Does Ranil Wickremasinghe really want to lead Sri Lanka?
Posted on October 29th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

Let’s stop for a minute and take a step back before imagining how Sri Lanka would be under the stewardship of Ranil Wickremasinghe and just ask ourselves whether Ranil Wickremasinghe actually wants to lead Sri Lanka or does he simply enjoy the fanfare associated with bringing him to power? The question is important in the light of the fact that while he has been a serial failure in Presidential, General and even local government elections for decades he continues to remain the most popular opposition leader and we can but wonder whether he relishes that Opposition title than the burden of delivering the needs and demands of 20million people.

Wanting to lead and been able to lead are important factors. A leader in any realm will reveal the burden of responsibilities associated with that leadership. Being nominated for that leadership role is just as exciting as the contest leading towards the leadership title. Campaigning entails a boost in ego, a showpiece ‘you are our man’ satisfaction, prominence, recognition, cheers, funds and numerous other support mechanisms place the aspiring candidate on top of the world for an interim period leading to the D-day of actual election. It also affords a lot of opportunities to promise this that and the other in one’s heart knowing that these are unlikely deliverables. Anyone can promise the sun and the moon it is only the chosen leader that ends up having to deliver promises made.

What if that interim period brings more delight, oomph and satisfaction than actually been handed the title and thereafter delivering on the promises made. Given this scenario the public need to question whether the character of the current Opposition Leader is such that he enjoys his Opposition role and delights in it sans any responsibilities or whether he really wishes to represent and work on behalf of the 20million citizens of Sri Lanka.

The UNP may want him to lead, the UNP supporters may want him to lead, the UNP G20 may want him to lead and daresay Mr. Wickremasinghe himself may want to lead but is that desire extended only so far as hoping he would remain the Opposition leader for he remains leader sans the headache of a nation which we have to admit he does not connect with. We also have to admit that Sri Lanka and 20million lives and needs of people cannot be measured or benchmarked according to what the Colombo clan of people that Mr. Wickremasinghe intimately associates with desire. The grand ole party and its support base across the island remains because of the memories of former leaders and not any special achievements or gratitude for Mr. Wickremasinghe.

When a country is picking a leader, the voting public needs to think intelligently. They must ascertain that their chosen leader has genuine concerns about fulfilling the needs of the nation but most importantly has a commitment to ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country is not compromised. Simply because a handful of supporters see economic and commercial gains for themselves and their families it is not a criterion on which any candidate should be promoted.

In this instance the example of the 2002 ceasefire agreement keeps haunting us. Mr. Wickremasinghe was very much in control over governance despite the President being Chandrika Kumaratunga. Ranil Wickremasinghe’s leadership was seen in his choice of agreeing to enter an agreement with a designated terrorist organization when alternately Sri Lanka could have dealt with the LTTE by joining the ‘war on terror’ that the US was championing. Instead, he fell for the Norway googly of placing the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE on par and ridiculed the forces and officials to the extent of shaking hands with murderers. If that was not all, the agreement officially demarcated territory and placed these under LTTE control, LTTE was given rights to travel around the country and even overseas. The cream of Sri Lanka’s intelligence and minorities that helped the forces were exposed and their names revealed which ended up with the LTTE gunning them down one by one.

The question for people who argue that the best leader Sri Lanka could have is none other than Mr. Wickremasinghe is for them to first answer how far did his solution of the 2002 ceasefire actually curtail the LTTE? Are we exaggerating if we say that the LTTE used the ceasefire as a means to raise funds, openly lobby overseas, increase child soldiers, pile weapon stocks etc to wait for the opportune time to strike the nation? Was this not the real story of the 2002 ceasefire agreement which to the Colombo coterie was the best deal of the century simply for the selfish reason of not having to face the hassle of checkpoints most of which were all withdrawn by the Wickremasinghe government. That open visa given to the LTTE in 2002 contributed in large measure to the venom with which LTTE hit back and there is nothing that the Wickremasinghe supporters can argue to the contrary.

Sadly what the nation ails from is the absence of being able to elect leaders who are national leaders by which connotation implies electing people who care for the nation and its people and not themselves or the people they associate with. Elections end up a wastage of funds for all parties because they have all fallen for the petty ploy of attempting to tap people’s personal agendas while departing from what the country needs.

People need to start elevating their demands to ensuring that leaders they pick whether as President or even local government are those that will carry out a principled policy fairly and without bias. Picking people simply because these candidates provide personal benefit will not serve anyone in the end. This is why party manifestos become a joke unless people start to hold leaders and parties to fulfilling the commitments made.

Returning to the question of whether Ranil Wickremasinghe actually wants to lead the country is perhaps not a question many would have thought about. He may want to be the President of Sri Lanka, he may even secretly imagine himself as President but the more important question is does he really want to be beholden with all the responsibilities of being a President and equally important is whether he is committed to fulfilling the rights of all equally when his mindset is programmed to concentrate and think within the limits of his Royal upbringing and superstar Colombo status and among elite Colombians?

Ranil Wickremasinghe is undoubtedly the leader of the UNP and had it not been for him the UNP would have been rechristened but the story of Sri Lanka and the future of Sri Lanka is not confined to keeping the UNP together alone and whether Ranil Wickremasinghe is able to and actually wants to protect the country and protect the people from foreign incursions and not only himself and his coterie is a question the nation should seriously start asking themselves.

Some people have it in them to lead, it’s a natural trait, some people are trained but however much they are trained they just don’t have it in them to lead and with time they are happier in their secondary role because it has all the perks and privileges sans responsibilities – Is this the person the people want to force into a role that is not in him to deliver?

Before we ask when will Ranil Wickremasinghe lead Sri Lanka or even can he lead Sri Lanka, we need to ask does Ranil Wickremasinghe actually want to lead Sri Lanka?

Some food for thought for all voters….

7 Responses to “Does Ranil Wickremasinghe really want to lead Sri Lanka?”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    if Rani’s not got his CFA still We would have VP & CO ! so deserve his life time dream PR post one day.

  2. callistus Says:

    Poor Ranil. It’s not his fault. Everyone is born with a certain amount of brain power, thinking power, and intelligence. Some people can improve that thinking power, but others don’t make an effort. Some change others refuse to change. 60 people who are of the thinking and changing type moved with MR. Some fools still stick with Ranil and the rest. No one could think of a strategy like Mahinda Chintana before, or even after, other than MR and his team. One so called accountant who was apparently one of if not the main economic adviser to Ranil when he was the PM told me ‘Ranil has a vision and Mahinda hasn’t’. This was about 5 years ago, and I laughed. He now admits the opposite. You can’t have anything better than the best. And we have it.

  3. Christie Says:

    What Ranil and the UNP can do for the country is to Join in hands with the government.

  4. callistus Says:

    Yes precisely.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    If Ranil’s Presidential dreams come true, beggars will soon be riding horses!

    Ranil Wickremasinghe, the mocking man of “Pamankada, not Alimankada” INFAMY, “has on more than one occasion showed the willingness to sell out the country to western powers who were prepared to use him as a pawn to undermine the present administration as well as his willingness to bargain away Sri Lanka to her adversaries such as the mendacious Tamil Tigers ….”

    Need we say more to declare Ranil Wickremasinghe FUNDAMENTALLY UNFIT not only to become the President of Sri Lanka, but also to lead the UNP, the second largest national political party, of Sri Lanka?

    The UNP, the Grand Old Party of yore, that played the major role in ushering in INDEPENDENCE to our Resplendent Isle, should JETTISON this reprobate forthwith, and resurrect itself as a PATRIOTIC NATIONAL PARTY that will not collude with Sri Lanka’s foreign and local enemies, no matter who holds the reins of government, and no matter what the cost is to itself.

    The UNP should recognize, that undermining the nation is undermining its citizen voters. The memories of those voters are long, and indelibly etched in the deepest recesses of their minds, with the memories of tens of thousands of honoured dead and wounded, of lost relatives and friends, of opportunities forgone, and deprivation suffered during the last 30 years. They are in NO MOOD to TOLERATE lack of PATRIOTISM!

    Do I think the UNP can extricate itself from the UNPATRIOTIC CESS-PIT it has descended into?

    I very much DOUBT IT, given the anti-national elements STILL seeking refuge within it. It will require a PARADIGM SHIFT in the mindset and the constituency of the UNP; a feat that is impossible given the lack of commitment and able leaders who can articulate such a vision.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:


    The quotation on Ranil is from the LankaWeb editorial published today.

  7. AnuD Says:

    I don’t think Ranil will contest for the president post.

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