Penultimate paragraph of this informed analysis tells what the Prsident has left undone. -TW
‘Two years have passed and there is nothing he has done.’
‘What Maithri does is talk only, he does not do anything.’
These are some of the statements everyone makes. Those who have memories of how Sri Lanka was prior to 8 January 2015 cannot say these things. The biggest thing that Maithri did after becoming President was to release and save the country from the Rajapaksa fear which had gripped the entire country. He generated a country where one could think, write and speak freely. Prior to 8 January 2015, not only Mahinda, but anyone who had anything to do with the name ‘Rajapaksa’ could not be criticized by the media of this country.
‘I am very happy that because of the freedom I granted I am being attacked.’
That is what Maithri has to say now. Within this statement made by Maithri there is a good answer for all those who ask what Maithri has done after he became President. However, if we are to understand this thing that has been done by Maithri, there should be people with broad minds who appreciate the value of living in a free country.
Those who ask what Maithri did should once again read the speech Maithri made at the beginning when he left the Rajapaksa Government. Last Monday (21) marks the second anniversary since Maithri quit the Rajapaksa Government. This is the speech Maithri made as the common candidate at a media discussion held on 21 November 2014.
Appamadho amathapadhang, pamadho machchunopadhang
Appamaththa na meeyanthi – ye pamaththa yatha matha
I begin this with the words of Lord Buddha. I was a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party for 47 years. The only General Secretary who was in the post of General Secretary of the Party continuously for 13 years is me.
A unanimous decision has been arrived at by the United National Party, and our Sri Lanka Freedom Party to make me the Common Candidate.
I did not think that I would be selected as the Common Candidate. I am thankful to every other Party including the UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party for having selected me as the common candidate to take this motherland forward.
I, especially thank Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Bandaranaike. Ranil Wickremesinghe made a huge sacrifice and made me the Common Candidate. I will definitely win. I respect everyone who made this path available to me.
S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and others formulated a policy to bring society on to the right path. Subsequent to his demise, Madame Bandaranaike made a big commitment and protected the Party and dedicated herself to the future of the country.
In ’94, Madame Chandrika was appointed and carried out the change that was required during that era. Discussions were held with the international community and what was required was carried out. We held discussions for 11 months and set up a government in 2004 together with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.
In 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed. During the decade that followed, the three forces, Police and Civil Defence sectors got together and fought and saved the country on behalf of the race.
However, after the war our government travelled to a different side. The 18th Amendment was introduced committing a serious wrong doing where the country was concerned. The people’s freedom, democracy right to Constitution and everything was weakened. The powerful freedom people had was taken away from the ’78 Constitution.
When considering the leadership of the country, what is apparent is the country was moving towards a dictatorship. People are being talked about with a face full of smiles. However, corruption, fraud, irregularities, inequity, and injustice are being seriously implemented. The supremacy of the law has collapsed. This is a great tragedy.
The Police have been restrained and the Police do not have the power to implement the law against offenders. This dictatorship, a single family has taken over the economy, politics, development and law of the country.
Many others have decided to join us in the near future. I have suffered enough and more acrimony in my post as a minister. The Pharmaceuticals Bill was stolen. The 80% of pictures for a cigarette packet was passed in Parliament. However, the Court made it 60%. How could that happen? I remained seated on a bench at the Hulftsdorp Court. I could not tolerate the threats and forces that targeted me.
Everyone dies. However, we cannot allow people to die in a useless manner. That is why I am giving up my official posts. Today, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has become destitute. That Party has to be strengthened for the present. Within an agreement that strengthens social philosophy, we reached a brotherly verdict. That is to abolish the Executive Presidency. I request the beloved people respectfully to give their honourable votes to me. There is a serious tragedy waiting to happen to this country.
Give me the power to abolish the Executive Presidency, which deprived the country of justified democratic freedom, within 100 days and to bring freedom and democracy back.
The poor State employees are facing a serious crisis and have become extremely destitute. A beneficial, fair programme will be brought through the forthcoming presidential election to strengthen those government employees.
We will bring policies in the future to confirm that Judiciary and the Police could carry out their duties with independence.
As the Common Candidate, I request the Commanders of our three forces and the IGP to provide the independence and security required for this election. Do not support any politics, but assist with the security of the country. I will look after you. Do not be scared, do your duty.
There is a severe problem regarding media freedom in this country. Media personnel do not have the authority to write freely. Enough and more influences are brought to bear on them. How much of the truth is hidden?
In the future, I will bring true media freedom which has a power so, that people can have trust. I will bring back the right to write and speak. I will abolish this corrupt method of elections and implement a fair system of elections within the country.
The Administration has to be changed together with corruption, fraud and irregularities and the country should be taken towards justice. We are the ones who brought the 17th Amendment. We will re-establish 17 and annul 18, definitely.
Our coming together is a new alliance, a new front. I will appoint leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of this front. Today, Rathana Thera made a great commitment to build this front. Rathana Thera today is the reincarnation of Kudapola Thera then. Madhuluwawe Sobitha Thera also dedicated himself to a large extent. Even when he was unwell and lying on the bed, the Thera carried out a huge amount of work on behalf of this.
A large group including the General worked on behalf of this great operation. We will present our Manifesto during the forthcoming days and will dedicate ourselves to fulfilling those resolutions and requests.’
Maithri in this speech of his said that the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was a serious mistake and that it will be corrected. As he said the 19th Amendment was brought and that was done. He reduced the powers of his Executive Presidency. Maithri said in his speech that the media has no freedom and that the truth is being concealed. He said that he will grant the media true freedom. It is possible to see that Maithri has carried out what he said he would do when we see how the media behaves today. If the media behaved in this manner against the then Rajapaksa Government, we cannot even imagine what would have happened to them. The incidents of Prageeth Ekneligoda, Lasantha Wickrematunga and the setting fire to Sirasa are good examples.
Those who ask what Maithri did can find out within this speech the things that Maithri did. There are no promises of reduction of prices of goods and that this and that will be given, in this speech. However, through the first interim budget that was brought subsequent to Maithri becoming President, prices of ten essential items were reduced. The price of fuel and gas were not reduced by a mere rupee or two.
What Maithri has to think now is how he can fulfil the biggest promise he gave at the Presidential Election Campaign at this moment when he completes two years since quitting and challenging Mahinda. That is the capturing of thieves!
Thefts have taken place. There are no two things about it. Certain thefts have been carried out in a manner that they cannot be discovered. However, the Court and legal procedures should be carried out properly and these thieves should be revealed to the people. They should be punished. Then stealing becoming involved with future politics will be avoided. That is the day that the people who voted for Maithri will be happy. It is only then that the place that Maithri deserves in history will be decided upon.