End of the road for the SLFP?
Posted on August 4th, 2019

By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana Courtesy The Island

“Justin, I cannot wait for the old boy to die” was the response my father had received from S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, shortly before he crossed over to the Opposition, in July 1951, having resigned from the posts of the Leader of the House and Minister of Health & Local Government. My father, Justin Wijayawardhana, was an ardent supporter of SWRD and secretary of the Matara Branch of the Sinhala Maha Sabha, till it joined the UNP, and then was the secretary of the Matara Branch of the UNP. On learning of the possibility of SWRD’s crossover, he rushed to Colombo to request the latter not to do so. When my father pointed out that upon the retirement or death of DS, the Sinhala Maha Sabha faction would agitate and ensure SWRD would succeed, in spite of the mutterings that Lord Soulbury might nominate Dudley, he received the aforesaid response. In spite of the request, with incentives, from SWRD to join his party, my father remained with the UNP till death, probably because of his aversion to Marxists. Had he behaved liked the modern-day politicians, I may have earned the dubious distinction of being the son of a minister!

When my father related this story to us, I cannot remember; must have been after the landslide victory of SWRD in 1956, I must say that it took the glitter off the revolutionary hero image I had then of SWRD; after all, he gave pride of place to my native language or so I thought then, but it was a misjudgement of youth. Whether SWRD had a patriotic stance or exploited basic instincts to gain power is immaterial as, unfortunately, the result was a divided nation with continuing repercussions, even to date.

SWRD dissolved the Sinhala Maha Sabha and launched his new party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), on 2 September 1951. It puzzles me, even to this day, why he used the term freedom, in the party name, when we had already got freedom (nidahasa) from our colonizer. Totally unexpectedly, just over six months later, DS died, on 22 March 1952, having fallen off his horse he was riding in Galle Face.

Maybe, even if SWRD had not crossed over, Lord Soulbury would still have appointed Dudley Prime Minister. He would then have had a much stronger case to resign and form a new political party. In fact, this seems to be the narrative of some SLFP bigwigs. I was taken aback when a senior member of the SLFP recently stated that on Dudley’s appointment as PM, by Lord Soulbury, as wished to by DS, SWRD had left the UNP to form the SLFP!

Though Dudley justified his appointment by winning, with a landslide, the election he called in May 1952, he resigned in August 1953, taking responsibility for the loss of 10 lives during the ‘hartal’ organised by the leftists. Sir John, who succeeded him called an election in 1956, prematurely. SWRD, the charismatic politician and the great orator, rallied the ‘Pancha Maha Balaewegaya’ to win a landslide at this election and the second force in Sri Lanka politics was born. Since then, the SLFP and UNP has ruled the country, alternately, sometimes helped by smaller parties.

On the assassination of SWRD, in September 1959, Wijayanada Dahanayaka became the PM. Though a man with total integrity, his term in office is better forgotten! The mantle of leadership of the SLFP fell on Sirimavo, who became the world’s first woman PM by winning the July 1960 elections. When she thought of retirement, the biggest quandary she faced was whether to pass on the mantle to her son or her daughter and, for reasons best known to herself, she passed it on to Chandrika; the more intelligent son, left confused, wasted his life without realising his full potential. Chandrika was PM for a short time in 1994, before becoming the first woman president of Sri Lanka in November 1994. Her presidency till 2005 is yet another era of SLFP, better forgotten.

Mahinda Rajapaksa became the President in 2005 and took over the SLFP leadership from the Bandaranaikes.

Maybe, the golden era of the SLFP was under Mahinda, mainly due to the defeat of LTTE terrorism. Based on astrological advice, when Mahinda called a premature presidential election in 2015, Chandrika struck. Unfortunately for her, the Yahapalanaya, she created and fostered, has turned out to be a mirage. The bond scams, perpetuated by an imported Governor and his son-in-law, were made worse by the attempted cover-up by her new friend,Ranil.

Clashes between Maithri and Ranil paved the way for the emergence of a new form of terrorism. As eminently pointed out by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, backboneless politicians are indulging in a battle of self-preservation at the expense of the security of the nation. Much to Chandrika’s disdain, all this has led to a Mahinda resurgence, if one were to take cognisance of cheers from the crowd at the sheer mention of the name, at the parting speech of Lasith Malinga, among many other things.

Mahinda’s other brother, another clever politician Basil, has been busy building a new party; the SLPP. In a short period of existence, the bud (pohottuwa) bloomed at the last local government elections; so much, so that the Yahapalanaya is finding every possible excuse to postpone elections. If the present trend continues the SLPP may well become the dominant party in Sri Lanka politics.

What is left of the SLFP seems to be dwindling by the day and the behaviour of the bigwigs is only second to the behaviour of the PM, who denies the existence of wattle and daub houses in Sri Lanka and thinks what villagers want is not food and clothing, but gym equipment!

As the race for the presidency hots up, the big decision for the few MPs, remaining in the SLFP, seems to be, which way to jump: some are attempting to polevault to the UNP whilst others are jump the SLPP bandwagon. Maithri, after flirting with Sajith , seems to be in discussion with the SLPP.

20 Responses to “End of the road for the SLFP?”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    I said so 4 years ago in an article here as a warning before (emphasis) the 2015 parliamentary election. Sadly, it was not heeded and now the SLFP is dead.

    Sirisena Must Take Full Responsibility for the Potential Demise of the SLFP
    Posted on July 5th, 2015

    Dilrook Kannangara

    The SLFP is on its last legs. Formed in 1951 from the consolidation of various political groups including the Sinhala Maha Sabha (formed in 1936), the SLFP ruled the country for 34 years sharing terms with the UNP (33 years). These were with the UNP until then. It faced two previous near death experiences in 1959 and 1979 with the assassination of its founder SWRD Bandaranaike and the civic disability imposed on his wife. However, the party survived as it quickly realigned with the masses. However, the threat it faces today is much worse as it comes from within.

    Sirisena is doing the opposite of Bandaranaike. Sirisena is re-merging the SLFP with the UNP after a split of 64 years. That makes him the destroyer of the SLFP; the party that made a poor villager the president after a long political career.

    However, masses need the UNP-SLFP split to continue so that they have a choice. This democratic nation cannot end up like Cuba, Soviet Union or North Korea of one party rule. Sadly Sri Lanka has fallen into the abyss of dictatorship since January 2015. Sirisena has let down the masses with his pro-UNP stand while holding the top position of the SLFP. On their part, the UNP in a masterstroke successfully plotted the demise of the SLFP. Ably supported by Chandrika, the end of the SLFP marks an end of an era not just in domestic politics but also in Sri Lanka’s foreign relations. By their westernised thinking, they have distanced the party from the people.

    If Sirisena has any leadership skills, he should keep personal disagreements aside and join with Mahinda. To her credit, Chandrika agreed to coexist with Mahinda as the prime minister in 2004. Surely, Sirisena is a better leader than her. Or is he?

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Today SLPP will name its candidate if all goes to plan. But I very much doubt it.

    However, Sirisena is making one last attempt to save the SLFP by trying to get Gotabaya into his camp. If Sirisena is willing to make Gotabaya the SLFP candidate, no one needs Mahinda and Basil.

    In my view, this is the best outcome. People rejected Mahinda and Basil in 2015 and there is no use in bringing them back.

    Give Gotabaya and his team a chance. Believe it or not, Gotabaya’s team is not the Mahinda/Basil team!

    If he contests with Sirisena, Gotabaya can win some Tamil and Muslim votes. If he contests from a SLPP led party, then he can only win Sinhala votes.

    If he contests with Sirisena, the stigma of nepotism won’t be there. If he contests from the SLPP, he too will stink of nepotism. This is unfair because Gotabaya never gave into nepotism.

    Gotabaya sharpely differed from Mahinda/Basil on 13A and the position of nationalist parties within the Mahinda camp.

    People only want Gotabaya, not the family baggage that comes with him.

    Family members going into oppositte political camps is normal.

    e.g. Anura Bandaranaike, Chandrika Bandaranaike
    e.g. Ranatungas
    e.g. Basil Rajapaksa joining UNP in 1980s as UNP Kularatna’s organiser
    e.g. Gunawardhenes
    e.g. Extended family of Senanayakes

  3. Randeniyage Says:

    @Dilrook
    Sirisena will only weaken Gotabhaya. What value he has to add ? He has ZERO votes. He has ZERO brain for the country. He is only a burden.

    My guess is Gotabhaya will be stopped and Mahinda+ Sirisena will come to an agreement. Mahinda will be exPM. Sirisena will listen to him. Country will die anyway.

  4. Mario Perera Says:

    The UNP under Ranil died.
    The SLFP under the Rajapakses died.
    Sirisena, a ghost of the SLFP tried to resurrect it. But a ghost is nothing more than a ghost. He appeared and will soon disappear as all ghosts do.

    Now the aforesaid dead are trying to reincarnate themselves in new forms.

    The SLFP wil be called the SLPP.
    The UNP will be called the DNF or whatever.

    As for us, we have become a nation of ‘caretakers’ holding vigil over the dead and imagining them as what they hold themselves out to be: as reincarnated forms.

    These re-incarnated forms are only a prop-up of the dead. Soon the nation already knows them for what they are by the stench they diffuse. Their symbols are not the elephant, the hand or whatever else.
    Their symbol is the garbage dump this country has become.

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    I think the above commentators are ALL WRONG!

    Here is what I think will happen:

    1. The SLFP will ULTIMATELY join the SLPP to win the upcoming elections, holding out until the last moment to extract a bigger piece of the pie at that time. They will FAIL to get either the President’s post, the PM’s post or the General Secretary position of the new JO Front. They KNOW that the SLFP is only a shadow of its former self, thanks to Sirisena, they dare not wait until they are made IRRELEVANT by the SLPP contesting alone.

    2. The UNP will solve its internal squabbles and appoint SAjith as the Oresidential Candidate and give Ranil the PM’s post, and the General Decretary post will be held by a UNPer. Minor parties in the DNF will get only promises, but not nNO LEADERSHIP positions, Die hard UNPers are heartily sick of what transpired in the Yamapalanaya, and they will NOT DIVIDE its leadership, no matter what!

    The Patriotic Forces led by the SLPP will win a resounding victory in Presidential, Provincialand General Elections. The UNP will be REDUCED to IRRELEVANCE in an astounding defeat reminiscent second only to the defeat of Sir John Kothalawa’s government in 1956 to SWRD’s SLFP!

    The Patriotic Forces of Sri Lanka will RISE AGAIN to UNPRECEDENTED POWER driven by the coming together of the Sinhala people, both Buddhist and Christian.

    Tamil (TNA) and Muslim (SLMC) parties will get REDUCED votes and seats in parliament,and will lose those votes to Tamil and Muslim leaders who ally themselves with the SLPP. They will largely become isolated and LOSE THE ROLE AS KINGMAKERS they enjoyed on Jan 8, 2015 and during the Yamapalana years.

    The HIGH HANDED ACTS of these two minority parties are responsible to a large degree for unifying the Sinhala ELECTORATE against them.

    The JVP will be a BIG LOSER; NO ONE TRUSTS them and holds them partly responsible for joining the Yamapalanaya to defeat the Rajapaksa govt on Jan 8, 2-015 and the General Election in 2015.

    They will NOT BE FORGIVEN NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY CRITICIZE THE YAMAPALANAYA DESPERATELY TRYING TO HIDE THEIR ROLE AS FENCE JUMPERS who brought Sri Lanka to its KNEES!

  6. aloy Says:

    Let me add my two cents worth also here.
    I was one of those who endorsed MY3 for the presidential election in 2015 even before the famous hoppers night. He won and almost has betrayed the nation. However Moragahakanda project is one of his achievement but he together with MR were paving the way for the giving away that land to the Arabs. I wont be surprised the picture of these leaders will appear in the cutouts together with those responsible for the carnage of 21/4 in the next presidential election.

    I think the Mahasanga has already identified couple of leaders who should be given the chance to contest from within the existing system. They are Sarath Weerasekera and Dinesh Gunawardena. I believe one of them should be elected uncontested from among the Sinhalese. MR should retire gracefully. And most probably RW will be the opposition leader.

    I believe the leader should have common sense, integrity, intelligence and patriotism.
    Those UPM engineers others with a lot of managerial skills with various degrees will not be able to contribute much as leaders. The minister Rishard has shown what it takes to be successful manager.

  7. Ratanapala Says:

    The writer has correctly highlighted the treachery of SWRD – Dividing the Nation!

    ” When my father related this story to us, I cannot remember; must have been after the landslide victory of SWRD in 1956, I must say that it took the glitter off the revolutionary hero image I had then of SWRD; after all, he gave pride of place to my native language or so I thought then, but it was a misjudgment of youth. Whether SWRD had a patriotic stance or exploited basic instincts to gain power is immaterial as, unfortunately, the result was a divided nation with continuing repercussions, even to date.”

    SWRD rode the Sinhala Maha Sabha only to dissolve it as soon as he formed the SLFP. This shows that he used the Sinhala aspirations to advance his personal agenda. Then again in 1956 rode on the shoulders of native aspirations – the Pancha Maha Balavegaya and the other patriotic and socialist parties to capture power. He became the Prime Minister but within a short span of time his erstwhile partners of the MEP went their own ways. Had he survived the assassination and continued he and his SLFP would have ended up another Ranil Wickramasinghe – for the man under the skin was revealed to be just another Kalu Sudda masquerading as a Sinhala Buddhist patriot.

    SLFP got a new lease on life with his assassination; SWRD became a Bodhisatva and his wife Sirimavo became the Prime Minister. Her main achievement was to take SLFP to dynastic politics. Her main advisors were her close family. The not so literate electorate who once believed on her promise that rice could be brought from the Moon, continued to back her pseudo-socialist agenda time and again mainly due to the weakness of the UNP, that of the organised Left and for lack of an alternative. UNP got firmly entrenched in the Kalu Sudda domain and continued to advance its Christian West’s Neo Liberal Agenda for the country which continues to this day.

    SWRD’s work in dividing the Sinhala vote drove the country’s minorities to the position of kingmakers of Sri Lanka. This position has continued to this day. With Sirisena (SLFP) and Ranil (UNP) Jadapalanaya, country’s dissent to lowest ranks in South Asia is now a done deed!

    Zaharan’s bombs have awakened the populace to the reality that Wahabbism a new religio–terrorist force is firmly entrenched in Sri Lanka. This has now come to replace the racist Tamil Terrorism of yesteryear.

    The Pohottuwa gives another opportunity for the Sinhalese as well as other minorities to unite and take the country forward away from exclusive minority politics that have been the millstones around the neck and jugular of the nation for so long. This of course is subject to the proviso that they learn valuable lessons from the immediate past and are ready to listen to all the voices and agendas of their competitors and most importantly the people. Eradication of Corruption and Reinstating the Rule of Law continues to be the call of the Nation!

    PS: What SWRD did in 1951 is no different from what Champika Ranawaka is doing now. Champika rode the Sinhala Buddhist bandwagon only to abandon his following and support the Christian UNP to come to power in Jan 2015. His ambition to slip slide and reach the very top through slimy politics and sheer ambition leaves much to be desired of him as a trustworthy politician

  8. DR M D P DISSANAYAKE Says:

    1. I agree most of views expressed by Dr UW. Fine memory of yours. However, I think making Sinhala Official Language was a brave move. As Sri Lanka move forward within next few decades, Sinhala must be made Official Language, with space for Tamil Language. It is useless advancing our nation, if its majority’s language is not recognised as a lethal weapon in communication. Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and many other nations safeguard its language and culture.

    2. I agree with Ananda-USA.

  9. aloy Says:

    As someone said in these columns, all Sinhala movements including the Sarvodaya (the appendage of NPM/UPM) are Wahabi funded; all indications are that they will come to open with Sajith’s faction very soon.

    In the mean time MR and the gang are saying “onna babo billo enawa” type of things against the USA and the west. If US wanted to come in, the government would not have given to the demands of Ven. Rathana and waited for the ‘ideal situation’ to bring their forces. US does not want to get involved with a fight here or anywhere other than the ME where they want to create as many problems as possible to the Arabs. MR has to safeguard the interests of Arabs as his investment are there.

    Mario’s analysis is very correct. As the Sinhala saying goes, let us not fall into the same pit that we fell in the night, during daytime.

  10. Dilrook Says:

    If SWRD didn’t breakaway from the UNP and contested from a nationalist party, Sinhala and Buddhism would have been far more weakened. We have to be grateful for those who did good irrespective of our political, ethnic and tribal preferences. Before SLFP Sinhalese had two useless and extremist choices – UNP ultra capitalists or the communists.

    The problem is not with Bandaranaikes, but with subsequent SLFP leaders who ruined it and killed it.

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    2019 prez poll: Mahinda to take over SLPP before declaring Gotabaya’s candidature

    Island.lk
    August 5, 2019, 10:15 pm

    By Shamindra Ferdinando

    Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Kurunegala District UPFA lawmaker will accept the leadership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) on Sunday (Aug.11) before declaring Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s candidature for the 2019 presidential election.

    The presidential election is scheduled to take place between late Nov and early Dec, 2019.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa received the SLPP membership from SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris on Nov 11, 2018 at his official residence at Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo. Mahinda Rajapaksa switched his allegiance to the SLPP as the Prime Minister close on the heels of the dissolution of parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena, but which was soon invalidated by a ruling of the Supreme Court.

    In addition to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the following UPFA lawmakers obtained SLPP membership: Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, C.B. Ratnayake, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Johnston Fernando, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Priyankara Jayaratne, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Prasanna Ranatunga, Dulip Wijesekara, Janaka Wakkumbura, Namal Rajapaksa, Shehan Semasinghe, Thenuka Widanagamage, Arundika Fernando, Kanchana Wijesekara, Nimal Lanza, Indika Anuruddha, Prasanna Ranaweera, D.V. Chanaka, Anura Priyadarashana Yapa, T.B. Ekanayake, Chandima Weerakkody, Susantha Punchinilame, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Sumeda G. Jayasena, Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Tharanath Basnayake, Sanath Nishantha, Kanaka Herath, Gamini Lokuge, W.D.J. Senewiratna, Susil Premajayantha and Premalal Jayasekara, Wimalaweera Dissanayake and Lohan Ratwatte.

    Kandy District UNP parliamentarian Ananda Aluthgamage also joined the SLPP.

    The SLPP has reached an understanding with over 20 political parties and groups represented in parliament and outside in the run up to Aug 11 event.

    Addressing the media at SLPP Office at Nelum Mawatha, Battaramulla yesterday, Prof. Peiris said that the SLPP candidate would ensure national security, instill discipline, restore credibility, effective governance and be capable of upholding national pride.

    Prof. Peiris emphasized that the SLPP was the most powerful political force in the country. Paying a glowing tribute to the role played by Basil Rajapaksa in building up the SLPP in the run-up to Feb 2018 Local Government polls, Prof. Peiris said that the next national poll would prove the SLPP’s standing.

    Prof. Peiris compared the growing crisis experienced by the UNP in its coalition building exercise over disagreement among partners on their presidential candidate with the successful process undertaken by the Joint Opposition and the SLPP. The former External Affairs Minister explained that whatever their choice is the UNP led coalition would pursue current controversial strategies. “Don’t expect them to deviate from the policies that are being implemented now. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith Premadasa or Karu Jayasuriya will basically follow same policies,” Prof. Peiris asserted.

    Prof. Peiris and Sagara Kariyawasam will continue as Chairman and Secretary of the SLPP.

    Easter Sunday suicide bombings underscored Sri Lanka’s vulnerability, Prof. Peiris said adding that the minorities realized that they couldn’t depend on the current dispensation. The SLPP Chairman said that in the aftermath of the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) terror strikes, the Muslim community sought the former President’s intervention as they felt the UNP government couldn’t cope up with the mega security crisis.

    Asked whether the SLPP could expect the Tamil community to vote for its candidate as the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was certain to campaign against its candidate and throw its weight behind the UNP’s choice, Prof. Peiris said that the northern electorate couldn’t be taken for a ride this time. He said that those living in the Northern and Eastern provinces were aware the current dispensation did absolutely nothing in their areas after the change of government in January 2015. Prof. Peiris pointed out that the TNA, having backed the UNP both in and outside parliament owed an explanation as to why it couldn’t provide any fresh relief to the people. In fact, the TNA, by voting for Provincial Council Special Act No 17 of 2017 paved the way for the government to put off Provincial Council polls, Prof. Peiris said.

    The former law professor alleged that the TNA did nothing except for propagating lies about the armed forces.

    When The Island pointed out that ITAK leader and Jaffna District lawmaker Mavai Senadhiraja had declared in the north that the TNA wouldn’t back anyone proposed by Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Tamils suffered during the Rajapaksa rule, Prof. Peiris pointed out the TNA campaigned for General Sarath Fonseka at 2010 presidential election.

    Prof. Peiris said that whatever the directions issued by the TNA and the SLFP, in case a consensus couldn’t be reached with that party, the SLPP was confident the voters would act sensibly.

    The SLPP Chairman dismissed the possibility of the SLFP teaming up with the UNP under any circumstances. Responding to another query, Prof. Peiris said that the vast majority of those who had been elected on the UPFA ticket at the last general election would throw their weight behind the SLPP candidate. “Of course, all will take into consideration the parliamentary polls to follow.”

    The UPFA parliamentary group comprises 95 members. Of them, the majority function as the Joint Opposition – a grouping recognized by the Speaker.

    Meanwhile, political sources told The Island that though the SLPP and the SLFP about two weeks ago reached consensus that there should be one-on-one between President Sirisena and lawmaker Rajapaksa to decide on future course of action, the meeting was yet to take place. Sources said that it was not clear the proposed meeting would take place before the Aug 11 event.

  12. Dilrook Says:

    If Mahinda and others are SLPP members how come they are MPs of the UPFA? They cannot hold membership of two parties at the same time while in parliament.

    Quote – Prof. Peiris said that the northern electorate couldn’t be taken for a ride this time

    Why not! They will vote for whoever TNA tells them to vote! If Mahinda could win 15% of Tamil and Muslim votes on average, Gotabaya will win less than 10%.

    Gotabaya has over 67% of Sinhala support suffient to land him at 53% overall at this stage. That is the good side. The bad side is he cannot be a national leader. He is a Sinhala leader like it or not. He will win the south but not the north.

    TNA and SLMC have been going very easy on the UNP regime since 2015 apart from a few issues. Things will change with SLPP winning election. Agitations, civil disobedience, violence, riots, war crimes charges, international interference, devolution demands, hartals, etc. will re-emerge.

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    We don’t need a “national leader” … like Ranil …. who will sell the Sinhala people lock, stock and barrel, now.

    We need a leader to represent the majority community, and capture the OVERWHELMING UNDVIDED support of the Sinhala people; this will drive the UNP to EXTINCTION.

    I agree with you that the TNA and SLMC were “going easy” on the UNP. That was because they were getting pretty much everything they asked for from the UNP, at the expense of the Sinhalese, and that was OK with treacherous Ranil!

    However, the TNA could not get the KEY things they wanted because of Sinhala Patriotic opposition. On the other hand, the SLMC worked largely COVERTLY, and got most of what they needed, UNTIL ZAHARAN blew thier COVER just a little bit TOO EARLY to complete their agenda.

    Now that the GAME IS UP, and the Sinhala people are UP IN ARMS, I expect the TNA and the SLMC to lose support from their respective communities, fearful of their properity.

    Furthermore, if the Patriotic Forces achieve a LANDSLIDE VICTORY and can govern without their support, the TNA and the SLMC will be consigned to the WILDERNESS for a foreseeable period. Out of power translates to an inability to placate their followers, and they will gradually disintegrate.

    Nevertheless, I agree with you that they will create trouble for the new govt as you predict with “agitations, civil disobedience, violence, riots, war crimes charges, international interference, devolution demands, hartals, etc.

    We will need a STRONG LEADER to cope with that, and Gothabhya, with UNIVERSAL SUPPORT from a RE-ENERGIZED Sinhala Community, will be more than capable of handling that.

    A KEY TRUMP CARD the Sinhala people possess now in coping with such problems in the future is the coming together of the Sinhala Buddhist and Sinhala Christian Communities post Easter Sunday Disaster. This will HELP GREATLY in containing criticism by Western Countries and gaining their previously absent support, because they are largely Christian countries.

    The egalitarian virtues of the Buddhist Society that has been built in Sri Lanka since independence, a Tolerant and Progressive Society that has been ignored by the West up to now, may find a receptive audience now that Sri Lankan Buddhists have publicly joined in common cause with the Sri Lankan Christians.

  14. Mario Perera Says:

    Gotabhaya is NOT the knight in the shining armour riding the white horse that people think he is. One of his biggest disqualifications to assume the presidency was his intimate association with a kingpin of the underworld: the criminal drug world – Deshamanya Duminda Silva. Just consider who was his ‘monitoring MP’ in the Ministry of Defence? It was Deshamanya Duminda Silva!

    ‘Deshamanya’ meaning pride of the nation, is the second highest national honour. How on earth such a man as Duminda was conferred with the prestigious ‘deshamanya’ title baffles every right thinking mind. It only goes to show the caliber of the highest power holders of this country. They are all what are called ‘eka malle pol’.
    Gota knew who he was associating with: an inveterate and renowned drug dealer and thug, a man with a highly condemnable criminal record. Why would this a hardened criminal become the ‘monitoring MP’ of such a presumed honourable man as Gota?

    Monitoring means ‘overseeing’. Duminda was, in other words overseeing Gota’s ministry!! What sort of monitoring this confirmed drug importer and dealer did under Gota leaves room for much speculation and suspicion. Yet more confounding is the issue as to how anything clean can come out of such an unclean association. We know what happens to people who sleep with dogs!

    Where this ‘honourable deshamanya’, this close associate of Gota, the monitoring MP of his ministry now is, is known to all. On September 8, 2016, he was sentenced to death by the High Court of Sri Lanka for the murder of Sri Lankan politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, a political rival. In that shoot-out Duminda himself was, it is said, greviously injured. On that occasion Gota pulled all his weight behind Duminda to get him to Singapore and even visited him there on several occasions. The link that bound them was much more that a close relationship.
    Duminda was later charged for murder and sentenced to death. His appeal was thrown away. He is now behind bars for good, no doubt waiting for Gota to become president and confer on him a presidential pardon. Such was Gota’s connection with a leading kingpin of the underworld.

    Apart from his political doings as a SLFPer – a party man and the right hand of his president brother, thoroughly involved in his deeds as well as misdeeds, there are other matters regarding him that can never be overlooked, and which will haunt him until justice is done one way or the other. These matters concern the assassinations and disappearances that occurred during his tenure as defense secretary.

    These matters directly concerned him and his ministry. If they occurred without his knowledge, then he was surely NOT a good defense secretary considering the heinous nature of those crimes. The white vans that plied our roads in search of prey did so under the open eyes of the police. It is impossible that they could have evaded his omnipresent spotlights.
    It will also be remembered how he drove several reputed journalists into exile with direct threats to life and limb. Such was the case of Frederica Janz whose articles irked Mahinda Rajapakse and his coterie of family holders of high office, particularly Gotabhaya.

    The tragic events referred to will never be obliterated from the nation’s mind, and will surface without end until light is shed on them and the wrong doers brought to book. There is even an ongoing case against him in the USA. The fact that Gota could eventually be voted in as president will not erase the accusations that hover over his head in this regard. They will be highlighted even more, nationally and internationally, and be a poisonous thorn in his side during an eventual presidency. Just consider how the crimes and felonies of Donald Trump are plaguing his presidency relentlessly, making a mockery of his office.

    That they are provable or not is not the matter. The matter is the accusations that are levelled at the holder of the highest office in the land about crimes that took place under his watch. Those accusations will prevent the moral legitimization of the eventual occupation of that exalted post. Indeed placing Gota on the president’s seat will be like seating him in a hornet’s nest of his own making, which will be to the immense detriment of the nation.

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  15. Randeniyage Says:

    ……He is now behind bars for good, no doubt waiting for Gota to become president and confer on him a presidential pardon. …… – Mario

    Will that happen ? How many commentators approve such pardon ? Will Sinhala-Buddhist and the country saved this way ?

  16. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    Yes we need a strong leader to stand up to these threats. But if the president can be easily cowed down with war crimes allegations/charges, manipulation of interests of his family by USA which is a common practice and court cases outside Sri Lanka then we have the weakest possible president. People will have to stop looking after themselves and the nation and have to make sacrifices to protect a politician! The master making sacrifices to protect the servant! Hilarious.

    We cannot live without USA+EU and their other allies. If in doubt ask presidential election candidates and their family members. We will face an adversarial China and Russia too as they see him as the American who brought the US army into Sri Lanka to counter China and Russia in 2007.

    Don’t be fooled by political bravado and cheap talk. Look for their action.

    (But this fate of Sri Lanka cannot be easily changed. Call it pessimism but Sri Lanka’s fate is tied to disaster after disaster given the political climate after 2009).

  17. Randeniyage Says:

    Friends,
    Let us get together and demand all candidates just two essentials for the time being.
    1. Getting rid of 13a
    2. Getting rid of many laws

    Please keep on demanding these two only- nothing else. Finally all get all of them to agree.
    This something we ALL can agree than disagreement on candidates, who will win, who are the candidates – which is useless.

  18. Ananda-USA Says:

    Mario,

    I will check with my sources on your allegations against Gota wrt “Deshamanya”, then I will comment further. I will not dispute it without knowing the facts. I remember well how Mervyn Silva was used to bring down MR, too!

  19. Mario Perera Says:

    Ananda,
    Here is a reference for you.
    Sunday Times October 16, 2011
    Columns – Political Column
    Political awakening after Bharatha’s death
    By Our Political Editor

    Para 3.
    Barely two hours before the close of polls on Saturday, October 8, were two armed factions locked in a full frontal clash. One faction belonged to Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, Advisor to the President on trade union affairs. He was a former parliamentarian from the Colombo District with the Kolonnawa electorate being his main support base. The other faction belonged to Deshamanya R. Duminda Silva, the UPFA Colombo District MP. A holder of Sri Lanka’s second highest national honour Deshamanya or pride of the nation, Silva also functioned as “monitoring MP of the Ministry of Defence.” Both these titles were prominently displayed in Silva’s private website which said he was also Chairman of the R. Duminda Silva foundation.

    Your reference to Mervy Silva is quite misplaced. The most that can be attributed to Mervyn Silva is his being a ‘show off’ craving for public attention, and his attempts with the role of a thug were openly ridiculed. It was his son who was the thug. You will recall Mervyn’s much publicized PH.D. Comparing him with Duminda Silva is quite unwarranted. Yes, they were both notorious but for completely different reasons.

    Regarding Duminda, here is one reference, among very many others. This appeared in the Colombo Telegraph of September8, 2016:
    Informed sources told Colombo Telegraph that just before his murder, Premachandra had complained to the President that Duminda Silva had given a contract to underworld thugs to murder him. President Rajapaksa had subsequently ordered the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to investigate the alleged murder plot. Two underworld gangsters who were in police custody at that time had given statements to the CID confirming the murder plot.

    In Kolonnawa Duminda Silva was known to one and all as ‘Kudu Duminda’.

    Duminda was initially a UNPer but jumped ship after being accused of RAPE.

    It was the common belief that the grevious head injury said to have been suffered by Duminda was the result of ‘doctored medical reports’. Where he stayed in Singapore, hospital or other, was totally kept secret. He was under the protection of Gotabhaya. The then president Mahinda has gone on record as having said that Silva was not his man, but was former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘man.’ Both Mahinda and Gota visited Duminda in his hide-out hospital.

    Duminda remained out of sight for a very very long time. We know that Singapore is a very expensive country. Such expenses would have been infinitely higher with hospital fees and medical care of the nature said to have been required for Duminda. Did Duminda really incur hospital expenses, and if so, who met these expense?
    When Duminda finally re-appeared in public his head was bandaged but he looked in excellent form. To the police and to court he pleaded ‘memory lapses’ due to his injury. The court, as you know rejected his plea ‘hook, line and sinker’.

    I have already taken much space, so I will stop. You are welcome to do your own research.

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  20. Dilrook Says:

    What Mario says is true.

    But people don’t buy facts. 85% of Sri Lankans are fixed voters and they will not change no matter what. Take any Sri Lankan at random and there is a 85% chance he/she is a fixed voter.

    Without a doubt Gotabaya will win the presidential election if contests. That doesn’t mean it is good for the country. It only means that a majority of voters will vote for him just as they voted for Sirisena in 2015.

    Duminda, Eraj, Vidanapathirana, etc. can be released with a presidential pardon.

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