senthil Nadarajah

Dr. Senthil Nadarajah

The Aragalaya or the Sri Lankan spring has reached its climax in the last week by booting out the remaining Rajapaksas who were holding the all-powerful presidency. The initial reason for the spontaneous uprising by the people of Sri Lanka happened due to the lack of essential items and rampant corruption in the ruling party.

The corruption of backdoor deals, kickbacks of every government contract and the white elephant projects that siphoned the wealth of the country where only a handful of people profited.

The people’s revolution was spontaneous and the primary goal was to have the country liberated from the Rajapaksas as at one point by nepotism and the family appointments, they controlled 70% of the country’s budget in various ministries.

The rampant corruption is not isolated to this regime as this is an ongoing phenomenon for the last 70 years from successive governments in power and the participants. I personally came to know a businessman who once told me that Mangala Samaraweera was the only MP that he has not seen looking for any kickbacks and he was happy to work under his ministry.

The uprising also has a message for every corrupt government MPs that they were not done with Rajapaksas and each and every MPs who supported and prop up the family are responsible for the current bankrupted state.

Each MPs were paid about Rs. 250,000.00 Per month along with the duty-free cars and multiple permits which is a lucrative business for many. When almost the entire Sri Lankans regardless of their income or status or even the jobs (be it an ordinary clerk or a doctor in the hospital as one of my colleagues wake up at 4AM to go stand in the petrol queue) were forced to stand in the lines for the essential needs from fuel to go to work and food to eat to survive. The Medicines are also being rationed and milk for the babies are nowhere to be found.

Has anyone seen any of the MPs or ministers have to stay with the public in the same lines where multiple people have died staying in the lines with starvation and dehydration?

The collective responsibility is squarely falling on the entire current parliament and there is no escape from that. No excuses is sufficient enough to escape from this carnage they have created. However, after the Aragalaya have succeeded in removing the President and the Prime Minister from the Rajapaksa family none of those MPs who prop up the Rajapaksa family is ready to take the responsibility.

Instead, they are trying to elect an unelected but nominated through the loopholes in our constitution to be the interim president. Ranil Wickremesinghe was equally responsible for the country’s current state of affairs as under his watch, he let the investigation of Rajapaksa’s slip away knowingly or unknowingly. During his tenure as Prime Minister Srilanka lost hectic amount on the bond scam showed how inept leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is. In the period, he never accepted the responsibility for any misdeeds.

Ranil is not transparent as talks with the IMF has bombshell requirements that they expected the government to fulfill which including;

1. Privatization of State enterprises that are losing money

2. Outright sell the Srilanka airlines

3. Minimize the cabinet size and the staffs

4. Reduce the defense budget

5. Move away from Tourism dependent economy

6. Bring back the Bribery commission that was abolished by Gota

7. Drastically cut the state’s employment force

8. Independent Central bank

9. Structural changes to the many State corporations mean many layoffs are in the making

10. Tax withholding system for the people and businesses.

The current parliamentarians have no clue as to what is on the table with the IMF negotiations as when the meetings are over, all will have a rude awakening.

While the talks of horse trading are going on with supposed to be millions of rupees are going to be paid to MPs, at the end, it will be a LOST REVOLUTION if we can’t take home the harvest. Everything will be back to SQUARE ONE.  Of note that One of the conditions by IMF is to stop printing the money which was started by Rajapaksas, however our current president continue to print money to this date as the treasury is empty.

Unless we collectively make decision to appoint an outsider with no vested interest in politics and have proven track record as leadership who is acceptable to all sort of people and capable of forming a unitary government for a period of 2 years to straighten up the economy, minimize the state expenditure and be transparent as well as follow the rule of law, we are not going to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Rajapaksas will have the last laugh.

I have suggested that an outsider like Kumar Sangakkara can be nominated to become MP based on the loopholes we have in the constitution and elect him as the interim President who in turn can use the professionals in the field of economics and finances to formulate an exit strategy knowing well that SRILANKA IS WAITING FOR A HAIRCUT that will wipe many people’s life time earrings.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    6

    Why do you want to appoint Kumar Sangakkara? What experience does he have in the governance of a bankrupt country? Do we want to go from the frying pan to the fire? Does he know anything about Finance. ok the man has a law degree , but he has never practiced a day in a court room .

    Sri Lanka will get a hair cut weather she likes it or not. no matter how much people dance in the streets and burn state property. IMF will most likely withdraw altogether if she cannot come to a solution with the creditors of which only China has shown some willingness.

    2 years for decades of war and mismanagement!!!. My Dear Sir let me tell you that you are delusional. It may take a lot longer depending on how quickly our people realize the reality.

    and at what point do you think the rioting populace will turn on Kumar and burn his property?

    • 9
      2

      Dear Unknown , Sri Lanka will need few generations to recover from this mess. In order to set the stage for recovery will take few years. The two years I proposed was placing the right people at the right position ( meritocracy and not appointed by influence ).
      A path to leadership is both inner and outer journey.
      Inner Journey is where the person has deep sense of their values, a narrative that is unique to them, and the courage to act on their values and recognize the right and wrong, recognize every potentials around him, in the country and out side the country and act on data driven not inner instinct driven or Psychic reader driven.
      The outer journey connects the leader to the out side world, to understanding the place of their leadership in this time of extreme change, and to use wisely the power and resources that are at their disposal and bring the necessary changes to the system.
      They do not need to know economy or finances but simply honesty and transparency, respect the rule of law and appoint the right people to the right position.
      It will take decades before Sri Lanka break even.
      Bangladesh is an example where Sri Lanka can learn a lot but what is lacking here is a leadership that has vision.

      • 3
        2

        Dear Senthil

        So what is this method of governance you are proposing? It’s clearly not democrazy, right? So just some people who are born to a higher level proposing a leader, who is obviously not qualified to shepherd the country through a financial calamity.

        Warts and all I still prefer democrazy. I don’t see what is the difference between what you are proposing and a king or a Military Dictator or a pol pot.

        Forgive me but I cannot read the inner values of anyone. other than their actions. As far as I know, Kumar is a good orator and a great cricket player. What qualifies him to lead a country is a mystery to me. I have a feeling this whole discussion will be academic given what is happening there.

        • 1
          1

          Buddy can anyone be worse than Rajapaksas, who were kept in power by our retards for 2 decades?????. Isn’t that alone, qualify to be the next President. By the way what was Rajapaksas qualification , to lead the country. Don’t bother answering because we now know the results. FAILED miserably.

          • 0
            0

            I have to agree. They have failed miserably.

            1- They failed to communicate the difficulty the country was in effectively
            2- They failed to communicate what was being done to fix the situation.
            3-They failed to react to the insurrection that is ruining the country.
            4-They also failed to keep the average person (who is not in this nonsense aragalaya ) safe.

            • 0
              0

              Aren’t you the guy that claimed, not so long ago, that creating Muslims was right,, and that the Kelani Bridge was “progress”?

      • 3
        0

        Dear Dr Nadarajah
        Forgive my shifting the subject, but isnt it strange that despite Bangladesh’s vision & leadership, it wasnt able to suppress the deadly ethnic rioting we have just seen?

        • 1
          1

          We need a constitution that is religious neutral stand and tolerance with no mixing of Religion in to the Governance.
          State should not spend a rupee on any part of the religion or give priorities to religious entities.
          Governance based on data, science and technology and not one man’s wishes or wishes of small group of people with vested interest.

          Someone who is religious neutral, understands the science and technology and need to modernize our infrastructure, know well the available resources that can be used towards energy independence, increase the GDP and improve the standard of life……

          We have few people in the crowd and they have stayed away from participating in such productive roles and they need to step in to contribute to the health of the country. Else we will see another Somalia in the Island.

  • 4
    1

    I am waiting for the day, when parliamentary Election is held under a new set of rules and regulations such as the newly elected MPs will be honest civilised educated & capable individuals who are mainly interested in the welfare of the country and themselves. Their job will be non-pensionable & without perks. President and PM will not be getting official residence.
    Election should follow after the new constitution is passed

    • 8
      2

      Naman You brought a very good point. Get rid of all the government quarters and rest houses. This should give Government billions of rupees to buy food and fuel. Invite all Sri Lankan who has gone over seas to buy with their dollars. Only person who need a official resident is the President and Prime Minister for security reason. They do not need a palace but a comfortable secure house. Even the peon to top civil servant gets a house. This is bizarre. The British started this because that all their white workers came from UK they need a house. Now we do not need that. Stop the colonial rules and regulation and make practical ones that will serve every citizen.

  • 13
    1

    Senthil:
    225 criminals will cut a deal to get everything back to where it was. Money talks. I strongly believe that Ranil will become the President. If that happens we are back to square one. In Tamil they say Vathalam(Evil) goes back to drum stick tree. Yes, MPS will be happy that money is pouring into their bank account but the common people go back and break their back to make a living. That is what I am afraid of. We need a vibrant young Sinhala leader with open minded and inclusive person. I do not know much of Kumar Sngakkara but he will not make it. All 225 devils know themselves and do not want an outsider because he will not fill there bank account. The best thing to do is go for a presidential election. I know they do not have fuel and food. In 3 months hope for the best. We want to elect a new president for next 6 years. As soon as the that election is over, parliamentary election should take place in 3 months. This way we start with a clean slate. Sinhala people should be taught and brought not to hate the Tamils. Keep the racist Buddhist Monks away from the government and pass a law stating religion is not part of the government.

    • 1
      0

      Kalay,
      Good morning.
      Very good thinking, is hard to implement as the system is corrupt and entrenched?!!
      Wish you all the best to achieve and if you do then I would not hesitate to call you a legend, which you would be indeed by that achievement??!!

    • 4
      1

      Kalay, you say:
      “We need a vibrant, young, Sinhala leader…”
      When will we ever become Sri Lankans?
      Look at Britain right now.
      Several candidates for Tory party leadership are only Brits from 2 or 3 generations ago. Rishi S, Kemi B….
      Will we ever have a Tamil or Muslim PM or President?
      Even the US with its deadly race history has produced a Black President. (Of course, the indigenous peoples have been “eliminated”.)
      Hopeless.

    • 1
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    • 0
      0

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      0

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  • 3
    1

    Senthil. N , sorry that I missed your first article because I did not take it serious looking at the title. ( should not judge a book by it’s cover). You are absolutely right. The only light (was just a dream until few months ago) at the end of never ending tunnel called Lanka’s dirty politics is ARAGALAYA.

  • 1
    0

    Impartiality and honesty alone won’t work in the Lankan bearpit (better to say cesspit) of politics. I believe let Sangakkara be there doing what he has been doing best and make and honest comment when feel free.
    More importantly, if you read the first chapter of (supposed to be obsolete) Communist Manifesto, you may understand the process of revolution. V. I. Lenin
    ONE STEP FORWARD,
    TWO STEPS BACK
    (THE CRISIS IN OUR PARTY) may be useful too. If it is a revolution then forward backwards movement will be inevitable. Determination and the courage of the participants will ultimately enjoy the result. On the way there may be many disappointments, including tear gas, water cannons, baton charges, bullets, sniper attacks, betrayals etc. Only a few will be left by now and they will carry the flag.

  • 2
    1

    It is premature to declare that the revolution is over, if at all it is only the first phase- change of people at the top .it will hardly make an irrevocable impact, but only restore the old hated system of governance.
    The revolutions will not move in straight lines, it will have its own ups and downs and zigzag movements. But the final destination is progressive and results in a new beginning.
    It is still an unfinished revolution, it will continue until everything falls in line with the final victory.it might take another two or three years to mature!
    .We should have patient to believe in the aragalaya, participate in the struggle with necessary course corrections and with our advice and mature guidance.
    Be optimistic!

    • 0
      0

      Let us allow leaders to emerge from the crisis.

      • 0
        0

        srikrish,
        Power ( ?? MONEY) was in the hands of a few ruling class. Their word was the rule (that eventually has brought us to this level of misery). When faced with life or death (no redemption thru standard means) you choose unfamiliar steps. Aragalaya is that.
        Power had a rude awakening.
        There will be a leader emerging out of this calamity.

  • 3
    2

    Dr. Senthil Nadarajah,
    Your wish to create a “unitary government” is good but you have not clarified what do you mean by Unitary Government. Then, you have not explained why Kumar Sangakkara?

    It is not a secret that Ceylon National Congress is one of the main Organisation that played vital role for independence of Ceylon in 1915. This Organisation was founded by Sir Pon Arunachalam, Sir James Peries, CW Kannakara, DB Jeyatilka etc. Unfortunately, since independence in 1947, Ceylon couldn’t produce any Tamil speaking personality from the National political Institution or parties even though there were number of talented Tamil speaking professionals in all sectors who have no record of corruption or crimes. So, you may understand why it is difficult to get a unitary government with all the good characteristics for the better future of this country.

    • 2
      1

      What were C Sunthara;ingam and GG Ponnambalam do hobnobbing with DSS?
      Sittampalam was there too.

    • 0
      0

      My answer was down there for everyone.

      He is a one of the few who is visible and an able person. There are few in the crowd and they all can form a council to govern.

      As I mentioned two prong approach

      1. Address the Immediate problem ( Food, Fuel and Medicine with Kids to return to school )

      2. Long term plan is to formulate, bring the changes and implement without fear of not being elected to office again. This should be in three stages such as Immediate plan , intermediate ( 5-10 years program) and Long term plan( 25- 50 year program).

      Many programs will fail to lift off and cannot be implemented if the governing body has the fear of not being elected to the parliament.

      If the governing council can be freed from this fear as they act as independent from all the legislative red tapes, we have a path forward.

      Else , we will be still talking the same rotten issues again and again for next 100 years

  • 1
    1

    Tomorrow’s presidential election by current Parliamentarians is certainly going to end up with Dulles A being President and Sajith Premadasa as PM.
    It’s NOT the result Aragalaya wants and WE want

    • 2
      0

      Naman,
      It is an unknown and unpredictable area until final result is announced. It is not about what we want, but it is about what they want.

  • 2
    1

    A very candid essay. The requirement of the items listed out for Srilanka to receive IMF AID is truly a bombshell.
    I am an optimist though. The revolution is not lost. Anyway,not yet. What we saw from April onwards was the warm-up which achieved the target of booting out the looting Rajapaksas.But another Rajapaksa with the pseudonym Ranil Wickremasinghe has appeared on the landscape to stall the onward march towards a new political and social
    milieu.

    The next stage of the Aragalaya,, could be put down by force. In which event there is bound to be bloodshed,in the midst of our economic woes.

    Yet,there is a silver-lining. I am confident no matter how carefully the Rajapaksas have planned their come-back,all their best laid plans like that of Men and Mice often go awry…………….

    • 1
      0

      My message to the Aragalaya is that country need a Governance by an outsider from the 225 so called elected people who have no iota to safeguard the country but only there to safeguard their own interests..

      Kumar Sangakara is a gesture as an outsider with openly accepted leadership in another area.

      That doesn’t mean someone appoint him to President.

      The option we have here iby using the mockery of the constitution is to appoint few non-political non- religious personalities to form a governing council for two years with two tracks to address

      1. Address the immediate burning issues such as restoring food, fuel and medicine
      2. Address the long-term issue by change the constitution, draft an economic recovery path that can be implemented over a period of 5 to 10 years..

      The council need professionals however there should be one person acceptable to everyone to lead the council who is neither politician nor has any vested interest in any parts of the politics.

      We have room in our constitution to elect MP to become members of governing council.

  • 1
    0

    My message to the Aragalaya is that country need a Governance by an outsider from the 225 so called elected people who have no iota to safeguard the country but only there to safeguard their own interests..

    Kumar Sangakara is a gesture as an outsider with openly accepted leadership in another area.

    That doesn’t mean someone appoint him to President.

    The option we have here iby using the mockery of the constitution is to appoint few non-political non- religious personalities to form a governing council for two years with two tracks to address

    1. Address the immediate burning issues such as restoring food, fuel and medicine
    2. Address the long-term issue by change the constitution, draft an economic recovery path that can be implemented over a period of 5 to 10 years..

    The council need professionals however there should be one person acceptable to everyone to lead the council who is neither politician nor has any vested interest in any parts of the politics.

    We have room in our constitution to elect MP to become members of governing council.

  • 1
    0

    Tax payers do not have to provide mansions or too much protection to the Ex-Presidents/PMs.
    MPs posts should from now on be non-pensionable. The new Interim President need to bring the BRIBERY COMMISSION back to life!

    • 0
      0

      Naman, you are right. Like in many other countries (example Singapore) if the MP/Minister post is strictly based on fixed income (just a dream in Lanka) and nothing more, will help seeing few good honest people enter parliament. If that was the case, none of our corrupt politicians would have bothered to enter politics. Countries with different systems, still have vibrant law and order, judiciary, bribery commission to punish the corrupt (India, Japan, S.Korea), where as, we have none but SHAM. Our judiciary, law and order and bribery Commission are equally corrupt, as our politicians. Our crooks use their influence in appointing their own to create a corrupt culture.

  • 0
    0

    Aragalaya hasn’t lost its AIMS yet. Their PROTESTS still continue till a successful outcome—> Having a GoSL run by uncorrupted individuals and a new Constitution
    Ranil has won the election run by the corrupted bribe taking SLPP members

  • 0
    0

    Is it true that most state employment is now job for life?

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