Yahapalanaya: Comedy continues!
Posted on June 22nd, 2018

By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana Courtesy The Island

When I wrote ‘Raigamaya and Gampolaya’ just before the last local government elections (The Island, 5 February), I thought it was impossible for the state of affairs to get much worse. I am proved wrong; well, things have got worse and the comedy continues. Sorry, I should call it a tragi-comedy, with apologies to the populace that has to tighten belts, regularly, with no hope in sight, witnessing helplessly ramping corruption destroying the country, while politicians get enriched. Admittedly, no political script writer, even with an avid sense of humour, could have imagined such a farcical story as the unfolding Yahapalana saga. But, what is happening to our country is absolutely tragic.

Yahapalana mob does not care, busy feathering its own nest; the two leaders are at each other, undercutting and scheming to win the next presidential election, a post they vowed to abolish at the feet of Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero. In a way, the Venerable Thera was fortunate to depart to a better place, before his heart was fully broken by the antics of those he empowered. He is dead and gone but even death has not spared him of political manoeuvring. He would have turned 76 and definitely lived much longer had he not got involved in politics, on 29th May. To commemorate this birth anniversary, a ceremony had been held, but I simply cannot understand why this is done after someone is DEAD. Birth ends in death and, after that, if any, it is sensible to remember on the day of death; but that is another story. Our ‘great’ President gate-crashed, by his own admission, but it looks as if the ‘forgetful’ former Finance Minister was invited. “Prez lambasts UNP, warns of further revelations” was the main headline in ‘The Island of 31 May. He promised to do everything he had failed to do in the last three years and blamed the ‘other-half’ for all the failings. If you believe in an afterlife, as death would not dim the determination of a great being, Venerable Sobitha should have appeared from a ‘higher plane’ and told him, then and there, “Sirisena! Enough is enough, call off the bluff!!”

After the miserable showing in the local government elections, His Excellency planned his greatest ‘coup’; a no-confidence motion to oust the Prime Minister, he himself appointed, unconstitutionally. He was sure of success as there were enough UNPers ready to stab the aging and ‘never-winning’ leader in the back. Stage for the show-down was set, when TNA, ‘minority opposition’ declared they would abstain. Sensing danger, interested parties, including the USA and terrorist rump went into overdrive, as the fall of their man would lead to dampers on their project. ‘Bosses’ instructed TNA to vote against and everyone, including the President, got cold feet when he changed his instructions. His flock was allowed to vote as they wished, resulting in a further division of the SLFP; so, Rani survived, yet again!

Not to be outdone, the UNP taught the President a lesson by catching his Chief-of-Staff in the act of accepting a bribe. Pretty smart operation that was and wish there were many, so that the country would be rid of corruption. But the UNP is not interested in the country, any longer, but simply carries on with Dicky’s dictum: ‘Catch the corrupt only if they hurt us’.

Then comes the revelations about the millions gifted by Perpetual to (Dis) Honourable Members of Parliament who added provisos to the COPE report. Which side leaked the information, no one seems to be sure but it does not matter, as allegations are flying across the Chamber of The House, showing what a bunch of hypocrite’s rule over us. The usually sedate Speaker got up from a slumber, to plead with his colleagues not to throw mud at each other, without realising that they are simply doing what is natural to them.

An addendum is needed to my article ‘Ranil’s Watergate’ (The Island, 2 April) considering what has transpired since. The President’s attempt to bury parts of the report in the secrecy of the National Archives is a cover-up too. Surely, his secretary would not have done this without HE’s instructions and the Secretary’s claim that blacked-out portions will be sent to the Parliament on the basis of the Attorney General’s advice is nothing short of putting the honour of public servants at stake.

It is pretty obvious that the bond scams, and the cover-up by Ranil, and the subsequent cover-up of the report, by Maithri, make it the ‘Yahapalana Watergate’.

In this scenario, it is not surprising that there is a vast amount of correspondence in ‘The Island’ with various suggestions, as to how we can get out of the mess. Of course, there are repeated pleas from NGO lackeys for reinvigorating the Yahapalana project, some misquoting, may be through ignorance or even may be deliberate, from Buddhist concepts. Some go to the opposite of looking for fresh faces. It is wonderful, if it can be done but it is an impossible task. Though we mock and blame politicians, it is no easy task which needs much experience. We cannot have a distinguished personality from a different field, simply because s/he is honourable. By trying to learn on the job, much harm can be done.

Considering all this, the suggestion by Prof N A De S Amaratunga seems most practical: ‘MR must learn from past mistakes’ (The Island, 18 June). True, there are accusations of corruption; very true, MR made mistakes. Who does not? Which politician does not? Those who heap praise on Lee Kuan Yew forget, very conveniently, that he was a dictator who suppressed any opposition, mercilessly. We need a politician with a proven track record who can deliver and MR fits the bill, provided he has learned from past mistakes. The voters punished him for his mistakes and he has paid for his sins but the question is ‘Has he learned from past mistakes?’. Hope he has, for the sake of the future of our Motherland.

We are still under threat from international do-gooders. Unpatriotic politicians of ours, co-sponsored UNHRC resolutions against us, at the behest of the USA. Even when lifelines were thrown at us they disregarded. Lord Naseby’s sterling efforts were met with ridicule by our foreign ministry. After all this, what has happened? On 19th June, Nikki Hayley, the US envoy to the UN, said UNHRC was a “hypocritical” body that “makes a mockery of human rights”. In announcing the withdrawal of the USA from UNHRC she said “it was a cesspool of political bias” How true! Some of us have been telling this for a long time, Nikki!

The USA pushed us to the cesspool. Our then Foreign Minister, must be a lover of cesspools, volunteered to jump. Now the USA is running from the cesspool but we are drowning in it. Yahapalanaya pushed us there and we need someone to save us!

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