to hang on to and return to power
If we can imagine what it must feel like to lose the gates of
opportunity and a life of plush living with a single signature we must
also imagine why The All Island Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka
Freedom Party (SLFP) was quick to unanimously endorse President Mahinda
Rajapaksa’s decision to sack Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Anura
Bandaranaike and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi.
Everyone was aware that it was only a matter of time for action against
these ‘dissidents’ to take place. Given the prevailing climate amidst
kidnappings, murders and human rights violations taking place in our
small isle, we must be happy that these Ministers only lost their
And why are they suddenly so unhappy? Mangala was undoubtedly one of the
key architects of bringing the incumbent President to power. According
to news columns he had wanted to be named the country’s Prime Minister.
Instead of the Premiership, he was given three of the best portfolios in
the country and obviously an indirect path to work his way up and become
known as the No.2 in line to power.
Then there’s the only son of the Bandaranaike legacy. Having being
demoted to holding the Ministry of National Heritage he suddenly
discovers he has been amongst a ‘carnival of clowns.’ Did it not dawn
upon him that he was a member of the very carnival of clowns when he was
enjoying unlimited foreign trips as Minister of Tourism?
Sripathi too was one of the men chosen to sit at most TV debates
throughout the election campaign and despite his late entry to politics,
he was offered a Deputy Ministership although with the reshuffling he
was reduced to a non-cabinet Minister.
One of the common traits of the three ousted Ministers was their
affinity to the former President who is still unable to come to terms
with the fact that she is now out of power. Blood may be thicker than
water for Anura B now, but he surely must recall how on top of UNP
stages he ridiculed and humiliated his own sister who was then the
President of the country.
Rumour is that another party is in the offing and claims that SLFPers
dissatisfied with the bagful of goodies offered to them following the
reshuffle also gather momentum. This is nothing to be surprised at.
Power yields a desire to remain in power and obviously these three
former Ministers as well as the former President, cannot come to terms
that they have lost power.
Obviously they would try all avenues available to ensure that they are
back in the saddle of power and luxurious living – we will all be seeing
the curtains raise soon and view the drama that is likely to unfold.
Just as great is the greed to hang on to power is the greed to return to
What the electorate needs to understand is that there is no friend or
foe in politics. All the representatives we term our leaders mesmerise
us into voting for them purely to secure their path to glory and a term
of unlimited powers for them and their kith and kin.
In many ways it is the public that must be blamed for the manner in
which these politicos drain all the hard work put in by us and trigger a
journey towards economic and social instability in our island nation.
Leave COPE alone!
There now seems to be a crafty move to do away with COPE after its
Chairman, Wijeyedasa Rajapaksa exposed the shocking state of affairs and
the criminal loss of resources from many Corporations. Corruption has
today reached unbearable levels with not only the shocking revelations
about the Corporations referred to but also after the VAT Scandal which
has eaten into the resources of the country. They say nearly Rs. 400 to
500 billion is the staggering loss from VAT - and yet the government has
still not made any visible sign of tracking down the first and some of
the other accused still at large.
For a poor third world country like ours, where they say nearly 50% are
living below the poverty line, the loss of these billions can only mean
that there will be no resources in the country to attend to the welfare
of our people, particularly the poor. To add to all this there is also
the report of the Auditor General about other losses to the Government.
With a shameful crossover only being discussed at the moment - just to
keep the politicians of the government and the UNP in power, nothing is
being done to save the country from the mess it is heading for. The loss
of billions with particularly the government doing nothing - and no
attempt being made to recover it - the people and the country will be
paying a heavy price if they are going to make ends meet. Electricity
and water have gone up and the cost of milk food, sugar, and other items
all of which have to be imported is now soaring up to the skies.
The people of this country have a right to demand from the country that
is time it took steps to stop the growing corruption in the country,
which is causing enough and more problems for our people, and put in
place immediately all the action that it has failed to take to bring in
those criminals who are still at large after having robbed a poor third
country like ours of billions. The Government cannot remain idle any
longer over the billions it has lost and is continuing to lose, all of
which will mean that the country will soon be in dire financial trouble.
With the Government, virtually taking no visible steps to stop the
growing corruption - and billions lost to the country - one even wonders
whether it is an attempt by the government to prevent-or stall the
investigations into corruption/taking place. – The move to do away with
COPE - if it proceeds, the people of this country will never forgive the
Modus Operandi of the ‘Sour Grapes’ gang
The news media is full of rather hilarious outbursts from Anura
Bandaranaike and the others who were stripped of their portfolios. This
of course is to be expected while at the same time, it also exposes the
true colours of these politicians who profess to be “extremely concerned
“ about the welfare of this country!
The prodigal son of the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Sirimavo
Bandaranaike in one news item published in “The Nation” of February 11
titled “Glad to be out of this carnival of clowns” it is stated (quote):
“Speaking to The Nation yesterday Bandaranaike said that he was happy to
no longer be a part of the ‘carnival of clowns’ that is this government
and is relieved to be absolved of responsibility for all the nation’s
In the “Sunday Island” of February 11 the headlines are “Anura Wants
Chandrika to Battle Rajapaksa brothers” in which it states “Speculation
in political circles is that Bandaranaike believes that if he decided to
quit his parliamentary seat the UNP would accommodate him.”
The above versions of news items, shows the mentality of Anura
Bandaranaike quite well-that he has no loyalties except looking for a
comfortable and important place where he can waste away State funds!
This is the son who speaks so much about how much the Bandaranaike
family has “sacrificed” for the people of this country? As long as he
was Minister of Tourism under the incumbent President where he could
have “unlimited globe-trotting” in the guise of promoting tourism, he
was happy to be moving with the “carnival of clowns” but no sooner than
he was given a portfolio where all that would be curtailed –all the
others became clowns! It is common knowledge that a drunkard never says
he is drunk, a madman never admits he is mad and now we have a clown who
does not know that he has always been clowning his way through Sri
It is also learnt that Anura Bandaranaike wants his “Chaura Rajini”
sister Chandrika Kumaratunga to address the press conference that he
hopes to convene at Cinnamon Grand because obviously being an old
Royalist who is decent enough to use filth on telephone callers, he
feels he cannot match his sister in vindictive and manipulative attacks
on those who are a challenge to the Bandaranaike family. Chandrika
Kumaratunga definitely has special skills to lie (according to her, she
observes Pancha sil which in itself, is breaking the 3rd precept!).
On the other hand, we have read news reports to the effect that the SLFP
Ex-Co has unanimously endorsed the decision of President Rajapaksa to
expel these ministers who were hoping to have the best of both sides
until they thought they were adequately prepared “to upset the apple
cart”-misfortune indeed that the plan misfired.
If a politician in this country sincerely had the welfare of the country
at heart, it is immaterial what portfolio is given to him, he will get
about his duties and responsibilities and ensure he does an honest job
to justify the special perks he enjoys in this country. On the other
hand, time-servers like the expelled politicians, irrespective of what
is given to them will always be disgruntled and continue to look for
better “greener pastures” and think that the masses are such fools that
they are short-memoried. Unfortunately for the Bandaranaikes, the people
remember extremely well all what they have plundered from this country
using their executive powers. Besides, the people are also fully aware
that Chandrika Kumaratunga was so loyal to the GOSL that she conspired
behind the scenes with the “Terrorist King Prabhakaran” to smuggle his
wife and children out of this country for them to study abroad while he
on the other hand, kidnapped the children of other parents to employ in
his “children’s brigade” to be trained as suicide bombers!
Whether or not this plan is correct is yet to be seen but it is rumoured
according to the papers, that Chandrika Kumaratunga, Anura Bandaranaike,
Mangala Samaraweera, Ranil Wickramasinghe and what is left of the UNP
together with the JVP are planning to unite to make life difficult for
the incumbent government of President Rajapaksa. It is extremely
doubtful whether a JVP leadership that once walked out of Chandrika
Kumaratunga’s government due to “her exemplary performance and
loyalties” will ever touch her with a barge pole for a second time?
Under any SLFP led government that we remember, our experience is that
morality and decency in politics was at its lowest ebb during CBK’s
tenure as leader of the party and the Executive President of this
country. They must also not forget the fact that their uncle was
imprisoned for misappropriating State Funds while he was Deputy Minister
of Defence under the CBK rule as well as aiding and abetting the
manslaughter of political adversaries. It would be well for the
Bandaranaike siblings and anyone who hopes to hang onto the “Sari pota”
of CBK that politics in Sri Lanka has no place anymore for the
Bandaranaikes and it would we just as well that they realize this and
get away from this country once and for all.
Where is the visionary Ranil?
As I write this, herds of elephants are crossing over to the
Chinthana territory, while the ‘mahout’ is globetrotting. First, it was
Tanzania (to see wild elephants!), then it was India, Nepal and again
India. All this time, the grand old party was in turmoil, but the leader
did not seem to have a care in the world, sojourning in cuckoo land. It
is entirely, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s intransigence and stubbornness that
has led to the crossing over of some of the ablest people in the UNP.
The reforms to democratise the party have been discussed for well over
two years now, but Ranil and his cohorts have seen to it that nothing
meaningful was done.
“Ranil is a man with a vision for the country” is repeated ad nauseam by
his supporters - but like me many others in the country are beginning to
seriously doubt this. Which other party leader will stubbornly refuse to
step down, after repeatedly losing elections for over a period of 12
years or more? (Of course, he did make a half-hearted offer, but his
supporters were quick to knock it down!)
All what the reformists asked for was for the party constitution to be
amended so that decisions are made democratically and not by Ranil and
his clique. But, this was strongly opposed by his hangers-on, who would
have lost their privileged positions in the party hierarchy.
Now, the MoU, the UNP signed with the government has been ceremoniously
torn up - not that it mattered, it was a dead-letter in any case! Ranil
allowed the government to do as it pleased, ignoring even the most basic
tenets of good governance. The Constitutional Council remains defunct
and the Independent Commissions are controlled by the government,
despite the clause on good governance in the MoU.
I am afraid that the ‘Grand Old Party’ is now in for hard times - I
cannot see any hope for it as long as Ranil remains leader.
C. L. Jayaratne