Sunday Leader Editorial
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is going around the country blowing his horn that he is going to topple the National Unity Government reminiscent of a schoolboy on his big match day going about town screaming that he is going to win the match.
Senior politicians with the aspirations of being held up as statesmen are expected to behave with gravitas and decorum and not behave like schoolboys. Opposition leaders who hope to lead the nation once again do not keep repeating at every street junction the threat of bringing down an incumbent government. They bring it down with decorum and in quietude.
As a member of the opposition he has the right to call for a change of government and take appropriate action in democratic and legal means. If he steps beyond those limits Rajapaksa should well know the consequences.
Rajapaksa, it is apparent, is suffering from an acute itch for power. From the time he was thrown out of office his insatiable desire for power was quite evident. He managed to hold back his urge for a call to topple the government but after two years his inner urges appear to have got the better of him.
Cartoon is from Ceylon Today
In reality, the National Unity Government is only about one-and-a-half years in power, parliamentary elections being held almost six months after President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory. But the Rajapaksa urge is so great that he can no longer hold it down. Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa is quite used to being down in the dumps for long years. After the 1977 victory of JRJ he lost his seat and was wandering in the jungles and hamlets of the Ruhuna beating pots and pans in his demos for the Mothers’ Front and the like till Chandrika Kumaratunga wrested the leadership of the SLFP and enthroned it in power with the likes of Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was even made the prime minister and Percy Mahinda repaid his gratitude by ousting her and becoming the party leader.
Rajapaksa no doubt is griping over what he calls the witch hunting of his near and dear and political cronies. But to any rational mind it is the fruit of his own doing. The folly of his appointments of family members, close relatives, political cronies sans basic qualifications to hold such posts has caused massive scandals and losses running into billions of rupees if not dollars. His dear brother Basil is unable to account for how he acquired valuable properties. One of his dear cousins, who was Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Russia, is being accused of gun running and of worse crimes and is absconding abroad. Another cousin, the ambassador to Washington, is behind bars on the allegation of selling embassy premises. Brother Basil, an American cum Sri Lankan citizen, has gone to America for medical treatment and no one seems to know what he is ailing from.
This is the comedy of mega frauds staged by the Rajapaksa regime. True the old Hulftsdorp legal procedure is painfully slow and the quick dispensation of justice demanded by suspects – which they know is not possible under the present system – enables the accusation of witch hunting seem somewhat credible. And when another system of justice, the Criminal Justice Commissions created by one of the SLFP greats of the past – Felix Dias Bandaranaike is proposed, allegations of violation of human rights and Kangaroo courts are being heard.
Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, lurking in the backwoods and pushing his misguided and ignorant supporters to the streets, has objected to most proposals of the National Unity Government, be it the ECTA Trade Agreement with India that would attract greater Indian investments, Co-operating with China to form joint ventures to help recover from massive debts incurred by the Rajapaksa regime to China, amending the constitution that would bring about national reconciliation or even increasing the price of lottery tickets.
We have asked many times what his solutions would be to these grave problems when he throws over the Yahapalanaya edifice and becomes the Maha Raja again.
He is not sure even where he stands. One foot is on the SLFP banana skin and the other foot is in the grave he fell into two years ago. Meanwhile the learned Prof. G. L. Peiris has taken over the leadership of a new party on which Rajapaksa hopes to ride to power. The question is whether GLP, who had as monitor Sajin Vas Gunawardene when he was Foreign Minister, will have his old monitor bossing him again.
Whom is Percy Mahinda trying to fool? The people of course!