President’s speech excellent, says Mangala; Twitter reacts
ECONOMYNEXT – Hours after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the nation in his Independence Day address that his government welcomed dissenting views, praise came from an unlikely source.
United National Party (UNP) MP Mangala Samaraweera, one of the harsher critics of Rajapaksa and his brothers since his very public defection from their camp in 2007, tweeted that the speech was excellent – albeit with a caveat.
President’s speech today excellent; now he must walk the talk. A strong leader is a person who can implement difficult decisions within a democratic framework. Our journey since ‘48 has been full of well meaning leaders making good speeches. Now is the time to act !
— Mangala Samaraweera (@MangalaLK) February 4, 2020
Coming from a man who once said he was “terrified of Gotabaya Rajapaksa” and who worked tirelessly to defeat him at last November’s presidential election, Samaraweera’s statement – a backhanded compliment though it may well have been – was unexpected, to say the least.
Sri Lankan Twitter has been testy with Samaraweera for some time now, and the reactions to yesterday’s tweet were predictably unsympathetic. While the verified blue-tick accounts of his parliamentary colleagues did not engage, regular Twitter users, partisan or otherwise, had much to say.
Former Sri Lanka Treasury Director of IT Anuruddha Pebotuwa reminded Samaraweera of similarly impressive speeches made in the recent past.
Remember, @MaithripalaS also delivered so many excellent speeches.
— anuruddha pebotuwa | අනුරුද්ධ පෑබොටුව (@pebotuwa) February 4, 2020Advertisement
Shardha Sosa, the finance director of a food and beverage company, was less kind.
He can and will walk the talk unlike your leader.
— Shardha Sosa (@ShardhaSosa) February 4, 2020
Some offered a somewhat cynical analysis of Samaraweera’s surprising statement in terms of sheer realpolitik.
චන්දෙ ලගයි නේද බ්රෝ🤣🤣🤣
— Amith Weerasena (@WeerasenaAmith) February 4, 2020
Someone is trying to get re-elected 😂
— Ranul Perera (@diyasen_aba) February 4, 2020
Trying to weasel your way back into favor are you? What a spineless pos you are. Go away!
— Kish Galappatti (@Kgalappatti) February 5, 2020
Some were unflatteringly scepitcal of his sincerity.
Your acting is too old.
— Lakmal Alkegama (@Lak_mal) February 4, 2020
I guess bit of a sarcasm.
— Im_Lankan (@young_lankan) February 4, 2020
Others were openly bigoted and homophobic.
හා ඒකට කමක්නෑ පාඩුවේ ඉඳපන් පැත්තකට වෙලා.සමනළයා
— Ranjanieguruge (@ranjanieguruge) February 4, 2020
Please mind your own business & hangout with your "boys". You have done enough harm & damage to Sri Lanka by betraying the country at the UN. You were the most inefficient Foreign, Finance and Media minister ever ! Stick to fashion design. Shame on your dad Mahanama & Royal 😌
— Chanaka Perera (@ChanaPerera) February 4, 2020
A self-styled true Sri Lankan whose Twitter bio is the most quotable quote in Kumar Sangakkara’s 2011 MCC speech faulted Samaraweera for facilitating the Rajapaksa presidency.
He wouldn't have been a president today, if you all implemented the 100 day program. You all had your time and done nothing. Let his excellency @GotabayaR do his job. He is a man of vision and will do great for our country.
— Sri Lankan Soul (@srilankansoul) February 4, 2020
A sentiment echoed by this gentleman.
If your Govt. had walked the talk (without having deals with the Rajapaksas), it would still be in power!
— PReSense PR (@PReSensePR) February 4, 2020
In a toxic sea of vitriolic takedowns, one lone voice was heard approving Samaraweera’s words.
He has every right to comment on the on the president. Sri Lanka is a democratic country. Maybe you want SLK to become a dictatorship!
— எல்லாளன் Ellalan (@Ellalan_13) February 4, 2020