Blues of the Blues
Posted on March 19th, 2015

The SLFP crisis is worsening, but its leaders are busy papering over the cracks. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is determined to make a comeback. He is mobilising the party’s rank and file for that purpose much to the consternation of others who are all out to keep him at bay. The SLFP leaders do not seem to be making a serious effort to mend fences and preserve the party unity which is a prerequisite for winning elections.

Torn between two power centres represented by former President Rajapaksa and incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena, the SLFP is likely to suffer a split unless remedial action is taken. What with its intraparty tussle, it obviously needs some time to overcome its problems and prepare for a general election. This is one of the reasons why the UNP is in a mighty hurry to have Parliament dissolved.

President Sirisena has said at a recent SLFP organisers’ meeting in Colombo that former President Rajapaksa should emulate his predecessors, Chandrika Kumaratunga and J. R. Jayewardene, and overcome his greed for power. True, Kumaratunga and Jayewardene retired after serving two terms; but they did so for want of a better alternative. That JRJ was toying with the idea of seeking a third term and his ambitious deputy R. Premadasa torpedoed his grand plan is only too well known. Kumaratunga was without a two-thirds majority in Parliament. But, if she had succeeded in having her constitutional reforms ratified at the beginning of her second term, she would have returned to Parliament as the Executive Prime Minister sans any term limit.

Kumaratunga, however, did not refrain from meddling with party affairs in her retirement. It was she who created a rift in the party after months, if not years, of meticulous planning on the sly, and caused Sirisena and many others to defect before the last presidential election. It is hoped that Rajapaksa will not follow that example!

Greed is a fountainhead of evil as is common knowledge. Humans will be free from most of their problems if they can overcome that mental defilement. But, the problem is that anyone who is not greedy for power won’t take to politics! And, if politicians overcome greed by any chance they will give up politics. Engels has famously said greed is the driving spirit of civilization. The same is true of power politics.

The problem with power is that it is as addictive as heroin. Once a politician savours it he or she cannot do without it. Politicians addicted to it never retire. Those who are enjoying power spare no pains to retain it and there is nothing that others thirsting for it refrain from doing to gain it. That may explain why the SLFP is in the throes of a crisis.

Muddying water?

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Tuesday that the Central Bank bond scandal was being probed and Governor Arjun Mahendran was on leave pending the investigation. A three-member committee he had appointed was investigating all bond related deals including public auction and private placements since 2012, he said.

What needs to be probed urgently is the bond scandal under the present administration which promised good governance. This particular issue should be separated from others and thoroughly investigated if the government is not to be accused of making an attempt at obfuscation. Most of all, the probe ought to be handed over to the CID which must be ordered to investigate all shady deals under the previous government as well.

Lapsing into a sort of badinage, while making his statement on the bond issue in Parliament, a smiling PM derided a call for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the scandal. He said he was agreeable to a PSC probe but rhetorically asked what the MPs knew about bonds. One cannot but agree with him. This is why political leaders should field intelligent, educated, decent, candidates to contest elections so that Parliament will have members capable of carrying out their fiduciary duties to the satisfaction of the public.

If the present lot of legislators are not au fait with matters such as bond issues the question is whether they are fit to serve on the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and, above all, the proposed PSC to look into alleged irregularities at the Colombo Stock Exchange.

If the government believes that the task of investigating scandals such as the controversial bond deal is best left to committees consisting of lawyers then the CID, Police Fraud Bureau, the Presidential Investigation Unit etc. can be disbanded and lawyers loyal to the ruling party asked to take over all probes.


5 Responses to “Blues of the Blues”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    A few people simply have the talent and charisma for leadership. Aspiring others who are not so talented ought to have the talent to recognise this !
    The greatest feature of a talented leader is the ability to inspire a sense of trust in people.

  2. callistus Says:

    A leader has gravitas. One UNP MP Senasinghe said the staff at the parliament canteen don’t even notice when Sirisena comes in. Why, because Sirisena has no personalty, he has only an artificial grin. Generally when a real leader appears people spontaneously get up from the seat.

  3. NAK Says:

    Prime Minister Wickrmisinghe’s claim that MPs has no knowledge of bond market is another silly bluff as usual. I am sure there are many MPs who are educated enough and knowledgeable enough to know what the bond market is.
    Letting him off the hook just because many Mps don’t understand the bond market was a bad mistake and someone must challenge that in parliament.

  4. nilwala Says:

    The SLFP is in disarray due to Maitripala Sirisena having allegiance to both his own party and to the UNP, and Ranil playing a clever political chess game with his team of imported seniles and crooks that My3 seems unable to comprehend
    The present situation is a mess that has made Sri Lanka so unstable as a country to invest in that we are tilting into real trouble economically as well as with regard to Foreign Policy.
    The daily confusion caused by conflicting utterances by the senior members of the My3/RW/CBK group throwing the SLFP into disarray and making a mockery of Yahapalanaya is NOT GOOD for the country.

    MR/GR with a new team can move the country FORWARD!! This is too critical a time to play politics.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Question: What is the point in the new illegal govt allowing all sorts of Criminal Types back into the country ?

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