By Rusiripala Tennakoon –
The latest we are witnessing in the political scenario is the live discussion about the events surrounding Minister Wimal Weerawansa of the ‘Pohottuwa’ regime. Amidst several conjectures expressed and unexpressed the associated events have assumed highly important contours spreading across the nexus of the political big picture of the country. Some including sections of the opposition try to make out that this is another well planned ruse of the government to divert the attention of the public from the predicaments seriously affecting their day to day living affairs. There is another school of thought that it is a manifestation of the developing internal conflicts in the Rajapaksa clan. Some Independent political critics view it as a timely maneuver orchestrated to properly guide the direction of the government which is now in a somewhat astray and adrift course. Few claims that it is a reaction of some of those in the government disgruntled over the happenings going beyond their individual satisfaction and who think enough is enough.
Well, we are yet to see the reality. But if we look at the episode with an open mind there are many possibilities towards this culmination. The group is far more formidable to be regarded as an unthreatening adversary. Whatever is the stunt if it is so, the grouping itself constitute a potential risk similar to that of a dormant volcano. The eruption can be activated internally as well as externally. Even if the numbers superficially visible are taken into account it carries significant weightage sufficient enough to tilt the balance at any crucial juncture. Unhappy external power blocks can catalyze a reaction. (we have learnt in chemistry that a catalyst can activate a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any change in the process). We cannot forget that we are exposed to and become the focus of several hawkish and no fewer belligerent forces now, unlike in the recent past.
The development too is associated with a highly vulnerable conglomeration, comprising of left, ultraleft, center of left, chauvinist, diverse protagonist and senior figures in local politics. The chances are that there is a strong possibility of more diverse social groups joining in, particularly in the context of a long felt need for the country to be steered by a new third force eliminating the dynastic influence the politics of the country has been subject to. The failure of the so called few ‘Viyathmaga’ members to make any significant contribution to the political direction of the country after the last general election and the many issues pending without any solid basis or plan of resolution is further assisting in the process of this precipitation.
It is only after sometime we will know whether the polarization is due to and based on national issues or parochial concerns of a few individuals. Any progress of the movement of this grouping is highly dependent on this. In order to get a clear view of this we have to examine some of the important issues that came to limelight;
* MCC agreement from USA: There was an element of uncertainty surrounding the issue before it was finally declared that MCC grant would not be accepted which hung fire over a period of time. It is noteworthy that the final decision was announced after the dead line given by US for accepting the MCC grant expired! It was a sour grapes story in the eyes of many.
* Colombo Port East Terminal Fiasco: We saw the level of opposition that was build up before it was finally declared that the ECT would not be given to the Company recommended by INDIA. Expression of Controversial viewpoints on the policy stand of the Government by different members became a common feature. The divergent stands were obviously wide apart and so unusual to have originated from the same government source.
The decision-making process did not unfortunately display any degree of concern about the profile and the standing of the enterprise that came forward to get into the business jointly with the SLPDA on a partnership basis. The very fact that the WCT becoming the substitute alternative to ECT shows that the GOSL has not properly assessed the background of the interveners. Unless precautionary safeguards are not secured properly there is a strong possibility of the activities of ECT becoming seriously hampered during the development process of the WCT by these contenders.
Then there are several other issues overhanging which have caused serious apprehensions and concerns where the interests and policy stands among the decision makers appear to be diverse.
* One country one law: This was a political slogan which carried much weight with the voters virtually leading them to the expectation of comprehensive legal reforms removing several outdated laws and introducing legislature ensuring the impartiality of the judiciary.
People expected the judiciary to be secure from undue influence and autonomous functioning within their own field;
Appointment of Judges, rules to protect judicial independence, executive and the administration of justice, reforms to eliminate laws with preferential treatments applicable to communities, classes or religions were concerns in this regard.
Some of the views now expressed by those responsible in the government appear to have taken a different course direction.
* Presidential Commission findings and the pending indictments on the Easter Sunday Fracas is another matter that has caused some interest and worry in the SLFP segment of this new grouping. There appear to be a developing anxiety about a possibility of prosecution of some of their members.
* A discontent of the SLFP from the time of accommodating candidates for the General election appear to have developed further after the allocation of ministerial portfolios of the government.
The school of thought that the entire scene is something orchestrated by the government itself is untenable due to several considerations. It is unlikely that the SLFP wing represented in the group by its general Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara to have been given the green light to participate in a ginger group by the party leader Sirisena if it is so felt by them. Sirisena himself is in a dilemma about the pending indictments in the Easter Sunday case. So it is more likely that the SLFP now reduced to a tail end appendage of the ‘Pohottuwa’ taking a risk joining in such a move at a crucial time like this.
Even for the Government it is a potential risk for the future of the ‘Pohottuwa’ to pave the way to build up a mock but strong grouping which can boomerang any moment.
The other political parties are in serious disarray. UNP is in virtual extinct. SJB, the main opposition party is also fairly fragile with the known history of some of its partners. The Muslim parties are in the opposition after a long time. They always had a place in whatever form of government in power. Any slight opportunity extended will open the gate for them to go to join the government. Already their MPs supported the government to bring the 20th amendment defying the party loyalties.
Therefore, according to the balance of probabilities the move to form a ‘ginger’ group within the government by Ministers Weerawansa, Gamanpila and Vasudeva is a formidable step to reckon critically. The standing of these Ministers in the public eye is strongly recognized and their role play to bring the ‘Pohottuwa’ to power is unquestionably acknowledged with no reservations.
The chances are whether they quit or made to leave OR continue to remain they have established themselves as a force capable of balancing the activities of an otherwise wanton passage manoeuvred from behind regardless by those who claim the sole ownership of ‘Pohottuwa’. The flowing river of the progressive sector of the citizenry has many other rills to add on to its waters during its course.
Ajith / February 14, 2021
SLPP is owned by Rajapakse family but the focus was to replace the dominancy of Mahinda Rajapakse family. Little by little it is moving on this direction and now Mahinda has lost his place after the decision he made about the burial rights of the Muslims. Mahinda Rajapakse did not involve with Viyathmaga and he has no knowledge of the strategies and plannings about his family’s future. Wimal Weerawanse seems to have the support of Hardcore Buddhist Monks and his popularity among Buddhist extremists is much for than Rajapakse family. So, Wimal may have hopes for next presidency and it is natural for politicians to betray each other and create divisions. Mahinda wants his son to be next President, Basil wants to be next President. Basil is the most possible choice for Gotabaya. In this family conflict of Power, Wimal has the right to ask Buddhists why only one family?
Pandi Kutti / February 15, 2021
Muthukarruppan will never be allowed to be a leader of the Chingkallams but only allowed to bark on the sidelines. He is not Koviayan or Koi Kammam( from Thamizh the one who reaps and sows hence a farmer) but some low caste . Chingkallams only elect Koi Kammams as their leaders not the descendants of recently migrated low caste and untouchable Indian Thamizh immgrants. All these Koi Kammam Therais in Kandy will have blue fit if some low caste becomes a President of the country. We saw their reaction when Karaiyar Cooray was to be made the Governor of Kandyan Central Province. They screeched , screamed and demanded that no low country or even Kandyan low caste should ever be made a Governor of Kandyan regions. It is the sole preserve of the upper castes and that too Kandyan . Buddhist or Christian does not matter but has to be high caste Kandyan. They will tolerate Muthukarrupan kneeling in front of them or seated on a lower stool or floor , where he naturally belongs and speak to them about how to destroy the hated Thamizh
SJ / February 14, 2021
There can be more than one factor driving the move, which could all be inter-related.
1. Wimal W sending GR’s message to his brother and his supporters without exposing himself.
2. a sign of internal rifts
3. Wimal W seeking publicity for himself
It is unlikely that this is a trick too divert attention as the risks involved for a government on the verge losing its grip on power are too much.
“The standing of these Ministers (WW, UG & VN) in the public eye is strongly recognized and their role play to bring the ‘Pohottuwa’ to power is unquestionably acknowledged with no reservations.”
That seems an overstatement.
None of them on his own or as a group can mobilize enough supporters to fill a small auditorium.
old codger / February 15, 2021
“None of them on his own or as a group can mobilize enough supporters to fill a small auditorium.”
Be charitable, SJ. Maybe a couple of tuk-tuks , after a good feed?
Simon / February 15, 2021
There is no question of “QUITTING” for this “Group”, because if they “Quit” their “Life Line” is disconnected forever. They are sharp enough to note that the “Maharaja’s” life is “SHORT”. The next move is to “hibernate” in the next safest “NEST” of another “Rajapakse” in power. So simply “WATCH” the drama and enjoy,
Pon Lanka / February 16, 2021
Wimal Weerawansa ,or any other card board politicians cannot exist for a long time. It is Mahinda Rajapakse who gave him prominence, similar to giving other former militants such as Devananda,Pillaiyan,Karuna ete all uneducated, uncivilized and former murderers who are unfit to hold any positions other than rowdyism and now Rajapaksas would be realizing and regretting for their mistakes.
chiv / February 16, 2021
Lanka is a property owned by Rajapaksa family and the rest you mentioned are squatters. Of course within family there will be disputes and conflicts in sharing the riches. Squatters may try taking sides just for their existence but that that does not mean they have any say.