By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
“SF has already fought in civil politics to learn the qualitative differences in battlefield-leading and leading among civilian populations. I am sure he will adhere to those lessons of political life.”
History does not teach us two lessons; the second one isn’t a lesson; but a deadly, unrelenting, terminal blow.
Writers for the broad civil movement of yahapalanaya like us, were absolutely bewildered and stunned when our dear old President was seen playing a tragi-comedy in the style of Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, while evil forces who had set him up via proxies were laughing in the background.
The proxies succeeded in part by bringing into the periphery of power their masters or principals; they failed in letting the Unity Government implode from within. For that, we have already thanked the Prime Minister. It is now left to see if the evil forces of former authoritarian, corrupt, amoral and murderous leadership will wade their way through tricky waters right into the centre -once again. Our country cannot afford a repeat. The statistics of voting didn’t, to be sure, say that; but such an outcome cannot be ruled out given the reality of Lankan politics where rice and coconuts could sway populations more than polices for longterm welfare and prosperity.
Good Human Being
In Maitripala Sirisena, we have a good human being who could sing along with Amaradeva or carry over his shoulders the remains of that great legend of our times. The nation will not forget such symbolisms. Sirisena is not a flambyuoant type wearing a special Satakaya to look special like Gaddafi. He does not wear gold rings-even enchanted ones- around all his fingers. Have we seen even Pirith Nool around his wrist? Unlike Ranil, he never even visited the Kovil to placate that deity. On the other hand, he has to learn to be more sophisticated about political forces and not be unfittingly caught in political traps. How could he ever have trusted the SLFP or UPFA blokes who regathered around him for positions? Especially those who are seen in videos even today on social media running down and insulting Maitripala Sirisena during the 2015 Presidential election campaign? It is downright commonsense, surely?
Balaya Vindeema and Balopadaana
However, strangely, we seem to find President Sirisena morphing into something of his predecessor and we were scared of things to come. This is the taste of power-they say. The experience of power (balaya vindeema) seems to inevitably and imperceptibly slip leaders-whether in government or business- to a state of clinging to power (balaya upadaana or balopadaanaya). Mahinda Rajapaksa tasted absolute power for so long that he could live it up only by delusions of grandeur that he developed. I suppose, that may be the next stage after upadaana.
Three years into power, our friend Maitripala Sirisena developed upadaana. On the advise of his proxies he had a go at an extension that brought chills down our spine reminding us of the 18th Amendment. Then, he was persuaded to believe that he can lead an independent alternate force challenging his predecessor. For that, he had to differentiate himself from Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP. What happened after that is bad history.
Bring in Sarath Fonseka
That President Sirisena hasn’t fully comprehended the lesson of the recent past seems clear when one observes how he had turned down a request by PM to hand over the much talked -of Law & Order Portfolio to the former General who is now in the UNP. It seems obvious that the President’s proxies are still at work. Former regime men know that their fate is sealed with SF in that chair. Supporters of yahapalanaya and the UNP want just that. On the other hand, the President has refused just that.
Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka has proved himself as a tough and no-nonsense, incorruptible leader who demonstrated every resilience to win the war for our country. He and his men travelled every terrain and bog; under sun and rain; amidst raining bullet fire from enemies to get to that goal. For the portfolio of Law & Order, the country needs a man of that calibre. SF has already fought in civil politics to learn the qualitative differences in battlefield-leading and leading among civilian populations. I am sure he will adhere to those lessons of political life. Our instinct and intuition says, “Give it to him.”
That act of giving alone would go a long way to boost public confidence in the yahapalanaya government. That will also keep the JO jacks-in -the -boxes on alert-not to make mischief. The public cry for resolute action and they are fed up with pussyfooting
Ranil cannot hold this portfolio as he isn’t temperamentally suited for that. Besides, his skills are pertaining to the economy and policy planning at which he has been doing pretty well.
*The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org