Irked by a critical parliamentary speech by an opposition MP, President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday showed chilling flashes of his old self in Ampara vowing to become “Defence Secretary Gotabaya” if necessary.
Issuing a not-so-veiled threat against SJB MP Harin Fernando, President Rajapaksa warned that Buddhist monks were always telling him to stop being “President Gotabaya” and take on the “stricter” role of “Defence Secretary”.
“Remember when Prabhakaran started his tricks and attacked me at the Pittala Junction? I finished that job by killing him and sprawling him out like a dog and bringing him across the Nandikadal Lagoon – I can be that person too” the President of Sri Lanka told a crowd who applauded his statements.
The opposition has the right to engage in politics as long as it was fair politics, said the President who has jailed political rivals and dissenting lawyers.
He also claimed he did not engage in political witch hunts like the previous Government but was merely allowing the law to take its course, even as key opposition MPs including Rajitha Senaratne and Champika Ranawaka are facing jail time and police officers who investigated him for murder and corruption during his term as defence secretary are languishing in remand.
The chilling speech by the President has been widely shared on social media and broadcast on his preferred television channels run by loyalists, Hiru TV and Derana.
Harin Fernando recently issued a scathing criticism of President Rajapaksa referring to him as “Nandasena”, said the country had been “cursed by Sir” and accused Nanadasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa of being involved in the Easter Sunday bombings. “The truth about this conspiracy will one day be out because there is a God above. We know who maintained ties with ISIS. We know what happened,” he said.
In his parliament speech, Fernando accused a five-member cabal of running the country, including media mogul Dilith Jayaweera, in place of career politicians who had been sidelined by the President. Fernando claimed former gun-runner Nissanka Senadhipathi was also part of this ruling cabal and had resumed weapons smuggling with the blessings of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime.
“This is what happens when someone who has never even served on a pradeshiya sabha becomes president,” Fernando claimed.
Harin Fernando said Udayanga Weeratunga was engaged in importing sex-workers from Ukraine to Sri Lanka. “18 of those who arrived on the first flight were brought to participate in the sex industry,” the SJB MP charged.
Fernando said the country is being cursed by “Sir’s Easter Sunday conspiracy” and the attempt to pull the wool over the people’s eyes by propagating the myth about clay pots in the river and a cobra at the Kelaniya temple. “The country is cursed because this Government is cutting down forest sanctuaries, because it is killing inmates inside prisons, because it is inflaming tensions between religions. This is why no matter what they try, they will fail,” Fernando claimed. “This is why we call it the “ස සාපේ” (Sir Curse)” the SJB MP said.
Fernando also said that he was well aware that the regime was attempting to silence critics.
“But I want to tell you there is no reason to be silent out of fear. I will get a shot one day, that’s okay” the SJB Lawmaker said in his scathing statement.
MP Harin Fernando’s full speech here
(By Chinthika De Silva)