Sri Lankan woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote
Rebellion is very much part of our time, of one sort or another, for one reason or another. But it is certainly a cause for alarm to see those holding top positions in the Grand Old Party – once the most disciplined of all – disobeying rules, flouting discipline and taking the law into their hands for no worthy cause; their sole aim being to get the man of their choice nominated as presidential candidate.
They know very well the procedure that is usually followed and should have bided their time, without making a public show of their objectives and bringing the party into disrepute thus playing into the hands of the opposition by giving them more than enough fuel to use against the UNP. How can those who blatantly disobey orders from the party hierarchy be good leaders when they show such lack of discipline and self-control? I recall the late Anura Bandaranaike telling me when he joined the UNP that he found it so disciplined compared to the SLFP and felt very comfortable there. Those who came into the party from other parties, those who were brought into politics recently, given positions and the opportunity to build themselves up, are the ones responsible for this, instigated by one, in the position he is today, because of the UNP and its leader, but who suffers from an inferiority complex, cannot cope with his role and is determined to split the UNP. They are playing into his hands, allowing themselves to be used by him and a media mogul, who wants to be a kingmaker at any cost and have a leader he can control as he did earlier on. These ministers and MPs also have their own political agendas and probably been promised top brass if their plans succeeded.
- How can those who blatantly disobey orders from the party hierarchy be good leaders when they show such lack of discipline and self-control?
- The premier is too much of a gentleman; this is unfortunately a human frailty he has with that of believing others think like him and placing too much trust in them
Their actions have led to revelations about them, so their behaviour is not as surprising now as it was at first. I was brought up on certain values and principles including appreciation, gratitude and loyalty which are sadly lacking in all these in this group. The premier is too much of a gentleman, not tough or forceful enough with them, this is unfortunately a human frailty he has with that of believing others think like him and placing too much trust in them. He forgets that these qualities are not bred in the bone with them as with him. One serious mistake in this respect was the appointment of the party chairman. We have so many loyal party stalwarts like D.M. Swaminathan, John Amaratunga and Jayawickreme Perera who would have filled this prestigious position with the dignity it commands, not been such a disaster and so disloyal as even resorting to secret meetings with the President, taking up ministries without informing the leader, which is against the Constitution.
Unfortunately, former Minister Fowzie isn’t a UNPer now; he too would have been more acceptable as party chairman if a UNPer and would never have behaved in the disgraceful fashion. One cannot keep the momentum of a campaign going for more than two months. The UNP will make its decision and choice at the proper time. It is disgraceful for any UNPer to resort to threats and intimidation following Weerawansa like fasting unto death and leaving politics if their candidate weren’t given nomination. They should be told to do what they want. The UNP doesn’t need this kind of cheap tricksters trying to get their own way.
He got 500,566 preferential votes at the last election. Those opposing him: Sujeewa Senasinghe got 117,049 votes, Harsha de Silva 114,147 and Eran Wickremeratne 82,737 votes. Their votes even added together cannot equal his
The behaviour of this group reminds me of similar actions against the late Dudley Senanayake in the last days of his life which led to his fatal heart attack and tragic demise. One hopes sanity will prevail, that they are able to see the damage done to the party and to its leader who led it through the worst times, the party was bankrupt when he took over, money had disappeared. His entire salary for 41 years in politics had been given to charity, privately, not with publicity. When the government said it could donate only Rs.500,000 to the late Lester James Pieris, he gave the balance to make it a million from his own funds. The freedom to write, speak and slander as they do him were due to him, as was the 25% representation of women in decision-making bodies, the independent judiciary, we have all these and freedom due to him. Regaining friendship with worldwide democracies, building bridges which renewed confidence in our nation, regaining GSP were among his achievements to the nation. It was under his direction that so many new buildings were built for schools, insurance for schoolchildren, government salaries and pensions increased, an ambulance service, free stents and cataract operations in the health sector.
Another mark of his greatness is that he never resorts to slandering those who continue to slander him. A few politicians are able to restrain themselves in this respect and do not possess his virtue of calm self-possession through the storms of his political path. This is also because of the values instilled in him from childhood. His family has contributed much more to Buddhism by building temples and supporting them than any other, with their own money; not government money or stolen money. He got 500,566 preferential votes at the last election. Those opposing him: Sujeewa Senasinghe got 117,049 votes, Harsha de Silva 114,147 and Eran Wickremeratne 82,737 votes. Their votes even added together cannot equal his. In housing units, former Minister D.M. Swaminathan tops the list with around 17,000 units. Minister Champika Ranawaka is next with about 8,500, Housing Minister Premadasa with about 6,700 in four years. The Prime Minster also around 6,700 begun only from January this year to date. A stranger I met recently told me values and principles have fallen so low today which was why Ranil wasn’t appreciated as he should be.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it swirls, or lose our ventures”
~ Shakespeare in Julius Caesar