Daily News Editorials
That the six Chief Ministers who met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a possible rapprochement, failed in their bid to iron out differences, may not have been a surprise to many. Rajapaksa is obviously is still smarting at being denied an opportunity at a fling at the Premiership, the grass cut from, under his feet by President Sirisena. He certainly would have been miffed at the idea of some second tier politicians, such as Chief Ministers, coming to meet him.
According to former Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who was a participant at the meeting, the Chief Ministers were not well received by Rajapaksa. The MP pointed out that any attempt to work together must be reciprocal. Rajapaksa, for his part, insisted that “peace talks” of this nature were futile at a time leading political figures of his camp were being subjected to a “political witch-hunt” and “revenge taking”.
Cartoon is from Ceylon Today
Is Rajapaksa’s consent for a unifying the two camps contingent on wrongdoers of previous government being let off scott free? True, one could appreciate the concerns entertained by the SLFP faction in the Unity Government about the consequences of a split in the party. Not only Local Government elections but even two crucial Provincial Council elections too have to be held within this year. It is also understandable why Chief Minister Mahipala Herath was entrusted the task of belling the cat- that is making the initial approach to MR-since Sabaragamuwa is one of the two provinces that will go to the polls. The fears of a certain defeat for the SLFP, entertained by other party stalwarts, resulting from a split, is also understandable.
But on no account should they compromise on the Yahapalanaya government’s pledge to bring to book all crooked elements of the last government. Is Rajapaksa suggesting that all cases against the corrupt elements of the former regime be withdrawn, as a condition for coalescing with the rival faction? Is MR also insisting that the implementation of the law be held in abeyance just for the sake of political expediency?
MP Abeywardena who communicated the former President’s views in this regard to the Daily News could not be unaware that two junior Rajapaksas are already facing serious cases of money laundering. Does he want these cases to be thrown out, all for the sake of reuniting estranged political factions? Does the MP once again desire a government who pays scant regard to the law where its head even instructed the Attorney General to terminate cases against rapists and murderers? Does Abeywardena want the country to be ruled with impunity once again where the terms accountability and transparency were alien to its rulers?
President Sirisena who gave his blessings for this meeting should have no misgivings as to Rajapaksa’s true intentions. The JO is waiting for an opportunity to get its members, now being paraded before the various commissions off the hook. The public is watching as to how the government, nay the President, is going to act in this matter. Will the President compromise on the firm pledge given to the public on eradicating corruption from the body politic, and what is more, bring the crooks to book? Reneging on a vital pledge to the public, just for the sake of winning a Local Government election, could only act to the detriment of the SLFP in the government fold. The President should say a firm no to the conditions insisted on by MR for a thaw on the latter’s part.
Wimal, the true patriot
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared Wimal Weerawansa a true patriot adding that placing the National Freedom Front Leader behind bars could not stop him from giving leadership to the patriotic forces of the country. Speaking at the 22nd anniversary of the NFF at the Sugathadasa’s Stadium, Rajapaksa also said that imprisoning WW could not hinder his political activity, adding that it was WW who stood for the true principles of the JVP, which he quit.
Cartoon is from Ceylon Today
Weerawansa was taken into custody following investigations into charges that he misappropriated government vehicles for the personal use of relatives and associates. Hence, there no doubt would have been a prima facie case against the MP. There were also charges that he allocated housing units constructed under his ministry, similarly, to relatives and friends for little or no returns. WW also once staged a fast opposite the UN compound in Colombo but was shown in the media to be taking refreshments during the ‘fast’. He was also seen leading a mob opposite the UN compound where, following a telephone call, allegedly from Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the police guarding the compound were humiliated, with some of the officers’ hats snatched away by the Weerawansa led mob, as per video footage of the incident. So much for patriotism.