Ranil won but where is the leader?
Posted on January 8th, 2012

H. L. D. Mahindapala

 Not only the polls but the intra-party tensions and divisions in the UNP clearly indicate that Ranil Wickremesinghe, the elected leader not yet fully accepted by the entire Party, is paying for the political sins of his immediate past. To begin with, he never recovered from the folly of his signing in 2002 the Ceasefire Agreement with Velupillai Prabhakaran, the other loser. Then he committed the unpardonable blunder of running down the forces advancing to defeat Prabhakaran. To make matters worse, when Thoppigala fell in the East, he ridiculed it as only a piece of useless rock.

 In the meantime, he was basking in the glory of being appointed as the Asian head of IDU “”…” the arch right-wing conservatives of the Western neo-imperialists waging wars against the rest in the name of establishing democracy. This meant that ideologically he is tied hand and foot to the West and not to Sri Lanka. Then came the public admission of his failure: he surrendered his party, lock, stock and barrel, to Gen. Sarath Fonseka admitting his total incapacity to lead the party in the last presidential election. The agreement was for him to be prime minister under president Fonseka, if he won. No other UNP leader has ever surrendered the party, its machinery, its resources and voters to another untried, untested presidential candidate as Wickremesinghe. Besides, he had alreadyforgotten that he could not co-habit with President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Did he in his political blindness ever pause to consider how he could manage with Fonseka?

 His inability to grasp national realities was exposed by E. Ashley Wills, the American Ambassador, who confirmed Wickremesinghe’s pro-West mentality. He wrote: “Since coming to power in late 2001, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken steps to steer Sri Lankan foreign policy closer to the U.S. Wickremesinghe’s pro-U.S. views have been long-standing and are in part a function of family connections.  His uncle, J.R. Jayewardene, for example, was Sri Lanka’s president from the late 1970s through the late 1980s, and maintained very close links with the U.S. “”…” (Wikileaks). Is it possible for a Western lackey to understand the aspirations of the Oriental people?

 In fact, Jayewardene was called “Yankee Dickey” by the leftists. Pieter Keuneman once told me that the left went for “Yankee Dickey” as the bogey man because the solid credentials of the Senanayakes as committed nationalists were unassailable. Wickremesinghe, though he is connected to the Senanayake and Jayewardene families, does not have the basic credentials to be a representative of a village suruttu kaday.

 The tilt to the West in 2001 and the signing of the CFA in 2002 “”…” two suicidal acts “”…” marked the beginning of the end of Wickremesinghe. The highest percentage he polled was 45% in 2001. That was before he signed the CFA. Since then he has been steadily declining. Today he is standing on the shifting sands of 22% with more UNPers and the public at large still drifting away from him, or rebelling against him. He started leaning towards the West hoping that the West would come to his rescue with tons of money and also rein in the Tamil Tiger terrorists.

 He even met George Soros, the billionaire investor, hoping his West-leaning credentials would help him to bring in investors. But like Prabhakaran the West did not come to his rescue. In fact, Chandrika Bandaranaike chopped his head off when he was sitting at the White House and a Wickremesinghe stood on the White House lawns, twiddling his fingers pathetically, trying to minimize the impact of his sacking by the president with whom he could not get along. Today he is still twiddling his fingers with only 22% of the voters who may or may not stand by him in a future election, or even at Siri Kotha.

 He has tried all the tricks in the book and failed to regain the confidence of the people and the party and never succeeded. Why? Answer: He is standing on the wrong side of history. His penchant to go against history is un-understandable because he prides himself as knowledgeable and well-read student of history. But that is another story to be told on another date. However, he should know by heart the nugget of wisdom written by George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Since Wickremesinghe’s past was a string of failures why does he want to repeat it all over again by sticking to a failed past?

 Right now, after his convincing victory, he should be on top of the world. Instead he is once again stewing in his own juices. The election of office-bearers to the Working Committee was expected to resolve all internal divisions and strengthen his hands. In fact, he has got the numbers he wants in the strategic Working Committee and in the Advisory Committee.  The margin of his victory alone should have consolidated his position as leader. But, not surprisingly,  Wickremesinghe is still struggling to win legitimacy within the party and in the eyes of the electorate.

 Herein lies the rub. No matter what he does Wickremesinghe lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the UNPers and in the eyes of the electorate. If he can’t win legitimacy within his own party then he is doomed because a leader who is not accepted by the party cannot hope to be accepted by the people. He has no legitimacy because he has no vision. No policy. No strategy. And, consequently, no future. The history of his leadership is one tragic record of his inability to hold his party together. He never had the capacity to hold the UNP or the nation together. He remains as the most divisive and destructive political leader next to Prabhakaran.

 It is this fatal flaw in his vindictive, petty and wishy-washy character that is driving even his loyalists to go in search of an alternative leadership that has some chance of winning elections. The most startling undercurrent, still undeclared, is that the Mangala Samaraweera wing is preparing to squeeze in Chandrika Bandaranaike as the next presidential candidate of the UNP. There is also a section of the UNP who wants to bring in Gen. Sarath Fonseka as the UNP candidate. Why is the UNP so desperate to bring in outsiders when it has a leader “”…” at least a nominal one “”…” of its own? Ask anyone in the UNP “”…” even those at the top — and they will tell you privately that Wickremesinghe cannot win an election. He has lost the trust of the people. How can the people trust him when his own party loyalists don’t trust him?

 The task before Wickremesinghe is to unite the party. But he can’t and he won’t. Unity of the party is a serious threat to his position within the party. His perennial tactics have been to divide and rule. Currently he is pitting the  old against the new. His lack of leadership, his inability to win at the polls and cussed internal politics drives the old guard away from him. So he appoints new comers to win their loyalty even though they have been losers at the polls. He prefers to be surrounded by losers because they are weak and dependent on him for their survival in the party. Renuka Herath, Tilak Marapane, Ananda Kularatne, S de Mel, Vajira Abeywardene, Sunethra Ranasinghe, Milroy Perera, Illika Karunaratne and other defeated ex-MPs, non-representative has-beens surround him. The winners at the polls are kept at bay. So how can a leader who surrounds himself with has-beens and losers win by leaving out the winners at the electoral frontlines?

 He is now giving false hopes to provincial councilors in the opposition ignoring the old guard who had won successively at the polls. These divisive tactics are not helping the party to come together. Take the case of Sajith Premadasa, the newly elected Deputy Leader. When the Advisory Council met he was outnumbered. His aim was to bring about reconciliation and keep the party together. He and Karu Jayasuriya are essential for reconciliation and party unity. The long and the short of electoral politics is that Wickremesinghe cannot face another election without Premadasa and Jayasuriya. Instead of reaching out to them Wickremesinghe steamrolled the Advisory Council and got his way for a witch-hunt. Dayasiri Jayasekera was thrown out and one of Wickremesinghe’s stooges was appointed.

 As usual Wickremesinghe is stepping out to bat on the wrong foot. He is talking tough. He is threatening to crack the whip to force the dissidents to fall in line with his diktats. But the dissidents are equally determined not to give in. Unlike the earlier dissidents who left the party the Karu-Sajith wing is determined to dig in and fight back. Wickremesinghe’s future is in winning back the dissidents. But his comfort zone is in the office of the Leader of Opposition. He doesn’t have to win elections to be in his comfort zone. He is actually  better off when he loses elections because he has all what he wants as the Leader of the Opposition “”…” bullet proof cars, drivers, offices, trips abroad, five-star hotel holidays “”…” without having the responsibilities of running a government.

 In times of need he can also count on the backing of President Mahinda Rajapakse to suppress his UNP opponents. So why should he bother about winning elections when he can get all what he wants by losing them? 

 Where will this leave Tissa Attanayake, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera and Michael Joseph Perera and all the other seniors who had carried the Party on their shoulders? Where else but on the wrong side of history! Or, to be more precise, they will be hanging around just outside his office of the Leader of the Opposition as long as they keep him in office! The way events are moving even the seniors will have no place in Wickremesinghe’s comfort zone because advancing history, which waits for no man, will by pass them all as they get rolled up like bits of waste paper and thrown into the nearest wpb either in Parliament or at Siri Kotha.

 

3 Responses to “Ranil won but where is the leader?”

  1. Christie Says:

    “He never had the capacity to hold the UNP or the nation together. He remains as the most divisive and destructive political leader next to Prabhakaran”

    The writer has always promoted Parabakaran (deceased) as the leader of Tamil terrorists; but never the truth, that is Parabakaran is the puppet of India.

    If it not for the errors made by the Third Eye (Indian Inelligence Service) in 2005 Ranil would have won the Presidential election. Third Eye made an error in assuming it would be difficult to negotiate with Ranil compared to Mahinda. They assumed Mahinda would be another SWRD or Chandrika. So it ordered Tamils to abstain from voting.

    What we need is not character assasination, but to understand thae causes affecting the majority in the island nation.

    Let us the majority unite and lead the country.

  2. stanley perera Says:

    It is not the third eye who made the error. Awamangala Samaraweera who carried a truck full of currancy notes to Veloo to stop the North and East Tamils from voting to Ranil that MR won the presidential election. MR made a very clever investment. MR sowed only one truck full of currancy notes in returned MR reaped the harvest of lives of Veloo and the gang with three trucks full loads of currancy notes collected at the border gate and one whole 40 foot truck load of gold collected from the Tamil people of North and East. Good on you MR and GR. The writer is very critical of RW but never commended of RW’s honesty and the gentleman’s quality. A man cannot be all that bad. There is some good also in RW. The only President who has no good at all is that rouge woman CBK with he dishonesty and vulgar behaviour. Does anybody know where her stolen wealth is invested at? Answer: Part of it in the UK and the other part in Australia. That is why she sent her secretary fellow to Australia as the High Commissioner to manage her investments. The writer must take his hat off to RW for his unblemished honesty, intergrity and the gentleman’s quality. As a leader he may be weak. RW is reponsible in breaking the LTTE and taking Karuna away from the LTTE. That lead to annihilation of the LTTE. Why nobody is talking of that. Please give the devil’s dues. Please note I am not politically affiliated or a fan of RW or MR. I hate all politicians. They are all crooks.

  3. Christie Says:

    If one analyse the voting pattern of 2005 Persidential elections you van see almost all Tamils in the isalnd nation voted MR. This includes Tamils in the North, East, Plantation sector and Colombo.

    Where did Mr Mangala Samaraweera get his truck load of money from? Was the currency, SLR, IR, Indonesian Rupiahs, Zimbawian Dollars, US$ or Aus$?
    Was the truck a white van, Canter, Elf, Tata of Ashok Leyland?
    Veloo has done a better job than Raj Rajaratnam by investing a truck load of currency and getting three truck loads of currency and a 40 ft truck load of gold in return.
    It is a pity, Veloo could not buy his life with all that money.

    Third Eye the Indian intelligence service is extremely good at such stories whether in UK, Ausrtalia, Canada, Fiji or elsewhere.

    Going back to the article, the writer should abstain from dividing the Sihala community with such venomous verbose.

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