By Mahesh Senanayake –
During the same period in 2014 , nearly five years ago, the echoing clamor of the people of the island nation was to end nepotism, corruption, waste of public funds and bring democracy that would create a just society which upheld key features of a righteous democracy such as freedom of expression, equality before and equal protection of law and right to stand against discrimination, cruelty and degradation. Thousands gathered and voted for a just society based on principles of good governance and emerged triumphant by electing a common candidate to the country’s highest pedestal: the executive presidency. A new government was formed and the hope for a new era hovered around the people .
Unlike in the previous regimes, the hope was high as many reforms were brought to the book such as 19th amendment to the constitution, making right to information a law of the country, making public sector comparatively independent, Increasing wages and bringing down the cost of essential items such as automobile fuel, gas and several medicines, freedom of speech marked by the wide spread liberty to criticize even the top rulers of the country on conventional and new media sans any assassination or brutality towards the members of the fourth state: the media.
However, 6.2 million voters would not have expected that a shocking disappointment was in the offing. Yahapalan government formed to punish those who squandered state funds and apprehend the culprits who ruined the norms of corporate governance in the private sector fell short of its duties solely for it being not able to assign the right men in the top seats to carry out the said tasks.
Is it not fair to say so when considering the political epics created by former FCID boss, former Minister of Justice and retired Solicitor General ?
Three protagonists SDIG Ravi Waidyalankara, former Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and retired Solicitor General Suhada Gamalath revealed seemingly – politically flavored shocking stories to the general public while slapping the Yahapalana rulers who, despite many opposition, appointed these individuals to important positions that dearly demanded integrity at highest level from the beholder of the hot seats.
At the time of the formation of FCID, it was a very well known fact amongst the political, civil and media circles that the appointment of the said SDIG was a sheer stupidity given his past track record with hardly any good to talk about. Despite such opposition, his appointment was made at the behest of few individuals who were eying to make some money through touting for the safety of the corrupt in the past regime. Ravi Waidyalankara was ideal as he too wanted to create a similar atmosphere. It is proved today with his revelations. Had he had to face pressure from ministers or any politicians at the time he was holding the post, why was he unable to reveal such pressure then?, is the question for which public demands an answer. His surreptitious behavior was very well known and at least two senior ministers in the government Patali Champika Ranawaka and Rajitha Senarathne, several media personalities and civil society leaders raised their concerns as the FCID boss was clearly creating “a safe house” for the suspects of major cases of public funds embezzlement to ensure they would never be made culprits by law.
Add to this sorry status was the role of the Justice Minister who shamelessly claimed that he intervened to stop arrest of key suspects of several cases of mammoth corruption. When his role was questioned by young MPs of the government and ever vociferous JVPers, it was scorned. Then justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s undue intervention in FCID investigations was not something that was not discussed in the cabinet. It came to an end with his removal from the post and disgruntled man showed his true colors last October when the political coup occurred.
Retired Solicitor general Suhada Gamalath is no exception. It was a very well known “another” factor how close he was to former bosses from whom he enjoyed many perks bypassing many other competent officers. Again there was objection to his surreptitious deals, but the wheeler dealers close to and in the government protected him as much as they protected the former duo using all their connections and monetary power.
Lessons learnt from theses three sagas must have been enormous on the government who was also taken on a ride by the man whom they promoted to the highest post in the country with the support of the people. Angry public would only forgive the Yahapalana government as it is now crystal clear as to who prevented carrying out major investigations and subsequent law suits. Yet, It can never be a pretext for the government to say sorry. It is the fault of some of the so called stalwarts in the government who turned a sheer blind eye when these matters were brought up with proof. Hence, the next man who will come to the hot seat will have to pledge that the same mistake will not be repeated and whatever the victories people achieved during the past five years will further be nurtured. One of his main tasks will be to appoint right individuals through the means provided by the law, after thorough scrutiny of their integrity. And most importantly, this man should be one free from corruption and nepotism.
What the people want is a just society within which the culprits of corruption of both regimes will not get scot free like last time. Is it not a lesson of boomerang for many?