By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
“I only want to question why a man who has ambitions to change the country for the better should gun for the post of president after 19 A.”
Myriad Faces of a Counter Revolution
It is the historical experience of all revolutionary movements to generate counter-revolutionary action. Revolution and counter revolution go hand in hand. Vested interests threatened by revolution initiate counter revolution. The latter gang up in unimaginable ways.
One of the well-known ways that the threatened operate is by sneaking into the enemy camp and enlisting to their aid the recalcitrant leaders therein-those individuals who are waiting and hungry for quick power, those disaffected by decisions and ways of ruling of the leader and so on. The apparently unthreatened outside interests who want to have their way also often operate behind these ‘new friends,’ from the enemy camp.
Three no-confidence motions (NCM) came in succession against the Prime Minister and the yahapalanaya government. Basil Rajapaksa, the foxy brain of the Rajapaksa clan, came on media and said that although the NCMs were defeated, there are ‘other ways and means’ available. He successfully won over President Sirisena and with the latter’s cooperation a shocking episode of constitution violation took place where the Prime Minister and government were ingloriously dismissed in that moonlight night and a fake Prime Minister and fake government was installed and allowed to hold sway for 52 days. That move was defeated by parliament and a battle for supremacy between parliament and Executive President blew out in the open. For yahapalanaya to win, parliament must win this battle and the peoples’ sovereignty that parliament represents must be made supreme. Government must be solely accountable to parliament and parliament alone.
Sajith Premadasa in the Net?
The fox of the counter revolution did not give up. My imagination suggests that the fox rounded up Sajith Premadasa via the President. The fox knew that Sajith had been the weak point in the yahapalanaya government link. Sajith has always worked with a hunch on his shoulders, namely that “being the son of Premadasa,” he has not been given adequate attention. Clearly, Sajith was observed avoiding the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on many occasions. He had got into his cosy corner down South and he focused on building houses. As I have pointed out before, this is a poor project. The treasury money allocated for housing could have been better and more productively used if youth were given capital to undertake businesses. This is what the Prime Minister’s pet project “Enterprise Sri Lanka,” is all about. In contrast, housing is a cheap and populous dole project. Doles never work just like free rice didn’t work.
President Sirisena and Sajith Premadasa
President Sirisena kept on grooming Sajith Premadasa. The two were often seen together and Sajith addresses the former as “Athi Garu Shreemath with hands in worship mode. This honeymoon took place while Sirisena was repeatedly trying to undermine the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. In reciprocation for this supplication, President Sirisena once asked Sajith, ‘why do you work so hard?’ This took place for media coverage.
When President Sirisena announced he was starting Duterte-style executions firstly by trying to bring back the hangman and drag some of the prison inmates found guilty of drug pedalling into the hangman’s noose there was a hue and cry throughout a world that is made conscious of human rights violations. The ruling UNP government opposed capital punishment and a bill had been sent up as a private member’s motion in parliament. Yet, Sajith Premadasa put his hands up for hanging. Can you beat that? One would expect younger generation politicians to oppose regressive moves like this; but Sajith did not. Maitripala Sirisena was elated beyond words at this solitary support from his enemy camp.
Sajith Premadasa’s visit at Gota’s almsgiving was another case of going over the line. Discerning people were watching all these with dismay. It seems the linkage was developing. The question occurs to us: are these events part of a growing conspiracy? A counter revolution with the aid of the revolutionaries? By definition, conspiracies cannot be spotted in advance and so one cannot write with certainty.
However, the string of events in succession do suggest a sinister nexus.
The Final Counter Revolutionary Ploy?
The grooming is now over and it is time to act since two decisive elections are coming up. The Rajapaksian fox got into action. Sensing an opportunity, he has probably seen a glorious chance chance of splitting up the UNP at last. The plan could be to bring yet another NCM and oust the government on the understanding that there will now be numbers due to defection so that General Elections are held before target and before the Presidential elections.
It was only a week or so ago that Maitripala Sirisena , with a smirk on his countenance, predicted that General Elections will be held before Presidential elections.
The second step in this hypothetical plan is to disable the party’s campaign for President.
Sajith’s Real Interest
Nominated MP- Ministers, who should have been grateful to Ranil for making something out of them, have come up to propose Sajith for nomination at a parliamentary group meeting. It is not my intention to comment on the suitability or otherwise of the proposal to install Sajith Premadasa. I only want to question why a man who has ambitions to change the country for the better should gun for the post of president after 19 A. The latter legislation simply erodes the sting of the president’s ability to activate anything. Even the present incumbent’s operative ministries will automatically go off after Sirisena, relivably, leaves the post. If the new parliament gets a 2/3 backing, the draft constitution can be passed and the position of president will become ornamental and ceremonial. How come Sajith Premadasa is interested in this?
I could, pardon me, only visualise one reason and that is to get into a position of the machinery and eventually act to oust the leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Sajith will, presumably, have the clout to get round the other ministers of his own party and edge out Ranil. Being the head of the government and belonging to the same party president Sajith gets a leverage to do so.
And why are these ministers pressing for Sajith? These are ministers have no voter base whatsoever and it is hard to see their advice as being of any high priority.We would like to have a record of what these ministers have done in the last four and half years other than talking and writing. It is rumoured that Mallik Samarawickrama had been pulled up by the Prime Minister for making exaggerated forecasts relating to investment projects. Was the infamous Volkswagen promise done at Mallik’s behest? How about the Trincomalee iron & steel factory?
Basically, the ministers should have known that a serious decision like nominating a Presidential candidate should not be taken at an ad hoc parliamentary group meeting in Diyawannawe. They should have known that the Working Committee of the party must be consulted? It didn’t seem honest on the part of these ministers to have subjected their leader to an ambush like this. The issue and the Leader deserves more respect than that, surely?
I want to emphasise that I am not taking sides on a crucial decision like picking a party nomination for president. That would be cheeky on my part. I only want to point out that such a decision must be taken with the great care and deliberation that it deserves. Factional power pushing and canvassing monks etc are dysfunctional.