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What is to be done? Where to begin?

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 14 February 2018 00:00

“The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before” 

G.K. Chesterton

When Lenin wrote his celebrated pamphlet ‘What is to be done?’ it was a reiteration and an amplification of an earlier tract titled ‘Where to Begin?’

Minister Rajitha Senaratne, dentist and nonsense artist, exceptional and preeminent, has described it as a defeat for Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Minster Mangla Samaraweera, the only present time minister anchored to the present, has described the LG polls setback as a timely wake up call.

Wake up call, it certainly is. Its timeliness will be determined by unfolding events. Where to begin the remedial process after the wakeup call?

First things first

First things first: Mangala Samaraweera finds himself in the UNP not because he is a neoliberal in disguise. He is in the UNP because he was sacked from the SLFP after Mahinda and his brother Basil hijacked it and made the party of the common man and the turf of the Bandaranaike clan into the fiefdom of the Rajapaksa clan. It is our misfortune that the war ended while the Rajapaksa clan was in control and now the title to the liberated land is theirs.

There is no SLFP. Our elected President has been labouring in a vain bid to rescue a party maimed beyond recognition.

The two brothers have interpreted the LG polls results with rare innocence. Gotabhaya on arrival said that the people have realised that they were duped in 2015. The people want Mahinda Rajapaksa at the helm of the realm.

Participating in a lengthy political discussion on Hiru TV owned by the family of Duminda Silva, now incarcerated on a murder conviction, Basil said that the people have roundly condemned legal witch hunts of political opponents. The obliging TV anchors did not probe the subject of free and fair franchise expressed by the people of Biyagama, bestowing the title to the Malwana mansion on him. 

Where to begin?

Where to begin? We begin by requesting Ranil to step down. If he does not step down, dump him. This writer has said this before. Once, Ranil held tremendous promise. He lost the presidency by a whisker in 2005. Since then, he has lost his marbles. He has convinced himself that he is an expert economist and the Lankan version of a hybrid of Lee Kwan Yew and Mahathir Mohamed. He remains in politics to redeem himself and not to redeem us.

He is in a cloud cuckoo land of his own. He has little patience for elected members with proven track records. The unelected Malik Samarawickrama and Tilak Marapana are his main crutches. Paskaralingam and Charitha Ratwatte push his wheel chair behind the curtain.

This writer was horrified when a managing director of a quoted public company and one of our top blue-chip conglomerates said: “I don’t mind announcing that I voted for the Pohottuwa.” He/she explained: “Mahinda allowed us to do our business. He left us alone.” Now under the guise of one window clearance we are told what to do, when to do and how to do business by busybodies and mentioned ‘you know who.’

No Sobhitha Thero, no President Sirisena 

The Supreme Court has advised the President the precise span of his presidency. The time past is more than the time that is left. He must complete what is half done and attend to what needs to be done and completed.

Without Sobhitha Thero there would have been no common candidate and there would be no President Sirisena. Had Ranil Wickremesinghe contested, Mahinda Rajapaksa would be in the fourth year of his third presidential term. The Chinese would have written off our loans to offset the impact of western sanctions. Mohan Peiris would be administering justice. Cabraal and Jayasundera would be duelling to decide the growth rate, GDP, and per capita income. The maker of urban marvels would have introduced a mass rapid transit system linking Basil’s Malwana with Lanza’s Negombo. We would be relishing Malwana Rambutan laced with ecstasy from the lagoon in Negombo.

This writer voted for this President on 8 January, 2015 and has no regrets for doing so.

This writer is no supporter of Mahinda Rajapaksa. This writer does not wish to see Mahinda Rajapakse anywhere near state power.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is a believable leader

That said, this writer is not hesitant to concede that he is a believable leader to a near half of the voting population. In believability, he is miles ahead of any of his political opponents. Prevention of his return to power is a far too serious matter that should not be left to the advisers who inhabit the crevices in the corridors of presidential power. Half-witted lawyers and fake Rupert Murdochs with personal grudges against Ranil Wickremesinghe and ghost writers pretending to be eco geeks are the humbugs responsible for the current political cul-de-sac that has made the would-be reformer into a lame duck.

Egg on the face

Thanks to Sobhitha Thero, Maithripala Sirisena was a believable leader in 2015. Today, he is not. Since his election, he has slipped rapidly downwards. He has overstepped his mandate. His task was to facilitate reform of the political process. Instead he opted to manipulate the process. Now, he has ended with egg on his ‘vandaneeya poojaniya’ mug.

So, he should spare us the sermons and undertake to do what he promised to Venerable Sobhitha Thero. Dante Gabrielle Rosetti was an English poet. This rare pearl of wisdom is attributed to him – “Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also call’d No-more, Too-late, Farewell”.

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