Fantasyland of the crooked
Posted on March 15th, 2019

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake  Courtesy The Island

Columnist Kusal Perera of the Daily Mirror has today (15) described many of the latest Budget proposals, especially on education, as fantasies — imaginary or improbable things. He has got it right. But such fantasy is now the stuff of all aspects of governance and certainly goes beyond supposed scholarships abroad for Educational Excellence at the GCE A Level or toilets for unsanitary schools.

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What we see today in governance is both farce and fantasy.President Sirisena has taken a step back from his ‘naadagam’ move of sending his own delegation to the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva. He must have heard the drumbeat of diplomacy in his ears, to have the Foreign Minister lead the official, government delegation. The real farce here is the unity of thinking among the Presidential and Prime Ministerial teams on the controversial UNHCR Resolution. What both Maithripala and Ranil will seek is to extend the term of the Resolution by two more years. Sirisena has to give into the realities of governance and diplomacy, whatever fanciful thinking he may have of kicking away the political basin he was elected from more than four years ago.

The spread of fantasy is the stuff of politics and governance today. Didn’t we hear and read Mahinda Rajapaksa say only last week how the Mangala Budget 2019 would be defeated in parliament? What happened? He placed too much faith in the ‘naadagam’ politics of Sirisena. The pro-Sirisena SLFP team kept away, and the Budget was passed with a good majority. Mahinda’s ‘pohottuva’ team could not come anywhere near it.

Another piece of fantasy we are fed today is about the presidential candidacy for Sirisena, under an SLFP-SLPP alliance. The talks between the two parties are progressing, but the Rajapaksas have not even hinted about a non-Rajapaksa candidate for the presidency. Sirisena will have to do plenty of ‘naadagam’ performance if he faces the election, for which he will need much better drummers than the recent provincial governors appointed. Their drum beats in several provinces go beyond a ‘naadagama’ to a ‘vikaara netuma’- or a dance of madness.

The leading light or gloom in the coming presidential candidacy, none other than Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, is certainly engaged in a different ‘naadagama’ — ‘adhikarana naadagama’ – judicial theatrics. There seems to be no court he will avoid from the Magistrates to the Supreme, in his performances against being charged with fraud, corruption, and misuse of public funds, when he was Secretary/ Defence under the Rajapaksa Family Regime.

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