14 July 2015

Where are you hiding Mr President?

When a man doesn't know which way to turn (or is embarrassed to state where he stands)....
Maithripala Sirisena is the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.  He is also the Leader of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).  He dissolved Parliament.  Then he went into hiding.

We have seen in the last few months how stalwarts of the United National Party strutted around as though Ranil Wickremesinghe and not Sirisena had defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa on January 8, 2015.  They went to the extent of putting up posters, cut-outs and hoardings with party color, party leader AND Maithripala Sirisena.  This was the pre-dissolution, election-anticipating campaign splurge by politicians who had not too long ago expressed disdain for that kind of publicity indulged in by the previous regime.  Not a word of protest did we hear from Mr Sirisena.  

Now, post-dissolution, the very same green worthies are acting as Sirisena’s spokespersons, claiming that he will play a neutral role in the run up to the election.  No objection from the President’s office.  It’s the UNP that decides (by default) what the SLFP’s leader does and does not do!  That would have been unthinkable under Mahinda Rajapaksa.  Ranil Wickremesinghe, the UNP’s rank and file and the entourage of Euro-guzzling NGO types must feel smug!  

Anyway, we had reports to the effect that Mr Sirisena was ‘going to make an important statement on the 13th,’ i.e the day nominations closed.  Not a word.  

It is in a sense funny that the SLFP, which during the Rajapaksa regime preyed mercilessly on the Opposition, is now running around like a headless chicken.   Poultry aside, the ‘headless’ part is true, isn’t it?  They do have a nominal ‘head’ and that head is appearing in green on UNP propaganda material with UNPers talking as though they have co-opted Sirisena or at least that the UNP is taking the Sirisena agenda forward.  Begs the question, ‘why on earth did Sirisena return to the SLFP and accept that party’s leadership in the first place?’  The answer seems clear: ‘to wreck the party that had snubbed him when he decided to take on Mahinda Rajapaksa, never mind the lip service to maithriya (compassion).’  [Remember him quoting the Dhammapada the day he announced he would be taking on Rajapaksa?  This is how he started: Nahi Verena Verani—Sammanti dha Kudacancam
Averenacca Sammanti—esa dhammo Sanantano -- "Hatred never ceases through hatred, but through love alone they cease. This is an eternal law."]. Funny, huh? 

It’s too early to predict the impact of Sirisena’s MIA number.  But if indeed Sirisena is delivering headlessness to the SLFP, they might as well take stock of this reality and get a replacement.  If the leader of any party wants to sit in a hole and twiddle thumbs in the middle of a major election, absconding amounts to abdication.  

Whether or not the SLFP rank and file will move him out is left to be seen.  Either way, it’s high drama and makes for more than a few laughs.  It’s hard to think of anyone laughing louder than Ranil Wickremesinghe though!   He tinkered with his party’s constitution to enshrine a clause ‘till death do we part’ (that is, Wickremesinghe and the Leader’s post).  He knows that Sirisena doesn’t have that cover.  

One feels for Maithripala Sirisena.  One understands why he’s gone missing.  For now at least.  Let’s see if he will pop out from somewhere soon.  If he doesn’t, he might be popped out.  On the plus side, though, he can always ‘go home’.  There’s probably a warm welcome awaiting him at Sirikotha, green carpet and all!  



Anonymous said...

What a spineless goat. He proves yet again he's only fit to be a yes man to Chandrika and the West.

සෙන්නා said...

A person become a president of a county is one thing and running the show is another thing. MS nicely proven that, how strong MR as a leader.