The Sunday Leader

Ranil And Shopping Alone

Ranil still gets the cars, security and privileges of a government minister. He still gets to speak and people have to listen and print what he says. He still appears on TV and the cover pages, essentially for sitting around. Ranil even gets to travel and visiting dignitaries still talk to him like he’s an Opposition Leader rather than a squatter. It must feel nice, plus the alternative is much worse.
I recently saw Mangala Samaraweera at Arpico, buying groceries. His cart contained light bulbs, pet food and tinned fish. This was a man who used to install three million rupee elevators in his official residence. Now he’s replacing light bulbs. That must suck.
Even ex-presidents end up in reduced social circumstances. I’ve seen Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga out on a few occasions. The first time I wondered if I should stand, but nobody paid any attention. For people used to having the respect of at least their bodyguards, that must be quite a comedown.
That’s the fate that awaits Ranil if he steps down. For these political animals, there is no second place. It’s the life of a male lion. Either you get to mate with everybody, or no one. Sri Lankan leaders can either go out on top, die, or disappear. There’s no Bill Clinton option with speaking tours and charitable foundations.
If Ranil steps down now, there’s literally nothing left. He’ll never be welcomed back into the leadership of the UNP, his loyalists will either switch or be replaced and — worst of all — he won’t even be remembered. What has he to be remembered for? His best achievements — peace, economic development — were always just around the corner. He showed a lot of promise, but he never secured peace and he never made any generational changes to the economy. He still hasn’t done what he set out to do.
Unfortunately for the country, however, it looks like he never will. All he can do is maintain some Byzantine stranglehold on the party. It makes no sense politically, it makes no sense socially, it only makes sense within the psychology of one man.
Ranil’s family saw a similar situation when they had their newspaper business (Lake House) nationalised. That part of the family regrouped, however, and formed a viable private media empire. Ranil has seen his party effectively nationalised, but he hasn’t come back with anything new. He has all the staying of his newspaper relatives with none of the hard work. It’s not his family, it’s not his party, and it’s certainly not the nation. It’s just him.
I have been trying to figure it out for ages, why does Ranil stay? Does he think he’s better for the job? Does he think no one else is good enough? Does he think, like JR, that the presidency will come to him with patience while, unlike JR, doing no work to earn it? I don’t think so. I think Ranil is simply afraid of shopping alone.

35 Comments for “Ranil And Shopping Alone”

  1. Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    So he just has to shop the country?

  2. BANDA

    Don;t say so, Old Royalist want him Cheer leader for the big match. He is good in singing ” Old soldiers never die”

  3. Tony Gee

    People blame the Rajapakses. I blame Ranil for weakening the oppostion by not leaving when he lost a few dozen elections. With no opposition, the Rajapakses romped home to stay on forever. It was Ranil who created our own Mugabe.

  4. Sajith Sumanapala

    what a crap of an article?
    from when did Indi become a ‘typical’ hambantota Sri Lankan?

    Don’t Indi understand that Ranil has the capability to develop Sri Lanka better than these unscrupulous nepotists? It is the people’s mistake, the populist politic’s mistake and not Ranil’s that he is not in power now.

    go on like this and you’ll make Sri Lanka you know what!?

    • Anjeewa

      Handful of idiots like You really helping Govt…!
      As long as RW in charge of UNP, Govt will breathe calmly.
      Take example from UK. They resigned once they loose a single election…!

    • san

      It is true Sajith,

      These corrupt journalist also has a part for failure of Ranil to become president.

    • Hewa

      Lot of people have said that Ranil has the potential to develop SL. But so far we have seen nothing. The actions as the opposition leader don’t show any such capabilities of the man. In a third world country like ours, the political leaders should feel the pulse of the common people to survive. But Ranil feels only the pulse of the Colombo 07 people.

  5. We all know that Ranil is unpopular at the moment…
    and his popularity will grow like a rocket…
    people will not do the same mistake like last time and will get the most suitable and intelligent sri lankans got !
    Ranil is sri lanka’s Bill Clinton !

    • Nihal Fernando

      If it is the case, can Ranil go to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and rescue poor Rizana who is condemned to death, like Bill Clinton did to rescue some female journalists from North Korea?

      • kalaveddah

        It beats all human decency to trivialize the grave and unfortunate circumstances of a poor helpless housemaid condemned to death by a Saudi court of all things. If you have an axe to grind with Ranil, do so in a more manly fashion instead of tacitly gloating over this tragedy. Put yourself in this housemaids shoes and tell us you would then call upon ranil to fiddle around playing politics with your case. you are simple a heartless man.

    • Hewa

      As a political leader he might be like Bill Clinton but as a human being he is of a different kind.

  6. Simple Sydney

    Sajith S , can we see him develop his own party first- like winning an election ,any election ; then we will wholeheartedly accept the fact that he can develop SL

  7. pretty kolla

    So, Mangala is now reduced to eating pet food? Aney Paww

  8. Sapumal

    yes, there are so many things to say about Ranil.But you cant have Leaders in one night.Ranil can do lot when he has power.Time has change many things. Just wait and see!

    • Deshapriya

      Yes Ranil can do lot of things when he has power.Only thing he can’t do is to come to power.

    • Slowly Strangulated

      How long do you want us to wait? If I remember rightly a 20+ Ranil was made a Minister by his uncle, J.R.J. in 1977. Ranil is now a grey haired old man, and he’s mortal. Are 20 million of us to wait for a man, who has never shown charisma or even the ability to be polite and sociable, to win votes? Never mind us passing away. We want a decent country for our children. Gay and childless Ranil, go away!

  9. Extract: ….I have been trying to figure it out for ages, why does Ranil stay? Does he think he’s better for the job? Does he think no one else is good enough? Does he think, like JR, that the presidency will come to him with patience…

    This isalso a same Comment from a Person from Switzeralnd
    Ranil please Go Home & pave the way for Sajith

  10. Ranil is a decent, honest gentleman, Rajapakse took advantage of his weekness, had Ranil been a hard opposition leader, Rajapakse will have to think twice. Many a times Ranil was cheated by Rajapakse, he was called for consultation & Rajapakse played underhand means & cheated him, poor Ranil could not see what was coming, as he was decent, he kept his mouth shut & took what came against his wish.

    • gamunu

      Jerry,
      So is this type of leader who is weak and also guillible you want to see as the HE in SriLanka? Funny how some of you stiil see him as the only potential leader to challenge MR when his track record proves otherwise.
      If as you say he “takes whatever come his way”, do you call it as leadership quality or a down right idiocy? In your description he is an individaul who is unable to see what is coming, and again you may call thjis as a quality for you to call him a leader?
      It is clear that you too are locked in the myth that Ranil but no one else is the saviour of the nation. It is pathetic to see what has happened to the fighting spirit of the UNPers. People like you “never see the light at the end of the tunnel”.

  11. Magamaruwa

    Ranil has an option which he is keping as his last card – (he will not to die, or disappear). He will join the Govt. They can find a secure slot for him as some sort of minster with the same perks he has now – to last him for the rest of his life. The only hitch is that Ranil is way more useful to the MR Govt as the ineffective leader of the Opposition..

  12. Pri

    What a pointless article. I guess it will stir up some nice comments. That seems to be the only thing the paper is good at anyway.
    Do new elevators come for under 3 million rupees anyway? And as far as I am aware, Ranil hardly used the official car or residence that was provided for his official post. The bandaranayake’s always lived in luxury and from what I’ve heard they still do. Ranil is responsible for ruining the UNP and helping the rajapakse regime build itself to what it is today, but I would hardly call his policies boring. Who else in the opposition would you rather listen to? I think he is educated enough to lead a better after life than most politicians today. What in the world would the rajapakse family do after politics without the billions they gathered?

    • gamunu

      Pri,
      You were “spot on” when you said he ruined the UNP. glad you agreed to that. He may not have used official vehicles he is entitled to, but what you have conveniently was to fail to mention the billions he spent from the party funds for his nefarious activities. There were enough evidence on how used money at hotels in Galle, etc to entertain his buddies and boys.

      Another point you failed to highlight was, his overseas travel! He always travelled business or first class during these jaunts. So he is able to afford luxuries what lesser mortals like you and I cannot afford.
      We all know he studied at Royal College and at the University of colombo. This hasn’t given him the knowledgeor the ability to him lead a better life. He has cheated and lied so much in the past, he cannot get of the mess he is now. That is the reason behind his clinging onto the power so desperately.
      As the leader he did nothing to be proud of. Agreeing to the lop sided Peace accord was his nightmare. That made him the joker of the pact (not that others are excused, but he led that accord).
      He is unable to accept life after being thrown out of his position. Sad to say he will end up friendless. History will see him as the most unproductive leader in the history of SL.
      One more point.pri Try not to bring in MR and his familty to this topic because comparison to MR is another issue. Stick to the point and put your case properly.

  13. Mel

    Humorous but sad for Sri Lanka – a country needs a viable opposition and NOT a “decent, honest gentelman…onethat can be taken advantage of” (sorry Jerry, no disrespect to you).

  14. Sam

    Ranil is a noble man, he is probably the only remaining leader who could have made or still can make Sri Lanka, a place inhabited by distinguished educated people. Afterall, even though SL can boast over 90% literacy rate, the leadership, hatred against the Tamils and the herding mentality of Sri Lankans tell a different story to the world.

    Unfortunately, political victories and losses can’t tell you anything about the talent of an individual as a good and righteous leader. The successful politicians like MR fan the flames of hatred and emotions of the innocent Sinhalese people for personal gains.

    I hope that the Sri Lankans will wake up soon and support a leader like Ranil W who will work for the country rather than to build a family dynasty like MR is doing.

    Sagith Premadasa also shouldn’t think or allowed to think that he is the prince in waiting and it is his right to claim the throne of UNP.

    Neither Rajapakse nor Premadasa dynasty should be allowed if the people really want to ensure that there should be equal opportunity for all.

    • gamunu

      Sam,
      Your eloquent description of Ranil as the only leader to take the country forward is full of seamless pessimism. It is pointless dwelling on things that never happened to judge a person. You see him as a noble leader but not all SriLankans have that view. Thye can’t all be wrong, can they?

      It won’t be long before the chap gets pushed from his party into oblivion. Even some in his party sees him as a weak leader, that you faile to see. If he was so good why did he surrender contesting against Rajapakse to SF?

      He has no direction or strategy to take his party forward, let alone the country. Perhaps that is the type of leader you would like to see in SriLanka so that other nations (namly the west) can manipulate and impose their values and demands on us.

      That is the only way you will achieve what you aspire. Your comments are more in line with a disgruntled Tamil sympathiser. You failed to mention (conveniently) when Rajapakse came to power the nation was already devided on ethnicity to a large extent. Yes, he too has to take his share of responsible for some issues prior to this but so was Ranil the so called noble human being.
      With this backdrop you seem to embrace RW as the only person who would solve the ethnic issues. To you he is “whiter than white”. I wonder why?
      Take my word, Sirlankans will never elect him as the leader, not now or ever! In Srilanka the need of the hour is for an effective leadership. RW is certainly not that . Sajith certainly has the credentials. MR or Sajith are not racists as you seem to think they are. It is fractured nation and the wounds will not heal instantly. Once the ethnic and econmic problems are addressed we can all look forward to a nation with equal opportunities.

      No amounts of legislation will solve ethnic issues and do not expect the President to solve that single handedly. The nation as a whole has its’ responsibility to accommodate each other as equal. Without that spirit even your messiah RW will fail to address that.

    • I Hussein

      Well said Sam. I totally agree with you.
      MR is an other SWRD, people will only realise it in future, after ruining the total system as Banda did.
      Majority of the UNPers want Sajith as leader for obvious reasons.

      90% litracy rate doesnt mean all that 90% are intelligent or thoughtful.
      I cannot understand still why that some professionals/intelligent people support this regime which is full of rogues and fools (as ministers).
      There isnt a single guy in the govt who can deliver a decent speach, to begin with.

  15. Ram

    He is looking for bananas i think , he likes BANANAS only .

  16. paul smith

    Sajith the fool hardy son of Preme claims he has some U.K. degrees. Firstly he must tell how his father who never did a job in his life,found enough money to send him to U.K University as a foreign student. Secondly he must show the certificates for public viewing.
    Thirdly he and his family must disclose their religion and lastly he must refute the charge that he is involved with World Vision N.G.O. in converting Buddhists in the pretext of building houses.

    • Slowly Strangulated

      Paul Smith, have you heard Sajith speak in English. I did for half an hour, and I was amazed. I don’t have to view his certificates; I can judge for myself.

      He displays culture, sensitivity, and intelligence. It is hardly to the point to ask how he came by this education. Don’t hold him responsible for the sins of his father. Must a man “and his family” be slaves to some fixed religious dogma?

      But all that is besides the point. We need to elevate to the role of President a man who will continue to think of himself as our servant. That is what a true leader should be; not perfect in himself but having definite principles; having convictions but willing to feel the pulse of the people.

      Sajith will score high marks on such an evaluation; Ranil will fail – and fail miserably !

      • kalukota catherine

        Slowly Strangulated
        I also listened to Sajith speaking in English. He certainly did not slowly strangulate the Queen. However, his sense of culture, sensitivity and intelligence slowly but surely strangulated ME.

  17. Your comment is awaiting moderation…WHY SO LONG???

  18. Ben Hurling

    Dear Indi,

    No need to stand up when you see Chandrika Kumaratunga at all. I can’t believe you were in doubt. She was convicted in a court of a law for corruption. Their whole family lives off the poor, hard working yet decent Sri Lankan tax payer for nearly 50 years. All thanks to the reputation of their father S.W.R.D over 50 years ago. A very lucrative pension package. SWRD secured his wife and kids for 50 years and more. All at the expense of our country.

    You will stand up automatically when you see a leader that deserves your respect.

    I would not hesitate one second to stand up, if Nelson Mandela passed by. Would stand up with great respect, affection annd gratitude.

    No leader can demand it, but will have to earn it.

  19. pathum

    This is the man who ruined the opposition and partly responsible to the death of democracy in Sri Lanka. MR is lucky to have an opposition leader like this. Through his later years he will live a luxury life courtesy or MR and Co. Ltd for the service hes done to them!

  20. Palitha PK

    Why do we scream at the Government when Ranil is the culprit ? When there’s no opposition, any Government in the World will do what ever they wishes. To have a proper balance in Governing, there should be a strong opposition. With a very weak opposition, can we blame the Government? Blame the stupid leader of UNP. Also the UNP strong members are joining the Government. Fantastic !

  21. light bulbs are good for lighting the home but stay away from incandescent lamps because they generate so much heat .::

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