Enormity of Greed – The Island

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidency has become a huge problem, and his resignation is also likely to be problematic, as it has led to a fierce fight for the post of interim president. It is said that two dogs on the same bone rarely agree. Ambitious, power-hungry bipeds could become far more ferocious than bone-fighting canines. There are said to be several presidential candidates, and a hotly contested election is expected in parliament on July 20. A divisive election is something the country needs as a hole in the head amid the deepening political-economic crisis, the resolution of which requires a concerted effort.

What is most desirable at this stage is for the party leaders to sit around the table and select the next president unanimously and thus avoid an election, which will only fuel the crisis, some political leaders refusing to join the interim government to be formed. The JVP has already issued a warning; he says he will not be part of any caretaker administration led by Sajith Premadasa or Dullas Alahapperuma. He wants President Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene to become interim president. The JVP must be roped in for the proposed collective effort to overcome the crisis.

Ironically, politicians vying for the presidency were at the forefront of the campaign that forced Gotabaya to agree to step down. Given their enormous greed for power, which has now become evident, one wonders if any of them would have quit over the protests had they been president.

Speculation is rife in political circles that the SLPP has been tasked with leveraging its parliamentary majority to determine the outcome of elections due in the House next week. It would be a huge mistake for the SLPP to try to manipulate parliament in order to elect a person of their choice as interim president. Such a decision is sure to trigger a new wave of protests. SLPP MPs must bear in mind that the Rajapaksas, who used them without flinching, are fleeing, and there will be hell to pay if they continue to do as Basil says. At least now they should act reasonably and follow the dictates of their conscience and do what is good for the people and future generations.

Party leaders must shed their political differences, overcome their insatiable greed for power, and reach consensus on the appointment of the next president, for the good of the country.

Ideals vs Individuals

Political parties with parliamentary representation have invited a group of representatives from the Galle Face protest campaign, dubbed Aragalaya, to talks. On what basis did they select the representatives of the demonstrators? There is no cohesive entity that represents the spiteful people who willingly respond to calls to arms from time to time, and the movement they have concocted via social media is eminently divisive and chaotic; there are several political groups that claim to represent their interests but they manifestly lack control over the protesters, as evidenced by the acts of uproar, which are so uncharacteristic of an organized mass movement calling for change for the better. Two groups of Aragalaya activists clashed at Temple Trees, which they currently occupy, yesterday and some of them were rushed to hospital.

So, one wonders again how the party leaders identified the “representatives” of the Galle Face protesters. However, the common goals of the protesters are clear: an overhaul of the system, a progressive political culture, the institutionalization of good governance, the dethroning of the political class, so to speak, the provision of relief to the public, the confiscation of public property stolen funds, etc. Some of these goals may seem like utopian ideals, but they provide insight into the thinking of young people who have a different worldview. Political party leaders should uphold the ideals that Aragalaya represents instead of inviting its self-proclaimed “representatives” with camouflaged political agendas.

The invitation of the leaders of the party in question is likely to lead to the formation of a vertically intertwined organizational architecture in the Aragalaya movement, with self-proclaimed leaders emerging from the fluid but strong and effective social movement, which draws its unity and strength from the absence of unified leadership. Hierarchy is known to have a corrosive effect on the unity of any organization made up of ambitious members with competing interests, conflicting ideologies and agendas.

It will be either the JVP or its offshoot, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), which will come forward, claiming to represent Aragalaya activists, although most of the protesters do not subscribe to their ideologies and policies and are opposed to politicization. and monopolization. the protest movement; they are the silent majority.

Aragalaya is best left as it is – a non-hierarchical entity that attracts citizens from across the political spectrum. Do the leaders of the political parties seek to create a schism there by inviting its representatives there and thus provoking its stratification which would erode its unity? Or, in other words, are they trying to give Aragalaya the kiss of death on the pretext of recognizing its representatives?

Meanwhile, former President Maithripala Sirisena praised the Aragalaya militants. He stressed that they should participate in discussions on the interim government to be formed. But he appointed a former strongman of the Rajapaksa regime, Mervyn Silva, as the organizer of the SLFP. Silva became known for his attacks on the media and the crackdown on democratic dissent under the Mahinda Rajapaksa government.

Sirisena must be ashamed of stooping so low that he chose Silva as his party organizers. How can he reconcile his high-profile affinity for Aragalaya activists who demand clean politics with Silva’s appointment? This duality coincides with duplicity.

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