Ups and Downs of a Rajapaksa Regime
Posted on August 14th, 2011

by Gomin Dayasri                                                

The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime falls into three periods, all with their ups and downs. First, the period of JVP domination when 41 parliamentarians held a government to account; second, the golden era of triumphing over terrorism with MP’s of the UNP joining the fold; third, the post war period where the government is living off the glories of a military victory and befouling itself, yet, triumphing at elections due to the gratitude of the people and their allergy towards the UNP.

 The single most momentous event that triggered the end of imposed controls of good governance was the exit of the JVP and the joining of the government by MP’s from the UNP. The JVP in government was the detergent against muck and dirt of a government that was then, by present standards, relatively clean. They were a bunch of young school prefects making a nuisance of themselves with their brand of righteousness “”…” an obvious irritant to a worldlier UPFA. The UNP MP’s joining gave the government the freedom of the wild ass, both being beasts from the same stable.

 Mahinda Rajapaksa bent backwards to accommodate the JVP since it was they who propelled him to power. The JVP overestimated itself without realizing it was the loyal SLFP voters that showed a preference to the JVP and JHU “”…” knowing that with them in the government, the culture and civilization people desired could be ushered.

Those two parties, on a fast track to office, better reached the hearts and minds of the undecided than the SLFP or UNP and made the voters opt for an unknown Mahinda against a known Ranil. The nationalistic current for these two parties came as a wave and ebbed like the tide.

 The JVP finds it difficult to be in partnership with anybody because of its suicidal tendency of being too polemic. The near disappearance of the most disciplined party in politics was an act of self- immolation as a result of political immaturity. The whip of 41 MPs would have kept a government well in check.

Having them in their prime in the government, without accepting ministerial portfolios, was worth more than having several of the Commissions appointed under the 18th amendment. With the war unfinished, the JVP’s departure angered their voters who would have opted for the government joining with the devil to exorcise the LTTE.

 The entry of the UNP rebels created a vacuum in political sagacity that was filled by the Rajapaksa Brothers who shone outstandingly during the turbulent war period when the people closed their eyes to any misdemeanors of the government. The President had a maneuverable team from the UNP that was virtually dependent on him for patronage and the rebel MPs had a Tom and Jerry relationship with the UPFA parliamentarians.

 The Executive became stronger than the Legislature as the JVP maintained its distinct identity as a party and could not be taken for granted. The division within the JVP was a benchmark in the political culture of Sri Lankan politics. Had they taken off from the launching pad of 41 MPs, life in Sri Lanka would have been different, for the better or worse.

Movements like those commenced by Prabhakaran or Wijeweera are destined to end in tragedy as they carry confused mindsets. The JVP rests more in peace and its last embers are limited to fiery statements, much of which has to be taken with smelling salts.

 The Rajapaksa regime is not geared to withstand the rapid fire from foreign sharpshooters undoubtedly intruding into domestic airspace on internal matters. If the government had the foresight to order an inquiry into war crimes according to our laws, without dragging its feet awaiting the report of the LLRC, it could have prevented a pressure cooker situation developing.

If the Commissions appointed under the 18th amendment does their work meaningfully, and in a transparent manner, and show results, many critics will be silenced. If law and order is maintained by police action compatible with standards that ought to prevail, we will be excused by the world outside.

The legitimate grievances of the Tamils have been left too long in the hands of the LRRC and we are rightly blamed. We must find middle ground by not exceeding the limits of tolerance in preparing our defense and must expose the West on its double standards and many infirmities in a counter blast.

As the foreign noose tightens, people rally around the government to show their gratitude for providing a safe and secure life for themselves and their families. After 30 years of fear, life is more valued than the purse. People are placing personal security at a premium and treating economic hardship as endurable.

 In the years ahead, it is on the economic issue that the government will be derailed, if at all, for it is vulnerable by following the UNP model. It’s the poor that is hard hit while the rich are being cushioned. The opposition’s rallying point could be the expanding under-employed school leavers left in the lurch. The tragedy is that the government does not have economic blueprint that suits the minimum aspirations of the people who voted for it.

Mahinda Rajapakse lacks a wizard who can visualize a homespun economy answering to national priorities without being spellbound by IMF, World Bank, and ADB dictates. Sadly we are carrying the Ranil/ Chandrika charter without a breath of fresh air and are in a pot that is boiling. The opposition, fortunately for Mahinda, has failed to stir the cauldron.

 Ranil is reaching his last lap (with or without a lap of honor!) but will it make a difference to the UNP? Not unless it changes its national image appreciating the culture of the voting public. This it has failed to do from the time of Independence.

Samuel Huntington’s “ƒ”¹…”Clash of Civilizations’ is essential reading on the part relating to Sri Lanka and the influence, Sinhala Buddhist civilization has on trends in the voting patterns. Surprisingly, he gave much space following Barbara Crossette’s American school of thought on Sri Lanka.

 Under Ranil, Karu or Sajith, if the UNP maintains its current image even with a change of leadership, will it make a difference?

2 Responses to “Ups and Downs of a Rajapaksa Regime”

  1. hela puwath Says:

    “The legitimate grievances of the Tamils …”

    Isn’t this “The legitimate grievances of the Tamils” just a cliché? What does it realy mean?

    That, coming from a respected rational personality as Gomin Dayasiri – in all seriousness – we think, he owes it to the readers to explain what this “legitimate grievances of Tamils” are. Would you?

  2. Marco Says:

    LLRC is a waste of time then?

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