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Sarath Fonseka can give steely strength to an indecisive leadership


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 1 March 2018 00:00


 

“…the intrusion of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka into the command line of the Government fold is going to add the steeliness that is badly wanted. SF has already fought in civil politics to learn the qualitative differences in battlefield-leading and leading among civilian populations. I am sure he will adhere to those lessons of political life”

 

History’s lessons

History does not teach us two lessons; the second one isn’t a lesson; but a deadly, unrelenting, terminal blow. 

Writers for the broad civil movement of Yahapalanaya like us, were absolutely bewildered and stunned when our dear old President was seen playing a tragi-comedy in the style of Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, while evil forces who had set him up via proxies were laughing in the background. 

The proxies succeeded in part by bringing into the periphery of power their masters or principals; they failed in letting the Unity Government implode from within. For that, we have already thanked the Prime Minister. It is now left to see if the evil forces of former authoritarian, corrupt, amoral and murderous leadership will wade their way through tricky waters right into the centre – once again. 

Our country cannot afford a repeat. The statistics of voting didn’t, to be sure, say that; but such an outcome cannot be ruled out given the reality of Lankan politics where rice and coconuts could sway populations more than polices for long-term welfare and prosperity.



Disruption

For now, the Opposition forces are busy creating further internal disruption within the United National Party. Range Bandara, who must be grateful for a portfolio gifted by the Prime Minister, has become the focal point of a conspiracy against the UNP Leader. 

Ranil is silent, as is typical of him, but Range boy is busy working day and night conspiring against the Leader. Rajapaksa forces have enough resources to work on him. It is also rumoured that Maharaja has joined hands to oust his enemy. It’s all work-in-progress. The UNP project will be eventually beaten by the Working Committee but the disruptive impact is enough.



Good human being

In Maithripala Sirisena, we have a basically good human being who could sing along with Amaradeva or carry over his shoulders the remains of that great legend of our times. The nation will not forget such symbolisms. Sirisena is not a flamboyant type wearing a special satakaya to look special like Gaddafi. He does not wear gold rings – even enchanted ones – around all his fingers. Have we seen even pirith nool around his wrist? Unlike Ranil, he never even visited the kovil to placate that deity. 

On the other hand, he has to learn to be more sophisticated about political forces and not be unfittingly caught in political traps. How could he ever have trusted the SLFP or UPFA blokes who re-gathered around him for positions? Especially those who are seen in videos even today on social media running down and insulting Maithripala Sirisena during the 2015 presidential election campaign? It is downright common sense, surely?

Balaya vindeema and balopaadaana or the evolution of power incumbency

Nevertheless, strangely, we seem to find President Sirisena morphing into something of his predecessor. 

This is the taste of power, they say. The experience of power (balaya vindeema) seems to inevitably and imperceptibly slip leaders – whether in government or business – to a state of clinging to power (balaya upadaana or balopadaanaya). Mahinda Rajapaksa tasted absolute power for so long that he could live it up only by delusions of grandeur that he developed. I suppose, that may be the next stage after upadaana.

Three years into power, our friend Maithripala Sirisena developed upadaana. On the advice of his proxies he had a go at an extension that brought chills down our spine reminding us of the 18th Amendment. Then, he was persuaded to believe that he can lead an independent alternate force challenging his predecessor. For that, he had to differentiate himself from Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP. What happened after that is bad history.



Bring in Sarath Fonseka

That President Sirisena hasn’t fully comprehended the lesson of the recent past seems clear when one observes how he had turned down a request by PM to hand over the much-talked-of Law and Order portfolio to the former General who is now in the UNP. It seems obvious that the President’s proxies are still at work. 

Former regime men know that their fate is seriously threatened with SF in that chair. Supporters of Yahapalanaya and the UNP want just that. On the other hand, the President has refused just that. Maithripala Sirisena has turned into a pathetically indecisive man. 

The Prime Minister is caught up in a tacky position of having had to live with the idiosyncrasies of the President. The major fault-line of dualism has surfaced.

Against all this indecision and helplessness, the intrusion of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka into the command line of the Government fold is going to add the steeliness that is badly wanted. Fonseka has proved himself as a tough, no-nonsense and incorruptible leader who demonstrated every resilience to win the war for our country. He and his men travelled every terrain and bog; under sun and rain; amidst raining bullet fire from enemies to get to that goal. For the portfolio of Law and Order, the country needs a man of that calibre.

SF has already fought in civil politics to learn the qualitative differences in battlefield-leading and leading among civilian populations. I am sure he will adhere to those lessons of political life. Our instinct and intuition says, “Give it to him.”That act of handing over the critical portfolio alone would go a long way to boost public confidence in the Yahapalanaya Government. The public do cry for resolute action, and they are fed up with all the pussyfooting that has taken place all these years.

Ranil cannot hold this portfolio as he isn’t temperamentally suited for that. Besides, his skills are pertaining to the economy and policy planning at which he has been doing pretty well.

(The writer can be reached via sjturaus@optusnet.com.au.)


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