Last day for the UNPers to save the party from Wickremesinghe
Posted on August 10th, 2010

H. L. D. Mahindapala

When the UNP Working Committee meets today it will battle with proposals that will either shape its future as a viable democratic party or drag it back to the past of the failed, one-man leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe.. The main issue facing the UNP in the post-Prabhakaran period is to find ways of adjusting to the new realities dominating the political landscape. Unfortunately for him, Ranil Wickremesinghe is not offering anything new. He is dancing to the same old tune that has failed in the past. Bringing in old hacks like Mangala Samaraweera is not going to inject any new blood or faith into the party. He joined not to help the UNP but to secure his seat in Matara as the steam-roller from Hambantota would have crushed him sooner or later if he was left to fight on his own.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The UNP has to look inward to find new sources of strength. It needs reforms to go forward with the people. The UNP needs a new vigour and it can get that only by injecting new blood and reforming its structure from top to bottom. The main thrust of the UNP should be to reform and revive it with a greater input of the ignored grass root forces. The Sajith Premadasa wing that is leading the reform movement is focusing on the urgent need to give its members a greater say in running the affairs of party.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This, of course, poses a direct threat to Ranil Wickremesinghe who has led the party for the last seventeen years in an arbitrary fashion without putting any runs on the board for him to be considered as a captain who can lead his team to victory in the foreseeable future. Removing the powers vested in him to act according to his whims and fancies ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” and most of the time secretively ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” is considered vital for the party to recover from the failed past.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Take the case of his disastrous agreement he signed with Prabhakaran. The Ceasefire Agreement signed on February 22, 2002 was not revealed the President, the Parliament or the Party. He acted on his own and when it backfired he had to cop the blame.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As this case indicates, he acts on the assumption that he is smart and has all the answers but nothing has succeeded to make him look good. In other words, he lacks leadership qualities that can save the nation, the party and himself. Reluctantly, he has been forced to give in to the mounting pressures within the party. The Sajith Premadasa movement has succeeded so far to restore the elective principle to the key posts, including the top leadership. But Wickremesinghe is fighting back to limit the electoral constituency to the hierarchy without giving the grass forces a bigger say in electing their leaders.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Wickremesinghe fears that if the electorate is broad based to include the members of local government, palath sabhas, pradeshiya member and electoral organizers he will lose the grip he has now on the party. According to the current situation only the Working Committee can over rule him and he is able to bulldoze his way through because the Working Committee is by and large packed with his ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-catchersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Working Committee which consists of the MPs and hand-picked appointees of Wickremesinghe dominate the party and he is fighting to prevent the lower rungs of the party from gaining any say in structuring the new hierarchy. At the last Working Committee meeting, for instance, he brought in three of his new ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-catchersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” R. Yogarajan, C. Ram and Lakshman Wijemanne ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” which surprised all members. Predictably, at the last meeting Wijemanne delivered a sermon in support of his master. It is through underhand stunts like this that Wickemesinghe manipulates the numbers to remain in power though he has passed his use-by date long time ago.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Wickremesinghe is in reality a leader who is living in fear of his own members. He is often reluctant to face his own members. Members have complained that he runs away from them, or appoints his usual committee to find an escape route. He is also adept in keeping those opposed to him out of the party or sending them out into the arms of the government. For instance, the UNP which has been a party of lawyers has no representative from the legal profession. The President of the Law Association, Upul Jayasuriya, was nominated to represent the lawyers but because this nominee is critical of Wickremesinghe he has requested that the Association send him a list of three names for him to pick one. He is a lawyer himself and he knows that the legal profession is quite capable of nominating their most capable representative. But Wickremesinghe is insisting that he must have the right to pick his choice from the lawyers. This reflects his fear psychosis. He lacks the confidence to let the people at all levels elect their representative.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ He has survived so far by pitting one against the other and by using his ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-catchersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ as his mouthpiece while he pretends to be the good man who keeps aloof from the dirty work. For a man who is in deep trouble with his party he also goes abroad frequently leaving his minders to look after his interests. Of course, he never fails to take one of feminine ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-kollasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚with him. Though he took his wife, Maithree with him last time, he also took his current favourite, Sagala Ratnayake, MP, for Deniyaya, with him. He is also due to go abroad again on a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-teaching assignmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. It is ironic that this man who has yet to learn any lessons from his own failures goes out on teaching missions to other countries.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ He is due to come back before the next special session of the UNP meets to consider the new reforms. The tentative date is August 21. But he may postpone the date if the numbers re not favourable for his survival.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ His conduct within the party amply demonstrates that he is not the champion of democracy that he claims to be. Each time he accuses the government of not practicing democracy he should ask how far he has gone to implement democratic practices within his own party. The party has been hemorrhaging to near death because he has failed to act democratically. Karu Jayasuriya knows this very well because he left the party earlier blaming Wickremesinghe for his failure to act democratically. All in all, it is quite clear that he has nothing to offer to the party or to the nation. After failing on all fronts he has now come to the end of the road with nowhere to go except into retirement.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is time he gave way to a new leadership mainly because in the post-Prabhakaran period he is seen increasingly as a negative force obstructing lasting peace and progress. Removing him is the best service that the UNP can render to the nation. Today is, perhaps, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the last day for the UNPers to act. Postponing it for another day will not save the UNPers from the disasters waiting to happen under WickremesingheƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s leadership.

6 Responses to “Last day for the UNPers to save the party from Wickremesinghe”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Ranil lives on as the leader of the UNP because of the Christian Church, his mother the one who pulls the strings and the Red Lipped Brigade his harem. He is not his own man – he is just kept in place by the above mentioned triumvirate for their personal benefit. UNP must have the balls to throw him out and elect a person who can give leadership to this once powerful political party. As of now lack luster Karu Jayasuriya does not fit the bill either. Sajith Premadasa can take over but he has a long way to go before he can qualify to bear the crown of Sri Lanka.

  2. marat2010 Says:

    I’m totally aganist the ineffectual leadership of RW and think he should leave.
    But how can you say Ranil is kept on place by Christian Church ?
    Have you any proof that such mechanism in place or is it a manifestion of anti- Christian bias that we see in many tribal Sinahala Buddhist nationalists who want the country for themselves and all others become outsiders?
    It is because of triabal Sinhala Buddhism that this country is still in 3 rd world.
    Most monks cannot compelete a sermon wihtout some snide remarks at “anyagamika”.
    buddhists are expected to wash feet of these worthless monks.
    Buddhism today in Sri Lanka is an institiution for a free meal ticket for monks.
    Do we see any contribution from them except multiplying divisions in our society???

  3. Sri Rohana Says:

    Ranil should not expel or remove from the leadership of UNP. He should appoint as lifetime leader of UNP. It is good since he is in the leadership UNP cannot come to power. He will be lifetime opposition leader and he himself can break his own Guinness world records as most served opposition leader in any parliament of the world and most defeated party leader in the world. UNPers can really proud of their leader as two-world records holder!

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree with Sri Rohana. Why divide the patroitic vote base? Let Ranil be there forever. If UPFA really goes bad, then UNP will appoint a suitable leader to take over both the party and the country.

    Marat2010, what you say is wrong and racist. I don’t agree with Ratnapala on church either. Buddhists, Christians and Muslims are not tribal but unfortunately Tamils in the north east are tribal. Take a look at the parties they vote for.

    TAMIL congress, TAMIL kachchi, TAMIL front, TAMIL alliance.

    Look at what they demand.

    TAMIL aspirations, TAMIL Elam, TAMIL grievances, TAMIL self determination, TAMIL nationality, TAMIL etc, etc.

    This is same as in Tamil Nadu. Just llok at the political parties and their tribal names and demands.

    This is the problem.

  5. marat2010 Says:

    You may be right about Tamils. But they are forced to that end by the tribalism of the majority who refuted them their just rights, like the reasonable use of Tamil language in 1958.

  6. Lorenzo Says:


    It is not that I “may” be right. This is the truth. Check for yourself. The charge “they are forced to that end by the tribalism of the majority who refuted them their just rights” is absurd.

    The first racist political party of Ceylon – All Ceylon Tamil Congress was formed in 1944. In 1931 GGP made racist demands that were rejected with disgust by the British. Illankai Tamil Arse Kachchi was formed in 1949. If you know Tamil you should know what it means – Lanka Tamil Kingdom Party. They decided to have a Tamil nation first. Then they collected excuses for it. These happened decades/years before 1956.

    It is the same in Tamil Nadu.

    In Tamil Nadu and Tamil areas of Sri Lanka there are 41 racist political parties. A world record for a single race. If you want I can give you a list but you can get it in the internet.

    I have nothing against Tamils but this is the sad reality.

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