Posted on January 6th, 2016

Gomin Dayasri Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Tagged national compass, zigzags erratically in the hand of President Sirisena. Hold it southward, swivels northbound. President carries no magnetic power in his grasp but gasps to be the elected Prime Minister. Naturally, the mind goes back to a time before and his compass, computer-like adjusts accordingly. Thinking too far for a man too small.

Looking back, the Northern votes made the difference at the last presidential election. Northern Province, on a stand-alone basis can out-beat the rest, provided another province peaks, giving it a helping hand. Eastern Province minorities did the needful for the Northern brethren. The majority in the South looked stupid in the hands of the minorities: split down the centre. The government has to keep the North intact and kept a distance away from the Opposition. The Opposition would be looking to sweep the South and would happily concede the North by giving it away with three hearty cheers. Stupid downright in being xenophobic. Every vote counts.

If the government introduces a Constitutional Amendment — cannot stand and stare — it would take them nowhere. Must stand committed either way: Ranil and Sirisena would not see eye to eye — a vantage Sirisena might try to exploit.

At the general elections, the value of a vote would not carry beyond the province, unlike at a presidential election. The strength of the northern voter would impact if they joined in a coalition with a party of the South and nudged it to govern the nation. A Southern government is at the mercy of the North and East! Would be so, if Ranil and Sirisena did not stand together. A common feature in coming days, with the blessings of the southern voter, is,if the North and East try to merge, Sinhala South should stand united. Thankfully the country is moving away from colleges royal and convent-oriented.

Can any afford to woo both sides if the issue of the N/E is at the forefront? Not while a North South divide remains: after years of terrorism. The mood is not set for it, with foreign countries crying out to make the war heroes look like fallen criminals. Sirisena is a local lad — wise not to lead a Colomban government that appeals to the Colombo educated. Is the UNP on a suicidal course? The next UNP leader hopefully is a provincial, like D.B.Wijetunga

Sirisena hailing from Pollonnaruwa genuinely may not want to reach the extent Chandrika or Ranil may care to please the North. But the rub is elsewhere. JR Jayewardene introduced the presidential concept to carry the minority vote to his column and make him head a stronger centre. He found Kobbekaduwa wining 8 of the 11 Jaffna polling districts in the 1982 presidential elections. We must keep the centre strong with the presidential system.

Northern politicians are cute. R. Sampanthan would desire to showcase a friendly pillow fight with the extremist elements in the North presently under the bluff leadership of C.V. Wigneswaran to show himself as a moderate.Wise men in our villages knows this game better than the stupid Colombans who would rush to bite the bitter pill. Who would have the last laugh? The mistake was to a make a coarse politician out of an elite Supreme Court Judge. Most are a law to themselves on retirement.

Constitutional Amendment is to move power and drive it to the periphery by making the centre weaker. Clipping the wings of the centralized Santa may be attractive to the North, if the peripheral centres become stronger. A federal system to the local ear, rightly or wrongly, is another path to ceding or severing: following the footprints of a path threaded by G.L.Peiris (UNP) and Dr. Anton Balasingham (LTTE) at the peace talks that were scotched by Prabhakaran. TNA would wish to chase the reindeer away from the chimney sweep. To sell it to people in the South, after watching the northern lights sway after losing the war, would need some telling.

Sirisena arrived at the present office by mischance. Misgivings it caused – is not a matter of bewilderment. We asked for it? Let’s admit.  There is a substantial improvement on personal freedom; much more are in the list of the misgiving. Not one or more is in control. There are too many dwarfs trying to look dandified. In difficult times to live on human right adherences alone is not sufficient where economic hardships are mind boggling.
Don’t go to tell the marines, as they may be the givers of the wrong advice.

Clan was becoming too clannish for the southern vote – the majorities evaporated. Without the thumping majorities in the South, the Northern /Eastern monolithic votes cannot be overcome. The Rajapakse juniors nullified whatever good the Rajapakse seniors did. Where there is no governance at home, misrule extends beyond the domestic confines?  People in the South were in a state of dissatisfaction. It was tailor-made for a walk – in – role and in stepped Mr. Sirisena instead of Mr. Wickremesinghe.

Insights into back-room manipulations on the choice of the candidate are not accessible with the prime reverend being no longer in the land of the living. Monks are not trained for politics and are best left out as they often get duped and that leads to dire consequences.

Left alone, always UNP looses its glory on its own, at a much reduced pace. This time the decline is phenomenally fast due to its combination with the elements of the discredited SLFP. This government is on a free-fall with an unreliable pack from the SLFP on whom only Sirisena draws strength. They would have no look in to Parliament, if not to pamper a queerly-elected President to office. Defeated candidates at a people’s poll, are in charge of major ministries, is a telling testimony of a phoney democracy. Such are back at play with their fun and games: accelerates the process of disintegrating the SLFP. They are the least likely to be returned by a vote unless they throat-cut the UNP during the final hours to become heroes in bringing down a government. We groom many a traitor to the grade of a messiah to regret later without realizing such are opportunistic.

For survival, Sirisena is compelled to enter into an alliance with the UNP notwithstanding glib talk. Come alone — he would look minuscule. Sirisena would contribute little to the aggregate of votes for the UNP. Being a no-where man would collect more by way of a return to enter a lesser stardom.
Would the UNP fall for it and carry a dummy since Ranil Wickremesinghe needs a backyard to hang his dirty linen that has multiplied with the coming of‘dirty dozens’ from the ranks of the SLFP, who will undermine the UNP, from within if they do not get nominations? Hard decisions need be made ahead if treachery is hatched from within — a common trend in Asian democracies that feature coalition governments.

Decisions are to be made by the UNPs’ brains trust — most of their brightest are resting peacefully twelve feet underground. The UNP is thinking to win on the minority vote knowing the majority is with the jingoistic Opposition. That equation could go haywire if more of the UNP rankers take a patriotic stand with the coming of the Constitutional Amendments.

The UNP lost more of its front liners to terrorism yet that vote in 2009 tilted to MR. He vanquished terrorism but with the Constitutional Amendment what Ranil and Sirisena trying to reward the remaining rump of the LTTE in disguised attire looking distinguished. The UNP outside Colombo is a patriotic force – still holds well.

Whoever brings forth, firstly, the Constitutional Amendments in all its glory or points out its ramifications comprehensively or sets out prohibitive conditions that are not acceptable for their cause, is the obvious loser. The loser would incur the wrath of the nation, as this is the mother of battles that cannot be lost.
Here is a tip. If you care to be a winner from an old hand that held to the winning track, needs only to watch and wait: do the needful thereupon. Don’t try to be a counterfeit hero by early outpourings. Keep to the minimum till the moment of truth arrives. Less said and done the better to let the other side romp till killjoy arrives.

Political Package of Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam and G.L.Pieris: Bill of 2000 of Chandrika Kumaranatunga assisted by Sarath N. Silva: and the Equal Opportunities Bill of G.L.Peiris: were lost as too much glib talk by Chandrika, GL and Sarath as representatives of the government. Learn from error and disclose little until the moment of truth arrives.

G.L and Sarath are birds of same feather on switching sides, need cheap publicity before passing to oblivion bless them — opportunistic or not — in their final days for coming around to terra firma. Respect Chandrika more. She holds her ground in consistency though in the opposite corner. But the two lads are the fun twins like Jeff and Mutt.

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  1. Dilrook Says:

    A great piece by Gomin. However, there is another dangerous aspect to it – dirty politics.

    The best example is 13A. Although SLFP, Mahinda and other patriots protested against it in 1987, they quietly joined the fold. By 2011 Mahinda became the biggest defender of 13A. It is this convenient politics that is worse.

    If power is meaningfully devolved to the north and east (as Tamils demand), they will find a future presidential election uninteresting. They can manage their affairs without a Sinhala president in Colombo. This favours those who pretend to be ‘patriots’ (blue camps). They can fool the south and win most votes whereas voters’ turnout in the north will be small.

    On the other hand, if so called ‘patriots’ make a big hue and cry at the next presidential election about reversing federalism or reducing peripheral powers, then the northerners will be alarmed and vote in numbers to the UNP. SLFP will suffer the same fate as in 2015 unless they promise to abrogate the devolution provision altogether which will tip the scales as in 2010. They are unlikely to promise so as we saw in 2015.

    For this reason, even the so called ‘patriots’ will only use the constitution amendment as a beggar’s wound to grab power, while doing everything they can to keep the wound bleeding. This is what Mahinda did with 13A.

    This is why I support the abrogation of executive presidency. As Gomin says

    [Quote] At the general elections, the value of a vote would not carry beyond the province, unlike at a presidential election. The strength of the northern voter would impact if they joined in a coalition with a party of the South and nudged it to govern the nation. A Southern government is at the mercy of the North and East! [Unquote]

    Anyway, Mahinda, Basil, Namal or Gotabhaya cannot be the next executive president no matter what they do. SLFP will not give them nominations. If they contest from a third front, UNP will win for sure.

    Their best chance to rule the country is to win the parliament in the absence of an executive president. If there were no executive president, Mahinda is the prime minister following August 2015 election.

    In Sri Lanka, no politician stands for the country. They all stand for themselves with varying degrees of national interest. As 13A taught us, when personal interests and national interests clash, all politicians, always pick personal interests.
    Executive presidency (with limitless powers and total immunity) amplifies this problem.

  2. Kumari Says:

    With MS/RW/CBK holding the country to a ransom, we all are loosers (including Tamil and Muslim communities).

  3. Nanda Says:

    A golden statement which summarises ALL by Dilrook.

    “In Sri Lanka, no politician stands for the country. They all stand for themselves with varying degrees of national interest. As 13A taught us, when personal interests and national interests clash, all politicians, always pick personal interests.”

    Unfortunately this statement should be extended to Highly Placed Public Servants, Armed Forces (including Police) too. To all those draw salaries from the State.
    It is natural to let “personal interest” govern your action. But what I beg from ALL is to understand what belongs to the Nation and what belongs to the “person”.

    1. Needless to say every cent spent by the Politician or any other Official belongs to the Nation.

    2. Every cent earned as salaries MUST be justified by providing the service you are paid for.

    3. Please understand who is a HERO. Basic prequalification to be a HERO is you must have made “personal sacrifices”. Otherwise don’t call anyone a HERO.

    4. Temple Trees , many Presidential Palaces belong to the NATION, not to the officials or politicians using those places.

    5. All the land, forest, beaches, mountains, trees , even the surrounding ocean belongs to the NATION.

    6. All underground treasures belong to the NATION.

    7. Our heritage structures , ancient temples, kovils , reservoirs, rock paintings, relics etc belong to the NATION.

    8. Animals belong to the Nature to be left alone, not to be used as “friendship symbols” to other countries and to tie up on your gardens.

    More items may be added to the list. But ANYONE misusing the above ? Please don’t call them HEROES.
    We should begin with this. Otherwise confusion will govern your mind and please don’t try to contribute even a word. It will go against the nation.

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