By Malinda Seneviratne –
There’s a lot that people might find disappointing in the Maithripala Sirisena – Ranil Wickremesinghe combo. They promised much, made a lot of noise, appeared to sweat a bit too, but didn’t really deliver anything of substance.
The 19th Amendment did prune some presidential powers but they couldn’t get the composition of the Constitutional Council right. The 20th Amendment was effectively flushed down the toilet of political expediency. Parliament was dissolve without resolving the vexed issue of preferential votes, improper representation and so on, just to save Ranil Wickremesinghe the blushes over the Bond Scam. Price reduction was essentially eyewash. The Foreign Ministry is now run by LTTE proxies and worse, acts as proxy for the Security Establishment. There was a lot of talk about mega deals, rampant corruption and bringing to book wrongdoers. Talk, mostly.
All that said, it seems that at the micro level (relatively speaking) some currency has accrued to the law. At the micro level, i.e. the big bucks, mega deals level politician have the decisive edge (e.g. the Bond Issue). Still, it is good that the Deputy Minister of Justice, Sujeewa Senasinghe has been ordered to appear in court to face charges of being a public nuisance and for obstructing a police officer from discharging his duties. That’s ‘new’ and kudos to the yahapalana boys and girls.
The disturbing part of it is that this is the junior minister in charge of the subject of ‘Justice’ we are talking about. He has violated election laws. He obstructed the law. That’s two strikes. He threatened a police officer. Sujeewa is just another cut-out politician who is not averse to using strong arm tactics. Didn’t his boss, Ranil Wickremesinghe know? Since charity ought to begin from home, has Ranil initiated disciplinary action? Has he rapped Sujeewa on his knuckles and said ‘bad boy, bad boy Sujeewa!’?
Yes, it is good that the law-enforcement climate has changed to the point that the Police would actually act on a citizen’s complaint. The said officer had gone to investigate when someone complained on the 911 emergency line that a political meeting after 10 pm was causing a disturbance. Unheard of not too long ago. What he had to face when he went to investigate is that there’s a long way to go.
How much further this country has to proceed is perhaps best illustrated by what happened thereafter. Sujeewa Senasinghe using his political clout calls a press conference and accuses the police officer of being drunk. That’s abuse.
Sure, Senasinghe had lodged his own complaint. That’s legit. He claims the officer was drunk. He is upset that no action was taken on his complaint. He whines that the officer was not subjected to a JMO examination. That’s not cutting any ice, though.
Sujeewa Senasinghe has been a deputy minister only for 7 months. He’s already operating like a common thug. Ironically it is this same Sujeewa who is insinuating that his manaapa rival in the Colombo District, Ravi Karunanayake, is entertaining creatures from the underworld. He does have a point but then when he makes it, it is laughable simply because he himself is operating as though he’s just surfaced from somewhere below the ground.
Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe painted themselves into a corner. Ranil, especially, knows what his underlings are capable of. He would have known that the beasts would break through the good governance uniforms. We don’t know if he warned them to toe the yahapalana line. But now that they’ve come out of their beautiful shells, he has to take action. That’s IF he was ever really interested in ‘Change’. If not, the voters can rest assured that Sujeewa Senasinghe is a messenger from the future. His message is simple: We won’t do anything different from what the previous regime did — if you think we would deliver ‘change’, ‘yahapalanaya’ and what not, DREAM ON SUCKERS!’
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