By Latheef Farook –
This week’s deceptive cabinet reshuffle reminds us the age old adage of changing pillows for headache. It also indicates that President Maithripala Sirisena learnt no lesson from the verdict of the people in the 10 February 2018 local government elections and failed to understand the mood of the people.
Many in the civil society who are keen on bringing the corrupt, criminals, fraudsters and other such rogues who brought the country to its miserable state expected some move to expedite the process of bringing them to justice.
Those who are keen on restoring law and order as a prelude to move ahead were of the opinion that the only person who could clean up the country of corruption and crime is General Sarath Fonseka who is credited with the ending of the 30 year ethnic conflict.
When General Fonseka himself offered to undertake the task there was spontaneous response in the civil society. Even those who voted against the government in the recent local government elections responded positively to the move.
When there was speculation about cabinet reshuffle influential Purawesi Balaya urged the Government to appoint General Fonseka as minister of law and bring the law enforcement authorities under him.
Highlighting the importance of this move senior university lecturer Ven. Dambara Amila Thero urged the government to appoint Fonseka as law minister to expedite high profile investigations against the Rajapaksa regime which were long delayed.
Insisting on the need to establish an operational command term for six months for Sarath Fonseka to put things in order, he expressed deep disappointment with yahapalanaya administration’s failure to take the Rajapaksas before the judiciary.
However these saner voices were ignored and hopes of people were dashed as very ministers who were accused of corruption and fraud remain in the newly reshuffled cabinet. It seems holding on to power, positions and enjoy perks were given top priority than cleaning up the country of the interest of the country.
Reiterating this columnist Dr Mareena Thaha Refai urged in her letter to the editor column in the Daily Mirror this week for President Sirisena to pay attention to the wakeup call-referring to recent local government elections results.
It appears politics and power have become the exclusive privilege of the two major political parties-United National Party and Sri Lanka Freedom Party – which ruled and created the mess which the country is passing through
This also sent another message to the country – that the President Sirisena has not opened his eyes and understand that people are not happy with the way the country is being run.
Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe formed what has been described as the unity government. Three years later today this so called unity seems to be distant dream and they both have miserably let down the country.
The way President Sirisena openly criticized Prime Minister Ranil Wickreamesinghe during the recent local government election speak volume for how the two let down the people who voted them to power. The tragedy is that despite all these open criticism the two have decided to form a government and work together. It is fast becoming clear that this unity is unity written in the sands.
On the other hand bond scam and the reported involvement of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the bond scam controversy remains fresh in the minds of people as the media went to town with it. This was even debated in the parliament. Under such circumstance it is difficult to understand the logic behind President Sirisena appointing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Law and Order Minister.
Though people demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the government which remains in disarray it appears that external forces such as United States-Israeli and Indian Axis wanted this extremely pro-western government to continue in view of the importance of this island to their political and military goals in the Indian Ocean.
It is common knowledge that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would do anything and everything possible to come to power again.
For example the election held on 10 February was local government elections. However former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, using his racist media mercenaries, began to project as if he was elected as president of the country. They began to play psychological game to hoodwink the people who still remembers the days of Rajapaksa era white van and other atrocities.
In the midst there were reports saying that former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa stating that he cannot become prime minister of Sri Lanka as he is a citizen of United States. The question is who offered him the post of prime minister.
Rajapaksa camp tried their best make the maximum use of recent local government elections results to stage a political come back. What is important for President Sirisena to consider is that though the people do not want the dark Rajapaksa era to return, their failures to act on time may bring back the dark days once again.
Meanwhile the reported speculations about various deals involving the three – Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil wickremesinghe to continue in power – is disgusting. People suspect it was due to these deals all culprits remain free.
However under the circumstance the need of the hour is for a third force which could bring good elements from all communities to free the country from corrupt elements.