21 November, 2018

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The Promise Of 2015 Presidential Election Is Shattered

By Vishwamithra

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers.” ~Nikita Khrushchev

We are fast approaching the end of the first term of this Presidency. The lofty ideals expressed so abundantly on the Maithripala Sirisena/UNP platform have come out empty. The looming end result of efforts to establish Yahapalanaya seems not only self-destructive, it looks thoroughly unworthy to a set of politicians who have been nurtured and nursed by a culture so steeped in corruption, nepotism and incompetence. A nation that looked forward to a system of governance that could govern the country on the rule of law and ‘discipline of a monastic Monk’ is lamenting without a ray of hope.

Discipline of the mind is one of the greatest gifts man could grant to himself. That discipline, even though he is not born with it, needs to be cultivated and practiced by him with demonstrative dedication and without any reservation. If that discipline is practiced by politicians who profess to know the answers to all issues and problems the country confronts, Ceylon would have been a more tolerable abode for all its citizens. It certainly is no utopian dream to expect a nation to aspire to be led by sensible leaders with sensible practice of sensible policies and principles. What has flown out the window is that sensibility. An alternate sensibility has crept in. That alternate sensibility is dictating the lives and even deaths of politicos and their henchmen. That alternate sensibility was in evidence in the last decade of the Rajapaksa regime.

But the current administration now shows that this alternate sensibility has taken hold of them too. That taking-hold is absolute and final. As penned in my last column, that alternate sensibility is an integral part of the new culture that has set in. It is in this confused context that the performance of the current administration has to be viewed, criticized and judged. Nevertheless, while the judgment that seems to have been made by many a pundit and critic seems to be negative on balance, the verdict reached by the public at large is much harsher than the current rulers could take. Where did they fail? How did they fail? Or to look at a more fundamental question, was the voter-judgment given at the ’15 Presidential Elections flawed?

Let us answer the third question first: Was the ’15 Elections judgment flawed? The easy and obvious answer is no. The verdict reached by a margin of 3.7% is not flawed. 3.7%, more than half a million, in the context of a total poll of 12 million votes is no slender margin. Although this 3.7% is no landslide by any stretch of imagination, those who were elected after the rejection of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the incumbent, are bound to deliver on the various pledges they made on platform during the election campaign.

When the answer to the third question is an emphatic no, it becomes overwhelmingly palpable that those who have replaced the Rajapaksas need to get to work on an accelerated pace and with all the strengths and energies they pretend to have. Replacing a ruler such as Mahinda Rajapaksa was no mean task. This ruler, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had brought an excruciatingly painful war to a victorious end; amongst his exhibitionist development programs are, among others, developing road infrastructure, building an airport in the jungles of Mattala, constructing a port in the far corners of the land like Hambantota and erecting a sports stadium among the wild life in Deep South. Yet the people rejected this leader. Why? The fundamental argument against the Rajapaksas, the First Family and its wild henchmen and women, was corruption. The grand propaganda campaign that was launched by the practitioners of this insidious fallacy of all humans- corruption and its numerous attendant repercussions- could not be portrayed by its practitioners amongst fellow countrymen as a life-enriching discipline. Along with corruption and looting the national coffers and distributing it among the cronies of the First Family, the dangerous tendencies developed by one sibling who was purported to be handling Defense of the country, white van fear, alleged killings and sudden disappearances of journalists, callous disregard for accepted norms and traditional way of executing government policies, they all were defeated at the ’15 Presidential Elections.

In effect, the 2015 Presidential Elections were a referendum on the First Family. It was more a defeat of the corruption-ridden Rajapaksa era than a victory for the UNP-backed Maithripala Sirisena. When one comes to power as a replacement of a once popular leader whose policies and conduct of governance were clearly overruled by the people, his responsibility is enormous; he and his governing coalition has no time whatsoever to dillydally the machinery of government when delivering on the promises made. 

This is where the writer comes to answer the first two questions in this column. Where and how did the current government fail in dealing with the central issue of delivering on the pledges made on platform? The current government is a two-headed instrument; one is the United National Party (UNP) and the other, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The UNP is undivided and has accepted Ranil Wickremasinghe as its one leader, whereas the SLFP’s status is one of total confusion and disarray. Ninety Five percent (95%) of the SLFP voters voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa. Those SLFPers who opted to join the coalition government committed a national sin. Joining a government merely to hang on to power with the soul aim of self-enrichment is no noble trait of a politician. That is the common denominator of all politicians, barring a select few.

Pursuit of the Rajapaksa-slaughter of our national character and wealth is no task for a politician who promised to eradicate the nauseatingly stinking practices of the Rajapaksa practices of governance. Politics as a mere pursuit of power in exclusion to all other sacred practices is not only sinful, it is self-destructive. That aspect of self-destruction has already set in not only among the SLFP Ministers and MPs; it has crept into the skin of the UNP Ministers and their cohorts too.

Failure to pursue the prosecution of the wrong-doers of the last regime played a decisive part in the decision by the voters in the recently held local government elections. While the so-called ‘Bond-Scam’ was a very serious blunder which was rightly portrayed by the Opposition as an outright swindle, the lack of scrupulous attention given unto it by the Prime Minister too may have had a telling effect on the psyche of the voter. There is no meaning to an exercise of replacing one corrupt regime by another one. This is where the current administration failed so miserably at governance. The so-called ‘good’ managers (UNP) of the country’s economy became not only mediocre; they too were successful in attaching to themselves the badge of corruption and incompetence.

How they failed too is explained in the foregoing paragraphs. Although volumes could be written on these aspects of the current ruling mechanism, there is one inescapable fact that is destroying the current government and its effects are felt at the very core of its constitution. The breakdown of the relationship between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe is one element that is at the core of this coalition. The moment it breaks down, so does the very existence of the government. The promise of the ’15 Presidential Elections was shattered when this relationship could not withstand the pressures of politics. Human relationships are very complex and could be extremely agonizing when any measures are taken to resuscitate them. The bond between the President and Prime Minister seems to have burst asunder. It is in this context that the writer has been arguing in the last few columns that a new face is the only answer to the winning of the next elections. The UNP has such men in their fold. Both Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake have the name, prestige and necessary experience and in government to right this meandering boat. It had better be righted sooner than later.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com                   

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Latest comments

  • 7
    2

    It was because Ranil W was incapable of defeating Mahinda R, that M.S. was chosen to contest 2015 election. It is now apparent that it was a huge mistake. Still from the minorities point of view No New Constitution yet & there is no justice for the victims of war.
    The NPC needs more power over Police and Lands.

    • 3
      1

      Naman,

      Why do NPC needs land and police powers? How would it empower the people.

  • 4
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    Vishwamithra: You name starts with “Vishwa’ meaning “Universal”. When one is “Universal” he/she is very much alive and alert to what is going on in around the environment. You did fail to see, when it came to the appointment of the Cabinet of Ministers, by the Yahapalanaya. The most prestigious and all important position of Minister of Finance was given to a “ROUGE” who had a case pending in courts – the worst of such was “Money Laundering”. By that time his “BOSS” who entrusted that “Deal” to him was sentenced to 11 years in prison in USA. Then came the “Transfer” of SLCB to the PM and appointment of a “Foreign National” as its head, to carry out the “Great Bank Robbery” by him within a matter of 58 days of “Yahapalanaya” coming into being. He and his “Accomplices” did not stop at ONE but carried out the “Second Robbery” in May , i.e. within months of the “First”. When all these were going on we – the 6.2 million have “Elected” a “Watch Dog” designated as the “President”. This “Watch Dog” overfed with luxuries of the position went onto deep sleep and taking advantage the rest of the “GANG” acted like a “Set Free” pack. You “Vishwa” who should have “seen” all that were going on too has awaken suddenly to “see” and “realize” what has gone wrong. But “Vishwa”, we common and garden folks “saw” and “realized” what was in stock for us and that was no SURPRISE at all. We knew it; yet made every effort to avoid the disaster; but FAILED. Now no STOPPING and it will FALL to perhaps to “INHERIT” the defeated MISERY.

  • 3
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    Lies upon lies; deception upon deception…that is Sri Lankan politics .
    They wiĺl never keep what they promised in election …
    All are cheats and no point in analysing Sri Lanka politics..
    Unless.
    You are friend of any MP.
    You are relative of any MP .
    You are already in their payment lists .
    Never dream that m&s will come into power against.

    .

  • 7
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    Ranil and is gang is trying to fool the people once again by saying that this government failed because there are two different political parties and ideologies in government.

    This government failed even before they came in to power Ranil and his small Colombo gang had planned the Central bank robbery.

    After that scam no body respected this pretender. Ranil does not deserve to be called Prime Minister.

    All the other allegations against this government including the President are quite normal and excusable. But the Bond scam undid everything. Ranil is simply not fit for leadership. Where he should be we will know when a proper inquiry is made into the scam and criminal courts take action.

    • 1
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      The following is a news item in the daily mirror.

      “A sum of US $ 20 million has been obtained as commissions from a foreign company involved in the construction of the Norochcholai Power plant, State Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith P. Perera told Parliament yesterday.
      State Minister Perera also revealed that there had been irregularities pertaining to tenders to supply coal from 2010 to 2015:

      Who are the beneficiaries of projects? Just imagine how much the company would have made profits and who pays for it? Will Srilankans understand the magnitude of robbery? Do you still believe these people secure this land? Do you still believe they are working for you? Think! Think!

    • 0
      0

      This is another news:
      Nearly 186 people had received money from Arjun Aloysius, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) and Centre for Human Rights and Research Sri Lanka (CHR) Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said yesterday.“Politicians, state officials, religious leaders, journalists and some others are included in the list.

      My God! Give and Take! We know now why cannot our parliament and courts can’t act on law!

  • 3
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    In the good old days when we had our beautiful old trains with steam engines ,there was a practice where an extra engine is fitted at the rear end to support the engine in the front to help the train climb the hill .

    But both going one and same direction , can one imagine if while the front engine is struggling to pull the entire load a set of stupid engine drivers decide to do the reverse ?

    Yes this is the truth ,both men Were sincere when they took office they did get on well ,but there were conspirators right from the beginning to sabotage this .

    A set of People from .both parties were pulling the engines at two different directions ,that is how nasty some of our people are in this Country ,they would prefer to starve themselves and their families if they have to just to fulfill their wicked agendas .and sabotage.

    All political parties and politicians and the constitution have failed ,

    If the educated and wise ,among the mass ,with no prejudice ,hate ,but with sincerity realise where we are heading ,before we end up Like Greece or Argentina , they will take matters to their hands and save the nation.

    Changing faces will never save the country ,its the system that needs change.

  • 0
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    Just to add few more to my above comment ,if the engine drivers would act in such a manner ,its neither the engines or drivers who would be harmed ,but the entire people travelling in

    So whatever personal revenge the politicians take on each other, its us the people who have to bear the consequences .

    Saddest part is we have yet not realised that Changing faces have never worked nor benefitted the nation but the politicians and their cronies .

    Change the system where people decide in all major issues ,number one ,borrowing –,foreign Investment, Tender Procedures , control of
    Pharmaceutical, petroleum, law and order and other sensitive areas .

    If not , Then go ahead and change the face and face the consequences ,but this time if even the worse happens , -it could be anyone on the driving seat ,public won’t be able to open their mouths

  • 4
    1

    The greatest crime that was committed during the Rajapaksa rule was the wife of a certain minister had obtained a passport with a false date of birth.
    Soma

    • 3
      1

      somass

      And the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to UK was slapped by the monitoring mule and a Tamil terrorist was caught red handed when he traveled to UK on a forged passport and served time time at her Majesty’s pleasure. Gota arranged the forgery.

    • 0
      1

      The most ignorent comment.

      • 1
        1

        JD & Jim softy

        “The most ignorent comment.”

        Which one of you heard this voice in your head?

  • 1
    2

    vishvamithra is writing for the Indian govt. JEhan PErera, a dollar kaakka, is writing for the Foreign embassies. Vishvamithra should be an INDIAN RUPPEE KAAKKA. YOU WANT SAME OLD THEIVES TO GOVERN THE COUTNRY. IT looks they have shared Rs 12 billion mong them. That should be the same reason why another groups of theives do not leave mahinda rajapakse.

  • 0
    0

    Yes yes yes Vishwamitra. We realised that the structure built from 2004Tsunami is difficult to penetrate and in due course the truth emerged – the structure is almost impenetrable. The knights in shiny armour decided to ‘save’ some from the other ‘side’. One side decided to unleash the old weapon language/religion-divide. We are back to square one.
    We are in this invidious position of having to choose between two baddies. One side seems to be evolving semblance of checks and balances.

  • 2
    0

    Vishwamithra

    “building an airport in the jungles of Mattala, constructing a port in the far corners of the land like Hambantota and erecting a sports stadium among the wild life in Deep South. Yet the people rejected this leader. Why?”

    Do you seriously think these are positive things?!..

    All I see is further destruction of what little remains of our forests and utter disregard for the fate of our poor wildlife,with these ill conceived lunatic projects..not to mention the financial burden on the tax payer..

  • 4
    1

    Honestly ,there is one bit of freedom we have been enjoying since this unity government took over and that is freedom of speech.
    I wonder how many would agree with me on this one .
    Except people living overseas ,rarely people living within the Island would even criticize the government in a comment forum before this freely
    The fear was to much
    So it is only fair to appreciate this comfort .
    Beside that The government has honestly failed miserably in addressing the common peoples grievances.
    The upper middle class and the Rich and those with right connections have gained m
    For an example , I doubt very much that any of the financial grants were benefitted by the people to who it was due to and rightfully deserve,, farmers ,small industrialist ,S&M business entities .
    So how can the economy grow ,The dollar still stands at Rs160.00 apprx .
    The one billion and the IMF flow has done nothing ,The fuel price hike was not needed ,
    Our Rupee has no buying power ,so we the middle class ,the lower middle class and the poor must go hungry as to make way for a particular segment to enjoy life ?
    Today I was watching Derana ,unfortunately my Sinhala is poor ,but it was an excellent program .there was one particular person filled with emotions of anger and books written about past politicians and parties justifying past misconducts .of politicians .
    This has to stop .the blame game and no politician is ever going to self criticize.
    We just have to let go the whole past ,we need a peoples revolution ,but non violent, we need our highly educated professional to take over and make a constitution which will let the people decide on particular nation risk matters , especially to monitor IMF funds ,grants ,Aides , and other borrowings and the disbursements and expenditure of them ,including ,Tenders and protection of environment

  • 3
    0

    “The Promise Of 2015 Presidential Election Is Shattered” – Heading sounds like somebody just woke up

  • 3
    1

    “The fundamental argument against the Rajapaksas, the First Family and its wild henchmen and women, was corruption.” Ofcourse the promise of 2015 has been shattered since corruption is still rampant across the country. Corruption is now a cancer for which there is no cure whoever is in power.

  • 0
    0

    Better the devil you know

  • 1
    0

    People expected this government to govern efficiently. There were 3 major issues the Yahapalanaya government promised to implement. Abolition of the presidential system of government, electoral reforms and a solution to the national question. Amendment 19 was the only achievement of this government. The electoral reform was a disaster. A solution to the national question is dead as a dodo! The president is shooting same side goals. He is simply not fit to govern a country like Sri Lanka. He says he is committed to fighting corruption, but all those who robbed the government during Mahinda’s time are now with him. The greatest disappointment is Ranil Wickremesinghe. Despite his vast experience, his performance is tardy and mediocre. People expected much from him, but he had proved he is inefficient.

  • 0
    0

    2020 Game Change

    Possible
    Presidential Candidate
    SLPP
    Chamal Rajapakshe (The most neutral man)
    Or Denish Gunewardena

    SLFP
    ——+
    My3 ( no Muslim ,no Tamil votes)

    UNP
    ——
    Ranil -(No Muslim votes) Unp sinhala votes & Upcountry Tamil Votes)
    ————
    mother of all political battles
    ————————————-
    General Elections
    PM Candidate
    ——————-
    SLPP /SLFP Rebels of mainly. Large Sinhalese votes & partial Beruwela Muslims votes .
    ————————-
    Mahinde Rajapakshe

    —-+++++++++++(++++
    UNP/SLFP non rebels Sinhalese Votes and the entire Minority Votes )

    Sajith Premadasa

    Unpredictable result

    –++++++++++

    Why Gotabaya Rajapakshe will most probably not run for president ?

    He won’t ever risk giving up his US passport .

    He will be happier to be safe than sorry

    MR needs the PM position urgently, if he gets just that ,the increasing of Members to abolish the Executive President and moving PM to Executive PM would be child’s play .

    Gotabaya will be more than happy to keep part of the cake and eat part of it .
    His old position is the most Luxurious one he ever enjoyed .

    What more can one ask ,
    SL&US passport,
    Country’s most powerful Ministry
    The MOD ,with complete freedom of powers .

    So why sacrifice the US citizenship for a Temporary position if won either way , He will be in the same position he was before , in case if he loses even by a very ,very thin margin it could mean a risk not worth it .

    He knows his cards .

  • 0
    0

    Will My3 – Run for President. To. Accommodate MR as Executive PM ?

    What Cost ????
    Will he be able to secure victory with MR’s Blessings ?

    That is what A Government Minister too have endorsed .

    So relying on landslide victory by the Majority Sinhalese Voter base of MR?

    Will it happen ?

    We never know , change of Face ,that is all that matters ,at any cost .

  • 0
    0

    What is most laughable, and what was laughable then and is now, is that the 2015 election, now called Black January by me, was hailed as an end to corruption in Sri Lanka.

    The UNPers never believed this, this was a political slogan to get elected, and the rest were fooled. How can you have an in corrupt government with the same ministers from the previous government crossing over ? Was crossing over a purification rite? Come on! The rest were fooled.

    Don’t be fooled again: the block party vote will still take place. The swing vote is the minority.

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