Urgent: A Maithri Mahinda Reconciliation
Posted on June 16th, 2015

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island

The overwhelming success of the Matara rally has demonstrated beyond any doubt that the pro-Mahinda forces have decisively turned the tide against the status quo. It is not against the presidency of Mr Maithripala Sirisena. He is secure as president for the next five years, but at present he has to work with a group of allies who are at cross purposes with each other – the more powerful (by default) among them being his competitors rather than collaborators in the so-called yahapalanaya project, propped up by a few stragglers from the SLFP that he is supposed to be leading. This situation will continue until after the conclusion of the general election that is due. The election will give the people of Sri Lanka the chance to make their independent choice between the UNP and the SLFP. The smaller parties will be in a position to tip the scales in favour of one or the other in case there is no clear winner.

Though the Rajapaksa government put an end to terrorism and initiated normalization through evenly distributed development with appreciable success, it failed to deflect or neutralize (mostly false) allegations of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism, abuse of power, etc sufficiently convincingly. Some shortcomings emanated from the personality of Mr Rajapaksa himself. It is no surprise that the unwanted personalization of his rule attracted a personalized response from dissidents within the alliance joined by sincere as well as opportunistic opponents from outside. Meanwhile patriotic citizens, who knew that the good he did for the country far outweighed his alleged wrong doings (that too, confined to his personal sphere) were patiently waiting for him to put his act together in areas in which he was attracting criticism, but to no avail. His commitment to astrology was astonishing. Mr Rajapaksa listened to none but a rip-off artist who sardonically described himself as ‘royal astrologer’. And he advanced the presidential election by two years to make use of ‘auspicious times’ given by that mountebank; he spurned the well meant advice of Ven. Sobitha, among others, who asked him to continue his work for the rest of his term before holding an election, but to immediately correct his errors including the apparent sheltering of corrupt elements in his fold. A successful palace revolution against him, which had been a long time in the making, was the outcome.

Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa was well and truly checkmated in his game due to that one wrong strategic move, that of calling a premature presidential election that no one asked for. But that need not be the end of the world for him personally or professionally if he thinks that he is still capable of putting his popularity (the public face of the people’s trust in him) to good use in the service of the country. If Mahinda is really the leader we think he is, this is the time for him to prove that to the country. How can he do it? By helping the president, the people’s choice, to do what he is setting out to do as president. Mr Sirisena has amply demonstrated by now that what he wants to do for the country is the same as what Mahinda was trying to do, with some adjustments of course: to create a prosperous, peaceful and harmonious society where every individual citizen enjoys equal rights within a unitary Sri Lanka. But he is not as free as he should be of undemocratic pressures. So he needs the undivided support of the SLFP that he is leading, the principal partner of the UPFA. The ‘change’ of January 8 can be turned into a blessing in disguise that will enable both of them to help the country win in the end. Mahinda promoters and those who are already with Maithri must be mindful of this. Whether Maithri and Mahinda make friends with each other again or not, they must both accommodate themselves within an undivided SLFP. There is absolutely no danger of Mahinda being hooted out of it. If the SLFP wins decisively with his involvement, the president will listen to the majority will of the party in his choice of prime minister.

If Mahinda is forced to start a new party to contest the general election, he is likely to achieve a measure of success, but the country will benefit much less because his success will stand in the way of Maithri who is currently under siege and is anxious to emerge as a strong president. He will be able to do that only if the UPFA wins the election. For that, the SLFP must remain whole. If he thinks only about his own career, he needn’t worry about all the ills that are threatening to overwhelm the country during this unstable period; he can just sit pretty, ensconced in his unassailable position for the rest of his term, while the two national parties fight it out between them for supremacy; he will be obliged to work with whoever wins; and having no ambition to get re-elected for a second term, he can easily pack up and go home after his five years, leaving the country in chaos. But that is an improbable scenario, because by now Mr Sirisena has made it abundantly clear that he is not going to do anything that is harmful to the country. He is proving himself to be a dependable leader. I personally believe that the leadership the country needs at this critical juncture has emerged in the form of Mr Sirisena. Members of the UPFA must stop criticizing either Maithri or Mahinda just for the sake of attacking them. Following is what I wrote in a previous article entitled Good governance cannot be imported” (The Island, January 28, 2015):

I have long believed that Mr Mahinda Rajapakse and Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe, despite their personal human failings, are the two most prominent non-communalist national political leaders that we can’t do without until they are made redundant in their roles by equally good or better ones. Both are national assets being products of long years of training (experience) in politics in this multicultural multiethnic country; they have both held responsible positions of political power and proved their mettle.”

Now I unhesitatingly include Mr Maithripala Sirisena in that small pool of indispensable national leadership. He is the equally good or even better” replacement for either of the other two that the whole country has chosen. Crises throw up leaders. At this most critical moment after the defeat of separatist terrorism in 2009, Mr Maithripala Sirisena has assumed the crucial role of the protector and savior of that achievement. In the coming election, the people will vote in the prime minister through whom he can do it.

After the election, the prime minister will be whoever President Sirisena regards as commanding the widest support in parliament. In the event of a UNP victory, it is most likely that Mr Wickremasinghe will head the post-election government under Mr Sirisena’s presidency. On the other hand, if someone from a victorious SLFP is able to convince Mr Sirisena that they enjoy the trust of a majority in parliament, then, the latter will be obliged to appoint that person as the prime minster. Though at present, there is apparently a popular desire that Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa be promoted as the candidate from the SLFP as the potential prime minister of a future UPFA government, whether it is going to materialize is not certain. Some time ago, Mr Sirisena had bluntly told a group of Mahinda sympathizers that he would not want to have Mahinda even as an MP. However, that decision may be revised in the increasingly volatile electoral context that the parties are getting submerged in. A mature pragmatic leader like Mr Sirisena will not hesitate to forget personal enmities in the greater public interest, for the greater good of the country” as he himself put it just before the independence day this year.

At the beginning, immediately after the presidential election, Mr Sirisena appointed Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe as premier, constitutionally or otherwise, honouring a campaign promise. But he has clearly said that he has no other debt to settle with the UNP. Recently, he has been unequivocally calling for a UPFA victory at the parliamentary election with increasing vehemence. It is as clear as daylight that such a victory will be impossible without Mahinda in the SLFP. So a Maithri Mahinda reconciliation looks as inevitable as it is essential.

The future of the country will now depend on the result of a straightforward electoral contest between the two big national parties, the UNP and the SLFP. The winner should be able to form an efficient administration with or without (better with) the participation of the minor parties for a peaceful and politically and economically stable Sri Lanka. It will be good for the country if the loser wins enough seats to form a powerful component of a credible opposition. There was a time for a national unity government of the UNP and the SLFP with minor parties thrown in. That was when the country was being ravaged by terrorism. The leaders of the two parties were unable to come to an agreement about forming such a broad national front against the common enemy, though some individual politicians of the UNP broke ranks with its hidebound leadership at the crucial moment and joined the UPFA government. That helped the previous Rajapaksa government to put an end to terrorism and preserve democracy for the whole country. Since the genuine UNP and the authentic SLFP, as far as is evident, are irreconcilably at loggerheads with each other over the separatist problem no ‘national’ government is conceivable between them. However, whichever party gets to form the government, it will be the people’s choice and must be accepted as such. In a world where democracy rules, Every country gets the government it deserves” as French diplomat , writer, and philosopher Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) wrote in a letter. And all communities must be ready to go with it. There is no reason why Sri Lankans should vote for anything less than a government that looks after the concerns of all the communities without discrimination, independent of meddling foreigners who have absolutely no empathy with them.

 

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7 Responses to “Urgent: A Maithri Mahinda Reconciliation”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Where does that leave MR followers? In the DITCH!

    Maru Sira is with Run-nil, Mahendran, TNA, SLMC and CBK. How can MR reconcile with them WITHOUT losing patriotic votes?

    MR should stop pandering into everything and TAKE A STAND. And stand strong. Only then people will stand by him. MILLIONS of people came to rallies organized by WIMAL WEERAWANSA to BLAST, CURSE, SEND HOME, DITCH, DISMANTLE, CHASE AWAY the Maru Sira LTTE govt. Not to join with it.

    Please don’t do this MIGUEL BY DAY AND DANIEL BY NIGHT drama.

    I hope the forum agrees with me.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    MARU SIRAA HAS MADE SOME IRREVOCABLE COMMENTS, VIS-A-VIS, that he will never ever think of considering MR to be a Prime Ministerial Candidate, and also that he does not want him even as an MP. Then, he has accused MR of BLUE MURDER, and had said that he even witnessed it.

    Lorenzo, yes, how can they ever reconcile ? Never. If they do, it can be tantamount to HYPOCRISY. for personal benefit.

    MR does not need weak stilts like maru sira to hold onto his political resolute. Maru Sira is now like a Madey Gahapu Inna wagey, VANENAWA.

    NO DOUBT, IT WOULD BE MARU SIRA WHO WOULD WANT MR AS A STRONG BASTION, and not the other way around.

    That is why Maru Sira is making overly clandestine approaches through third parties, to woo MR.

    SLFP is now a polluted Party. It is suffering from terminal illness. Now who brought about this situation ? IT IS RANIL, SIRA, AND CHANDRIKA, period.

  3. Indrajith Says:

    Divaina report:

    පෙරේදා නිල් එළිය
    ඊයේ රතු එළියක්‌ වෙයි
    ”මහින්දට ශ්‍රීලනිප අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂකත්වය
    නොලැබෙන එක ෂුවර්”

    අකිත පෙරේරා

    ඉදිරි මහ මැතිවරණයේදී ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස්‌ පක්‍ෂය ප්‍රමුඛ එක්‌සත් ජනතා නිදහස්‌ සන්ධානයේ අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂකත්වය හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාට ස්‌ථීර වශයෙන්ම නොලැබෙනු ඇතැයි එම සන්ධානයේ නවතම ආරංචි මාර්ග කියා සිටී.

    හිටපු ජනාධිපතිවරයා සන්ධානයේ මැතිවරණ කටයුතුවලට සම්බන්ධ කර ගැනීමට ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන මහතාගේ කැමැත්ත ඇතත් මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාට අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂකත්වය ලබාදීමට කැමැත්ත පළ නොකරනු ඇති බවට එම ආරංචි මාර්ග පවසයි.ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන මහතාගේ ප්‍රධානත්වයෙන් පෙරේදා (16 දා) පදනම් ආයතනයේදී පැවැති ශ්‍රීලනිප මන්ත්‍රී කණ්‌ඩායම් හමුවේදී මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාට අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂකත්වය හිමිවනු ඇති බවට මත පළවුණද එම අදහස දැන් වෙනස්‌වී ඇති බවට මේ වන විට මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාගේ පාර්ශවය වෙත පණිවුඩ ලැබී ඇතැයිද ආරංචි මාර්ග කියා සිටී.

    ඒ අනුව සන්ධානය සමඟි සම්පන්නකොට දිනවීම සඳහා පෙරේදා පත් කළ සය පුද්ගල කමිටුවද මේ නිසා නාමික කමිටුවක්‌ පමණක්‌ බවට පත්වනු ඇතැයිද පැවසේ.

    ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන මහතා විසින්ම පත් කළ එම කමිටුව පෙරේදා රාත්‍රියේදීම විපක්‍ෂයේ ප්‍රධාන සංවිධායක ජෝන් සෙනෙවිරත්න මහතාගේ කොළඹ පිහිටි නිවසේදී රැස්‌වී ඇති අතර මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂක වශයෙන් නම් කරන්නේ නම් පමණක්‌ ඉදිරි කටයුතු පිළිබඳව සක්‍රීය ලෙස දායක වීමට එහිදී ඒකමතිකව තීරණය කර ඇත.

    ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන මහතා විසින් හිටපු ජනාධිපති රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂක ලෙස නම් නොකරන්නේනම් එම කමිටුව අක්‍රීය වනු ඇතැයිද කමිටු සාමාජිකයෙක්‌ “දිවයින”ට ප්‍රකාශ කර සිටියේය.

    ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන මහතාගේ පාර්ශවයෙන් ලැබෙන ආරංචි අනුව මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාට අගමැති අපේක්‍ෂකත්වය ස්‌ථීර වශයෙන්ම නොලැබෙනු ඇතැයි ඉහත කමිටු සාමාජිකයා වැඩිදුරටත් සඳහන් කළේය.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Its all over, again.

    Maru Sira has made it clear MR will NOT be the PM candidate. He has even said he will NOT give nominations for MR.

    Why is MR going after Maru Sira?

    Maru Sira’s next PM will be CBK.

    Elections in SL are like a bone for a dog. There is NO meat in it but the dog thinks it has. Elections cannot bring anything good.

  5. Christie Says:

    Elections in the island has been influenced by Indian Imperialists since 1951 when India started with SWRD.

  6. ranjit Says:

    Mr President(MR) try to stand on your own feet like a hero and face all the enemies as a true patriot without going behind Maru Sira or Bandit Queen. These two cannot be trusted at all even a second. Have you forgotten the day he left you after eating Hoppers? Then why do you want to trust him again? Forget the S.L.F.P party just organize your own party with good people and come forward to contest the next election because citizens of this country gladly waiting for your arrival. No other leader has the Charisma or the strength to lead the nation like you. We need you to save the land we call home from foreign enemies and the UNP traitors who promise sun and the moon to get votes by hook or crook.

    Sira will never give a place to you. He lives with hate towards you although you kept him with you for so many years. Bandit Queen is another cheap woman who will be against you and like to see you in jail. She is a witch who has come from white man’s land to destroy the Sinhala Buddhists. Shameless woman with a heart of a Hyena. I don’t agree with anyone who suggest that these two should unite to win the next General election. MR can do it alone with the help of other small parties who are going round the country having rallies to promote his comeback. MR is here today because of Wimal,Vasu and Dinesh and Gamampila and few MR stalwarts who never left him when defeated. He should not forget their valuable service towards him. Good people are with him from grass roots and he should not fear for anything but just don’t trust Maru Sira and Choura Regina even for a minute. Let’s show the people’s power to these UNP thugs. MR is the man ” NUGEGODA MAN”

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    All politicians of every hue should stand together for the common good of the country.

    Country First is a good rule for all leaders to follow.

    Can Mr Sirisena rise to the occassion – he is the President now, isn’t he ? Has he the guts to bring all together for the common good or will he continue to bow and scrape to superior powers including CBK ?

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