26 September, 2023


The President’s Colourless Hue

By Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Maithripala Sirisena knows timing. He knows when and where to declare and defend position. He knows how to mince words. How to keep to the point. That doesn’t make him a statesman however. That makes him a politician. A clever and crafty one.

At present though, he’s facing a problem. A big one. He isn’t leading a party anymore. Doesn’t appear to be. He’s leading a “headless cadaver”.

Gunadasa Amarasekara used that phrase to describe what and where the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is now. He is correct. The party is led by a man who’s shown himself to be absolutely incapable of defending it.

To be fair, Sirisena has shown again and again that he can come out if pressured. That’s what he did last Tuesday. To be sure, what he said about his decision to nominate his predecessor didn’t sound too good. It ruffled feathers on one side and left many of his critics in the dark. As of now, however, one shouldn’t worry about his stance on Mahinda Rajapaksa. There are other things. Other matters.

Maithripala Sirisena 13, July 15 Prz mediaThere’s his choice of words for instance. It wasn’t long ago that he made accused people of wanting to go back to slavery (under the Rajapaksas). What jarred was the accusation. It indicated bias against those who support the former president, not just the politicians but those among the 5.8 million pro-Rajapaksa voters who still rally around him.

If he accuses them of wanting to revert to the Dark Ages that’s his problem. But Sirisena is not president of 6.2 million people only. He’s president of the country. That includes the 5.8 million who didn’t vote for him and those who supported other candidates. That also includes those who can’t vote due to disability and disqualification.

Those who see green in everything seem to think he has a moral debt to pay. In certain respects, they are right. He couldn’t have won without them. That this should mean unconditional obeisance to the UNP is ridiculous however. Sirisena is no puppet. He owes neither the UNP nor the SLFP, technically speaking. Favouring those who voted for him and lashing at those who didn’t isn’t statesmanship. That’s what the Rajapaksas were once known for.

His statement on Tuesday echoed all this. Sadly. Sure, he defended the nomination of Rajapaksa by saying “for party unity”. 99% (the proportion of his party he claims were with his predecessor) indicates a majority. Not to have heeded their call would have indicated anti-democratic tendencies on his part. What’s interesting however is his justification for dissolving parliament. He claims it was to stop the pro-Rajapaksa motion against the Prime Minister, alleging there was a conspiracy to install his predecessor as Prime Minister through the National List.

First of all, a conspiracy is a conspiracy. Unproved and unsubstantiated. It can be alleged and targeted at someone to suit political preferences. The decision to dissolve the parliament was made on the day the COPE Report was to be released. It was also around the time the motion was to be presented. The Mahinda Faction can insinuate the former as reason for dissolution. Those who oppose them can quote the latter. Either way, the president did himself no favours by dissolving parliament after making a pledge that he’d see through the 20th Amendment. That’s a blemish. On him.

Secondly, the decision to nominate the former president was taken for the sake of party unity. Laudable, but it contradicts his neutral stance. If at all, his decisions within the past six months have favoured one side over the other, “the other” being his own party! In this regard both his neutrality and his self-righteous claims about upholding party unity look like eyewash. So does his claim that he told the Prime Minister to ask Arjuna Mahendran to resign.

Sirisena is an Executive President. He calls the shots. He was quick to obtain a restraining order to stop his party convening on Wednesday night, we note. He could have acted faster with the Bond issue. He didn’t. Excuses are weak, therefore. Worth a dime a dozen.

If Sirisena was so concerned about party unity and the need to maintain good governance, he should have rejected Rajapaksa and pressured the Central Bank Governor to resign. He showed himself incapable of doing both. With most of his faction in the UNP, his stance must be made clearer. Is he with the Blues, the Greens, or the front for good governance (stripped of party-colour)?

Would he really claim his government is pitch-perfect? That the Prime Minister’s conduct during the past six months is accolade-worthy? That his refusal to nominate Rajapaksa as the PM candidate indicates party unity when there hasn’t been any other candidate named? Besides, if he’s really that neutral, why is he still the Chairman of the SLFP? Doesn’t that indicate “conflict of interest”?

He needs to come out. He needs to resign from his party. And remain colourless.

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Latest comments

  • 19

    Mythree is the best blessing Sri Lanka has had after some time. He is clear, intelligent, and has a good skill in articulating his comments and views without notes in his hand. He is the only leader today acceptable to all communities, religious groups, rich or poor. Most of all his is honest and dedicated to his cause. It is only 6 months he has been President whilst he had to head a minor it government all of which will settle down when a new government is elected which invariably would be a UNP led national government with a 2/3rd majority.

    • 2


      A very clear majority on the day of count. At the conclusion of count, computation of bonus seats and after announcement of results, a 25+ with SLFP loyalist crossover. Sure to follow is a further 20+ from TNA. The winning UNF coalition can count on 160+.

      In the days of incubators, chicks are counted before they are hatched.

      What next? A neat, fresh 19 A and a clean 20 A.

  • 14

    Well said.

  • 6

    Sirisena is an incapable, inefficient, insensitive,brainless cunning man. S.B.Dissanayaka during the last presidential elections said that Sirisena could not get anything done as a minister which is true although this comment was made by a useless man.

  • 16

    another foolish twat …..
    Sirisena is a politician….. a clever one…. who is trying to stop an animal.
    an animal that consumes all in its way….

  • 7

    Uditha Devapriya –

    RE: The President’s Colourless Hue

    “If Sirisena was so concerned about party unity and the need to maintain good governance, he should have rejected Rajapaksa and pressured the Central Bank Governor to resign. He showed himself incapable of doing both. With most of his faction in the UNP, his stance must be made clearer. Is he with the Blues, the Greens, or the front for good governance (stripped of party-colour)?”

    “Maithripala Sirisena knows timing. He knows when and where to declare and defend position. He knows how to mince words. How to keep to the point. That doesn’t make him a statesman however. That makes him a politician. A clever and crafty one.”

    Thanks for your thoughts and analysis.

    Yes, we can say all these. He is what he is, Sirisena. He is not Napoleon or Patton. This is Sri Lanka with Rajapaksa and the Crooks lurking in the ground.

    On the other hand, Mahinda Rajapaksa is not Sirisena. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cronies, are Shameless liars, crooks thieves and criminals.

    Looks like Sirisena’s method is attacking in a mild manner, not the Napoleonic or Gen. Patton Style.

    Sirisen is what the Anti Mahinda Rajapaksa opposition has got. They have to work with what they have got. Howver, Srisena was ablee pull off the coup- unseating the Mahinda Rajapaksa Dynasty of Crooks and Criminals.

    MaRa MaRa Chatu Mara Amana MaRa Thakkadi MaRa Hora MaRa Dhusahana MaRa

  • 10

    Yes, there is a conflict of interest in Maithiri’s decisions. He had the choice between better and worst and he made a choice to go for better than worse. If you put Mahinda and Mithiri in a balance Mithiri has much more superior quality than Mahinda to be a statesman. Why SLFP wants Mahinda Family to take over Head of Government position? Why Mahinda insists he should be the Prime Minister of the country? What is his motive? What is SLFP’s stand on Minorities? Mahinda says new party, new policy. What are they? The same old Mahinda, Same old group behind him. Same old Brothers. Same old BBS. What do you expect from them? Don’t think that the same 5.8 million people will continue to go behind him?
    Are you defending the BBS?
    Are you defending white van democracy?
    Are you defending the rule of jungle?
    Are you defending abduction, torture and murder of independent journalists?
    Are you defending racism campaign of Mahinda?
    Do you want Mithiri to approve all this campaign to hand over the Nation to a criminal minded dictator?

    • 5

      Are you willing to isolate the 5.8 million? Or would you constructively engage with them, as President Sirisena will have to? You talk of racism, but racism entails an “I/You” dichotomy which is all I see with the 6.2/5.8 dichotomy. Same old? Maybe.

      • 2

        Yes, he will engage with those whom the 5.8 million elect – on the 18th of August, not before!

        Statesman or politician? You writ well, but quibble. Judging My3 has to be done years later when these remarkable events can be viewed objectively.

        My3 makes history, we don’t. We are, at best “Attendant Lords” as Prufrock would have said.

        Let us just support a greater man!

    • 2


      Let’s be honest. You hate MR just because you hate him. You go by hearsay and once again you roll out various accusations. The party you support was in power well beyond the 100 days they asked for. Why did they not prosecute ANYONE for ANY of the rubbish accusations you make? I could accuse you of being an eccentric lunatic but given that I have no evidence to make such malicious claims, as an educated person I choose not to. Likewise, I am sure any educated person now understands the lies people like yourself spread to mess up Sri Lanka.

      The only question one would have for you is, do you seriously think all Sri Lankan’s are stupid?

      • 4

        Yes I hate Mahinda but there are number of reasons for that. You asked why they couldn’t take action within the past 100 years? There were thousands of accusations against several people, hundreds of incidents throughout the history of Srilanka. Do you know about the murder of Lasantha (Sunday leader editor). When was he murdered? Why this case has not finished for last 6 years. Do you know thatJaffna library was burnt by ….? Why no one was punished so far for that crime. Do you think there is no evidence to prove that Jaffna library was burnt? Do you think there is no evidence to proof that Lasantha was murdered by….? Do you know Mahinda arrested former Military commander Sarath Fonseka immediately after election results and put him in jail and took all his previlages. Do you know how many people were murdered by former minister Muraleetharan (Karuna)? How he became as a minister after spending 9 months in British Jail? Do you think that there is no evidence to proof Muraleetharan’s crimes? The justice system itself corrupted and politicised. The descisions are made by politicians, not by judges. Just look at the fomer Chief justice. He accused Mahinda in the last election. Now he is with him. Who is he? He is a former Chief justice, well educated but regetted for not sending Mahinda in a case.
        You can argue simply that the accusations against Mahinda & Co are false because it is not yet proven in the courts of Srilanka but you can’t kill your conscience as an educated fellow.

  • 1

    MR wanted the parliment dissolved. The speaker made this request.
    We want a better quality of Life. Development is not stone and mortar alone. It is a Quality of Life. We must have specific targets to improve on this Rating. We should not be slaves to it.
    The west secular and materialistic should not be imitated. Tv ads, Internet,CD are full of this world. Our Government must bring back the beliefs and values we o9nce had. all our people must join in forming a set of ethics for our people. Doctors and profesionals and many otherrs have a code of ethics. Our ethics can be flexible to meet the needs of diversity admist unity. We must spend on changing a World that is secular, materialistic and New Age.
    Different types of positive thinking and meditation manupilates the brain.We turn into monsters with biarze desires and avrice. The World claims to know. But they are messing around with a Pandora box. They are changing the teaching of the vedas.It is refusing to care for the enviorenment.
    The development software is important. To mpropduce the people need to be fed. They need to be taught new skills. They haqve to be housed. Nutrition , hygine can make the World of diference. Morality will make a people who do not crave for the materilistic and prevent others basic needs being met.
    This government has the right ideals. Let us engourage MR to change his plans. The peole are supreme and thay will decide the development they NEED.Let thew past be forgiven. Let their be RESTITUTION.Let us all get together.

  • 3

    Resign from the Party?

    What kind of logic is that?

    The purpose of his contesting for Presidency was to STILL; STOP; DEFEAT; Mahinda Rajapakse and his cabal from making Sri Lanka an unofficial Monarchy.

    Having done so, successfully – allowing Mahinda Rajapakse to get back in to the corridors-of-power – in any which way – would be fool hardy – knowing that Mahinda Rajapakse will stoop low; con; grovel to get back some sort of position – the ONLY reason being that being in the corridor-of-power he can save his immediate family from the fate that awaits them – for their gross misuse of power.

    He does not really care about the others who were in the corridors-of-power, those who aided and abetted him; those who stole without his knowledge; all of them want him back so that he can mitigate the excesses. He would assist in hanging them if he and his immediate family would be pardoned.

    In such a scenario, President Sirisena resigning from the UPFA as you advise would only allow the rogues to consolidate their corrupt practices – further.

    Me thinks, you should refrain from giving BAD advice.

  • 2

    If at all MR gets what he wants,all will be ditched and the family brought back…this is a election between a modern Lanka or a corrupt family.
    It’s not a MR/RW election.

  • 3

    I like your style of presentation. I think Sirisena is trying to protect both: his presidency and the party. After MR is defeated he will reorganize the party.

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