Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

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An open letter to SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa

Posted by harimpeiris on July 14, 2015

 

An open letter to SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa

By Harim Peiris

Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa

General Secretary

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)

Colombo.

My dear Sir,

I am writing to you, since you are much in the news, together with your colleague Susil Premajayath, due to the intrigue and compounded confusion regarding SLFP and UPFA nominations for the general elections and specifically the issue of nominations for defeated former President Mahinda Rajapakse.

As a Sri Lankan, I was deeply disappointed at the astounding news last Friday, that the defeated president was going to be a candidate at the general elections. If Mahinda Rajapakse cannot internalize that he was repudiated by the people at the polls, you as the General Secretary of the party he belongs to should assist him in that regard. Not pander to his whims and fancies.

However, I was rather impressed with your performance at the UPFA press conference yesterday, when you stated that your party has learnt the mistakes of its past and as a mature political organization it would correct the same and face the general election. However, I found the fact that you did not divulge or admit to any specific mistakes to be evasive and hence unpersuasive. Accordingly I would present a few serious mistakes which I believe a future SLFP led Administration should never repeat and it would be reassuring if you could confirm that these lessons have indeed been learned.

Firstly I would recommend that the SLFP never again seeks to casually and illegally interfere with and politicize the higher judiciary and ultimately impeach the Chief Justice. Your own rather sordid role in that affair can frankly be overlooked, since implicit obedience to Rajapakse, was a necessity for survival.

I would also avoid imprisoning defeated presidential candidates. The whining and self centered bleats of the defeated Rajapakse regime, is hilarious considering the shameful manner in which they treated their own defeated rivals such as Field Marshal Fonseka and even predecessor in office President Kumaratunga, who gracefully left office. As President Maithripala Sirisena himself, personally mentioned, if he had lost the presidential election, he would have been six feet underground by now.

The Rajapakse Administration was, as you are well aware, the most corrupt Government, Sri Lanka has ever had the misfortune to have. The allegations are long and voluminous, But you should strive for an SLFP led government to never repeat, the world’s most expensive highways per kilometer, missing government vehicles, the sovereignty selling giveaway terms of the port city project, many unsolicited projects approved without tender processes, floating armories and unlicensed weapons to private parties, massive corruption at Sri Lankan Airlines, casinos made strategic enterprises, abusing TRC funds for election campaigns, to name just a few, of a very long list. So, avoid giving nominations to the drug barons, casino kings, ethanol importers and cheap thugs who are among Rajapakse’s strongest backers. Also I would avoid trying to use ill gotten gains in the campaign. It only lends credence to the corruption allegations to see the amount of money which the Abayaramaya Cabal is able to throw at its campaign.

Further, you should also take note that since Mahinda and his cabal was defeated, there has not been a single attack or mob assault on religious minorities, the mosque attacks and Koran burnings and indeed the church attacks and Bible burnings have ceased completely, together with the white vans. Once strongly suspects, this is due their patronage and protection from the State ceasing.  I should also state in this context, that the distortion of the National Flag outside the Bribery Commission by some of your senior SLFP colleagues, in cohorts with the “rent mob extremist groups” is in extremely bad taste and should not be repeated. I am glad that Dulles Allaperuma has apologized for his shameful role in the same.

My dear Anura, it should concern you greatly, that Mahinda Rajapakse and his “Abayaramaya Cabal” had been indulging from the time of their defeat in an exercise of barely disguised racism. This began with Mahinda’s disgusting statement of “Eelam votes”, his absolute inability to accept that since 1931, we have had universal adult franchise or one man, one vote, irrespective of race, religion or gender. If the Abayaramaya Cabal’s racism was thinly disguised earlier, it is now open and blatant. This is a natural path for intellectually and morally bankrupt minor allies but not a path the SLFP should tread. The SLFP has a proud tradition of minority leaders such as Alfred Duraippa and Bathuideen Mohammad and should work hard to recapture the minority vote it has lost, rather than lose its multi ethnic and multi religious character. The SLFP is in the process alienating urbanites and the young, both key constituencies and important segments of society.

The big problem with brining back Mahinda is that he has just not learnt his mistakes. Listening to his coterie and him, they really seem to believe that more of the same, the same tired slogans, the same racism, the same fear mongering and hate peddling which lost Rajapakse and the UPFA the January presidential election, will somehow magically result in a victory in August. Your colleague SB Dissanayake among others are correct, that Mahinda Rajapakse is a complete turn off to the floating voter and will only make civil society coalesce around the UNP, to simply safeguard the hard won new freedom and people’s democratic revolution achieved in January this year.

I hope you will consider the above and even at this late stage, reverse the disastrous “party before country SLFP policies” going forward and instead work towards a country first, party policies. An enlightened path of supporting President Sirisena and working towards a nation building post election national government is a much more beneficial political strategy, than a dangerous dalliance with a discredited and disastrous past.  Remember that he, who nestles a Viper to his bosom, will surely get bitten, sooner rather than later.

Best regards,

 

Harim Peiris

(The writer is the Chairman of the Resettlement Authority. The views expressed are personal)

 

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