Harim Peiris

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President CBK defends January revolution against Rajapakse onslaught

Posted by harimpeiris on August 12, 2015

President CBK defends January revolution against Rajapakse onslaught

By Harim Peiris

( Published in the Daily News newspaper on the 11th of August, 2015)


Lying to rest any public ambiguity since the general election campaign commenced, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga came out with a public statement, that she would strive to ensure and safeguard the people’s revolution and popular mandate for change of January 8th 2015. In doing so, the former president reiterated that the Rajapakse Administration was a corrupt and authoritarian regime, which a majority of the Sri Lankan people, through their ballots had rejected. The January election was a popular rejection of Rajapakse rule and the corruption, nepotism, poor governance and authoritarianism that formed its modus operandi, as well as a popular mandate for change.

A defeated UPFA’s incoherent comeback attempt


One almost pities the UPFA’s spokesmen, such Dilan Perera and Susil Premajayanth, reduced to coming up with daily antics to cover up for the absence of substance at UPFA press conferences, be it vials of  poison offered to rivals, to politicizing the murder investigation of former Thomian, Havies and Sri Lanka ruggerite, Wasim Thajudeen. The public policy aspect of the Wasim Thajudeen investigation should center on whether the evidence coming out with regard to his alleged murder is new, or if there was an official cover up, by state authorities to protect VVIP suspects as alleged by the Deputy Justice Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe.

The SLFP led UPFA has a fundamental problem, it is essentially trying to rerun the January 8th election, which it lost country wide, but believes that it won in the electorates that matter to its core constituency of the rural Sinhala Buddhist voter, most other constituencies, having deserted them. However, even this strategy has its policy drawbacks and incoherence. Firstly, Rajapakse loyalists led by Mahinda Rajapakse himself, tries the hardest of hard sells, telling a skeptical electorate, that they made the wrong choice in January and that they must chose now for more Rajapakse. One suspects there is a dearth of lunatics among the 6.2 million who voted for Maithripala Sirisena, who would suddenly now be hankering for more of Rajapakse. That six months of the Abhayarama Temple politics is a opinion and game changer in the country.

A Rajapakse inability to accept its errors and defeat 


Mahinda Rajapakse and his political allies still cannot internalize the fact that they lost the presidential election and that they are out of office. He wants to campaign in helicopters and needs the adoring crowds in vindication of his rule and the biggest logistical challenge and expense to the UPFA campaign is bussing in the required crowds for meetings from all over the country. However, the more serious aspect of this denial of reality is that Rajapakse and the UPFA has learnt nothing from the people’s verdict in January this year. There is no regret made about the white van culture, about impeaching the Chief Justice, about the Kangaroo court injustice meted out to the war winning Field Marshal Fonseka, about the unsolicited mega projects granted without tenders, about the world’s costliest high ways per kilometer according to the Moratuwa University research, about nepotism, cronyism, family bandyism, unsolicited mega Chinese white elephants mostly in Hambanthota, land grabs and missing vehicles among a long and non exhaustive list of deplorable aspects of Rajapakse rule. The stock answer is a blanket denial, which must not seem credible even to its core constituency as more and more evidence surfaces regarding the regime’s doings.

A divided SLFP


The reality within the Sri Lanka Freedom party is that it is deeply divided between those interested in a national government under President Maithripala Sirisena and those trying to persist with “more of Rajapakse rule”. Consequently in the UPFA’s grassroots campaign which is very weak in many areas, the Rajapakse cabal leading the general elections, is more interested in trying to marginalize the Sirisena loyalists than anything else. The UPFA grassroots campaign is weak because its leadership is used to commanding and abusing the state resources, including personnel for election work. The absence of using the Samurdhi workers and graduate assistance for election work, means that actual SLFP supporters have to volunteer. The minor UPFA parties of the MEP, NFF, Vasu and Gamanpila do not match the strident, divisive and hate mongering rhetoric with activists on the ground, nationally. SLFP ers, divided and discouraged are not flocking to volunteer. Accordingly the post January swing towards the UNP has become very marked in certain districts most notably in Kandy, Matara and Moneragala, which sees a significant swing towards the UNP led UNFGG. The campaign by a plethora of civil society organizations in favor of the UNF, with the participation of President Kumaratunga including Ven. Sobitha Thera would likely see an increase in the majorities for the January mandate in the Colombo and Gampaha districts.

President Kumaratunga has articulated in her own words the sentiments expressed by President Sirisena, in his address to the nation, right after the close of nominations. The Rajapakse was a corrupt administration which should not be allowed to return, the January people’s verdict was a mandate for change which must be safeguarded and taken forward.  The one hundred days and the post January minority government may not have achieved utopia, but it was a genuine change from what we had before. The January people’s revolution and the mandate must be preserved, strengthened and taken forward.


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