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Wednesday 26 November 2014

Mahinda, the problem of the west

How to solve a problem like Mahinda, must be a question asked in London, Washington and may be a few other cities in the west. However, it is a major problem in London and a problem to a great extent in Washington, which will be solved by the west in their usual “democratic” way of good governance and what not by demanding blood. Mahinda Rajapaksa who defied the west by not allowing them to send a ship to rescue Prabhakaran has been hated by the west since his policy on Palestine as a young MP in the Sri Lankan Parliament. Mahinda Rajapaksa is anti colonial though he is compelled to follow western economic models and even the politics that include western type executive Presidency. The thirteenth amendment though linked with India or rather Gandhi family is the product of the west, mainly England and US as well. With Mahinda Rajapaksa there will be no more devolution in the sense of the thirteenth amendment and the west is not happy with it. Mahinda Rajapaksa has cordial relationship with China not to the liking of London. In this regard Washington that cannot survive without Beijing is helpless with the fragile economic situation.

The west has intervened indirectly in the problem of Mahinda through various means including economic sanctions in the garment industry, fish industry, and involving people such as Solheim, the Tamil leaders in the Global Tamil Front and other organisations of dispersed Tamils in the west, the western intellectuals so called experts in Sri Lankan studies without much success. They are propagating the usual story (post modern narrative) of Mahinda Rajapaksa being a dictator but within Sri Lanka it has failed to gain any currency, except those in the western educated circles who have been in A/L classes in schools irrespective of the medium of instruction and the schools they attended.  Personally I have much more freedom now than in the days of  JRJ, Premadasa, Ranil, Ranjan Wijeratne, Charitha Ratwatte and others including Chandrika Kumaratunga who had no inkling of nationalism in them. I had been under death threat in the times of many of them, and my freedom of expression had been curtailed by their orders to the editors of newspapers. It has to be mentioned that except for Premadasa the others had been so called elite in the country.

The west gets the support of Sri Lankans as well in their attempt to solve the problem of Mahinda and invariably they go to the usual pundits in the universities and so called research institutes who were trained by the westerners, the political parties such as the UNP, the TNA and even the JVP that is now controlled by the US after Anura Dissanayaka became the leader, the activists in western governmental organisations that are maintained by the west, and the few expats who had gone to west in search of political asylum.  These asylum seekers are maintained by the west and as long as they do not agitate against the violation of human rights by the host country they are safe. The west wants to solve the problem of Mahinda the way they solved similar problems in the other parts of the world. That is by ousting Mahinda Rajapaksa from the executive presidency of the country.

However, the west has to  oust Mahinda Rajapaksa through political action involving elections at present and the forthcoming Presidential elections are a God given opportunity for the west. They want a weak President whom could be dictated terms, and who would devolve power to the Northern and Eastern provinces, destabilize the country and finally bifurcate or trifurcate the country. Once Mahinda is ousted he would be taken before a so called international jury for “war crimes” and be sent to gallows. The GTF   boss who came on TV with a UNP MP and a “Liberal” MP from Sri Lanka did not mince words in his aspirations. These aspirations are those of the western countries though they take a back seat at the moment.

The west wants to introduce a weak candidate as possible but who could draw votes as well. Ranil W is not the best of the candidates though he would dance to the tune of London. He does not have a Charisma that could attract Sinhala votes and  he is  loser from the very beginning. Chandrika K is too old and also she has been disqualified by Sarath Silva. The argument of Sarath Silva is valid in the case of Chandrika though it does not hold water in the case of Mahinda Rajapaksa as we have shown in these columns. Karu Jayasuriya had the support of the west but the UNP could not come to a decision to support him as there was much opposition to his candidature. Then the west had Ven. Masduluwawe Sobhitha Thera who had been canvassing for so called good governance together with some academic trade unionists and left out leftists. However he was not favoured as it was clear that the Thera does not have a mass base.

The JVP in the meantime had been taking a different line altogether based on Sarath Silva’s argument, and claiming that the Presidential elections are illegal if Mahinda Rajapaksa is allowed to contest. This is a fall back position as far as the west is considered and they would be thinking of drawing masses to the streets when Mahinda Rajapaksa wins the elections. The government would have to take precautionary action in order to avoid an Arab Spring. The second option as far as the west is concerned for an Arab Spring is to have a “nonagatha” uprising after preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa getting 50% of the valid vote. The time between the first count and the second preferences has been named the “nonagatha” period and at the last Presidential elections they would have executed the uprising through Sarath Fonseka had Mahinda Rajapaksa failed to get the all important 50% of the valid vote. This time again Mahinda Rajapaksa would get more than 50% of the vote and there is no possibility of a “nonagatha” Arab Spring.

The Jathika Vyaparaya (National Movement) had been politicized by the JHU first and then by the JNP of Wimal Weeravansa. Once the Jathika Vyaparaya was politicized, Mahinda Rajapaksa who has nationalist credentials became the leader of the politicized Jathika Vyaparaya to the disillusion of both the JHU and the JNP. It is true that Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLFP do not have nationalist economic policies then neither the JHU nor the JNP has. However, they were critical of the economic policies of the government and Wimal Weerawansa calling the Secretary to the Treasury an “Arthika Ghathakaya” (destroyer of the economy) was seen to be getting ready to move out of the government. The Deshahithaishee Jathika Vyaparaya (DJV) headed by Gunadasa Amrasekera is only a mouthpiece of the JNP and their monthly magazine “Muragala” was giving all the indications that the nationalists should leave the government. These were ominous signals that the JHU lost no time in picking up. However, at the UVA provincial council elections the JNP learnt its “strength” as far as their mass base is concerned (polling around 300 votes in the electorates in the Badulla District where they went alone independent of the UPFA) and soon gave up their rhetoric . However, the JHU thinking of an expanded middle class that they thought got their political lie from Ven. Gangodawils Soma Thera, was not humble enough and went on challenging Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera was the most vociferous and he was associated with Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera  on the good governance project. The JHU was in a hurry to come to power and in the process has played into the hands of the west.

All these groups and individuals, except the JNP and the JVP, have now apparently selected Maithripala Sirisena as the so called common candidate. Sirisena is the weakest of the lot and he would be preferred by the west. The man who as the Minster of Health could not face the western doctors in Sri Lanka and come out with a plan to cure the Kidney patients is not going to stand up to western leaders or even to the western high commissioners and ambassadors. He will do whatever Ranil dictates on the instructions of the west but would have to win a Parliament with two third majority in order to make Ranil the executive Prime Minister. The west wants to abolish the executive Presidency as it would help to defeat Tamil racism of the dispersed Tamils and their sponsors.

Though Maithripala Sirisena satisfies the criteria for a weak President he has been unable to deliver the goods in the form of crossovers. It was apparently his and Chandrika’s promise to bring thirty odd MPs from the SLFP that finally obtained the concurrence of Ranil to stand down but with those thirty voting for the budget has created dissension in the opposition. I would not be surprised if Maithripala Sirisena is forced to withdraw from the race. I am not trying to say that everything is planned in London, but they have may have to think of a more common candidate.

Nalin De Silva