What next for President Rajapakse & the SLPP
The best way to predict the future is to create it – Abraham Lincoln
10th February 2018 will go down in history as a watershed moment in Sri Lankan politics. It beat previous startling outcomes of 1956 and 1977. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna a lifespan of just 2 years electorally thrashed parties that had been in politics for over 70 years – UNP (1946), ITAK (1949), SLFP (1951), JVP (1965) & UPFA (2004). No bookie would have expected or predicted such a result. Every plan backfired in what has to be some divine intervention (sans astrologers) to safeguard Sri Lanka. None would have expected that in 3 years the people would democratically decimate the very government they helped bring to power in an almost unexpected democratic tsunami. It was a virtual Parliamentary cum Presidential election wherein the people came out to say they reject the Government, the Prime Minister & even the President all players the very voters brought to power in 2015. SLPP’s journey has more daunting challenges and threats than it can fathom. Are they upto the task?
The results no doubt must be a shock to every entity foreign and local that has been working 24x7 to emotional brand Rajapakse Government as rogues believing in the Goebelles theory of repeating a lie to make it a truth. With so many foreign intelligence, NGOs, foreign advisors and others on the ground none expected or even anticipated the outcome. Both local and foreign apparatus was on the side of the yahapalana government and every election rule was bent and violated with no punitive actions taken. 24x7 the SLPP were attacked both on private and state tv and media publications going down to the level of threatening to remove Mahinda Rajapakse’s civic rights & threatening to deny funds for the Local Government bodies that the SLPP may win. All that the SLPP had was the social media that the regime coup operators has found baffling to counter or dilute even with foreign training and the nationalist forces who were intelligent enough to read between the lines and provide all support voluntarily.
Rajapakse’s now given another lease to re-enter politics must not make the same mistakes that the Yahapalana leaders have made. Its well and fine to have foreign patronage but then foreigners do not deliver the votes – the people do. Miscalculations & taking people for granted and thinking people were stupid are a handful of the mistakes made by Ranil fraction. Knowing that in 3 years other than calling Rajapakse’s HORU (rogues) nothing substantial had been proven before any court of law. However, the Bond Scam associated with the EPF and Bank of Ceylon irregularities were enough for people to conclude who the real rogues were. The money lost to the State was evident and the state of the economy was witness. Moreover, it did not require any level of intelligence to conclude that the PM recommended a foreigner as Central Bank chief and that foreigner was not only connected to the LTTE but was also personally protected by the PM even inside the halls of Parliament. There was really no requirement for a Bond Scam investigation for people to conclude Ranil’s involvement in the scam even to the level of accepting him to be the mastermind having taken the Central Bank directly under him after controversially taking over as PM in January 2015 without a parliamentary election.
The psyche of the UNPers is difficult to fathom. They do not hesitate to call Rajapakse as a hora but are reluctant to refer to mass murder Prabakran as a terrorist, they preach anti-corruption but are mum on corruptions of their own leaders – anything UNP does is fine by them. Apart from a handful of UNPers who have been able to sieve the lies and put country first all others are beyond repair even for the sake of the nation.
Having drilled ‘corruption’ ‘anti-corruption’ into the minds of the people – the voters are unlikely to tolerate more than an acceptable level of corruption from any future government. So Rajapakse must immediately identify all players who have had a bleak record and distance himself from them lest he wants to suffer the same fate again. Rajapakse would recall that he would not have suffered defeat in 2015 had he taken action against MPs were being a public nuisance as well as controlled the occasions of going overboard by spouse & children (car races etc) these factors would not have been used as examples to justify the regime change. It hurt the sentiments of many to see the war heroes who had no comes or electricity of their own being used to build homes of Tamil IDPs when it was the duty of the state to raise the salaries of the men who sacrificed their lives to deliver us peace, to attend to pension anomalies & give them something extra which no one would have objected to. President Rajapakse must at all times remember all the ingredients that contributed to the foreign funded campaign to oust him in 2015 & ensure none is repeated.
While UNP’s vote base remains its eternally loyal 3.5m it has always vouched on the support of the Tamil, Muslim & Christian minorities (barring a few of each who have intelligence to put country before party) All of UNP’s actions and statements centre on the demands made by these entities primarily because of their international influence and support. Had Rajapakse heeded advice and appointed a commission to investigate LTTE TNA links and denazified LTTE criminalizing the use of any Eelam emblems/flags/slogans/songs etc even the Tamil victims of LTTE would have been grateful and the LTTE diaspora would not have had any footing to interfere in Sri Lanka’s affairs. Even Northern Chief Minister would not have the guts to be blowing hot and cold as he does if he knew the repercussions and realized that he was dealing with a government that would be scared of him like pansies.
However, what Rajapakse’s must remember but tend to forget is that the forces that have rallied around and supported them to power at every election since 2005 has been the working class, the middle class, the poor southern rural voters many of these sacrificed their sons to fight the enemy terrorists and live to mourn their loss in very poor economic conditions. Rajapakse’s will now regret that they transferred funds meant to develop the South to the North probably on foolish advice of some so called ‘smart patriots’ who had other plans in mind. Rajapakse in his shock defeat would have realized that he had failed the people who without expecting special favors cast their vote for him and supported him without question. These were the people who came in their busloads to boost his morale when he lost and the whole world branded him a rogue. No leader even foreign has had the fortune to have people in their thousands (women, children & even men) cry to see their leader defeated and thereafter go in busloads to see the face of their leader. These gestures were an envy to past leaders & most others who knew they could never even imagine people come to visit them leave alone cry for them. Rajapakse cannot forget these people for new friends.
Factors that contributed to the rejection of this government are many – the cunning manner constitutional changes are being secretly drafted with connivance of foreign NGOs, foreign envoys and LTTE diaspora, the shocking manner that the historical identity of the island Buddhism is being not only diluted but removed from a bogus new constitution, the manner in which military and intelligence personnel are being hurled and put into prison without bail, the controversial destruction of the arms supplies factory leaving Sri Lanka virtually defenceless, the manner in which treacherous locals working for foreign payrolls are given positions in the state and privy to all data that should not be open to them, the shocking manner scores of Buddhist theros are put into prison on sham charges like not having a license to keep an elephant in the temple, the secret deals and pacts with assistance of public officials that are allowing foreigners to enter carte blanche set up businesses like ETCA, ferry/road & rail link with India, to own property and land, bring their families, given tax havens and other concessions all of which will be detrimental to the country and pose serious demographic and security issues in the future. The minorities must be clearly conveyed that they cannot use their minority status to demand and accrue unreasonable demands and that no reconciliation can take place without reciprocation.
The Rajapakse’s cannot agree to any of the above and must commit to nullifying all these agreements and taking action against all corrupt public officials a factor that would bring about discipline to the public service and uplift its service mechanism. Rajapakse’s must remember that their greatest defense are the people who would back them if they do right by the nation and that is more powerful any demarches issued from embassies. One of the first and foremost issues that the Rajapakse’s must deal with is the UNHRC Resolutions and if Rajapakse takes the role as Opposition leader which he must insist upon, the international community must be lobbied and challenged to nullify all false claims for war crimes tribunals and all co-sponsorships by the Government based on handouts by the LTTE diaspora must be nullified forthwith.
Rajapakse’s must not fall for any traps that the Yahapalana coterie will plan to dish out and instead seek to remain in the Opposition using that position together with the hold over the local government bodies to strengthen ties with the people of these areas and develop the areas that had been neglected. There is little use in shouldering the liabilities of Ranil, two years before the big election.
How could Ranil & Sirisena have failed and frustrated the voters so much in 3 years? Both didn’t have Prabakaran blowing bombs causing chaos, the entire international community was on his side even showering awards but the rupee kept climbing and notes kept printing, there were no need to create false flag events, even the Opposition JVP & TNA were virtually on their side, so too was the media but not the social media and these are all lessons that the Rajapakse’s cannot brush aside, forget or believe the same will not happen to them.
The voters are certainly emotional and compassionate people but at the same time they can also hurt, they forgive but they do not forget and they silently watch and are patient enough to wait and deliver the blows when needed. This is what took Ranil, Sirisena, entire yahapalana Government & the foreign supporters & NGOs by surprise.
The SLPP probably would never have thought they would receive such an overwhelming mandate from the people and there was no Sumanasiri Astrologer either!
There are some factors certainly worth revisiting – should we be celebrating a bogus independence day when it should be either 22nd May when Sri Lanka became a republic in 1972 or May 19th when in 2009 Sri Lanka liberated areas that had been held by terrorists uniting the country as one island.
With people more alert, more informed and not easy to fool they are unlikely to want to tolerate the theatrics and drama as happens presently in parliament. Now men wearing suits behave like clowns.
While professionals are being encouraged to enter politics and bring professionalism to governance, it is advised to keep to a formula of have a reduced number of politicians in parliament and have a separate professional body of experts who are the policy makers and whose policies the politicians (cannot interfere in) but must canvass among the people as politicians know the art of reaching to the masses that professionals lack the expertise in. Better checks and balances, transparency and greater accountability will help leverage Sri Lanka in deciding policies based on Sri Lanka’s terms, for Sri Lanka’s benefit and to serve Sri Lankan citizens first and foremost. Sri Lanka must tap into experts from our own people. We do not need to import advisors or consultants. We must harness and nurture our own but work in a policy of non-alignment with all nations of the world clearly establishing no-go and no-interference areas clearly to foreign neighbors and others.
We are a small nation, our people are united so long as there is a united plan that equally benefits all and sans hidden agendas and other manipulations. These are all lessons that the Rajapakses & the SLPP decision makers need to now take cognizance of. Short-Medium and Long Term plans on economic, social, cultural, political levels must now itself be ironed out.
Its time to build the future - our future, together
it has been the inaction of those who could have acted;
the indifference of those who should have known better;
the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most;
that has made it possible for evil to triumph
Shenali D Waduge