20 July, 2018

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Why Ranil Is The Last Hope For Sri Lanka’s Failing Good Governance?

By Vishwamithra

“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them” ~Winston S. Churchill

Maithripala Sirisena did his job. His job was not to win the Presidential Elections in January 2015. His was to leave his Party and its leader and the Executive President of the country at the time and challenge him at the Elections. That decision was a momentous one. It was a daring only either the most stupid or the most courageous would take, whichever way one looks at it. The scorn that was hurled at him and the vituperative verbiage that was aimed at him recognized no boundaries. Maithripala Sirisena’s decision was momentous because his decision entailed, among others, bidding adieu to a long-winded political life in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). By deserting his Party and challenging the ‘pseudo war-hero’ Mahinda Rajapaksa, withstanding the contempt of the Rajapaksas as a traitor to the cause of the common man and succeeding at the last Presidential Elections, ‘Maithri’, as he is fondly called by his friends and foes, made an enormously decisive move which is rarely embark on by politicians.

How the nomination of Maithripala Sirisena as a common candidate of the then Opposition came about, the writer is not privy to discuss. But in the shadows of Maithripala’s desertion of his SLFP, lurked another ‘strategic sacrifice’. That was Ranil Wickremesinghe’s. Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Leader of the Opposition; he was the undisputed leader of his Party, United National Party (UNP); his party had been at the losing end at the electoral level for a span of twenty plus grueling years. The ‘starvation of political power’ on the part of the UNP stalwarts and its lower level supporters had reached insufferable dimensions. The Eighteenth Amendment had buttressed the Rajapaksas well beyond all expectations; it lent a delusional satisfaction to its authors and framers that their power was forever. But that was to anticipate events to come.

In order to accommodate the nomination of a common candidate against Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil, the leader of the UNP, had to make a specific sacrifice. The prevailing belief at the time was that Ranil Wickremesinghe was never destined to be the President of the country. Yet the elections held just prior to the declaration of the Presidential Elections for the Uva Provincial Council signaled a strong indication that the UNP was on an upward swing. The United People’s Freedom Alliance’s (UPFA) domination of Sri Lankan elections continued as expected. It retained control of Uva Provincial Council. However, the UPFA recorded a loss of votes in the province, after the Presidential Election in 2015 a number of UPFA councilors crossed over to UNP to back Harin Fernando which enabled him to secure the position of Chief Minister and toppling the UPFA rule in Uva Province.

Here is a comparative analysis of the election results:

A sizeable erosion of the Sinhalese-Buddhist voting bloc from the Rajapaksa-led UPFA at the Provincial Council elections to the anti-Mahinda Rajapaksa candidate (Maithripala Sirisena) is very much close to the swing that was visible in the 2014 PC elections. In other words, even if the candidate was Ranil Wickremesinghe, the UNP leader would have had more than a fighting chance in securing a victory at the Presidential Elections. The point I’m trying to make is that Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP made a huge sacrifice in conceding the nomination to Maithripala Sirisena. It was the UNP, Tamils and Muslims who placed Sirisena at the seat of power, not the SLFP-led UPFA voters.

There is a nagging constant in Presidential Elections in Sri Lanka. It is that no candidate can secure a victory at the elections if he or she cannot ensure the majority of the Tamil and Muslim votes. The only exception was in 2009 and it was due to the prevailing conditions in the country in the immediate aftermath of the ‘war-victory’. In 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to win because the Tamils in the North were prevented from voting at the behest of Velupullai Prabhakaran. Who was primarily responsible for Prabhakaran’s decision is no secret anymore.

Maithripala Sirisena did his ‘job’ by deserting his party, SLFP and consenting to run as the anti-Rajapaksa candidate. Ranil Wickremesinghe did his job by securing 100% of the UNP voting bloc for Sirisena. It is utterly futile to debate as to which job was greater or which one smaller. Later, the SLFP Ministers and other parliamentarians were accommodated in the present government because it was provided for in an agreement between the two leaders, Ranil and Maithri. Even after the General elections later in 2015, the UNP could have formed a government without the aid of the SLFP had the UNP decided to form one with the help of the TNA and the Muslim Congress.

A corrupt set of political vultures who flourished under the Rajapaksa regime managed to secure some Cabinet portfolios and are now trying to steer the ship as if it was they who elected Maithripala Sirisena to power.

During the last couple of weeks I had the occasion to speak to some UNP Cabinet members as well as a number of MPs on the current ‘crisis’ which the Joint Opposition’ is wanting to make real. An intimation of being let down was audible and being at the receiving end of woeful ‘ungratefulness’ was the greatly felt sentiment. It is not good. For the sustenance of the current administration, a solid and firm understanding and empathetic dynamic between the two leaders, Ranil and Maithri as well as the second and third-tier leaders of the two parties, UNP and SLFP, is a prerequisite. Without that mutual understanding, the breakdown of the anti-Rajapaksa forces is inevitable.

It is not rocket-science. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s hands must be strengthened and it must be done now, not tomorrow or the day after. Those who delivered the elections to Maithripala Sirisena cannot be discarded like ‘karapincha’. That was the treatment that was meted out to the Rajapaksa loyalists. The strength of the current government is nothing but the strength of the UNP, no more, no less. Criticism of either party by any leader, whatever layer he or she comes from, must stop forthwith. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s personal commitment is visible but he must ask his party members to do so too. Chasing newspaper headlines is childish and would not serve any short, mid or long-term interests of the country.  Maithripala Sirisena has an enormous responsibility to get his party people to do the same. Ingratitude is no worthy badge to wear.

Both Ranil and Maithri must be now realizing the fundamental error that they committed at the very outset of forming the new government in 2015. The absence of a comprehensive code of conduct for members of parliament of both parties is a grave omission. Lack of discipline could kill a political alliance in no time, whether the alliance did look solid and unbreakable at the beginning. The worst part of the new coalition between Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe must in every nook and cranny look better than the best part of the Rajapaksa regime. That is a very tall order. Then only the people at large would accept the current administration. Good Governance is not a slogan. It is not an illusion and nor is it a utopian dream. Good Governance or Yahapalanaya is a real, dynamic and living organism. Its survival is very much dependent upon the commitment on the part of the partners of the coalition.     

Supporters of both parties, UNP and SLFP, might well be advised to grasp the wisdom of the following quotation by Sun Tzu who wrote thus: ‘Do not engage an enemy more powerful than you. And if it is unavoidable and you do have to engage, then make sure you engage it on your terms, not on your enemy’s terms’. If mutual defeat is to be avoided, it is not only the party leaders of the coalition, the lower-level supporters too need to be disciplined and well-guarded against the vagaries of political winds. Don’t let the victories of January 2015 go waste; don’t let your elongated egos override the simple logic of survival and sustenance. In the current and immediate context, safeguarding and protecting Ranil Wickremesinghe is of utmost validity; its significance cannot be overstated. Even a hint of a Rajapaksa-return is not an option. That is  why Ranil could be the last hope for Sri Lanka’s failing good governance.   

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

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Latest comments

  • 7
    11

    RW has an excellent chance of winning the Presidency in the absence of a dynamic and charismatic rival. All he needs is about 35% of the Sinhala vote and 99% of the Tamil and Muslim vote. He can win like Obama won; Obama did NOT get the majority of White voters either in 2008 and 2012. On the contrary, he got a minority of White votes but it was a big minority rounding upto about 43% nationally. Nearly all (95%) black voters cast their ballot for Democrat Barack Obama. Among Latino voters, 67% voted for Obama while 31% voted for Republican John McCain. Among Asian voters, 62% supported Obama and 35% voted for McCain. In contrast, WHITE voters supported McCain (55%) over Obama (43%).

    In 2012, he still won only 39% of White voters and Romney won 59% of the White votes. YET he won because he still won 93 % of the Negro vote

    • 5
      2

      In 2005, also Ranil without all these thought, He would be the president. Now, Ranil the RAT is the Best robber in the world greater than the one who carried out the Great Train robbery, there is a good chance that RANil the RAT will be the best among the Rat. Certainly, Tamils need a president like that because Pabakaran is gone. Bank – robber is the best to be the president.

    • 0
      1

      Obama McCain double act of President and Vice President was the best USA ever had.. So bin your racist analysis and statistics.

      Mixed race american divorcee will soon become part of the world respected Royal Family. So tell your white racist to learn and practice the Royal courtsey, they will be soon bowing to a American half caste

    • 2
      3

      Vishwa and Banon: how wrong headed, foolish and stuck in the old corrupt paradigm you are! The JVP should win and AKD lead Lanka this time around.
      Ranil Wickramasinghe MUST be impeached for the Bond scam and the Culture of immunity and impunity for corruption for politicians that he promotes via talk of “parliamentary privileges”.
      There should be a retirement age for all politicians over 60- as for Govt. servants and heads of armed forces.This corrupt generation of politicians is hogging power and blocking younger and more honest politicians.
      Ranil has ruined UNP and indeed the political culture of Sri Lanka and blocked younger people while losing for years while spreading corruption through the body politic. Ranil must go!

    • 0
      0

      Getting 35% of the Sinhala vote and 99% of the Tamil and Muslim vote will never endear a leader of this utterly biased (Sinhala-Buddhist) culture. One may “win” but to rule and take punitive measures that are essential in Sri Lanka at this time: forget it!!

      • 1
        0

        As a Sinhala Buddhist, I must say the day we are truly free and fair, is the day we accept and have a non Sinhala, not Buddhist leader of this nation, whose greatest claim to Presidency is that he is SRI LANKAN!

        There has to be a meaning for the two words SRI LANKAN. To me it means everyone with that label stands equal.

  • 13
    6

    Answer to the Question : Because he is the chief Bond scam Conniver

  • 17
    3

    If it was any other author I would have thought it was written as satire but unfortunately this dyed in the wool UNPer means he is being serious…..40 years in politics with nothing to show.

    The only man who single handedly reduced the UNP to not being able to even nominate a candidate in the last two presidential elections !

    Wow what a leader!

  • 8
    1

    Vishvamithra: You would have seen this “Last Hope” falling apart and fading into thin air had he contested the Presidential Election in 2015 as the “Common Candidate”. Fortunately for the country this “Sirisena” was brought in by the Ven. Sobitha and if that did not happen, we would have been RULED by a TYRANT. All those who worked on that “PLAN” knew , your “LAST HOPE” was not the HOPE to oust that TYRANT. So please do not try to blacken the history. Just look at the “Bond Scam” and the recent Exchange Control Act of 2017 he had “Masterminded” and have a taste of that “Falling Good Governance” under his direct guidance and control.

    • 0
      0

      It was on the assurance of CBK and Mangy that the Ven: Sobitha thero agreed to put forward Sirisena as the common candidate. If these two acolytes of the Evil axis did not have their way a more efficient and honest person would have come been put forward by the NMforSJ and Sri Lanka would have really got back on track.

  • 3
    3

    Happy to see vishwamitra realise the fact. I did send him an email about the best common candidate and he did not agree with me as I had picked Ranil to be the man who can do it and who will do it. Its good that the people have started realising Ranil’s true potential now, there is ample time for 2020 and mark my words Ranil will be the 8th President of Srilanka.

  • 1
    0

    Pope Francis has delivered a keynote speech in Myanmar, demanding “respect for each ethnic group” but without referring specifically to its Muslim Rohingya community.. He was under pressure from the local Catholics not to use the word Rohingya. This is similar to Bank Moon landing on Tamil blood soaked Vaani earth to be garlanded by the bloodied hand of a Tamil kid. Banki Moon was all smiles. This is the hypocratic world we live.

    PS sorry for the typos. CT has turned of spell check correction.

  • 4
    1

    Last hope? Puh!

  • 6
    0

    Ranil should retire from politics as he is a bad leader who does not know how to select a team to run a country. He selected Ravi to be a the Finance Minister and Arjuna to head the Central Bank and those selections have been disasters! If you cant select your team then you cant be a leader!!

  • 2
    3

    When somebody asks you to find him a job and you do find him one, and then he goes and does some jiggery pockery there, should you, as the one who helped, also be thrown out your job? There is no issue in the history of our country which is so accusingly prejudged by the public (maybe except by Sujeewa) as this one, including by the president himself. Even his enemies don’t accuse RW of gaining personally by appointing Arjuna Mahendran as the governor of SLCB deliberately for that purpose.

  • 5
    2

    Maybe the author really wrote this article for the Newscurry site and posted it here by mistake!!!..True satire!

  • 8
    2

    What is the meaning of yahapalanaya ? Wearing a tie and a jacket at every opportunity and travelling overseas every week?

    Is there yahapalanaya inside the UNP? Transparency and internal democracy ?Is the best man leading the party ?

    It is a very strange yahapalanaya that a guy like Ravi K is appointed Finance Minister and a novice like Sagala becomes a minister.

    RW can be PM only for 2 years and then he self destructs .

  • 3
    0

    Politics and War: </bIn this article Vishwamitra to portrays politics as nothing but WAR. The quotes from Churchill and Sun Tzu prove this. They concern warfare. The tendency to equate politics to war has been on going, which is not a good trend. War is dehumanizing and appeals to the worse aspects of human emotion while politics, in the ideal case, is honorable and appeals to good sense and to do what is best for the country and its people – not to any other organization such as the political party that one belongs to.

    I am one of those who wholeheartedly believed in Ranil as a good politician and a leader who could lead Sri Lanka to some sort of glory. With the bond scam all that evaporated. The point of the article seems to be to convince voters like me, of whom there are many, to retain their faith in Ranil. Why should we ignore the huge misdeeds of this man? Vishwamitra comes out with a reason – because he is the only good and capable leader to lead Sri Lanka.

    What an insult to our country of 23 million consisting of fairly well educated and intelligent people, great intellectuals, religious leaders etc.? Recent world history abounds with many examples of relatively unknown people taking over from well-known leaders and then doing great things. Anwar Sadat taking over from Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt is one of them. Sadat worked for peace with Israel at great risk and finally sacrificed his life for that.

    I know many who would still vote for Ranil. They do not need any convincing from people like Vishwamitra. But I am not one of them.

    • 3
      3

      I disagree with you Edwin. A new man turning out to be quite good is there. But the chances of him being useless and utterly harmful is much more. Ranil has been tested in the past and has proven to be trustworthy. Although the bond scam was a big surprise and I tried to understand what it was all about, I am still perplexed by the whole thing. I would like to bet on him rather than a new person considering everything.

  • 0
    0

    The Mathree/Ranil are on a slippery ground essentially because of Ranil. Ranil was flirting with Mahinda prior to the election for selfish reasons. He continued to flirt even after the elections, beginning with offering a Heli ride and preventing action against Mahinda & co for reasons best known to him. The citizens are inclined to believe that Ranil was repaying the favours received from Mahinda when he was the leader of the opposition. Further Ranil has also planned make ‘hay while the sun shine’ through Arjuna and Aloysius. Thus if he took action against Mahinda it would mean that the Kettle is Calling the Pot black.
    All this led to the down fall of the government and the people who voted for them. All what they can do now will be’too late and too little’ to sit on the saddle without being thrown off. Not because the horse is bad but because the rider is weak and slimy.

  • 4
    0

    A howling and moaning of a dog looking at the abyss……..clutching at straws……….

  • 6
    0

    Why ranil is the last hope because “he can rob the Central bank for one last time.”

  • 0
    0

    Lankan politics evolved around minority bashing.
    Remember late in 2014, MR raised the simple rustic logic “Known devil is better than an unknown devil”.
    It has now been established that the unknown is as corrupt as the known. We are being told to choose between the known and the known.
    We are back to minority bashing. Can they be disempowered more than is obtaining?

    • 0
      0

      what do you mean by Lankan politics? Sinhala politics or Tamil politics?

      Lets check the stats, politicians who promised talks with LTTE and extensive power devolution like CBK, RW and MY3 have been elected to the top job or PM post by the Sinhala public. While Tamil politics always revolves around Sinhala bashing.

      The issue is with you, your side. Stop blaming others and look inwards

  • 1
    1

    Ranil Wickremesinghe is the last of The Mohicans no doubt.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 5
    1

    Why this author think that the leader of a bank robber gang is the best fit for a prime minister and a contender for the president post in Sri lanka ?

    • 2
      0

      Adding further to the pertinent question posed by Jim Softy…….Why the author think;

      An accidental leader forced on to the position first by allowing him to be a MP during the landslide in ’77 by his uncle, became leader of the party due to LTTE assassination of more capable leaders Premadasa, Lalith & Gamini?

      Who lost 28 elections under his leadership?
      Hanged on to party leadership due to lack of internal democracy?
      Tainted with Batalanda ” Bheeshanaya”?
      Who was not thought fit to run for the presidency twice by the party/support base due to un-electability?
      Became PM through the back door with no legitimacy purely on a non constitutional deal with the executive?

  • 2
    0

    Aiyo Sira did not defect to save democracy or the country. He left the SLFP in the lurch to protect the illegal loot he and his brothers have accumulated in the last
    quarter of century. Look at where they were in the beginning – as poor sons of a
    paddy farmer – and now controlling the entire paddy industry of the country, 4-star hotels and other mega investments. He read the calculations of the Rajapakse family
    correctly in the pre-2015 years. MR/GR/BR were moving to make their family the
    only political empire in the country for at least the next 50 years. The Aiyo Sira
    fortunes would have vanished in no time if the Rajapakses stayed in power. And so, Sira moved to save the family’s ill-gotten loot. All he needed was the support of a few influential and powerful priests. He has them in plenty – at least till now.

    So watch out. Sira will swing the way in the next few months how and where the wind blows. Integrity, the country, Buddhism, the SLFP, principles -brinjals!!!. As they say Salli – deiyange malli. To that extent Gamarala is a wise guy.

    Liyanamahathaya

  • 0
    1

    The savvy Vishwamitra abandons his expected role as neutral journalist (?) Political Analyst and bats for Ranil W in this usually well structured piece. If Sri Lanka is to be saved the urbane Ranil, with all his faults, foibles and moods, must come back. The alternative is Sri Lanka, with all its fancy high-rises and 7-star hotels will be turned into another Beirut. The battle for the key sea lanes, where Colombo Port plays a strategic role, has already begun. China, on the one hand, is one contender. India is the other – both for her own and as surrogate for the US and the Western Alliance. Remember, unprecedently, both have diplomatic watch-posts outside the Capital – making it clear matters have gone out of the hands of GoSL. The debt issue makes matters worse for Sri Lanka – thanks to the venal Rajapakses who sold the country’s family silverware.

    Doubtless, as the Chinese say interesting times are ahead!!!

    Kettikaran

  • 2
    0

    What an argument!. Does the writer wants President to look the otherway and let UNP do anything, because it helped him to become President?. Then people saying MR should be President as he won the war against LTTE is also valid. In a country where votes can be bought for a free meal through gratitude this argument is not surprising. Anybody who stands by principles irrespective of favours obtained should be applauded. Wonder if writer falls into the category of journalists the President was talking about.

  • 0
    0

    ” Nettle Grub”
    Vishwamithra’s article is good, but in parts. The bad greatly exceeds the good. For brevity. R W is:(a) Public relations disaster. He is bumptious, arrogant, clannish and an unsuccessful comedian in Parliament. (b) He is dangerously reckless. 100,000/= to MPs, 10, 000/= to MP retirees, concurrence in vehicle import frauds (c) Creating a cohort of a ‘Royal Family’ (d) Sponsoring reckless, grandiose and unreal dreams – Financial hubs, 1,000,000 new jobs, Hoaxwagen are some. (d) Possibly in a game with MR. Protector of RK, AM AA, SS, SR. (thus an insincere opportunist) (e) No longer Mr Clean. Serial loser. (f) Not Presidential material. MS is (a) Less a martyr than a betrayer (b) Ineffective leader (c) Years of cohabitation with MR probably learnt some bad habits (d) Profligacy (eg Jaunts) and obvious nepotism. (e) Insincere religiosity and pointless preacher. (f) Will link up again with MR at an advantageous time (g) The country must seek fresh leadership. Political “experience” is unimportant. Integrity, wisdom, impartiality, and technological competence are paramount. May be we could be lucky as both major parties have comprehensively debased themselves and JVP is unreliable. Possible dream?

  • 0
    0

    Not that right thinking man or woman of our country that majority voters are believed that RW is last hope for “good governance” in Sri lanka. The two word of “good governance” and “rule of law” which never known to politics of UNP and Ranil Wick’s the Democracy of parliamentary system of governances. Therefor after 2015 January 8th the real politics of business of state is performed behind Parliament the scenes by the top ranking few UNP leadership. They discard an entire norms of Parliamentary democracy has upside down by RW leadership.

    Under the UNP leadership-mode of operation that minority has being an appointment as the Leader of Opposition(TNA) and few members of JVP been an opposition-organizer. Undoubtedly UNP ‘democracy’ slipped in against the will of people which United Opposition which Right to be represtattives of chamber put into dustbin of Parliament by RW.

    Which was not their victory of” good governance” of democracy in 2015 January 8th ,it was counter-revolution led by Ranil Wicks ,MS and CBK of that three in one combination of the merciless power of politics by anti- democracy tools of power of RW..

    While Parliamentary has shifted that is given up to talk for the fooling the common men and women by UNP leader of RW during last 3 years.
    The freedom of expressing of time has curtail and hence consensus and deliberation inside parliament rules has change, that bring an unwarranted rules of standing order proceeding to limitation power of majority members of Opposition of chamber has been stop by UNP -speaker in the chair….House.

    All in all are we can describing as crude falsification of UNP politics has leads incredible political stupidity of Democracy last 3 years by RW.
    It is clear events can see growing unpopular ,that discontent ,impatience and indignation of anti-people policies are increasing aggravation by UNP leader of RW.

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