Win or lose, Ranil will be a lame duck
Posted on November 29th, 2018

H. L. D. Mahindapala

It is the common practice of politicians of all hues to engage passionately in fear-mongering each time they fall into political crisis.  They would cry from roof tops to inject into the electorate their fears of the world coming to an end should anyone of them lose their seats, or if the ruling party loses its majority in parliament.

Their success depends on the extent to which they can convince the people to accept their fears as the reality. Their immediate reaction is to take on the role of Biblical Jeremiahs prophesying the light going out of the stars, sun and the moon should their opponents move into their seats of power. But fortunately the people have not panicked like the leaders who are crying foul because they had lost their perks and privileges.  They have retained their common sense and stuck to their normal routine of rising with the sun and going home at sun set. They had settled down to watch the confounding events at the center from the sidelines, waiting for their turn to deliver their verdict at the next general election. That is a part of the miracle of resilient Sri Lanka.

In one sense, what is unfolding before our eyes can be seen as a tragi-comic drama.  (Or  is it  a farce? ) Amidst all this ha-ho, the rival contenders have never ceased to pose as the sole defenders of democracy. The latest twist in the tragi-comic drama is for one section to proclaim that if in the power-struggle they fail to the capture the hot seats of power in Parliament then they have a right to occupy empty state buildings, stripped of all power, to perpetuatik’se their imagined role as the symbols of democracy”, or as the only legitimate centre of power. The varied arguments, theories, legal punditry and constitutional hypotheses are thrown around liberally by one or the other party to take the high moral ground and paint the other side as the villains who should be thrown out by (1) the parliament, (2) the courts or (3) the people.

Worst is the conflicting interpretations of the law which has confused the electorate leading to paralysing anxiety and uncertainty. Hopefully the Supreme Court will put an end to the uncertainty on the final day of its sitting in early December. Whichever way the decision goes one significant political outcome is written large in blinking neon lights for everyone to see: Ranil Wickremesinghe will emerge as a lame-duck Prime Minister even if the Courts reinstate him and, if it doesn’t, he will go back to being the lame-duck leader with Sajith Premadasa, playing it nicely and sweetly knowing that the emerging trend is moving his way. It will impossible for him to regain his diminished power for the simple reason that he has lost all moral integrity to be worthy leader who can lift the nation up from its current depths.

The current crisis has revealed Ranil’s constant failure to manage power for his own advantage or that of the nation. He has never been a long distance runner. Ranil will come out of the ring battered and bruised. He will be limping all the way to the remaining period. Winning confidence votes in the Parliament, or rulings from the Supreme Court will not save him. Winning in Parliament or in the Supreme Court may boost his ego and the NGOs hired to pump air into deflated rubber balloons of green elephants made in India and the West. But neither parliament nor the judiciary will be the final arbiter of his future. It is the people who will pass the final verdict on him, sooner or later.

Whatever victory he scores, either in the Parliament or Supreme Court, it will have to be validated by the people – the sovereign repository of power. Until the people have their final say in a general election Ranil will have to wear some heavy protective helmet to guard against the Damoclean sword of uncertainty hanging over his head. Between now and the next election – whenever that may be — he will need more and more cylinders filled with the political oxygen of the West to survive. Ranil will go down in history as another one of those decadent leaders who were sponsored by the West. The record he has established so far indicates that he is on his way to join the list of condemned leaders of Asia like Chiang Kai-shek, Syngman Rhee, Ngo Dinh Diem – the Catholic puppet of CIA in Vietnam assassinated in a CIA-engineered coup in November 1963 after mass Buddhist protests.

Ranil depends heavily on the agents of the Western camp, plus India, who played their manipulative role behind the scenes to get their obedient toy-boy in the Prime Minister’s seat in January 2015. He relies on American and Indian power to prop him up more than the people of Sri Lanka. The Americans have willingly responded with their kiss of death. Of course, the Ugly Americans could never pick the right leaders in crisis-ridden nations of Asia, Africa or South America. Worst was in the Middle East. American commitment to democracy and human rights was also exposed in S. Americ a. For instance, Chilean forces, armed by CIA, bombed the palace of the democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvador Allende, in 1973 and crushed democracy in S. America. Though America had not recognised the government of Mahinda Rajapakse, it had no qualms about recognising the fascist dictator, Gen. Pinochet, who massacred thousands of dissidents with no questions asked by the Nixon regime.

If the Americans have their ears to the ground with any degree of accuracy they would know that their political pet in Sri Lanka had cut the ground under his own feet within the first few months of his grabbing the PM’s seat with only 41 MPs behind him. It didn’t take long for him to waste all the good will and the trust placed in the Sirisena-Ranil regime with his arrogant abuse of power and blatant violations of parliamentary traditions. The big moves he had made (example: the 19th Amendment) have pushed him into a corner and he is struggling to get out of it. His future is bleak because he does not have either time or the capacity to regain the trust of the people, or do a Lazarus and rise as a reliable and inspiring leader who can save the Party and the nation.  There is no viable formula at his disposal to rescue him from the dirty image of being Bondi-gay putha”.

He has lost the most vital element a leader needs to be in command of a political situation: trustworthiness. Within the first few months of grabbing the premiership with only 41 votes he plunged headlong into the Bond scam” – the biggest robbery of public funds. History will always remember him as Bondi-gay putha”, or as a stooge of the West and never as a son of the soil. Now he stands naked before the people without any positive strategies to give hope to the nation, or lead it into a promising future. At best, he could only play his usual card of slithering into the bewildering maze of committees producing reports which will wind up in bureaucratic morgues, to rest unseen, unread, and opened for any practical purposes. Ranil’s record as the monarch of good-for-nothing committees is, perhaps, his only legacy he can leave behind for posterity.

On top of all this, President Sirisena had dealt a deadly blow to his leadership in the UNP by inviting Sajith Premadasa to lead the party. Intentionally or not, with this move he has anointed Sajith as the next leader of the UNP. He has craftily undercut Ranil’s powers of choosing his next successor, particularly one of his favourites. Since there are other rivals aspiring to step into Ranil’s shoes he still could manipulate the internal cabal to hand over power to one of his choice.

Earlier, under mounting pressures from the UNP when the Party was challenging his leadership, he yielded reluctantly to make Sajith his deputy to appease the formidable internal forces threatening to split the GOP. Sajith was installed only as a temporary compromise to tide over the crisis facing him and not as an undisputable successor with a permanent guarantee. Playing his cards close to his chest he was playing one against the other to protect and preserve his leadership. He still has the option of manipulating his subservient committee to anoint one of his Samanalayas” to the leadership.  But President has cut into Ranil’s domain and instilled in the minds of the party and the public that the next best choice for the UNP is Sajith.

What is more, the grassroot forces of the UNP too are finding this crisis the right moment to challenge Ranil’s leadership once again. Rumblings of the undercurrents rising within the Party are moving decisively in the direction of identifying Sajith as the man who can take the UNP back to the roots of the Founding Fathers — and Sajith’s too, who peoplised” the elitist UNP. President Premadasa revolutionised the UNP by taking it away from the kith and kin of the Kurunduwatte cronies to the common man’s Kehelwatte.

Analysts tracing the trajectory of the UNP in the political chart will find it difficult to locate another leader who had dragged the party to its lowest depths as Ranil. Even D(eaf) and B(lind) Wijetunga was better only because he was incapable of doing any evil. But Ranil is absolutely dangerous because in his misguided way he thinks he is doing good when in reality he either dismantling the nation or selling it down the river to its enemies. Example: the Ceasefire Agreement with Prabhakaran which took the nation to the brink of liquidation.

In the history of the UNP Sir. John Kotelawela was seen as the most alienated, Westernised, pig-roasting, harem-hosting freak who had lost the trust of the people. He came at a fatal time when the tidal wave of Sinhala-Buddhism peaking at a time when even the Senanayakes, who were not only the founders of the new nation but also as the guardians of its historic legacies and values, were leaving the party. By 1956 Dudley had abandoned the UNP.  Sir. John, another Royalist, surrounded by his sycophantic inner circle, believed in his own propaganda of being popular with the masses.

When Dudley Senanayake left the UNP Sir. John was left hanging in the winds of change without the backing of the nationalist Senanayakes to win back the confidence of the people. The Left of the time had a field day in hitting the underbelly of Sir. John by confronting the voters with the unanswerable question: If the Senanayakes, the Founding Fathers of the UNP, have rejected the UNP why must you vote for it?”

Ranil, more or less, is in a predicament worse than that of Sir. John. The disillusionment with Ranil is total. The people who looked up to the Senanayakes and the Wijewardenes, as the pioneering nationalists, never expected that a descendant from these respected families would ever rob the poor people’s money. With all his failings, Sir. John never was accused of robbing a bank.  On the contrary, Sir. John sacked the Governor of the Central Bank, N. U. Jayawardena, for taking a bribe of a gold cigarette case. It was the biggest scandal of the day.

President Sirisena is absolutely right say when he says that today’s UNP leaders cannot hold a candle to the leaders who laid the foundations for the party and the nation.  Who could have ever dreamt that a UNPer from Royal College-Colombo 7, would import Arjuna Mahendran, a garrulous showman from Singapore, and plant him as the head of the Central Bank with full powers to oversee the robbing of the banks of the nation. In a damning statement when Ranil’s white collar criminal was asked by the Commission of Inquiry why he did it he replied: Ask the Prime Minister?”, meaning that whatever he did was with the consent of the Prime Minister. After that, can there be anything left of Ranil’s reputation of being Mr. Clean”, eh?

Besides, the rank-and-file have no faith in his capacity to win elections. He had never won an election to be the prime minister in his own right. His best record is for losing elections than winning them. He has admitted his inability to win the trust of the people by handing over presidential candidacy to non-UNPers who had better mass appeal. His so-called tactical victories have been laughable and short-lived. Who else in the democratic world would appoint a party of 16 MPs to be the Leader of the Opposition in a House of 225? What if at the end of the next election Mahinda Rajapakse wins a majority and appoints the next TNA leader as the Leader of the Opposition, citing the precedent established by Ranil? Will the American Ambassadress and the NGO then rise up in arms to uphold democratic traditions?

The most lethal thrust coming from the President’s sword is the latest statement vowing not to appoint Ranil as PM, come what may. This is bound to leave Ranil adrift in No-Man’s Land opening up space for the second tier to fill the vacuum. Despite the 19th Amendment, the President still has enough power to obstruct, frustrate and paralyse a government headed by Ranil. The symbiotic relationship between the president and the premier has to be maintained at least at the optimum level for the state machinery to function smoothly.

What is more, the Party insiders are thirsting for a change at the top not because they want to play musical chairs but to introduce a new policy that would taken the Party closer to the people. They are looking for a change in policy more than a change in personalities. They are demanding a change in direction because the path pursued by Ranil throughout his leadership has not yielded results. The rank and file are yearning to bring the UNP back to its roots. They feel that Ranil has sold the nation to foreign buyers and the sellers in the international market. Ranil has taken the peoplised UNP” of President Ranasinghe Premadasa to the IDU run mainly by the conservative, Christian, Right-wingers of the West. How many votes have the IDU to save Ranil? Or the Party?

Right now, Ranil is lost, cornered by the Presidential and his own party forces closing in on him. He is now fighting with his back to wall to preserve his premiership threatened by the President and the rebelling UNPers. He is unnerved and disturbed because the President is adamant not to make him the Prime Minister again. He sees his past catching up on him. He had set the precedent for the President to pick any MP, even without a majority, and make him the prime minister. Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe had earlier described graphically how Ranil was fighting, tooth and nail on the very first day of the meeting of the Yahapalana-ya-kos in January 2015, to be made the prime minister even though D. M. Jayaratne was sitting  in the Prime Minister’s chair with a solid majority in the House. Besides, Ranil had no qualms in rejecting the sacred democratic principle of selecting the Leader of the Opposition from the party that holds the second largest party in the House when he hand-picked TNA leader with only 16 MPs in a House of 225 to be the Leader of the Opposition.

Now the wheel has gone full circle and has come back to hit him. The President is threatening not to give the premiership again even if he has the majority in the House. So it is rather hilarious to listen to the preaching of his new doctrine of majority rule. Here’s what he told a meeting in Kalutara this week: Gone are the days when President was able to hand pick a Prime Minister. It is Parliament which has the power to appoint a Prime Minister under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution,

We have been following the British tradition since 1948 and had appointed the person who commands a majority in the House as the Prime Minister,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said. (Daily Mirror – 28/11).

If he had adhered to the British tradition since 1948 what made him force the President to appoint him as Prime Minister when he had only 41 MPs and, second, what made him appoint R. Sampanthan Leader of the Opposition when he had only 16 MPs in a House of 225?

This certainly is the sound of Ranil talking through another opening in his anatomy which is not his mouth, as his close friend Chandrika Kumaratunga used to say. This sounds as if he is desperately looking around for excuses after having violated some of the basic norms of majority rule in the Westminster model. With all my experience as the Lobby Correspondent of The Observer in the star-studded chamber of the Old Parliament I can vouch for the fact that no other leader had abused and debased parliamentary standards, values, norms, traditions as Ranil Wickremesinghe. At least, as Asian Vice President of the IDU he has a moral obligation to uphold the basic norms of the parliamentary traditions. The crude way he manipulated the Parliament to cover-up the shady deals of his cronies robbing the bank is despicable and unpardonable, particularly for a man coming from families of unimpeachable respectability.

He is a disgrace to his revered forefathers. Would Dudley Senanayake who refused to speak to his father because he refused to sack C.P. de Silva, his Permanent Secretary, for misleading him with lies, ever touch Ranil with a barge pole ten miles long? Well, if the Senanayakes would not have a bar of the powers behind the biggest bank robbery in the history of the nation, why should the nation trust Ranil?  Why should any individual or institution ever help Ranil to perpetuate his immoral, corrupt, undemocratic regime?

10 Responses to “Win or lose, Ranil will be a lame duck”

  1. Nimal Says:

    With the bond scam around his neck RW should never be the PM.Get the money back to the country I say.

  2. Cerberus Says:

    If Ranil is allowed to be PM for even one day he will pass some bill or other that will allow him to carry on. He is a dangerous maniac who has been given power by the West because it suits their own purposes to divide up the country.

    As Nimal says the bond scam should be hung around his neck and he must either go to jail or be tried for all his past crimes from Batalanda onwards. When Maithri appointed him PM in January 2015 when Ranil had only 42 seats, he never realized the plan that Ranil had up his sleeve to bring in Arjun Mahendran and Paskaralingam and pull off the bond scam to save the UNP which was in debt to the tune of Rs. 3 billion. He was able to use the money to pay UNP debts and win the General Election in August. On top of that Maithri when he found that UPFA was going to win the election he made a speech to the Nation that he will never appoint MR as the Prime Minister thereby confusing the entire country. So what has changed today for Maithri to appoint MR as the Prime Minister?

    So in my view Maithri created the Frankenstein monster we now have in the form of Ranil. The UNP accounts and all those UNPers who had taken money from the bond scam should be investigated and tried in a court of law.

  3. Randeniyage Says:

    Ranil was not able to do substantial damage due to continual Nationalism from the opposition and within.
    Taking Sirisena’s most recent comments seriously ( there is a very good chance it is a lie), Ranil is the one who was obstructing “POWER SHARING”.

    On the other hand Mahinda yet again may have made another big mistake by accepting cunning fox Sirisena’s help. Politically, every advantage was with Mahinda before this episode. True colours of Mahinda ( Authoritarian rule) has been revealed now and 100% middle votes have been lost. Authoritarian rule is not a bad thing if it is used in a way to serve the country, but what was openly shown was more than that ( almost thuggery).

    Mahinda is highly vulnerable now and nationalist should completely STOP worshiping him and trusting his name and try to make use of him to push for TRUE FREEDOM OF SINHALA BUDDHISTS. His promise to get rid of 13A for completely new simple constitution ( 100% without executive presidency which is killing our motherland) must be pushed for and open Nationalistic policies (like Donald Trump) must be demanded from him. Our main problem is Mahinda Worshipping. Stop this now. Treat him as another politician and get the maximum use of him. People will surely pardon him for his errors however horrific those are. He should admit his faults this time and come out as a new man.

    Meanwhile, let Ranil run for another year with TNA. Mahinda has a much bigger opposition now and can highlight LTTE+UNP every secret act and make a great push for getting rid of 13A and win with 0% minority votes and be a true nationalist. He should come back to 2009 and regret his behavior form 2010 todate.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    Ranil did most damage under the blessings of Sirisena.

    But now Sirisena has been baptized of his original sin and is a saint just like KP, Karuna, Duminda, etc. How come the majority community become so stupidly opportunistic?

    A true nationalist or a patriot (at least) would weep at this but fake patriots don’t see it.

    Ranil was not the president nor the PM when all high profile war heroes were imprisoned/sacked or otherwise harassed while LTTE leaders enjoyed VVIP status and ministries. One army commander (SF) and one CDS (Wijayagunawardhana) was imprisoned, another army commander (Mahesh) and a navy commander (Travis) were sacked. By the way Sunil Ratnayake’s fate has not changed; so is the position of the TNA leader.

    This does not mean Ranil is any good. He is not. But his competitors are no better. When can the opportunists see this reality as it is without their political views? Until then this country is doomed. Think before it is too late.

  5. Hiranthe Says:

    Fantastic article by HDL. His historical knowledge on political space is commendable.

    Surprisingly, he was only quoting the Central Bank robbery against Run-nil. He has missed out more dire damages done by Run-nil to Mother Lanka. He has established the necessary infrastructure to prosecute our war heroes and to compensate the dead terrorist.

    This has a deep meaning and is a part of long term plan for this land by the West and the LieTTE diaspora. With the absence of Intelligent units and discouraged armed forces, it creates an ideal ground for re-emerging and reviving the dead tigers. This has already been done.

    One of the biggest items missed by him was the 20th Amendment. Due to Run-nil’s losing of power, either by appointing MR or by dissolving the parliament by My3, the West, TNA, UNP and JVP along with India were shocked. Changing the Constitution was the biggest thing they ever wanted and for that, even one day in the Parliament is sufficient for them to pass it with majority, similar to winning the alleged NCM against MR.

    The other important things are the national assets lined up for selling to India. They were key assets for India in their long-term plan for the Ealam and the South which includes Palali Airport, KKS factory, Trinco oil tank farm, CMB harbour Eastern Dock and Mattala airport.

    Mother Lanka was saved by days, not weeks.

    @ Randeniyage
    I totally agree with you. But I can see that MR is different now. He has been humiliated but he has a thick skin and he will deliver best things for Mother Lanka. This time he is coming to do the much needed damage control and at the same time to keep his name shining in the history books. I don’t think he will tolerate anyone looting state funds and spoil MR’s name. He must have advised Namal R to keep quiet and not getting highlighted.

    No one else can take up the challenges and take Mother Lanka to safety and prosperity like MR does with the likes of Gota sitting next to him in the driving seat.

    There is no other hope for Mother Lanka!!

  6. Randeniyage Says:

    Very important message from Dilrook here, to those who really shed tears and were worried about the country and for those who really fought the war.

    Those jubilant fools are not patriots but opportunists who sided Sirisena changing him from “Maru Sira” to “Mara Sira” overnight.

    Please think again, don’t betray your country. Sirisena selfishly destroyed the country.

    Now he is playing the “devolution” card to earn minority votes, taking Mahinda with him.

    By far this is the worst president we ever had, not JR, not RP. He may not be the most extravagant spender but he has done the maximum damage in ‘modern’ context.

    Worst still, he had ruined the image of every non-English speaking poor innocent clever Sinhala Buddhist Gamarala. People in other countries will now think Sinhala people are stupid and arrogant and false Tamil grievances are real.

  7. Hiranthe Says:

    @ Dilrook,
    I totally agree with you.

    I was also thinking where this courage came from for My3 to act as a lion. He is still the same coward betrayer of Mother Lanka to me.

    As Dilrook rightly said, all these damages were done to Mother Lanka while he was in-charge. He was so weak that he could not challenge Run-nil. He was humiliated in the cabinet when he opposed the Eastern Dock sale to India for some reason. And at the same time Namal Kumara’s revelation came to surface of the assassination plot of My3.

    He may have died in his sleep several times and urinated in his pyjamas before he talked to KJ and SP to take up the Prime Ministership. That proved his intension to continue with the Yahaps despite the damages they have done to the National Security of Mother Lanka. He is no patriot.

    MR was finally his saviour. Now after a month back with MR, My3 has got some energy and courage to talk openly against Run-nil and behave like a lion. He knows that he can survive with the help of the vote bank of Pohottuwa.
    The day MR walk away from him, after the SC’s verdict on 7th December either way, he will be back to the same FOX state who was coving himself with the lion’s coat due to MR.

    He also knows that. He is no baby. That may be the reason why he is going to publish the Bond Scam report and to go on record that he has delivered his responsibility to the masses. He will try to get the credit for appointing a committee and investigating but he kept his eyes closed when they were looting the Bank.

    I can’t still trust him. The general feeling of the nation must be the same. People are no fools!!

  8. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Anti Buddhist, anti Sinhalese, anti Sri Lanka traitor catholic-run UNPatriotic_rats party headed by the traitor chief
    die hard catholic token Buddhist bay gal karaya mega thief mega thakkadiya walking crime bomb (against
    Sinhalese Buddhists, Buddhism and Sri Lanka only) Pol Pot r@ni_leech wickrama Sinhala killer destroying the
    country, Sinhalese race and Buddhism to the delight of tamils and mussies. UNPatriotic_rats have been dividing
    the Sinhalese and making tamils and mussies king makers in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese, if you want Sinhalese race,
    Sri Lanka and Buddhism to survive, wipe these traitors out from the political map of Sri Lanka!

  9. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Batalande wandakaya has no free rides any more to run to thirupathi kovil to save its pathetic neck. Surprise,
    surprise Wandakaya seeking help from Buddhist temples now. Wandakaya is tasting its own medicine now and, I’m
    sure he must be locking the doors fearing for its pathetic life every night. If it had known at least the first
    precept, it wouldn’t have committed all those murders. But being a token Buddhist, it never knew that karma
    can catch up with it. Batalande wandakaya your ditta damma vedaniya kamma just started. At least do one
    good deed in your life.

  10. Christie Says:

    Hi Folks.

    Like Ranil and Mahinda we are all victims and subjects of Indian Imperialism and Colonialism.

    India and Indian Parasites run our country.

    We have to stop fighting among ourselves and stand up to India and Indian Parasites.

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