Common Candidate a Storm in a Tea Cup? It is only another political gimmick by the dormant opposition and reactionary forces to destabilize the government
Posted on November 5th, 2009

Dr Sudath Gunasekara. President Senior Citizens Movement, Mahanuwara 2.11.2009.

Politically popular but utterly stale terms like political solution, devolution of power, minority aspirations and Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism and even independence of the press etc appears to have been eclipsed and temporally replaced by a newly invented political catch word; “ƒ”¹…”Common Candidate’ over the past few days. Apart from querying why a common candidate against Mahinda Rajapaksa the question is also asked as to who this uncommon common candidate is. Two names have been mentioned in this regard. That is Sarath Fonseka, the CDS and Sarath Nanda De Silva the ex Chief Justice. But so far none of them have made any comment on this proposition. They remain uncommitted. Then who is this most uncommon common candidate? May be the UNF will take this wonderful political animal out of the hat very soon.

 In the first place let us find out as to why the opposition especially the UNP is looking for a common candidate to be fielded as the nominee of the so-called United National Front against MR. At first superficially as everybody understand, it is the inability to find a suitable man or even a woman within their fold including Ranil Wickramasinha, Hakeem and Mangala to give a contest to MR. This clearly shows the political bankruptcy of both UNP and its allies.

 Looking at the current popularity of MR and the past records of electoral defeat of Ranil it is obvious that Ranil cannot defeat the incumbent President unless he gets all the votes of minorities en masse and more particularly the Tamils in the North, East and the Estates. He also will not be accepted as the common candidate by JVP because they do not have any thing in common with the UNP other than the need to remove MR. As both the UNP and the JVP desperately want Mahinda Rajapaksa out they appear to have agreed on a complete outsider who could in their opinion poll more votes than Ranil. Both the UNP and the JVP wants the executive Presidency out. In my opinion, even though there are few problems with it like the Presidents immunity, its abolition is not a national priority.  People in this country are not concerned whether it is an Executive President or a Prime Minister who heads the government. What they want is efficient and good governance. Majority are also not concerned what party governs the country provided there is good governance and development in the country.

 In fact as I see it this is the time we need to have a stronger head of state than ever before. Had it not been for the Executive Presidency, I don’t think, a Prime Minister in Parliament would ever have been able to defeat the LTTE.  In this back drop why cant the opposition give up this power struggle and strengthen the Presidents hands to take the country forward instead of “ƒ”¹…”sending him home’ as they say it . Why cant these politicians keep aside petty jealousies and parochial politics and accept the fact MR has done a job which no other Head of government could do during the last 30 years by defeating the LTTE? Why cant these people put the country before self if they really love the country and its people and think of a national effort (Government) instead of trying to throw the baby with the waters of the bath tub? It is a tragedy they don’t understand this simple logic. The reason as I see is we don’t have statesmen. We have only petty poli-ticks and poly-tricks. That is why the removal of the President and the executive Presidency has become the priority number one for them today.

 What they want is only to come to power and enjoy its benefits. I think it is high time the patriotic people of this country organize themselves to replace these power hungry self seeking misbehaved politicians with patriotic statesmen who will put the country and the people before their own self. At the moment removing MR and abolition of Executive Presidency are the common denominators on which they are working on an outsider. Anyone can form any kind of alliances. But they little realize that the people will naturally ask the question as to how they are going to form a government even if their Presidential candidate wins the elections. I don’t think even they themselves have given any serious thought to this problem. Of cause there is nothing surprising about it as none of these politicians have long term policies. They only engage in fire fighting just for the time being to come in to power. They may also know that even a common candidate cannot defeat MR. But by introducing a popular candidate than Ranil they may be harping on a possible reduction of the 50% + requirement for MR to be declared as the President elect. This in my opinion is only a political day dream. Because those who know the pulse of the people of this country know Mahinda Rajapaksa will definitely poll more than 50%+

 This is what an average man would normally think. But the more sophisticated will try to find a deeper reason or more reasons for that matter to explain as to why this unusual love for an outsider- as a Common Candidate has suddenly sprung up.

 As I see it the answer in any case can’t be that simple. There is I think a sinister foreign hand as well in this coup. It could be Blake, Soltz Heime or many more like that who wants Mahinda Rajapaksa out. There is also the local so-called professional reactionary group that wants MR out. There could be wheels within wheels in this conspiracy. They all hate MR as he is not amenable and also he represents the Sinhala Buddhist majority aspirations. He being a “ƒ”¹…”non-Colombian’ and a champion of the rural masses is strongly disliked by the west as well as the Colombians. For the west he is a rebel in the South Asian region who should be got rid of as soon as possible in order to perpetuate their neo-colonial exploitation and consolidate their geo-political hegemony. That is why they are creating all these false allegations against him and his team who comprehensively defeated the LTTE terrorists. In short they are engaged in a pell-mell war to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa from his present position.

 Dragging Sarath Fonsekas and sarath Nanda de Silvas in to this picture is only a part of this conspiracy. I don’t think any one in this circle is serious about Fonseka or any other outsider for that matter. In my opinion this is only a big hype. I think it is a subtle way of trying to create a rift between the General and the President and thereby generate political confusion in the country. If they can introduce Fonseka definitely they can disrupt the Sinhala Buddhist electorate even if they fail to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa then their sinister objectives of destabilizing this Island nation are fulfilled. For them the unity of Mahinda-Gota and Fonseka triumvirate is the biggest obstacle. But for the country it is a blessing.

 If they stand united like how they did in the war the country will go forward and the opposition will have to remain in opposition for many more moons to come. That is why they are desperate to destroy that alliance. They think their only job is to oppose and never to support for nation building.

 Regarding the candidature of the common candidate this is what I have to say. Sarath nanda de Silva is a free man as such he can come in at any time as the common candidate. But I don’t think he can make any impact that could threaten the position of MR. Even Ranil may be able to collect more votes than him. So you can conveniently forget about him in this tussle.

 With regard to the General it is different. The whole country knows his role in the war. People like him and they love him. But he is the incumbent Chief of Defense of Staff. One can argue he can resign and come. But it want be as simple as one would see. Because even if he opts to resign, which I have my great doubts, his resignation will be valid only if the President accept it. Even if the President accept the resignation it will be effective only from the date the President subscribe his signature to it. Suppose the President accept it wef a date after the day of nomination then what happen. He wants be able to give nominations. This will effectively close the door for him. I am sure Sarath Fonseka should know this situation better than any body else. I think he has been appointed as the CDS for a two year period.

 Secondly it was President Rajapaksa who hand picked him as the Army Commander at a time he had been earmarked to be retired. It was also the President who gave him power and all what he asked for to complete the job and subsequently appointed him as the Chief of Defense Staff.

 Thirdly the men who are trying to promote his candidature are the very people why ridiculed and despised him as a man who is not fit even to be the Head of the Salvation Army, Also they are the people who said he has gone only to Medawachchiya and Pamankada when Kilinochchiya and Alimankada were overrun by his cadre. Besides this the allegations brought against him by Mangala Samaraweera, I don’t think he has forgotten.

 Fourthly the General’s perception of the national problem and the solutions are closer to the President and they are diametrically opposed to the UNP and the other members of the new Alliance. Therefore it is easier for him to work with MR rather than anybody else.

 He also knows that the opposition wants him not because they like him but just because they think he will stand a better chance than Ranil and they are going to use him only as a bait to catch a big political whale. Even if he wins in three months time he will be a puppet in the hands of the new government performing only ceremonial functions.

 In this back drop unless the General is really mad I don’t think he will ever commit this political hara-kiri. For these reasons I don’t think Sarath Fonseka will ever come forward for this election. Apart from all this the way I have understood him and he being a proud product of Ananda College, I don’t think will ever be a victim of this treacherous conspiracy. I have never seen him or spoken to him. But what have observed he could never be a shaky and weak character to jump in to such hasty and foolish decisions.

 Now the much publicized alliance also has been formed. But it appears that the JVP is already out of it. The new Alliance called the United National Front comprises four main parties including the UNP, the SLMC, SLFP (Mahajana Wing) and the Democratic People’s Front. The other parties in the Alliance are the National Development Front, New Sihala Urumaya, Prajatantrawadi Janatha Peramuna, Ruhunu Janatha Party, Janawimukthi Sahayogitha Peramuna, Ape Jathika Peramuna and Eksath Janatha Sandhanaya.  Of the first four it is only the UNP that could be considered a political party. Both SLFP (MP) and DPF are confined to two men and SLMC also now has no wings to fly. The others are only known to themselves and the alliance. No body else know about them. So now you can see how grand this alliance is. Personally I don’t see any thing new about it. A closer look at it shows that it is only a mole out  of  a  hill, delivered after  months of  pain.

 In this backdrop who will be the Common candidate? I take a bet, finally, it will be again Ranil the same old elephant who will contest and create a new record in losing elections. Of cause there is a very big but in this assumption on which the government has to be extremely cautious. That is on what the Tamil minority is going to do at the election. What Thondaman is going to do and also how the North and East minorities will vote at the end are crucial. If they also stand with the government then the new Grand Alliance of the three musketeers Ranil-Mangala and Hakeem triumvirate, the UNF, can blissfully sleep in the opposition for another six years. On the other hand if the Tamil vote in the estates and the North and East go against the government the situation could be really dangerous for the incumbent President. Who knows what Ranil and the minorities have up in their sleeves?  They may already have had secret talks on this issue. This is usually how political drama takes place in this country. As such the final result of the Presidential Election will depend of which way the minority wind will blow. Therefore in this highly uncertain and unpredictable political gambling, my conviction, both in the interest of the country and the government is, the President should not go for a Presidential Election until 2011. Because if he loses not only he will be gone but all sacrifices and the victories we have won will be totally reversed overnight. I would like to remind them the old Sinhala adage Ate inna kurulla pandure inna dahadenata wada watinaw ( the bird in the hand is worth ten in the bush). On the other hand if he decides to stay till 2011, both he and the government will be safe. Winning 2010 April Parliamentary election with their own President in the seat of power will also be easier for the government than otherwise. Therefore what we should do now is to harness all power and resources to get the 2/3 in the Parliament so that the government will be able to take all necessary steps to bring about much needed constitutional changes to take the country forward.

 What ever said and done the minority factor is critical in the Presidential election. Thanks to Pirapaharan last time he dint allow them to vote. Had they voted the story of Sri Lanka would have already become the story of the EELAM. Therefore under this precarious situation if I were the President I would never go for Presidential election just now. I will wait till 2011 and do all what I could do to bring back peace, law and order, communal harmony and prosperity to this Island nation. Meanwhile I will clean up the political and administrative stables and accelerate development and try to first win the hearts of all three communities by converting this country to a model state where there will be only one nation, and one country. It would be pertinent to note here that even Rajasinha the 11 won the war against Portuguese on the advice given to him by an uneducated old woman in Marassana.

 If I could make a random list of people’s priorities the government should immediately attend to which it can address its mind during the next two years of Presidents office they could be listed as follows.

1. Abolition of the Provinces and Provincial Council system and consolidating a District based strong mechanism of governance.

2. Reducing the number of MPP in Parliament to 125 and the number of Ministers to 15  And reduce all their exorbitant privileges and install it as a service rather than a burden to the country.

3. Abolition of the PR system and going back to the firs past the post system so that every electorate will have an MP to represent them in Parliament and the election procedure  will be made less complicated

4. Draw up anew political map for Sri Lanka comprising three Ratasabhas making use of the time tested ancient Tunrata concept (that was the solid foundation of the Sinhale Kingdom from 327 BC to 1815 AD)so that ethnic and communal integration could be permanently established.

5 Make Sinhala the official Language with provision for Tamil to be used as a regional  language in Tamil majority areas in the north and the East and  English the link language with facilities to teach Sinhala, Tamil and English in all schools from grade two upwards.

6 Have one legal system for the whole country

7 Remove excessive powers of the President like his immunity and his powers pertaining to the appointment of Ministry Secretaries, Judges of the higher Courts  etc

8 Reactivate the PSC, JSC and Vest the appointment, placement, transfers and  disciplinary action etc in all top posts in Public Service, Judiciary and the Foreign Service including Ambassadors and High commissioners etc in them and free State Services from political meddling so that this country will have an independent effective and efficient State Service answerable to the people.

9. Lay down minimum qualifications for political positions. For eg. Education, Character,  Wealth and Residence within the electorate

10 Install meritocracy in the seats of government both political and public Service

12.Remove all waste, extra-vagane and corruption from public service.

13. Have a strict code of ethics for politicians as well as all public servants and make every one equal before the law.

14. Scrap all unnecessary departments and corporations and lay down targets for all  public servants and corporate sector employees.

15. Do away with the practice of appointment of defeated candidates to an public  position either within the country or outside.

16.Declare all lands above 5000 feet as reserved forests.

17 Inaugurate a vigorous programme of development through out the country such as  infrastructure, Agriculture, Industry , Commerce and Trade so that the living Std of the people will go up rapidly within the next two years.

18 Install discipline and order in all departments of public life.

19. Install the principles of Dasarajadharma in the seats of governance.

20 Make every body feel happy, free and contempt.

 Then go for elections assuming that even if I don’t win the elections I can go home happily by looking in retrospect at what I have done for the good of the country.

 Once again coming back to the common candidate factor I don’t think that issue will ever arise. Because as I see it, it is only a political hype invented by the reactionary forces, to confuse the government and the people. Some times I wonder whether they ever had any the idea on a common candidate at all for the Presidency. The fact Mano Ganesan the Colombo Tiger who has just picked up few communal Tamil votes from the whole of Colombo district at the 2004 general elections under the UNP symbol to qualify for a slot in the Parliament, who has earlier said that he will not support the Alliance if Sarath Fonseka is there as the common candidate has now joined the so-called Alliance of the “ƒ”¹…”12 Kings’ clearly shows that the idea of the common candidate as well as Sarath Fonseka is only a well calculated conspiracy to create rifts between the President and the General confusion within the government ranks. They all knew and know that finally that uncommon common candidate will be none other than Ranil.

 This is why I say that Common Candidate issue is only a storm in a tea cup, a conspiracy hatched to create dissention among the government rank and file and divide the patriotic Sinhala Buddhist electorate as a last resort once again to take the country back.

One Response to “Common Candidate a Storm in a Tea Cup? It is only another political gimmick by the dormant opposition and reactionary forces to destabilize the government”

  1. Kit Athul Says:

    Comment on Item 4. Rata Sabha’s Thun rata: Maya Rata, Ruhunu Rata and ? (I have fogoten the third rata). I am sure Sudath can fill the blank. Make each three sabhas pay tax to the central government. This tax should be propotional to the products the Rata Sabha’s export out of the country. More they export less tax they pay to the central goverment.
    Comment on Item 5. Chinese Language must be mandatory in every grade school. In USA all most all senior execs of large corporations are fluent in Chinese. There must not be Tamil majority areas in the Northern or Eastern Provinces. Tea estates must be mechenized (There is a 1500 acre Tea estate in South Carolina, USA. The tea esate is run by SEVEN men!) and the Tamil worker must be absorbed in to Sinhala society.

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