Monday, November 30, 2009

The Fonseka magic and logic - Island Editorial 30th Nov. 2009

So, Gen. (retd) Sarath Fonseka has finally shown his hand. He wants to contest the next presidential election as the UNF-JVP combine's candidate. That he would do so was only too well known and his announcement, therefore, lacked an element of surprise. However, the press conference he gave yesterday was of some interest as the country saw the retired general trying to metamorphose into a politician.

Fonseka may have realised that politics was a different ball game altogether as in fielding questions on the economy, minorities and democracy, he happened to quip that even a politician with 30 of years of experience would find it difficult to answer them. His remark prompted a journalist to ask how he could consider himself fit to run for presidency while admitting that he was inexperienced as a politician. Fonseka said he was not the only brain in the Opposition alliance and he could work with others in addressing those issues.

The UNP and the JVP has desisted from fielding their own presidential candidates as they are convinced their leaders are lost causes unable to rival their bete noire President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom they are all out to hound out of office. A sine qua non for the success of their common candidate project is to promote Fonseka as being a brand new 'Superman' capable of outdoing Rajapaksa in every respect on his own without being burdened with the Opposition's liabilities, for which both the JVP and the UNP have been routed at so many elections consecutively. But, he has now admitted that in the event of his victory, he will be heavily dependent on the same old political rejects who are wary of facing the presidential contest. Whether Fonseka will be able to impress the electorate and secure its support for becoming President as a front for a bunch of defeatist politicians notorious for waste, corruption, abuse of power and political violence, is the question. It is doubtful whether he has read the COPE reports prepared under Wijedasa Rajapaskha, naming mega corrupt deals involving some of the Opposition bigwigs who have thrown in their lot with him.

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