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Yahapalana Amidst His Master’s Voice

by Wimalanath Weerarathne

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa being welcomed in Japan

During his visit to Japan, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has told The Japan Times newspaper that he would cut his own throat if it was proved that he robbed even a rupee from the public fund. However, the stolen money will not return to the country even if the ex-president cut his throat after he is proven guilty of this allegation. By any chance, if this US$ 18 billion kickback claim against the former President is to be proven, he should first pay back the amount to the government of Sri Lanka. Then he could decide whatever as he pleases.

While emphasizing on the war victory, he has also pointed out in the newspaper interview that a well-planned agenda of the opposition parties has separated the Tamils and Muslims from him that ultimately resulted in his defeat at the last 2015 presidential election.

First of all, it must be noted that none distanced Tamil and Muslims from the former President. They distanced themselves because his regime oppressed and suppressed the Tamils and Muslims during the post war period. The Rajapaksas thought that the country was their own property after the war and carried out whatever agenda they pleased that eventually alienated the minorities from them.

 

Central Bank Governor

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made an important decision recently not to extend the term of the Central Bank Governor and to wait for the report of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in this regard to take further actions. But the Prime Minister could have taken a decision soon after the issue was in the limelight.

In recent times, the issue of the Central Bank Governor caused a great furore. When Minister of Highways and Higher Education Lakshman Kiriella stood on behalf of the Central Bank Governor, civic organizations such as Citizens Power, National Movement for a Just Society, trade unions as well as the media criticised his stand. Minister Kiriella stated that the Governor could be reappointed because he has not erred. Kirella’s statement could be regarded as a ‘His Master’s Voice’. By making such a statement, Kiriella lost his credibility to some extent that he possessed when he was in the opposition. Elsewhere too, he blamed journalists when they questioned him on an appointment he made to the University of Kelaniya. These may be minor issues. But they may become larger issues on the go.

 

Waradaththa

Veteran novelist G. B. Senanayake wrote about the middleclass of Sri Lanka in his novels and introduced free verse to Sinhala poetry. One of his novels Waradaththa revolves around two families who resent each other. Then two members, one from each family, were killed at two different occasions. The hatred between them then continued generation by generation. At the beginning, the issues between them was insignificant, but fueled by murders they became arch rivals.

Likewise, the Rajapaksa regime gradually became a pain in the neck from the eyes of the public. First, there were minor issues. Then, those turned to major issues and there was no way out for people apart from defeating the Rajapaksas. The public attitude towards this government is not different either. Like novel Waradaththa reads, misleading role models and misunderstanding and mismanagements can ruin any government or individual.

 

Yahapalanaya

At a discussion held on June 21 in Colombo titled ‘Is this the Yahapalanaya?’ Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya stated that even this President Maithripala Sirisena has to accompany the corrupt from the previous government because he has been with them for decades; but he took the challenge of defeating them, even putting his very life at stake in order to safeguard the citizens. His intimate friends, no doubt, are from nowhere else but from the last regime. Therefore, he has to accommodate like of S. B. Dissanayake and Wijayamuni Zoysa. Moreover, he needs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena as well. Prof. Wijesuriya further said that those who accompany the President teach him the executive. One day before this discussion ‘Is this the Yahapalanaya?’ Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka also stated that it is important to carry on the Executive. Do not these sentiments highlight that the President who came into power to abolish the executive presidency now needs it?

 

Paradox

The President gets into difficult situations because of such contradictory rhetoric. The more he becomes paradoxical, the citizens will be puzzled even more. The drama will end distancing the citizens from the President who once served them as their Lancelot. Even today, President assures vehemently that he will establish good governance somehow. Thus, he will have to make those corrupts his friends, it is said. He will also have to appoint those useless advisors in the Rajapaksa regime as his advisors. Therefore, the President has opened up the door of the parliament to those corrupts who were defeated by the citizens.

Moreover, the corrupt of the previous government are not taken into custody via proper investigations. Proper investigations have not been carried out into the Avant Garde scandalous affairs too where series of corruptions came to light that violated the financial system of the Government of Sri Lanka. Instead, the entire operation was taken over by the Navy. Nevertheless, a high number of frauds and corruptions that the key members of the previous government committed remain to be exposed to date. No matter whatever the issues, the country desperately needs a proper system to be implemented in order to regain the colossal amount of money that these culprits siphoned and to punish them accordingly.

The investigations into the murders of rugby player Mohammed Wasim Thajudeen, The Sunday Leader Founding Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, journalist, writer and author Dharmeratnam Sivaram, the five students in Trincomalee in 2006, 17 aid workers in Muthur and kidnap of the cartoonist, political analyst and journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda are being dragged on.

Against this backdrop, the people who worked their level best to establish the yahapalana government (United National Front for Good Governance) believe that such things cannot take place under yahapalana government. Is there any possibility of the public to stand against these developments? Yes, they can and they have to. One such is the issue of the Central Bank Governor. The Prime Minister had to respond positively to the demand of civil society organizations. Hence, Kirielle’s ‘His master’s voice’ came to the light even after making all the decisions on the matter. Hereafter, the Prime Minister has to understand that the public will not approve anything that condemns the rule of the country.

The Prime Minister in this way has reconsidered his stand on the issue of the Central Bank because of the demand of the public which the former President did never take into account. He stepped back from EPF issue of the private sector, only after Roshen Chanaka sacrificed his life for the cause. Mahinda did not step back even after the death of a fisherman Anton Fernando at the Chilaw protest against soaring fuel prices. Today, he has reached a state where he has to cut his throat because he lacked discipline and ethics in politics. Therefore, the Prime Minister should be careful not to create a situation in Waradaththa.

 

Bad examples

The government created one such bad situation when the police attacked the HNDE students a few months ago. Another occurred when a STF senior officer reportedly threatened journalists and the media as a whole. The Police Commission has called on a report on the incident. However, it is utterly wrong for the Police to think that they can make arbitrary decision and act upon them. No country would allow a police to implement what they think and believe. No country will allow an army to practise what they believe and think. Therefore, all those aforementioned incidents will be credited to the account of yahapalanaya.

Meanwhile, the media has reported that some ministers try to amend several clauses in the Audit Act. It was reported that the COPE activities were also obstructed. Moreover, several yahapalana ministers need the executive to flourish as well. Abolishing the Executive Presidency was the main goal of the yahapalana government in its initial stage. At the time, some powers of the Executive Presidency were repealed by the 19th amendment. Also the President himself stated that the presidency should be eliminated completely. People believe that this is one of the main goals of the yahapalana government. Now the stand of the yahapalana government on the Executive Presidency is contradictory to what they stated earlier. We, however, think that the President has not changed his earlier stand on this issue. But the President has to launch some ideological warfare against those who go against the good governance in words or deed; because President Sirisena should not face the fate of an onlooker at an illegal gambling joint.

Sri Lanka needs a President who does not implement authoritative and arbitrary laws but who will connect with the public in order to develop the country; because history of the country shows, not only the Presidency but also its stakeholders wrongly influenced by the Executive Power. Former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is one such person. Former minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa is another. Even Namal Rajapaksa, former President’s son, was badly influenced by the executive powers. Then Defence Secretary wielded executive powers to demolish houses and settlements in the Wanathamulla area. Basil became an uncrowned king due to executive powers of his brother. Namal too went to the extent of advising leading politicians and professional officers for the seam reason. Examples are many. All these incidents led the general public towards a notion that the Executive Presidency creates but only destruction. The people who need the executive powers may have not experienced yet its adverse effects.

 

Serious Fraud Office

It was reported recently that the President and the Prime Minister have decided to establish  a serious fraud office to investigate corruptions committed during the Rajapaksa regime. If it is to investigate crimes then obviously this office must be with the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID). There is no point of having a new office in this regard if they release the accused in the afternoon who was arrested in the morning as done by other investigation institutes. We know that Basil Rajapaksa was taken into custody in the morning only to release him in the evening.

Politicians Mohamed Muzammil and Udaya Gammanpila got arrested for corruption recently. But simultaneously, the government must launch ideological campaigns so as to convince the public that those are not politically influenced arrests. Moreover, it is highly important that yahapalana government to focus on statements like, “Myself and my family members were the only political refugees in Sri Lanka,” that the former President made to The Japan Times newspaper recently. (Translated by Amavasya Sirisena)

 

6 Comments for “Yahapalana Amidst His Master’s Voice”

  1. kudson

    politicians arrested for corruption should be eliminated from politics or holding any form of office until he is acquitted in a court of law
    most of the corrupt monkeys get bail and are seated once again in office

  2. tomsam

    Would prefer that he cut his and brothers’ and sons’ balls than his throat.
    This bastard’s family should run around without their ball bearings for all the sins they committed.

  3. MR, Rajapaska is wanted corporation and criminal it was well known to the whole world, mr Rajapaska not wellcome any western countries government some ministers minister of justice, prime minister and president on the fence to take action

  4. We are thoroughly disgusted and fed up with the situation in prevalent.

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