When is Ranil going to get the message?
Posted on October 11th, 2009

Ajit Randeniya

Another election has been held in Sri Lanka, resulting in another outright defeat for the UNP and its leadership,. By granting the UPFA a thumping 67.8 percent of the vote, and 38 of the 55 seats in the council, the people of Southern Sri Lanka have once again sent a clear message that is hard to miss, even by Ranil Wickremesinghe: the UNP is not what the country needs at this juncture.

Ranil’s greed for continued presence in the Sri Lankan political scene in the face of such demoralising defeats, and some of the claims he made during campaigning points to a disturbingly delusional state of mind. His campaigning essentially involved preparing the ground for the impending loss.

He alleged, on the face of his troops deserting him and the UNP in droves, that the government was trying to destroy some political parties in its greed for power. He also accused the government of attempting to take the full credit for the military successes against LTTE terrorism, ignoring the “ƒ”¹…”brave lads from villages’ who made great sacrifices. He also suggested that “ƒ”¹…”senior LTTE leaders’ such as Daya and George “ƒ”¹…”Masters’ were spared because they had threatened to reveal the truth about a secret meeting between the government and the LTTE in the Wanni. For a man who refuses to believe in foreign conspiracies against Sri Lanka, Ranil seems to be full of his own conspiracy theories!

He also attempted to claim a degree of credit for the victory over the LTTE, by asserting that the “ƒ”¹…”negotiations’ he started with the terrorists that were instrumental in causing the rift between the eastern and northern arms of LTTE, and over 4,000 cadres leaving the terrorist outfit.

Doing justice to such extravagant claims require a detailed look at the man’s performance at various level of the UNP, especially as Prime Minister from 2001-2005.

It must first be pointed out that the introduction of Ranil to Sri Lankan politics was one of the most damaging acts perpetrated by his “ƒ”¹…”Uncle Dick’, J.R. Jayawardena, in addition to the ideological and economic slavery he subjected the country to. In hindsight, it is clear that JR’s unmeritorious promotion of his fresh-faced nephew over the more senior, capable and charismatic UNPers has proven to be a calamity that fell upon the nation and the UNP. Ranil’s political career can only be summed up as “ƒ”¹…”a minister with lackluster performance and a disaster as Prime Minister.

The main “ƒ”¹…”crime’ Ranil Wickremesinghe committed against the nation involves the prolongation of the war with the LTTE through a serious of dim-witted operations and initiatives. He needs to take responsibility for the enormous loss of life and economic damage to Sri Lanka that resulted from the prolongation of the war.

The first of Ranil’s blunders, the “ƒ”¹…”Athurugiriya safe-house affair’ that followed his only election win in 2001 caused strategic damage of unimaginable proportions to he conduct of the war. Perhaps more importantly from a management point of view, the act displayed a total lack of “ƒ”¹…”judgment’ that is warranted in a national leader.

As is widely known, the raid on the Athurigiruya safe house operated by the Directorate of Military Intelligence negated the significant gains that had been made by the Army in eliminating some of the murderous leaders of the LTTE, causing paranoia in the minds of Pottu Amman and Prabhakaran.

Words cannot describe the imbecility involved in mistaking this operation and its resources for an Army conspiracy to assassinate the UNF leadership, disregarding the Army assurances that the operation was not an illegal activity and other desperate attempts by the Director of Military Intelligence to seek the intervention of the IGP. Needless to mention, the LTTE eliminated several key intelligence operators whose identities were revealed during this debacle.

Then his generous entry in to “ƒ”¹…”negotiations’ with the treacherous LTTE who had previously in 1987, 1990 and 1994 returned to terrorism, rejuvenated, after exploiting the government’s gestures. Ranil’s decision to offer negotiations unilaterally, without preconditions to an outfit with a history such as that of the LTTE shows that the man should not be put in charge of a “ƒ”¹…”chook raffle’, let alone a country facing ruination.

The absurdly unwise “ƒ”¹…”confidence building measures’ such as removing army checkpoints, freezing military force recruitments and allowing the transportation of items with potential military uses to the LTTE held areas were gleefully exploited by Anton Balasingham to bolster the LTTE’s capacity.

The worse damage to Sri Lanka however, was caused through the effects on the military forces’ morale and the fighting capacity that weakened the battlefield capability as well as the negotiating position. Now he claims credit for the demise of the LTTE!

All the election results repeatedly show that the people of Sri Lanka have a full appreciation of the lack of ability in Ranil to lead the nation. Now he might serve as an envoy for the foreign meddlers he is servile to. But the UNP needs to put Ranil out of his misery and find a leader that is acceptable to the people of Sri Lanka.

The moral of Ranil’s story for post war Sri Lanka is that non-merit based selection and promotion of people, be it in political parties or within the national and public services, has the potential to precipitate disastrous results for countries. It is time to make a fresh commitment to the merit principle.

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