20 March, 2019

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Two-Year Scorecard For Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Combo

By Vishwamithra1984

Life only demands from you the strength that you possess. Only one feat is possible; not to run away” ~ Dag Hammarskjold

It’s not yet two full years, yet close enough. And close enough for us to pass our verdict on the SirisenaWickremesinghe Combo that is holding reins in Sri Lanka’s polity today. Passing judgment on performance on the political field is hard enough, yet the appetite for judgment shown by the masses and so-called intelligentsia might propel one to that inevitably dangerous haste: ‘rush to judgment’, and if wrongfully arrived at, may lead more to the peril of the judge than those who are judged.Ranil and Maithri

Ascending to power on the backs of a voter who was yearning for a better organism of governance, a brighter scope of future and a more equal sense of justice, the weight that imposes on the Combo of Sirisena-Wickremesinghe is undeniably heavier than one would ascertain. But the burden of that ‘Cross’ should not retard the swift stride that they had pledged to undertake at the Hustings, nor should they begrudge its unusual weight. The burden of leadership is exceptionally weighty and they and they alone should carry that burden. No passing of the buck should be welcome. The ordinary folks would not render any leverage in favor of the carrier, for that burden was not placed on them, Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Combo, by the ordinary man or woman. It was sought after and placed on their shoulders by the carriers themselves. They should have realized the short and long-term effects, the incredible faith and trust that are inherent in the responsibility of leadership of a nation.

The luxury and extravagance of political power carries within itself a much more uplifting and awesome quality of responsibility. Those who cared only about the luxuries of power and the natural magnetism to it from the susceptible voter, those who disregarded the supreme sacrifices one had to make in order to be at the helm, would eventually be punished, without mercy, by the voter at the elections. Yet as demonstrated during the past decade when the Rajapaksas held those reins, they took it for granted that that power, instead of being of utterly fleeting nature, granted them a warrant to preside over the whole gamut of Sri Lankan polity. An umpteen number of unforced errors committed by them ultimately swamped them into a comfort zone from which they could not extricate themselves. A tragic political dynamic took over the persona of the regime and the more corrupt elements of that coalition got attracted to the center that was the First Family.

Certain white-collar offenses and even several criminal findings emerging from the various investigations that are under way are an unambiguous specimen of the way in which the previous First Family conducted their wicked and disreputable activities. Hence, the Rajapaksas met with the wrath of the voting public. The verdict by the public so unmistakably validated at the last Presidential Elections still holds good. Yet the impatience and anger shown by them is no random demonstration of public emotion. It is justifiably aimed at the lethargic approach adopted by the investigators. However, the adverse political consequences are owned by the Government. In politics, optics matter more than one would concede. Both Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe realize that. Yet mere realization of a given political reality is one thing and taking prophylactic or remedial measures is totally another.

It is in that context of governmental response that I have prepared the following table. It must be emphasized that these are entirely personal judgments of mine. And I have no fear in sharing them with the reading public. I have been quite, one may surmise, cruel in my judgment of the past regime. However, I have not been all that charitable to the present Combo either. Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe

Legend: MS/RW is Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe Combo. MR is Mahinda Rajapaksa. Numeric appearing in each column signifies each party’s score out of 10. zero being lowest and 10, highest

As illustrated in the above table, the reversal effect, which was expected by a majority of the electorate in the 2015 Presidential as well as General Elections, is not manifestly evident, particularly in the spheres of corruption and nepotism. I do not know if the present Combo could effectively change that reality. After inheriting an intrinsically corrupt structure of governance, tolerated and enlivened by a gullible but helpless public, adherence to normalcy where accountability and transparency reflect the actions of that government, seems almost impossible. The constraints and checks and balances that a new government introduces into the system invariably slow down the process. History bears testimony to this phenomenon at every defining turn.

Concentration of all power within one single person or family cultivates that delusionary character which abounds in all dictatorships, everlasting power. They get drenched in the notion that not only are they held in high esteem in matters of politics by mundane folks, but also in matters well outside the realm of the capacities of those who wield power. This myopic cycle catches hold of the psyche of these rulers and without their conscious scrutiny, begin to render advice and counsel on matters which are more profound and consequential in life altogether. What happened during the previous regime was precisely that. Into their kith and kin, they recruited willing partners who are equally intoxicated by the lure of political power. The corruption and ill-behavior of these sidekicks, instead of being a disqualification, amounts, in the eyes of the rulers who require the support of their henchmen for the perpetuation of their lot, to a crucial character they highlight in the recruiting process. Their circle is full now. An infinite amount of cash and muscle begins to pour. A wild dance of power pregnant with corrupt practices and dishonesty starts its macabre spectacle.

While writing this column I stepped out of my French windows to the balcony. Housed in a tall tower of apartments, I’m fortunate to enjoy some lazy evenings, looking beyond the immediate geography that surrounds me. I behold a concrete woodland, bereft of any architectural character, style or class. Not a single piece of construction reminds me of our ancient heritage. Only the old Parliament, which now is the Presidential Secretariat and Galle face Hotel bear grace over an otherwise riotous collection of buildings. The calming effect of the Indian Ocean, with its emerald green waters and endless waves that hug the sands of the shores of Colombo leaves within me a profound sense of peace and melancholy.

What a characterless bunch of humanity have we become? Is this what we are going to bequeath to our young? Where has all the beauty gone? Whereas the endless stream of ordinary men, women and children whose each and every single countenance reveals a unique sense of identity, each at peace with their worldly pursuits, the ugly aspects of our national weaknesses and idiosyncrasies have overwhelmed us.

Values that once enriched our souls and purified mundane life, values that enhanced our dignity as a people full of compassion and kindness have eroded. An empty vessel of national life is awaiting the eventual sepulture of a nation dragging its weary way around political shortcuts and expediency. A fatigued sun is dipping down over a painted sky, breathtaking in its grandeur, intrinsic of a sunset beheld on the coastlines of an island, and bidding adieu to another uneventful day.

My mind wanders across the shoreline into the hinterland of our splendid Island. Water lapping over earthy bunds along a green paddy field, bordering on a greener pasture enriched by monsoon rains hold a promise of a bounty harvest. The fragrance that emanates from our rural folks’ sweat is pervasive; instead of driving his neighbors away, that very fragrance of sweat allures many a willing collaborator. The lucky farmer, whose tireless arms, hands and legs do not give way, when he reaches home and his beloved, is already planning for next day’s chores. Menika, the rustic wife of the farmer awaits his arrival with a thousand expectations and dreams. A better school for the first-born, a tiled roof over their heads, a new tractor to plough and harvest, graduate from a motorcycle to a four-wheeler, they are all legitimate and ordinary dreams of ordinary villagers. They are all gifts, less of nature and more of his indefatigable labor and his yearning for a more perfect union with nature and himself.

Disciplined by the sublime teachings of the ‘Great One’, Buddha, he and his family go through their lives without complaint and hate. Undisturbed by the town’s canker, the family tries to spend a moonless night in the comfort of each other’s embrace. Man’s thirst for betterment did not begin yesterday. Since the dawn of civilization, he has striven towards easier and more amenable settings, settings that are conducive to awe-inspiring creations such as the Samadhi Buddha Statue in Anuradhapura and Gal Vihare in Polonnaruwa.

I look beyond my balcony; the sun has disappeared into the embrace of the horizon and I’m haunted by the dialogue writer in the recent Hindi movie, ‘Sarbjit’: “however high the destination is, the path that leads to it is under our feet “.

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 7
    8

    I agree with the writer’s “personal judgments” reflected in the table of values. The lowest scores are for corruption and nepotism for Jarapaksa and RW/MS. You can bet your last dollar that in three years time, the RW/MS figures will be the same as the MR figures; even worse. Watch the figures for Economy, Equality and Freedom take a nose dive starting next year. The signs are already there for those who choose not to be blind.

    The clearest indication of this is the active instruction by RW/MS to A-G not to file criminal charges against the Jarapaksa heavy weights, particularly, Mara, Gora, Bara and Nara, on account of non-bailable offences, and keep them in jail until the cases are concluded. Evidence is already there. Trial is a matter for the Courts. The result is of no consequence. The Courts will take their own sweet time, may be 10 years, to deliver the verdict. Until then the vermin shall remain incarcerated. And this is good for the country. Rule of Law … ha ha … its sacrifice is sometimes mandatory.

    Clearly RW/MS intend to travel the Jarapakse path; to enrich themselves their families; cronies and henchmen. Hence they are setting a precedent: those who lose power should not be criminally prosecuted. Feigned punishment like “arrest & bailout” is the maximum punishment for PR purposes. When they are out of power RW/MS expect they too will be arrested for fraud, corruption, nepotism and the perversion of the Constitution. They fully expect that the “precedent” they established will come to their rescue: Arrest-bailout; arrest-bailout. They will continue to enjoy life to the full. Their successors to power too will follow the same strategy. We the voters will be buggered over and over again.

    • 5
      1

      Quick scorecard

      Pluses

      1 reconciliation efforts including civilian as governor for North
      2 better international relations
      3 no white vans and abductions
      4 reasonable improvement in democracy
      5 setting up of independent commissions and RTI

      Negatives

      1 disastrous tax policy
      2 inability to push through tough reforms such as Pension reforms and fertilizer subsidies and vehicle permits
      3 delay in implementing development projects
      4 inability to bring to justice crooks and rogues
      5 bloated cabinet and inefficient ministry secretaries unable to carry out govt thinking

      • 2
        2

        1.Governor=cover-up
        Reconciliation: seriously failing Reality Check:

        2. They can now see it’s Make-believe as in previous governments:
        topmost civil officer of FCO and counterpart in DfID were sent together by the UK to Colombo in early June to tell GoSL to gear up.
        3.There have been abductions in the highly militarised North, though not in the South
        4.South ruled by elected representatives and North(and East adjoing North) ruled by armed forces on behalf of the rulers in the South
        5. Not so Independent Commissions.
        RTI is still to do the final bit.

    • 3
      0

      Vishwamithra1984 –

      RE: Two-Year Scorecard For Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Combo

      “It’s not yet two full years, yet close enough. And close enough for us to pass our verdict on the Sirisena–Wickremesinghe Combo that is holding reins in Sri Lanka’s polity today. “

      Are we better off today overall compared to the Mara MaRa ChaTu MaRa Years?

      The Answer is Yes.

      Is the situation perfect? No, need further progress.

  • 6
    7

    Bodhi Sira has officially graduated to Elite class and you worry about farmers and their Manikes.

    Bodhi Sira’s youngest even has a Law Degree from London.

    You think her plans are to work as the legal counsel for Farmers Cooperative in Pollonnaruwa?.

    I am not sure about your Chart too.

    The Great Chinese people who made the Lankans achieve mid income level after Nanthikadal, are now totally peeved.

    They are not in a hurry to accept Batalanada Ranil’s apology ,even though Bodhi Sira went there personally and begged them to accept it…

    No jobs for the poor in particular,

    Samurdhi Applications have shot up to 3 Million from 1.5 Million two years ago.

    Wonder what happened to One Million assembly jobs for the Dalits, which Batalanda promised.

    All Sira has been doing is getting his mighty General Secretary to issue sack warnings to good SLFPers..

    And they are the party members who have put their hearts and souls to keep their party away from the UNP since Bandaranayaka found it and his Missus kept it away from the UNP wolves.

    Bodhi Sira’s latest instructions are to get a guarantee that the SLFP card carrying members do not only hoot at him or his colleagues, when they appear in Kegalla on September 04, to deliver the goodies.

    But also to reserve the loudest applause for Bodhi Sira when he appears on the Podium..

    May be Duminda should install a Lie Detector instead of body scanning gear at the entrance to Bodhi Sira’s Conference Hall.

    Otherwise how can they detect the Hooters, unless they are sent by Harin from Badulla and Mano Ganeshan and Kabir from Mattakkuliya and Keselwatta.

    • 9
      4

      Have patience KA S. In December 2015 Bodhi Sirs Sira said by the end of 2016 the gap between the rich and the poor will be ironed out. The great grand child of Kautilya Volkswagen Arachchilage Harsha Google De Silva is working on it.

      Soma

      • 4
        5

        HaHaHaHaaaa a a a …

        BTW, is Volkswagen Arachige Batalanda Ranil Wickremasinghe any relation of this Harsha George de Silva?..

    • 0
      0

      Wonder what happened to the much-touted Volkswagen factory in Kurunegala!! This was something we all looked forward to and now, nothing heard !!!

      • 0
        0

        Kumaran, The MP for Kurunegala is too busy Minding other People’s Business to look after His Electorate!

  • 3
    2

    The figures are bogus: the caption states “zero being lowest and 10, highest” and then the table assigns minus values. This what happens when figures are used for political purposes.

    The voters verdict:

    65% MS/RW

    55% MR

    Hopefully the figures have not changed. Good to know the economy is doing some 20% better now.

    As for giving them another chance: there is no choice, because in the 19th amendment they prohibited elections for another five years no matter what happens.

    How that for democracy and freedom. At least they won’t be ‘rulers for life’.

    • 2
      2

      Figures are rendered minus when corrupt and nepotist actions of those in power wade into criminal territory.

    • 1
      1

      reply Vanguard
      “The figures are bogus: the caption states “zero being lowest and 10, highest” and then the table assigns minus values”.

      Negative numbers are less than zero. -3 less than -2 less than -1 less than zero less than 1 and so on.

      vishwamithra1984 probably used negative values in a poetic sense to say “lower than the lowest” – in plain language “bloody useless”.

  • 1
    0

    Economy, Equality and Freedom in the South and the North are so hugely different that there is no ”average”:
    look at the context:

    http://www.cimicjaffna.com/

    http://www.csd.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&Itemid=134&lang=en

  • 2
    2

    Where have all the Educated people gone ? It looks like only certified bum suckers and those inexperienced enough to think that Ranil and co are magicians who can change a totally corrupt and unethical system, overnight, remain in this Country.

    Be patient and do your bit towards a possible improvement.

    Surely anything is better that what the Poxys’ did ?

    • 2
      1

      Don Quixote,
      I dont think anyone thoght RW is a magician and if anyone did, he is not abum sucker, just an idiot. MS is still the Prez and at least 70% of MRs crooks are still in Govt and only a GOD of some sort can deliver quick-fix. Biggest problem is that these 70% of MRs crooks and of course the other crooks in the UNP wont allow proper institutions and processes to be installed so that corruption and bad governance could be eliminated. If MS/RW work together I am sure they can achieve this in the next few years but sometimes I wonder if they are serious about this primary task.

  • 1
    6

    Why are the two holding the same thing?

    Must be a serious discussion on how to phrase that same sex thing which Mangalan promised Bedouin Prince to include in Batalanada’s Yahapalana Constitution.

    What do you think Soma,,,?..

    a Per

  • 2
    0

    The biggest plus anyone who is an emigre notices is the freedom of expression. Even the State printed media is a lot more balanced than it has been in the past. Secondly their efforts to repair relations with nations that can do huge damage to Sri Lanka in terms of trade. One such is the USA. Yes USA was clearly behind the regime change and it may be viewed as one of the few succes stories in a series of Obama-Hillary debacles(coup in Honduras, creating chaos in Libya where there is now ISIS when previously there were none, exacerbating the proxy war in Syria by foolishly letting over a billion dollars worth of weapons to fall into ISIS hands, intervening in Ukraine to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia for many reasons including energy etc.,)

    However little Sri Lanka to paraphrase late Sri Lankan cricket fan Tony Grieg cannot piss USA off the way the MR regime did by overplaying the China card.
    Sri Lanka needs American goodwill because US is one of its biggest export markets. Sri Lanka is currently America’s 72nd largest goods trading partner with $2.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2013. Goods US exported to Sri Lanka totaled $314 million; Goods imported to US from Sri Lanka totaled $2.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Sri Lanka was $2.1 billion in 2013.(https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/south-central-asia/sri-lanka)

    You can see how US holds the upper hand in terms of putting pressure or issuing threats if Sri Lanka does not toe the line. Survival requires it increase these exports to the US market considering the instability in its other important market the US.

    If Hillary wins, she is likely to keep up the pressure on Human Rights , war crimes and LGBT rights and be lobbied heavily by the US based LTTE lobby and non LTTE Tamil lobby as well. If Trump wins, he has already said concerns about Human Rights and democracy will play second fiddle to defeating ISIS by any and all means and re-setting relations with the rest of the war. He threatens trade wars and import tariffs(anathema to regular Republicans but not to his voters)(He might not have even heard of Sri Lanka; most Americans did not, until the Tsunami).

    So now US demands the Shylockian pound of flesh. It has its long term strategic goals set around Trincomalee and more participation in Sri Lanka’s policy formulations and military presence. Can Sri Lanka still afford to maintain a delicate balance between its old friend China and the NeoColonial super power? USAID has also consistently helped Sri Lanka over decades now.

    If RW has his way with his new Turks who are totally pro USA, then USA will get the toehold it needs; will that be offset by SLFP types of former derelict Socialists and Communists and also rational nationalists and those who like me worry about ISIS. If US has a military presence in Sri Lanka, ISIS is bound to follow. US also benefits from divide and rule. If it does not get its way it will foment trouble again just like how it did in Ukraine.

    But reality or as one person I really admired, Chancellor Willy Brandt, said “Realpolitik” will require SL to toe the line and survive. Its biggest export markets are EU and USA. Imagine tariffs and other barriers.

    So second plus is the RW faction in the regime to reset relations and not antagonize nations it needs. The very fact an emigre writing here shows the lack of fear compared to earlier periods.

    Now please oh please make sure there is no more bloodshed and tears and war and hate. The gap between Sinhala and Tamil is so small in comparison to the massive gap between white and black america. Sinhalese go to Hindu temples and Tamils adapt and visit Buddhist temples; and they share so much in terms of DNA and cultural values. Yes the two languages are distinct and sinhalese do feel threatened with TNadu looking over their heads but the gap is so small. You go to any Church in Southern Baptist South in the USA and you can see how massively segregated even places of worship are. Only Catholic churches in bigger cities have a blending of races at mass. That too more Hispanic and Asian Catholics with whites and a few black people. So even God it seems in their religion likes segregation?

    CM Wigneswaran said a prudent thing; he said more tamils need to learn Sinhalese too. Look at Malaysia: Bahasa Malaysia is now the language. That does not mean SL does away with English as the link language. Malaysia is only 60% muslim and it has Islam as its official religion. In fact SL’s constitution DOES NOT have an official religion but says give buddhism prominence. That is different. Personally, I wish religion and governance were totally divorced from each other; the US constitution says so but in practice it is different.

    No more hateful divisions and no more war. Why undercut any good attempts to address grievances of people who were deprived of equitable access to resources including education be they in the violent deep south or violent deep north anymore?

  • 2
    0

    The Nations path to ruin started in 1971 when the Bandaranaike Govt started tinkering with the checks and balances in our society. Every successive Govt did better. Here we are now.To unwind this clock work, will take equal time or perhaps less in our modern times.

    The Sirisena-Wickremasinghe Governance model has reset our political culture. It has my support.

  • 0
    0

    Two year Score card for Sirisena- Wickremasisnghe and Sampanthan as well!!!

    • 1
      0

      Selvam, What do you want you want Sampanthan to go for ELAM? Give him and the government a break. They are far from being perfect, infact they all do stupid things but This is our last chance.

  • 0
    0

    This is not game of “Numbers” and “Percentages”. The defeat of the MR & Co Regime came about centered on limited issues viz. Corruption,Nepotism,Mismanagement of State Ventures, Family oriented “Rule”, Cost of Living. No doubt “Sirisena,RW” Government brought changes to the system that was prevailing, such as launching investigations into “Public Crimes” committed and social changes of establishing “Freedom of Expression” and certain economics of “Easing of the COL. But the “snail speed” of bringing the “CRIMINALS” to Justice is not what the people expected. Also the failure to fully explain the “Economic Situation”, especially the “DEBT BURDEN” at the time of taking over power is a big mistake on the part of the Government and that hampers the building of much needed “confidence” of the people in the ways and means of meeting that CHALLENGE of servicing debts. The President, starting with the appointment of his own brother to head a very important Government outfit, gave a flip to others, such as Prime Minister to make questionable selection of people to different top ranking positions. The latest was a Minister making 52 appointments from among his own political supporters, who are not qualified even to hold lower ranking jobs in that State Venture and goes on to JUSTIFY such actions. So these and many other VISIBLE and UNWARRANTED actions on the part of the Government have brought DISPLEASURE and DISTURBANCE among the People. That OPINION is SPREADING and it is not possible it reckon by a game of figures and percentages as yet. But still there is an opportunity to grab and correct the course. One thing to be happy is: Still they are LISTENING, especially to the Judiciary. That is a good sign on which people must place confidence and trust. That SPACE we did not have and was NOT GIVEN by the previous Regime of “MR & Co.”

  • 0
    1

    Equality and Freedom are ZERO in the North and East.
    There should be a new ‘table’ for North and East.

    Vishwamitra has ‘blinkers’ on.

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