The purported “daughter’s account” of President Maithripala Sirisena, titled ‘Janadhipathi Thaththa (‘Presidential Father’)’ was not written by his daughter Chathurika Sirisena, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
The book, was in fact written by Sachini Navarathne, an employee of Media Gang, which is an advertising agency owned by Ms Sirisena. The final proof was read by the President’s Media Advisor and former Editor-in-Chief of the Divaina (Sunday) Gamini Sumanasekera.
The much-hyped launch of the book took place at the BMICH on the 15th of September and was attended by almost half the cabinet of ministers.
Ms Sirisena’s ‘knowledge of Sinhala literature’ came in for high praise by novelist Kathleen Jayawardena at the launch, but it is now apparent that Ms Sirisena’s contribution was minimal and amounted to a recounting of personal memories which were transcribed and put together by Ms Navarathne.
It was pointed out by a critic that while it is not unusual for books about political elites to be written by ghostwriters it is surprising that one speaker grandly stated that it was the first time that a ‘first child’ had written about a presidential parent in this country.
“The burning issue is not about who actually wrote the book but whether state funds were used for the purpose and for the grand tamasha that was the launch,” the critic said.
Ms Sirisena had no involvement in advertising until her father became President. Thereafter she ‘hijacked’ an advertising agency called ‘Media Gang’ which is run mostly on work commissioned by state agencies. Sumanasekera, as mentioned, not only owes his salary to the tax-payer but does not do a stroke of work, according to reliable sources.
As such the book has essentially been funded by tax payer’s money since the true author’s salary is paid thanks to government ads while the editor is also an employee of the state.
The entire charade brings to mind a similar biography, ‘CBK,’ written in 2005 about the former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. The then Auditor General objected when it was found that state funds were channeled through the Port Authority for the purpose of writing the book. This book project was scrapped subsequently due to many inaccuracies even though the true author, a British national had been paid an advance of US $ 20,000.
Watch the full video of the launch of ‘Ms Sirisena’s book’