Why Mahinda Rajapaksa is deserved to be dumped again
MR destroyed people’s watchdogs to rob the wealth of the nation.
In 2001, a Constitutional Council (with five members appointed on the nominations of both the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition) was setup by CBK’s 17th Amendment to ensure the independence of the watchdogs (Judiciary, Auditor General, Attorney General, Election Commission, Human Rights Commission, Corruption Commission, Finance Commission and The Delimitation Commission etc). These institutions were set up to ensure sovereign rights of the people transferred to the Executive and Legislature on a social contract, are duly exercised by them according to the Rule of Law.
In 2005, for the first time, Rajapaksa sought a mandate to become the Executive President. And he promised to abolish the Executive Presidency in the event elected to the office. But after he was elected to office what he did was completely the opposite. He established a firm grip of all the watchdogs with the replacement of the Constitutional Council with Parliamentary Council where all the members were MPs for the namesake. He simply became tyrant with all appointments to the watchdogs (including the judges to the Superior Courts) appointed, purely according to his whims and fancies.
In 2009, when MR signed the proclamation calling for nomination for Presidential Election (Rajapaksa’s second term), proving that he was a man with no credibility or integrity. He declared in his manifesto (2010) that “ he would only be a temporary trustee and not an owner of children’s heritage” and he promised “the motherland a Brighter Future”. He went on to state “I will appoint an independent board comprising of independent and politically unbiased intellectuals under a new constitutional amendment, to eliminate all forms of corruption, fraud and malpractices”. (pg 37 of his manifesto filled with utter falsehood) “I will address this social decline and establish high values and ethics by eliminating fraud, corruption and malpractices, which have engulfed our society for a long time, and will take whatever measures necessary to eradicate criminal activities”. “During the last four years I have ensured transparency in all financial transactions of the state and enforced many regulations to maintain transparency”.
“To create a society with good values and ethics, the ‘Mathata thitha’ program, the curtailment of the underworld, the addressing of child abuse, rape and violence against women, were some of the main actions we implemented. The progress we achieved so far has been laudable, but I am fully aware that more needs to be done to achieve our goals”. ‘The Executive Presidency will be converted into a Trusteeship which honours the mandate given to Parliament by being accountable to parliament, establishes equality before the law, is accountable to the judiciary and enacts laws that are accountable to the judiciary, and is not in conflict with the judiciary’ (pg 56).
After re-election MR proved that he was simply a cheat
The Judiciary became a principal casualty with the Chief Justice forced out and installed with a henchman, Mohan Pieris, by unlawful means. Mohan Pieris enjoyed the full blessing of the President and made the judiciary a mockery, completely losing the trust and confidence of the people.
The removal of the Constitutional Council, Rajapaksa enjoyed all power and appointed his men as judges to the Superior Court System. He was no longer barred from making appointments, without the approval of an independent body (Constitutional Council).
The one who promised an administration free from corruption, encourage his cronies to abuse public funds at will. The Office of the Auditor General (the people’s watchdog to examine any matter relating to public finance) became another victim, after Rajapaksa become the authority. Financial abuses and mismanagement in all state institutions including the President’s Office reached an unimaginable scale.
The Ministers, MPs and his handpicked staff were given all perks and privileges in unimaginable scale not permitted by law, which included condoning of illegal ethanol imports and other luxuries, denying billions of public funds, and the abuse of government tender awarding process was rampant. All the abuses of public funds committed by these men were immune from any law enforcement action as Rajapakse openly encouraged these serious acts of wrongdoing by his men, which includes the serious criminal acts committed by the drug peddlers against the society.
Why Ranil Wickremesinghe is deserved to be condemned
After appointed Prime Minister RW administration simply betrayed the people’s trust
On 08th January 2015, shameless Rajapaksa who conned the people at his will and pleasure was dumped and RW was made the Prime Minister to deal with those who committed serious crimes with maximum punishment meted out to those who profited under the lawless regime of Rajapaksa.
What people expected were swift and decisive actions against those who are responsible for embezzlement of billions of public funds by unlawful means. However, this was never accomplished by the spineless Ranil Wickremesinghe administration, betraying the trust placed in it by the people.
Rule of law and good governance compromised for petty political gains
19th amendment, introduced by Wickremesinghe administration re-established the Constitutional Council, but riddled with inadequacies. Originally in the bill the composition of the Council was somewhat satisfactory, but it was completely compromised in order to get the consent of Rajapaksa controlled legislature. Citizens concerned with their democratic rights do not approve a single MP who exercises people’s legislative power in the Constitutional Council at all. This is what exactly Rajapaksa wanted and did in his 18th amendment. Whereas there should not be a single MP in the Constitutional Council, the making provision for composition of it with MPs appointed to control the Judiciary and other constitutional appointments created by law, has negated very purpose of constituting that Council.
People anticipated Wickremesinghe administration at least to rectify serious wrongs committed by Rajapaksa regime regarding judicial appointments. This monumental blunder should have been rectified with the removal of all Judges in the Superior Court System with inclusion of all of them in the Transitional Provision (section 54 of the 18 amendment bill), and reconstitution of the composition of the superior court system with judges appointed by the Constitutional Council purely on merits and to be consist of people of moral integrity, character and knowledge, sans all sorts of political and other considerations. Sadly RW administration absolutely failed here as well.
It is common knowledge that without an absolutely independent appointing authority, due performance of the judges in the superior court system (watchdogs to keep all government business is done according to the rule of law), the Auditor General (the office of the watchdog for due management of public finance), the office of the Attorney General (the office that required to uphold the rule of law at all times and not simply to act on the command of the Prime Minister or the President), can be achieved or realised. Yet, what Wickremesinghe administration has achieved under the 19th amendment is appalling and definitely falls short of the realisation of the desire of the people who made this decisive change possible.
Suppressing the people’s right to know about the Bonds Scam
Those who have common sense understand that the Central Bank and the Exchange Control Department comes under the Ministry of Finance. However, when RW was appointed the Prime Minister strangely both these institutions were removed from the Ministry of Finance and retained by Wickremesinghe.
Ravi Karunanayake’s name was considered for Minister of Finance disregarding the fact that he was an accused indicted before the High Court by the Attorney General in a serious foreign exchange fraud. But Wickremesinghe straightaway offered Karunanayake the Finance Ministry, when the officers of the Exchange Control Department were giving evidence against Karunanayake. This is really a insult to the intelligence of the people this is the behaviour and conduct of Wickremesinge administration that promised to bring about good governance and restoring the Rule of Law. Abuse of the office of the Attorney General to withdraw the indictment issued on Karunanayake was a proven failure of Wickremesinghe administration, affirming the fact that it continues from where Rajapaksa stopped.
Commenting on this saga, even the President Maithripala Sirisena divulged the fact that he expected Wickremesinghe to remove the Governor Central Bank whose conduct in this bond scam is clearly questionable a blatant fraud, which had never happened earlier in this magnitude.
If there was nothing to hide there was no reason to use the Justice Ministry (not the office of the Attorney General) to get a court order, denying the very people, who made Wickremesinghe to set up a government under President Sirisena, to have access to the report.
In this background it is very unlikely that Wickremesinghe administration will introduce a vibrant and powerful law guaranteeing the right of the people to have access to information of dubious acts of Wickremesinghe administration.
Failure to deal with criminal elements as required by law
What people are witnessing today under RW’s administration is also no doubt horrible. Those who abused public office for embezzlement of public funds in billions of rupees and to committed various other criminal offences such as drug peddling and murder under MR administration, are not dealt with and even the ones arrested are given preferential treatment over other average prisoners. The kind of favoured treatment given to these criminal elements are such that they were permitted to stay in an ambulance parked in the Court premises, when such accused persons were summoned or produced before Court. The abuse of the system and the privileged treatment given to them was such that these anti-social elements were permitted to spend their entire period ordered to be remanded in the Nation Hospitals or in private hospitals, an act of which totally condemned by the people who brought this administration to office.
Rajapaksa-led Criminal elements were encouraged to regroup
If Wickremesinghe thinks that the people in this country can be fooled at all times it is a serious judgemental error in the Wickremesinghe administration. Surely people will not tolerate his impotent administration for letting the former President Rajapaksa and most of his cronies off the hook, who should have been behind bars by now and for permitting them to regroup, as if no wrong had been committed by them.
By any chance if MR get a foothold again in the governance by deceiving the gullible people only Wickremesinghe administration should take the full responsibility for its monumental failure to deal with criminal gangs in the previous administration appropriately.