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You could go anywhere on earth these days and get yourself a compass. It is not difficult to buy one with a grand design, the embossed sort that looks may be like a Rolex, and shows you the way too.

But there is one type of compass that cannot be bought for all the money in the world.
That’s called the moral compass.

It’s the one that Maithripala Sirisena does not possess. A man so bereft of a moral compass cannot be called that, unless the individual who refers to him as ‘President’ does not possess a moral compass himself.

Sirisena leads the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. How he got there, and by what sleight of hand, also is a long story that concerns the lack of a moral compass, but let’s not go into that here; there is so much sordidness a reader could stomach in half-an-hour.
The UPFA last week nominated candidates who would be up for election at a watershed poll that would decide the future course of the country.

The nomination papers were handed over and by consensus decision the Alliance decided to field lists of candidates to take on the United National Party (UNP).

The Asipatha CutsThe leader of the Alliance (UPFA) however chooses to call a press conference all by himself, to announce that he feels the most prominent candidate in the party list would not win. Furthermore, he says that he opposed this gentleman’s nomination.

If this isn’t despicable, and is not a serious sign of a drastic lack of a moral compass, don’t read any further. Acquire yourself a moral compass. It can’t be bought in the way you might buy a Rolex day-date.

Maithripala Sirisena may not like Mahinda Rajapaksa. That’s his prerogative. His likes and dislikes would be largely irrelevant except for this little detail. He is the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

That party together in alliance with the others in the UPFA, endorsed a list of candidates and Rajapaksa is one of them, and it is no secret that he is the putative Prime Ministerial candidate.

The Head of that alliance says Rajapaksa would lose. Who does that help? Why, the Opposition UNP of course. For those who pretend ignorance, here is the spoon-fed detail on that. By claiming Rajapaksa would lose, Maithripala says his own party would lose. If by chance he means MR would lose his seat, it means the same thing. He says his party’s chief contender would lose i.e: that his party would lose.

Brutus did well by Maithripala’s standards. Judas did well by Maithripala’s standards. Mata Hari did well by Maithripala’s standards. Molligoda Adigar did well by Maithripala’s standards.

For a man who says that he is willing to give up powers, it’s strange that Sirisena does not want to give up the leadership of the SLFP and the UPFA.

Why has it become this important for him to be at the helm of those entities? That’s an easy one.

It is the only way he thinks it’s possible to stop the Mahinda surge.

He stays in the party and does everything he thinks is helpful to create chaos in the SLFP, and increase the chances of the UNP.

This is why Maithripala is worse than the worst traitors in history, of all time.

This is death by a thousand cuts. Or so he thinks it would be. Judas didn’t cling by Jesus and bleed him to death, even as he slept. He had the relative decency to take his 40 pieces of silver, do his dirty job and walk off.

How it would all turn out in the end in all probability would devastate Maithripala, but that’s a totally different matter.

Maithripala sleeps every night with the enemy, conveys the party piece by piece to the other side, and his aides tell me he sleeps well at night!

He has every right to criticize Mahinda Rajapaksa if he leaves the party, or at the very least, submits his resignation from its leadership post.

His treachery is so self evident, it makes anyone with a modicum of decency want to retch. He undermines the main thrust of the UPFA campaign and hopes that would bring the party’s opponents into power. Some say that he is being impartial, and even-handed in his criticism.

His tokenism is the most cynical manipulation of all. He does the most despicably treacherous thing by glibly delivering (what he thinks are …) his party’s chances of victory to the enemy. But he says he asked the Prime Minister to call for the resignation of the Central Bank Governor.

Even as he says so, he admits he dissolved Parliament to save the ignominy of a Wickremesinghe defeat in a no confidence motion that was based on this very issue — the bond scam involving the Governor of the Central Bank.

He thinks Ranil Wickremesinghe’s conduct is good enough that he deserves to have his political life saved. But he wishes a plague on the house of his own party’s anointed campaign leader, who on his own admission, a majority of the party leadership and rank and file wanted as the UPFA’s nominee, and Prime Ministerial contender.
Yet Brutus is an honorable man?

No comment on the moral compass or the lack thereof is complete without a reference to the horde of the largely UNP based support that Maithripala enjoys for his despicable, benchmark setting, cynical acts of treachery that he alone seems capable of; the trademark back-stabbing with the cool aplomb of a man who claims he is a saint while brandishing a knife dripping with the enemy’s blood.

None of this treachery matters to the cynically disgraceful self-described pro good governance ‘democrats’ of the sort you find in this land. The prospect of victory by dividing the Opposition blinds them to the abject subterfuge of their president who they pretend to forget, is leading the party that opposes them.

He is the man sent from the opposing team’s dressing room, to poison our batsman Sangakkara’s lunch.

For this brand of subterfuge, the good governance elite would expend an arm and a leg. This has to be the darkest hour for those who seek the flimsiest veneer of honesty, morality and basic decency in our politics.

It’s a topsy turvy time indeed, when the grossest form of moral depravity is held up, knowingly of course, as a lesson in being true to mandate, and other such assorted hogwash.

Mandate? Sirisena won by a margin of 400,000 votes which means a mere 200,000 (or two lakhs) of votes going the other way would have tipped the balance. There are 5.8 million voters who wanted Mahinda Rajapaksa as President, and to steal their voice is called a ‘mandate’? And where was the mandate for those who got a mere 200000 vote difference to crow about, to keep Mahinda Rajapaksa away from politics forever?
200,000 voters could silence 5,800,000 voters on a mandate for MR’s political death, that doesn’t exist? By that yardstick, there was a mandate twice over to ban Ranil Wickremesinghe from politics forever, as he had lost two Presidential elections. This is discounting the 28 other occasions he led his party to defeat.

The moral depravity of Sirisena and his cheer squad calls for a new vocabulary. Despicable, depraved, vile, hypocritical, pathetic, gross — any of this just doesn’t do it.