What’s up President’s sleeve?
Posted on August 21st, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

President Maithripala Sirisena has a remarkable ability to stay composed and calm in times of trouble. Else, he would have incurred the wrath of the Rajapaksas while he was a minister in their government and got booted out.

But, last Friday President Sirisena could not maintain his composure in Matara, where the government celebrated its first anniversary. He failed to be different from other orators who let out streams of invectives against their political rivals. Warning the SLFP dissidents against forming a new political party he threatened to reveal it all in such an eventuality. A visibly irate President vowed to disclose some secrets about them and ruin their future!

President Sirisena has, through his warning, betrayed his fear of the political fallout of a possible split in the SLFP with the dissidents going it alone at future elections. The latter have nothing more to lose, but a weaker SLFP will leave the former with less bargaining power in dealing with the UNP, which does not hesitate to undermine his authority while praising him to high heaven in public.

Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed, in Matara, on Friday that the UNP and the SLFP would remain coalesced for years to come as they had the national interest at heart. But, the question is whether the discerning public will buy into their claim. The President and the Prime Minister are together because that is the best way they can protect their personal interests vis-à-vis their bête noire, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is making a determined bid to make a comeback.

It may be recalled that the UNP-SLFP political marriage almost came to an end on the question of appointing the Central Bank Governor with their bigwigs going for one another’s jugular. It was their fear of the Rajapaksas making the most of a break-up of their alliance that prompted them to agree to a compromise solution.

If Wickremesinghe had been confident of winning the presidency last year he would never have agreed to let a common candidate be fielded; he would have entered the fray himself and realised his presidential dream. Sirisena would not have come forward to contest the presidential election if he had not fallen from grace with the Rajapaksas short-changing him and depriving him of premiership.

Wickremesinghe, Sirisena and their loyalists saw in Rajapaksa a common enemy who had to be defeated for their political survival. It was their thirst for power that made them strange bedfellows. They used the civil society organisations campaigning for democracy as a stepping stone and reneged on their pledges to usher in good governance after being ensconced in power. Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, who was instrumental in ensuring their victory at the presidential and parliamentary elections last year, was disappointed at the way they were running the affairs of the country, towards the end of his life according his close associates.

If President Sirisena has any information about wrongdoing by the SLFP dissidents, especially the Rajapaksas, the question is why he does not go public with it straightaway so that the culprits can be dealt with according to the law without further delay. What one gathers from the president’s warning is that he is ready to suppress such evidence against his rivals provided they do not rock the boat.

Rajapaksa, in the run-up to the last presidential polls, said he had slews of files on the then SLFP dissidents who had broken ranks with his government to join the UNP. He also threatened to reveal it all, but nothing of the sort happened.

Let President Sirisena be urged not to suppress information which, he says, will help expose his rivals’ wrongdoing. The Joint Opposition has sought to pooh-pooh his warning. Some of its prominent members have even called it empty rhetoric. If so, will they call the President’s bluff?

3 Responses to “What’s up President’s sleeve?”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    So this crooked president has resorted to blackmail to keep the crooked SLFP members in this incompetent UNP/SLFP government. Last time I checked, blackmail is a crime and it is disgusting to have a thug as our president. Obviously those SLFP traitors who are ministers in this government are crooks and that is why they are scared to join the JO.

  2. plumblossom Says:

    It is high time that a new political party is created. The symbol can be the ‘mal pohottuwa’ as just prior to the general election, a new political party was registered under this symbol. All those SLFPers who are totally fed up with this treacherous yahapalayana government can then join this new political party.

    It is best to do this as soon as possible in order to get ready for the local government elections, to counter the treacherous OMP Act, to counter VAT increases, to counter the low prices offered to rice farmers, tea growers, rubber growers, to counter any attempt to provide any more powers to provincial councils than they have at present especially police, land or fiscal powers and any attempt to change the unitary status of the country via unwanted constitutional changes, to counter the signing of ETCA, to counter the building of the Hanuman Bridge, to counter the wide ranging privatization of state assets programme of the UNP, to ensure that no Sri Lankan Forces member is harassed by setting up of hybrid courts or even domestic courts etc.

    Unless a new party is formed now, all those people opposed to this treacherous yahapalanaya government will have nowhere to turn and nowhere to go and if the disaffected SLFPers do not take up this opportunity to form a new party, others definitely will.

  3. S.Gonsal Says:

    I am waiting to see Mahinda’s response to his outburst.
    Soon after he left to Thiripathy. He is suffering from the same deceases and Mahinda and people will give the correct medicine to him too.

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