SIRISENA IS FINISHED!  LONG LIVE SIRISENA!
Posted on February 13th, 2018

DHARSHAN WEERASEKERA

‘[For it is written] Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord’ – (Romans, 12:19)

In September 2015, Maithripala Sirisena pulled a fast one on the UPFA voters who had voted in the August-2015 elections.  He got 45 SLFP MP’s elected under the UPFA banner to join the UNP and carry on a ‘National Government.’ What was really at stake in the 10th February 2018 Local Government elections was whether the UPFA voters thus betrayed in 2015 would let Sirisena continue with the aforesaid fraud.  The results of the polls show that they replied with a thunderous ‘NO!’  So, Sirisena is finished.

In this article, I shall briefly set out what I think the Sinhalas must now do to prepare for their inevitable takeover of power in 2020.  The last thing they can afford is make the same mistake as J.R. in 1977, to wit, when he had a 5/6 majority, to use that solely in order to consolidate the power of a single person (himself) and a single Party (the UNP):  if I’m not mistaken, as he put it, ‘To roll up the electoral carpet for a decade.’

The Sinhalas cannot fall into the same trap.  As soon as they come to power in 2020, they must see to it that the country is put on the right track by adopting policies and plans that have been thoroughly discussed and reflected on, and which have been formulated with the interests of the country always foremost in mind.  In my view, the Sinhalas should now itself busy themselves in developing the following plans.

  1. A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO DESTROY THE TAMIL SEPARATIST MOVEMENT ONCE AND FOR ALL

Under the aforesaid topic, the following four matters must be looked into:

  • Though the Government defeated the LTTE militarily in May 2009, Tamil separatism has continued to thrive, especially because the Tamil Diaspora has managed to gain sufficient political clout in leading Western countries, to influence the policies of those countries towards Sri Lanka.

Take England, for instance.  At present, the British government is Conservative, but it is a relatively weak Government.  Labour, on the other hand, is on the ascendant.  It is well-known that the Tamils are a significant force behind Labour.  And, just by coincidence, if I’m not mistaken Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the Labour Party has said that if his Party were to come to power it would straightaway recognize the right of the Tamils to Eelam.[1]

The point is that, just to ward off a challenge by Labour, the Conservatives might have to cater to some of the demands of the Tamils.  This sort of thing must end.  The Sinhala Diaspora in the aforesaid countries must also organize and gain the necessary clout to be able to say to the relevant politicians:

‘Look here!  Leave Sri Lanka alone. If you love the Tamils so much and want them to have Eelam, give them a plot of land in this country where they can pursue their ‘dreams.’  As for Sri Lanka, deal with it according to the norms of international law (i.e. Article 2(7) of the UN Charter) and respect the inherent right of all the citizens of that country – including the Sinhalas – to decide what is best for their own country.’

  • The Tamil separatists have succeeded in formulating the legal grounds for Eelam and presenting it to the intelligentsia in Western countries, and the said intelligentsia, because the Sinhalas have failed to counter the arguments in question, have swallowed them, hook, line and sinker.

For instance, when the erstwhile Mr. C.V. Vigneswaran –whatever other faults he may have, he knows the law quite well – suggests that at the upcoming UNHRC sessions in March 2018 the Council should begin putting in place a ‘Legal Framework’ for discussing a ‘political settlement’ for the Tamils, he means that the Council should start with the ‘Legal Framework’ for Eelam, as put out by the Tamils themselves.[2]

The Sinhalas must counter once and for all the legal arguments put out by the Tamils.  They have to demonstrate to the whole world that the area of land (i.e. the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka) that the Tamils are demanding as ‘Eelam’ also happens to be the historical homeland of the Sinhalas.

If the Sinhalas have moral and historical rights to the land in question, the Tamils cannot invoke a right to self-determination to justify forming a separate State encompassing such land, even if the Tamils (for the sake of argument) have acquired moral and historical rights in that area, because the one right does not, and cannot, cancel the other.  The Sinhalas have to start pointing this out, systematically, and with evidence.

  • The Sinhalas must begin systematically exploring the legal means through which to get the TNA banned in Sri Lanka, and, if TNA-leaders cannot demonstrate – with actions rather than mere words – that they have well and truly given up separatism, to have the scoundrels deported. It is clear that, TNA-leaders have never given up their quest for Eelam, but have figured out ways to avoid being held to account under the law by playing various semantic games.

Also, they have allied with Tamil Diaspora organizations which are openly and avowedly Eelamist, but which are registered in foreign countries, so that they (the TNA) can push the Eelam agenda both within Sri Lanka and especially in the international arena through those organizations, while maintaining the façade that they have abandoned separatism.

As I said, the Sinhalas must find the means to end this game, and have the scoundrels in question deported.  Let them plot against Sri Lanka from India, Canada, England, or wherever else they end up:  they cannot do any more damage than what they’ve done already while operating under our very noses.  Besides, then they’ll be a burden to the taxpayers in those countries, and not to us!

  • The Sinhalas must settle a minimum of 100,000 of their number in the Northern Province within two years of coming to power. None of the things mentioned in points ‘a,’ ‘b’ or ‘c’ above will be of any use if the Sinhalas don’t have a robust physical presence in the Northern Province.  So, this has to be done.  The Sinhalas must begin doing the initial surveys as to what are the best areas in the North to move such a large population, how to feed, cloth and house them, and also how to find them gainful employment.  I know some people will say that moving 100,000 Sinhalas to the North is a ‘Pipedream’ or a ‘Nonstarter.’  Let them keep saying it.
  1. A COMPRHENSIVE ECONOMIC PLAN

It is no revelation to say that the country needs a good economic plan.  But, one of the most disturbing things one sees in recent years is that certain foreign countries have managed to make Sri Lanka so dependant on them that, by threatening to withdraw or withhold various programs of economic-aid, they can force us to alter our national policies on matters that have nothing to do with the subject-matter of those programs.

The most striking example of this is where, four years ago, the European Union halted the GSP-plus program to Sri Lanka, and said that they would approve it again only if Sri Lanka agreed to 58 conditions, which included recommendations for legal reforms including constitutional reforms.  Needless to say, the present Government agreed to all 58.

If foreign counties can influence the internal affairs of Sri Lanka in this manner, it makes no sense to speak of sovereignty.  So, the Sinhalas need to generate an economic plan that gives the country enough options that, if a foreign country or group of countries try to meddle too much in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs, Sri Lankans can say without fear, ‘We don’t need your stinking dollars!’

  1. A COMPRHENSIVE PLAN OF CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Under the aforesaid topic I think two points should be explored:

  1. The 13th Amendment must be put to a referendum as soon as the Sinhalas take power. If the People reject the 13th Amendment, it must be discarded forthwith.   However, the Sinhalas must generate an alternative that addresses the concerns of the Tamils and Muslims.
  2. The genius of Sirisena is that, he proved beyond any shadow of doubt the complete bankruptcy of the political system that has developed in Sri Lanka in the last 70 years. The culmination of that system is the bogus ‘constitution-making process’ that began in March 2015.  The Sinhalas were brought to the very edge of losing their country, but it was all done under the colour of the law –i.e. the Government had a 2/3 majority in Parliament to pass the draft Constitution in Parliament, and then, if it passed at a referendum (and a simple majority is sufficient to win a referendum) it will have been legitimate.   So, the Sinhalas must begin a genuine dialogue on constitutional reform, and generate the outline of a future Constitution that would ensure that they will never again be brought to their present sorry state.

[1] See, ‘Labour Party supports self-determination and referenda for Tamils,’ The Tamil Diplomat, 2nd June 2017, www.tamildiplomat.com ; and also, ‘Labour Party leader backs self-determination for Tamils,’ www.colombogazette.com 14th April 2016

[2] See, ‘Wiggy wants Intl legal framework,’ www.seithy.com 18th January 2018

8 Responses to “SIRISENA IS FINISHED!  LONG LIVE SIRISENA!”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    I know some people will say that moving 100,000 Sinhalas to the North is a ‘Pipedream’ or a ‘Nonstarter.’ Let them keep saying it.- question or answer ???

    The 13th Amendment must be put to a referendum – this is what We-Tamil are asking ! another Vaddukoddai resolution !!!

  2. Dilrook Says:

    I agree in principle.

    But I’m afraid Sinhalas are not on the way to take power in 2020. It will be a coalition of parties including CWC, SLMC, TMVP and ACMC. They will have the balance of power.

    This can change only if a Sinhala nationalist is the leader of the forefront political group. Without this, we are putting the cart before the horse.

    While happy about SLPP’s stunning win of 45% of the vote, we should not forget the top federalist leader of the SLPP. He was behind most federal/confederate attempts. Expecting him to change completely is too much.

    On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s closest friends China, Russia, etc. will not tolerate a current or former US citizen becoming president of the country. They don’t buy our local logic. Mahinda had good relations with them but Mahinda was never a US citizen. Mahinda cannot contest the presidential election.

    I propose Weerawansa to lead the SLPP and contest the presidential election. He has none of these affiliations. His services are not fully appreciated. His thundering speeches with substance are only 20% of what he does. He contributes even more in parliament by always keeping a watchful eye on complex law changes (some others are not even present in parliament) and he runs the most popular and influential anti-government website – lankacnews. It creates news and this news is carried by many others (including this website), Facebook and other popular media.

    We need a leader acceptable to local and foreign powers friendly towards Sri Lanka. Wimal has proven he has excellent working relations with Gotabaya and Mahinda.

  3. Ratanapala Says:

    Dharshan,

    You are right. Sri Lanka is very weak on our foreign relations. We need a complete new think over. We have to get rid of the trash diplomats who now sit in our diplomatic missions and appoint those who are well versed in the history and politics of our nation, those of South Asia and then the world. This is why Racist Tamils are leaps ahead of us in garnering the support of Christian West nations. For the Christian West and the so-called Diaspora Tamils or actually Economic migrants, it is a symbiotic relationship.

    Sri Lanka is too small a country to have the likes of provincial governments in the same fashion as India which is 50 times bigger. We must do away with the Indian imposed 13th Amendment in toto. This is something MR should have done immediately after the war victory. We neglected to consolidate the war victory by being too subservient to India and their ‘advice’. We should have gone on to increase our military strength to 500,000 in the immediate aftermath or at least kept it at the same levels. Sri Lanka is country that suffered for 30 years from Racist Tamil – Eelamist ideology. MR’s biggest failure is leaving the almost dead and rotten Eelam leg to continue to fester without amputation. Even after seven decades after ending hostilities in Europe, no Nazi can raise his head in Germany or anywhere else in the world! Sri Lanka couldn’t do it with the LTTE because our leaders did not have a vision for the post LTTE Sri Lanka!

    Dilrook,

    You are wrong. Wimal is still young and has enough time to one day make a presidential bid. At the moment only one in the horizon is Gotabhaya. Your argument that Gotabhaya is a US citizen and therefore China and Russia would be wary of him is not correct. This is to assume that all US Citizens are suspect before our all weather friends Russia, China, and others. These countries are mature enough to know it is not the label that matters and what matters is the man within. All that Gota has to do is to renounce his US Citizenship.

    I agree that Gota needs to mature more in terms of personal diplomacy, but he has been improving by leaps and bounds over the last few years. He is the Statesman of the Rajapakse brothers. He has a vision for the nation. He is going in the right way about it getting the Patriots and intellectuals around him to formulate a charter for the nation.

    Mahinda is still the quintessential politician working numbers and alliances. He is still attached to the SLFP too much. He has been in this game for a long time and it is too late for him to change. Although he is getting into late years, he may be still good for a few years as the Prime Minister of the country, as long as he is able to listen and do what is best for the country. At the moment he should do what his father did – leaving the UNP to form the SLFP, he should now leave the SLFP to head the SLPP and Pohottuwa. He should leave Sirisena to do the last rites for the SLFP and vanish from politics for the good of the nation. SLFP is tainted with far left politics for too long. It is time Sri Lanka took a page each from China, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea and steer the ship of Sri Lanka to become a modern nation devoid of extremes and doing realistic politics.

    I was listening to Basil on Salakuna yesterday and I was brimming with admiration for the man. He was accused of being the one who is responsible for the Rajapakse defeat in 2015. He has completely vindicated this position by engineering the Feb 2018 LG Elections victory, without any help from the accusers – Nimal Siripala, Susil Prem, Anura Priya, Mahinda Samara and other colorless politicians of their ilk.

    Sri Lanka has for too long been hampered by the petit politics of the Eelamists and the Jihadists. Sri Lanka has to move forward in spite of them. They have been like millstones not giving the political space for Sri Lanka to move forward. The other half of the problem is the Southern politicians who are trying to find solutions their racist and religious aspirations.

    As once my good friend and mentor – Gamini Iriyagolla said ” IF EELAMIST DEMAND, GRIEVANCE OR ASPIRATION IS THAT COCONUTS DON’T GROW ON PALMYRA TREES WE CAN’T SOLVE THAT PROBLEM! SRI LANKA HAS TO GROW, PROGRESS AND PROSPER IN SPITE OF THESE DISTRACTORS. THEY HAVE DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE TO SRI LANKA ALREADY AND FOR FAR TOO LONG!

  4. Nanda Says:

    Writing off Sirisena is a natural reaction looking at the past 3 years.
    However, we should not write off his last legacy – i.e. to fight against corruption. We should not allow ‘fight against corruption’ to die off together with the person called Sirisena.
    We should remember that no other President from JR to MR appointed commissions to investigate his/her own government corruptions. That was the fertilizer for the Pohottuwa too.
    Whoever come to power must let his ‘fight against corruption’ bloom like Pohottuwa not cut off form the plant. Otherwise the 14% minority who voted for Sirisena’s last theme ‘‘fight against corruption’ (surely they trusted this person like fools) will have no party to vote for and might to JVP if they change their colour ( like they did in Bandarawela).

  5. Dilrook Says:

    @Ratanapala

    You are very lucky to have associated Gamini. I read between the lines of his excellent statement! Sadly we failed to capitalize on it.

    [Quote] This is to assume that all US Citizens are suspect before our all weather friends Russia, China, and others. [Unquote]

    I’m afraid that assumption is correct. In fact. I was too light on it.

    After being duped by so many Americans (of all complexions, if that matters) over the years, China and Russia take no chances whatsoever. If you follow international developments you can see the surprising level of trust deficit. I reiterate, China, Russia, etc. (Sri Lanka’s closest friends) will not tolerate for a second a current or former US citizen becoming president, PM or even foreign minister of Sri Lanka. As Sri Lanka is far too small to compromise, that option is also not there.

    In the local theatre, the ‘American conspiracy’ will backfire. SLPP constituent parties like anti-west LSSP, CP, MEP, etc. will be in a fix about supporting an American. JVP will go to town with it. Don’t forget they are hanging in there. They cannot afford anymore collapse. This is the sad reality.

    Weerawansa is a mature politician today. He is far too precious to be taken for granted as he too will consider his options. He is not in the game for scraps. What goes unnoticed is the number of NFF councilors within SLPP. Wimal threatened to leave the SLPP if his very large quota was not given. If his NFF makes the move, there are willing opportunists to accept them. With this trump card in hand, Wimal is way too powerful today. It is fair to say SLPP LGs are held hostage by NFF candidates within. Wimal also monopolizes anti-UNP media power. But he is a grateful gentleman who will not backstab Mahinda. He should not be taken for granted.

    There is another side to it. Apart from GL, there is another federalist/confederalist in the rooms of SLPP. You know who I’m talking about. Sadly, Mahinda follows both into political solutions. This is dangerous. However, not Wimal.

    A President Weerawansa Prime Minister Mahinda combination is the best hope for nationalists and the nation. It is the nationalist oppositte of President Chandrika and Prime Minister Sirima. The age combination is the same too!

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    In the light of attempts to hang all Rajapaksa’s and the fickleness of Sinhala support, expecting Gota to give up his US citizenship to run for the Presidency may be a non-starter. After ALL that Gota has done, he is still being SHAMEFULLY CRUCIFIED by his countrymen. I will not blame him if he refuses to put his head in this particular NOOSE!

    In that case, I agree with Dilrook, Weerawansa as President and Mahinda as Prime Minister may be the VERY BEST OPTION for the Patriots!

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    If you have been watching the News Channels, there is a beehive of ACTIVITY within the SLFP and UNP parts of the Yamapalanaya, ALL geared to AVOIDING stepping aside for the SLPP as the VOTERS want, and to form a CARETAKER Govt until a General Election can be held.

    So, lets look at the existing situation to UNDERSTAND WHY:

    1. MR has said he does not the post of PM offered by MS without the mandate of a New General Election

    2. UNP wants to create a UNP-ONLY government but is short of 7 MPs to get the required 50% majority in Parliament

    3. JVP has REFUSED to join a UNP-led or JO-led Govt

    4. MS has said he will not accept as Ministers any SLFP/UPFA individuals who join an ONLY-UNP-led Government

    5. The TNA with its16 MPs is remaining non-committal until requested by some major Party to be the kingmaker.

    The Party composition of MPs in the current Parliament is as follows:

    UNP 106
    JO 52
    UPFA/SLFP 43
    TNA 16
    JVP 6
    EPDP 1
    SLMC 1

    TOTAL 225

    Without ministerial portfolios no UPFA/SLFP-ers will join ANY Govt, because MS refuses to accept them as Ministers.

    So, the ONLY WAY the UNP can reach the required number of 113 MPs is to form an ALLIANCE with the TNA!

    However, that will be DEATH for the UNP in future Elections because Sinhala people will see that as the ULTIMATE TREACHERY and CULMINATION of Yamapalana efforts to Federalize Sri Lanka through a New Constitution.

    The JO cannot form a Govt with 113 MPs, because JO(52)+UPFA(43)+EPDP(1)+SLMC(1) seats add up to only 97 seats.

    That may be why SLPP/MR wants a New General Election to win a sufficient number of Parliamentary seats without accepting, even if were possible, the JVP and the TNA as allies.

  8. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    I think Mahinda and Gotabaya have already come to that conclusion as well. Very disappointing but practical. Things can get even uglier if pro-West UNP, etc. collude with USA to frame Gotabaya under the US law. It can be done as he is under the US law as a citizen.

    Yes; a UNP-TNA tie up will ruin both. Even TNA will be seen as traitors by their voters. This is what happened in 1965-70 Dudley-Chelva pact. UNP was ruined in 1970 election and ACTC/ITAK lost seats badly. But I think UNP will not get TNA into the government. UPFA+JO+JVP = 100 seats. UNP alone has 106. So they are safe. TNA only has to do nothing to save the UNP.

    If Sirisena wants, he can poach 16 MPs from UNP loyal to him and help UPFA form a government. But Sirisena knows his SLFP is dead and will be a small junior partner in a government though SLFP has a similar number of seats in parliament based on the 2015 outdated mandate. And Mahinda wants no national list freeloaders in his government, only fully committed MPs with public support. If not for Sirisena cheating the national list, JO should have 62 MPs.

    What Mahinda should now do is, remain in the Opposition and get ready for PC elections now itself. Identify popular LG Councilors elected from larger areas and field them in the PC mix. Increase SLPP’s 45% to 48%. The next leap is to over 50% at the presidential election. The timing cannot be better.

    Mahinda became a fearless pre-1995 Chandrika in 2018 as I have been demanding for sometime. He threw caution and threats to the wind and went glove-less just as Chandrika did then. Voters reward such bold and brash leaders. Until 2015 Mahinda always had positive election campaigns. This is his first one along confrontational lines. Even his tone of voice changed.

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