POLITICAL ACME IN SRI LANKA: WOULD THERE BE AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION
Posted on July 30th, 2018

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

The political stability in Sri Lanka appears to be a quite remote endurance. Although it is a great expectation of the ordinary people of Sri Lanka the political stability might not be achieved during the lifetime of the current generation. The historical evidence in relation to the political administration of the country clearly indicates that the political cannibalism was a common feature or a distasteful practice in the history before European invasions. It is also viewed that in many occasions in the country, the transfer of power from one king to other was eventuated by the killing of the predecessor.  Therefore, the political cannibalism had been a popular experience in Sri Lanka since the establishment of Sinhala state under the leadership of prince Vijaya.  We have no idea before Vijaya, how the political administration was operated in the country.  But it could be imagined that similar type of political cannibalism had been operated in that period because it is a historical truth that Kuveni betrayed her own people to Vijaya and his associates demonstrating a president of political cannibalism.

Naturally, political betrayals were a common experience in many countries, but South Asian political history provides more evidence that countries in the area were /are in a vulnerable situation and only a few dictators in the history were immune to the political cannibalism and successful in maintaining the political stability. The story of Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 was a similar type of betrayal, in spite of Mr Rajapaksa’s great leadership to the country achieving a highly valuable liberation from cannibalistic terrorism.  That is what people should understand from the political history of South Asia that although the ordinary people wish to have a political stability in their countries, unexpected conspiracies eventuate in many instances.

People in modern society might have the interest to talk about the political crisis in Sri Lanka, which reflects that it has affected the entire life of the community and it also seems to be an issue related to the stability of the country as well as the prosperity of people in Sri Lanka.  There is no argument that during the colonial era, Sri Lanka had a political stability to a reasonable extent with many betrayals within the administration system, but the colonial administrators had the power to consolidate the authority despite the deceptions focusing firmly on the objectives.

People of Sri Lanka are still hearing that many elderly people who had been living before 1948 express that the country under the white men’s administration was better than the independent administration of Sri Lankans.  The statement is based on practical reality of political cannibalism, political nepotism, political betrayals, and corruption.  Many people of Sri Lanka, who are living in the country or living outside the country feel that politics in Sri Lanka is the most disgusting matter to be discussed or debated.  However, according to my experience, it seems that people of Sri Lanka, who are living in the country or in outside the country do enjoy talking politics of Sri Lanka and the major talking point of their gatherings is expressing opinions on the current political acme in the country. This means that the political crisis in Sri Lanka is a significant issue that should be resolved with a bipartisan approach.

The current political crisis cannot be in an easily definable status to Sri Lankan living in outside the country and the crisis has involved in international politics and sometimes, it is mixed with the behaviour of foreign agents living in Sri Lanka.  The current political instability is an issue that emerged with the presidential election held in 2015.  It does not mean that it was the beginning of the issue.  In fact, the political stability related issue has been remaining in the country since the first general election held in 1947, which conducted under the dominion status, opening the way for the independence of the country.  During the dominion period the country had an ad hoc unity of political parties, which were formed with different objectives and after a short period of the election there were serious explosions within major political parties and such divisions opened the way for political uncertainty or instability.

Many countries in Asian, Africa and Latin America gained independence from Western imperialism when Sri Lanka had been encountering the problem of dividing political parties.  For example, Pakistan faced to a grave political instability after independence and many national leaders sacrificed their lives for the sake of politics.  Only two leaders in Sri Lanka sacrificed their lives and the current political acme indirectly show that there are potential to many sacrifices.  India too faced with this issue and many international observers are looking at how India would response to Sri Lanka’s political crisis because if Sri Lanka’s political system is in an unstable condition, it would impact on India too.

When we talk about the political stability in Sri Lanka it is difficult to ignore the word hegemony.  Although the different ethnic groups in Sri Lanka are happy to live together, they are not allowed by large countries such as India and others because these countries have political differences and attempt to use Sri Lankans by force to align either one using different techniques such as economic assistance and international assistance for resolving internal ethnic issues.  This is not a situation that is expected by peace-loving people in Sri Lanka.

The other significant development is that China too involves with the issue of Sri Lanka.  Before the Rajapaksa administration, China did not directly put a hand to Sri Lanka’s politics.  However, during the Rajapaksa administration, China has developed an interest in Sri Lanka. The current trend clearly indicates that no government will elect in the country would be able to get out of Chinese involvement as no country in the world will be able provide economic assistance to Sri Lanka, in the way China provides.

After 2015 general election, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe faced to an acute problem, even Mr JR Jayewardene never faced with China and now Mr. Wickramasinghe is in a situation that he would not be able to get out of the problem.  In this situation, it seems that if any leader of the country is able to stay Non-Align between China and India like the way Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike acted during her tenure, the leader of Sri Lanka might not be able to survive in the current situation.

Before 2015 presidential election, Western countries and India beguiled Mr Wickramasignhe against China giving impossible promises such as to provide US $ 4.0 billion supports to Sri Lanka.  Previously many time, America and Western countries gave false promises to Mr Wickramasinghe, but they did not fulfil the promises.  The promises given during 2015 election period were accomplished by India and West Collison.  Motivated Mr Wickramasinghe from false promises, made some improper statements against China in election platforms such as China is a beggar, I will stop Chinese assisted projects without knowing the truth about China. The total foreign assets of China are about US $ 3.0 trillion, which is higher than the combine total of foreign assets of USA, UK, Canada, EU, Australia, India and Japan.  Foreign assets of Taiwan, where the land area and population equal to Sri Lanka, is US $ 500 billion, which is higher than India.  Although China has differences with Taiwan on the basis of One China policy, it is economically depending on China.  Why did Mr Wickramasinghe make irresponsible statement in political platforms, if he was a wise politician.

Current Sri Lanka has a serious crisis in relation to economic management and corruption.  There is no difference between governing parties and the opposition, even non-government organizations are also equally corrupt in relation to resources management.  It seems that many non-government agencies use the current political instability and corrupt practices to attract funds from democratic countries such as America, Britain, and the European Union and also from India and China for their own corrupt purposes.

In addition to this trend, what we can observe is that religious organizations and devoted clergy too are corrupt in Sri Lanka; they love for money and wealth than the religious values.  This application could be made to all religious institutions operating in Sri Lanka. These religious institutions are heavily involved in politics, despite the philosophical beliefs of own religion and religions are working as a cover of believers for these corrupt activities.

The current political crisis in Sri Lanka was originated with the presidential election in 2015, which purely focused on defeating the Rajapakse regime rather than creating a good society in the country.  When Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse elected to presidentship in 2005, it was an unexpected political event in the country because political leadership after the independence in 1948 has been a power transferring from one family to other. These two families were clearly unable to control the ethnic war which has been developed to a bloodletting terrorism and killing innocent people.  Mr. Rajapakse was from the south had a trust from the ordinary people that he had the courage to control the war.  In the beginning, Rajapakse’s action was really disappointed but the courage of Mr Rajapaksa motivated to successfully face the problem.  His family members supported him and encouraged him to take the right decisions.  However, traditional ruling families and their own heirs worked against Mr. Rajapaksa who successful in controlling the war and people in the country without ethnic differences appreciated his courage.

After the civil war, Mr. Rajapaksa was able to unite the country to a certain extent and attract foreign supports for economic investments. He also was able to maintain economic growth at a reasonably higher level and growing foreign assets and lowering unemployment level in the country.  However, he was unable to control corrupt practices within his government and attract the political support from the minority as his stand appeared to be more supportive to Sinhala Buddhists. His actions did not reflect that his government was discriminating against the minority.  He did lots of work to North and East, however, at the presidential election in 2015, he could not attract votes from North and East as expected. Although he was not a racist, the propaganda machine of Tamil and Muslim community worked against Mr. Rajapaksa purely using votes as a revenge for defeating Tamil separatism.  In fact, after defeating Tamil separatism, North and East people were economically benefited and more opportunities for kids in North, East and Central provinces gained.

Current experience in Sri Lanka clearly indicates that the movement against Mr. Rajapaksa at the Presidential election in 2015 was a misleading campaign, which was run by foreign funds, which encompassed greedy opportunists. The campaign against Rajapakse haven’t had a common program and economic philosophy to the country and the elected president was unable to deliver what he promised or the benefits that people implied to gain from the president. Finally, what happened was that the President had to keep his one leg in UNP and other in SLFP indicating whichever leg was slip entire president’s body would be falling down.

The political acme obviously based on this unstable two legs and attitudes related to two legs.  When compared to President JR Jayawardene or R Premadasa current president is quite weak, not because he won the election with a small majority but also his policies and authority are undermined by foundations of two legs. As a result, new political party emerged with the support of the Rajapakse family and the joint opposition which attracts people supports, that never seen in the history.

The new party, Sri Lanka United People’s Front (Sri Lanka Podu Jana Eksath Peramuna) has also not declared the policy in which they would be involved in if they elected to the office.  The implied policy actions would be what Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa involved in after the 2010 presidential election.  People of the country have a common idea that when there are many parties in the country it would not help to achieve the common dream that is regarded as speedy economic growth.  The hidden objectives of all political parties appeared to be opportunism and no political party promises that it would eliminate corruption and treat people equally without racial, religious or any other differences in relation to all matters of the country.  Sri Lanka does not want political parties based on races and religions and wants political parties that treat people equally without discrimination.

When considering the political strength of current political leaders in the parliament, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only person who could convey this philosophy to people and unite people as human being to achieve the traditional dream.  Under the UNP administration, Mr. JR Jayewardane was a person who could convey this philosophy but Mr. Ranil Wickramasignhe has tremendous weaknesses and people have no trust in him as a leader or alternative to SLPP.

One Response to “POLITICAL ACME IN SRI LANKA: WOULD THERE BE AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION”

  1. Christie Says:

    Our politics have been under India and Indians here.

    Look at the last election 2015.

    Sobitha lead the Good Governance and divided the Sinhala Budhists.

    Nanasara lead the anti Islam and Christian movement and alienated them from the Sinhala Budhists.

    Indian block vote delivered the current administration.

    Not much has changed in the political landscape.

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