By Kumar David –
It is not easy to decode Wimal Weerawansa’s (WW) game-plan, if he has one deeper than the antics that meet the eye. One school of thought is that he is plain dumb, a loose cannon, a ghastly racist with no well-laid plot. I am wary of this trivialising view. What bothers me is that a caucus of WW, Gammanpilla (UG), Vasudeva (VN) and representatives of 12 parties, met at WW’s house. I also got a report from a knowledgeable friend that an the inner circle “WW, UG, VN, Tissa and the CP met several times at WW’s house purportedly against Basil but actually to support Gota.” I was dismayed to hear Tissa’s name mentioned alongside these vermin; perhaps the report erred on this detail.
A Gota instigated conspiracy makes sense if there is dissension and infighting within the Paksa Clan, but that seems not to be the case. If so, WW-UG-VN (WGV-squad) as a Gota advance-guard does not square. True the Presidency is sinking fast; the economy is in tailspin, the pandemic is mismanaged, the external accounts are in Lakshman-defying descent, the military cocks-up of everything it touches, demented Presidential Commissions dance dervish jigs, forests are raped by pro-SLPP businessmen, financial rackets cause doubts re the probity of the President and the executioners in Geneva ready the guillotine. It’s only 16 months since the November 2019 Presidential Election and just over six since the 2020 General Elections at both of which Nandasena and the SLPP won unprecedented 72% Sinhala-Buddhist voter landslides. People with a limited stock of adjectives cry “incredible” at every turn so I refrain from this improper usage; but in this instance it is apposite to say that the descent of the Presidency into the pits has been incredibly rapid and amazingly multifaceted.
Another problem is the muddle created by manic Commission Reports. Everyone believes part and disbelieves the rest of every report; everybody is sure the Commissioners are toadies transcribing what they were told to say. Some monks insist that the names of the main plotters behind the Easter Attack have been hidden and a few allege that Basil is one. Some say it was an SLPP plot to destabilise yahapalana. Here is one of many typical comments from a neutral persons and explains why credibility in the government has buckled: “In all the cases against Rajapksa party people they are freed of any the high plot. Most cases they even not take to hear in the courts, they just dismissed without hearing. Government administration is gone to dogs. Nothing is done all are in a mess” (original wording). Ultra-racist Sarath Weerasekera says a Cabinet Paper has been tabled to ban Muslim women wearing the niqab and Burqa, this is instantly followed by Foreign Ministry avowal that such talk is all balls. The regime seems to be clueless which of its orifices it is expelling noxious gases through.
This is the season for plots and conspiracies. The ranting of the WGV-squad and the counter demand by 40 SLPP MPs that WW be ejected from Cabinet are typical flavours of the month. A friend SS sees the WGV-squad is a rerun of the 1960-64 Philip Gunawardena episode in the famous United Left Front (ULF). In April 1963 a SLFP, LSSP, CP no-contest pact unexpectedly gave the SLFP sufficient seats to form a government on its own but which was unstable. Trade union mobilisation around the “Twenty One Demands” in April 1963 was followed by formation of the ULF of the LSSP, Philip’s MEP and the CP in mid-1964. Philip a cardinal figure, succeeded in foisting acceptance of Sinhala-Only on the other two parties claims SS. The relevance to the WW saga is the possibility that in the wake of a failing regime, the WGV-squad is exploring prospect of launching out as a separate chauvinist mobilisation with ambitions of its own. If the regime’s fortunes plummet further and fissiparous tendencies materialise openly, this is an option, but as of now it only a possibility to watch.
“Round about the cauldron go: In the poisons entrails throw: Double, double toil and trouble: Fire burn and cauldron bubble”. Sure it’s a witches’ brew that the Double-Paksa regime is cooking up, is it not?