Ranil’s dictatorship & poor leadership
Posted on August 9th, 2015

S. Akurugoda

Ranil Wickremesinghe who took over after the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake, unlike the record kept by the UNP’s previous leaders, continues to remain in the leadership after the loss of  29 elections including several presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections under his leadership

Over 60 UNP MPs have left the party since he assumed office and many allege that irrespective of the party constitution, Ranil is not a democratic leader but a dictator.

UNP Constitution was amended by Ranil Wickremesinghe at a Conference held at Kataragama to suit his interests. He had changed some provisions of the Constitution for his own benefits. He had secretly brought in these changes.

When Gamini Dissanayake became the party leader, Ranil was kept down. The insecurity that he felt at that time made him plan the entire secret operation of amending the Constitution to make his position secure.

That was the main reason why UNP could not change its leadership. Ranil had included provision in the party constitution to the effect that the leadership can be changed only if it falls vacant. This means that he must resign or die!

The UNP’s early Constitution was somewhat a democratic one. President J.R. Jayewardene effected some changes to make the party leader more powerful but Ranil made it worse to feel he is secure. Before talking about restoring democracy in the country, he should take steps to restore democracy within the party.

Ranil had lost credibility among the party supporters for his childish and irresponsible statements, especially during the military operations against the LTTE, wanted the LTTE to survive further so that he could capture power.

Following excerpts of the interview with Rukman Senanayke appeared the Sunday Observer dated 9th May 2010, (http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/05/09/pol09.asp) provide the most of the answers to the questions of Ranil’s qualities of dictatorship and poor leadership.

Q: It is no secret that the UNP’s strong foundation has shattered. What is the main reason for the party to face this crisis situation ?

A: Yes, I agree that the UNP’s strong foundation is shattered. It was the only political party that had a strong footing from the beginning but the present leadership has destroyed it very badly. The policies that he pursued kept away the voters from the party completely. Some of his statements made the Sinhala Buddhist voters upset and the party’s downfall started with them.

We had branch organisations with wide public representation. It was replaced by party organizers according to the whims and fancies of individuals. Consequently we lost our village voter base badly.

These are some of the main causes, other than the poor leadership, for the UNP to suffer today.

Q: When the leader is performing poorly heads roll but this is not happening in the UNP though the senior UNPers are clamouring for a cleanup. Why ?

A: It is mainly because the UNP Constitution was amended by Ranil Wickremesinghe at a Conference held at Kataragama to suit his interests. He had changed some provisions of the Constitution for his own benefits. He had secretly brought in these changes.

Q: You are now only making this claim but why didn’t you oppose these changes at that Conference ?

A: No body suspected the leader at that time. When the leader brings in changes no one would think that they were aimed at destroying the Party.

Even an ordinary party supporter would think about the future of the party but this man is different! Nobody questioned him and nobody looked at the documents as we did not suspect him. He did it in a very subtle way.

When Gamini Dissanayake became the party leader, Ranil was kept down. The insecurity that he felt at that time made him plan the entire secret operation of amending the Constitution to make his position secure.

That was the main reason that we could not change the leadership. He had included provision in the party constitution to the effect that the leadership can be changed only if it falls vacant. This means that he must resign or die!

Q: It is said that the UNP Constitution itself leads to dictatorship. Will there be changes in it with the proposed constitutional reforms after July ?

A: The UNP’s early Constitution was a democratic one. President J.R. Jayewardene effected some changes to make the party leader more powerful but Ranil made it worse to feel he is secure. Before talking about restoring democracy in the country, he should take steps to restore democracy within the party.

Q: Independence of the provisions of the party Constitution, why do you think that the UNP cannot change its leadership? Is it because the party lacks unity ?

A: All this time we abided by the Constitution. A Number of times the matter of changing the Constitution was taken up.

Various proposals including devolving power were brought up but he outmanoeuvred them all to make his position secure.

We had a collective approach on several occasions. We tried our best to make him aware of the danger but we failed in each and every attempt we made.

Q: Do you believe that UNP could rise up as a strong political party under a new leadership ?

A: As long as the present leader is hooked to the leadership, the party will not recover.

If he is removed we can revamp the party to make it stronger.

Q: If you expect a new leader, what are the main changes that he should bring in to make the party stronger?

A: Most importantly we have to tap our power-base again. We have to start our propaganda campaign at village level. Our ideas and future plans should reach out to the periphery. This is a two-way process. The new leadership needs to have the common touch to make the party stronger. The UNP was a party which felt the heart beat of the ordinary people and this was completely eroded under the present leadership.

The other important job for the new leadership is confidence building. The UNP is the biggest political party in Sri Lanka. Mis- trust made Ranil to face continuous election defeats.

Q: You were outspoken on defeating the LTTE militarily. Don’t you think that this triggered him to delete your name from the National List ?

A: Yes, I too believe that it resulted in scraping my name from the list. When the government was genuinely fighting the LTTE to eradicate terrorism, I openly commended the move. He never thought that the LTTE would be defeated but he wanted the LTTE to survive for him to come into power.

I openly said that terrorism was not an issue of any particular person but it is a national issue which needs collective effort to finish it off. I explained that Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim or any other group engaging in violent activities are terrorists because democracy doesn’t have freedom fighters. In a democracy, any body who takes up arms, is a terrorist. My view was that as the Opposition we must give our fullest support to the existing government to destroy terrorism. We should not make petty political gains when addressing national issues.

In 1971, when the JVP insurgency broke out, Dudley Senanayake and J.R. Jayewardene supported the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government to resolve the issue. They acted in a very responsible manner.

When I highlighted this, he did not like my taking this line.

He harboured all these things with him and planned a plot against me.

Then again when Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera was killed I openly put the blame on the LTTE and requested the Opposition not to whitewash the LTTE. This too made Ranil upset.

Q: Do you mean to say that he had supported the LTTE and wanted the LTTE to survive?

A: I don’t say that he helped the LTTE openly but some of his activities and statements have created some suspicion. Some of those things have unfolded now.

He wanted the LTTE to survive. He thought if the LTTE is there he could capture power.

Q: However, Sajith Premadasa was invited by Ranil to be the assistant leader, the post that was held by you. How confident are you that Sajith can lead the party to a better future ?

A: We should always respect the party decision. If you talk to ten UNPers, nine would say that Sajith should be the party leader. So there is no way one can stop him becoming the party leader.

Can a party leader campaign against a district leader making public statements not to vote for him. Ranil did it in Monaragala. He went to Monaragala to block the votes of Madduma Bandara but the latter won. This is enough to show that the people don’t trust the UNP leader any more. They did not consider the leader’s request. He has lost credibility. People don’t trust him any more. People don’t take his childish statements seriously.

How many times did we, the seniors advise him? We tried many times and took every opportunity to correct him. He is a man who does everything to satisfy himself.

Q: Some senior UNPers had made serious allegations against the UNP leader, who they claim takes decisions in favour of several Colombo based individuals. Do you support this claim ?

A: Yes. Not only that he wants to satisfy some of his favourites in some districts as well. He will do any thing to satisfy his so-called friends.

For those who can remember the days around May 18th 2009 know where Ranil Wickramasinghe  was hiding in Europe while all those who love the country were jubilant. Ranil had to find an alternative route to reach home from the Katunayake Airport , via Minuwangoda, due to obvious reasons. TNA parliamentarians and the UNP leader’s clan of members didn’t have the backbone to appear in the parliament, when the President delivered his historical address to the nation after winning the war against terrorism, since the environment was certainly not supportive for them to appear before the general public due to their own past acts. (or Pera Karma).

After contesting and losing two presidential elections, one in 1999 and the other in 2005, the Ranil avoided obvious defeats in both  2010 and January 2015 due to his party’s opposition to the war against terrorism process, by supporting  so-called common candidates, while he was holding the leadership of the main opposition party.

S. Akurugoda

3 Responses to “Ranil’s dictatorship & poor leadership”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    GREEN UNP is like the green NORTHERN IRELAND. There is a battle between Catholics and other Christians within!!

    There is a BIG hidden battle within the UNP between the CATHOLIC SECT and the EVANGELICAL SECT – the 2 most pwoerful sects of the UNP.

    Catholic sect – Run-nil, Joseph Michael Perera, John Amaratunga, Karuppaih, Charmpaka, Gonshot, etc.
    Evangelical sect – Sajith, Rosy, Eran, etc.

    UNP MINORITIES – Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims – are DIVIDED.

    The Buddhist minority of the UNP prefer the EVANGELICAL SECT while the Hindu and Muslim minorities prefer the CATHOLIC SECT.

  2. Christie Says:

    Indian imperialists run the country. Sinhalese are fighting among themselves. That is the objective of any Empire .

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    A Ranil led govt. is equal to a Fascist govt.

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