Sri Lanka’s Wickremesinghe warned against 2015 repeat, cronyism
ECONOMYNEXT – Pro-democracy activists who helped defeat a constitutional coup against United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe are warning against a repeat of his 2015 actions.
Wickremesinghe’s cronies were appointed to key posts and principles of promised good governance were cynically violated by the party’s old guard and money men.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake warned Wickremesinghe against trying to crawl through constitutional loopholes to expand any future cabinet to 45 from a ceiling of 30 set by the 19th amendment to the constitution.
"President Sirisena tried to crawl through a constitutional loophole. Mahinda Rajapaksa tried to crawl through a constitutional loophole," Dissanayake told a political rally, after courts ruled against the President and Rajapaksa.
"We hear that Wickremesinghe is also trying out crawl through the constitution by trying to define a new administration as a ‘national government’ claiming a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress legislator as a separate party, so that he can have 45 ministers.
"We warn him that we will bring him down if he tries to do that."
Wickremesinghe spent most of the early part of his rule mired in a so-called bond-scam, trying to protect his pal, Arjuna Mahendran, dragging down the party and taking several legislators with him, squandering political capital, which could have been used to push through a new constitution or economic reform, critics say.
"If Ravi Karunanayake is given ANY ministerial portfolio, you will be answerable to us, Ranil Wickremesinghe," said Sharmini Seresinghe, a vocal activist who also helped organize a rally against the unconsitutional actions of President Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa.
"From here on, we are NOT going to take things sitting down. We the citizens of Sri Lanka have remained patient and silent for too long. NOT ANYMORE !!!"
If Ravi Karunanayake is given ANY ministerial portfolio, you will be answerable to us, Ranil Wickremesinghe. From here on, we are NOT going to take things sitting down. We the citizens of Sri Lanka have remained patient and silent for too long. NOT ANYMORE !!!
— Sharmini Serasinghe (@ShaseraSing) December 15, 2018
Wickremesinghe had already created a precedent by bringing back Tilak Marapone, who was forced to step down amid a public outcry over his defence of Avant Garde company accused of embezzlement under the Rajapaksa regime.
To his credit, Wickremesinghe did not try to censor the internet, though Maithripala Sirisena blocked Lankaenews.com, a political news website.
The very tweeters who criticized Wickremesinghe and his unpopular cronies, came out to support him when he was ousted unconstitutionally.
Chandra Jayaratne, a governance activist, said Sunday, no person who were associated or suspected to be associated with any acts of corruption or violating law should be made ministers, secretaries or senior positions in state agencies.
"All politicians, political appointees, law enforcement officer leaders and others who placed hurdles in the Effective conduct of Investigations and Unbiased & Just Law Enforcement and Judicial actions should be sidelined, he said.
Wickremesinghe’s close associates as well as President Sirisena are alleged to have protected corrupts persons of the Rajapaksa regime.
One time law law order minister minister Sagala Ratnayake traded accusations with President Sirisena, threatening to reveal how investigations were blocked.
"As a responsible Cabinet minister, I have never spoken in public about instances in which the @MaithripalaS interfered with high-profile investigations," he said in a twitter.com post.
"But if these wild allegations continue, I will be forced to divulge details on who interfered, when, where and how. #lka"
As a responsible Cabinet minister, I have never spoken in public about instances in which the @MaithripalaS interfered with high-profile investigations. But if these wild allegations continue, I will be forced to divulge details on who interfered, when, where and how. #lka
— Sagala Ratnayaka (@SagalaRatnayaka) November 25, 2018
"So all of you’ll did protect those you vowed to go after," tweeted back Saabira, a netizen.
"What a sham for 3 yrs and we citizens have been taken for a ride."
"Both groups have buried investigations and protected crooks," tweeted, Nimali. "Hasn’t that boomeranged on your boss now?"
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— Nimali Wijesuriya (@NimaliWijesuri3) November 27, 2018
Oshala Herath, a former media director of President Maithripala Sirisena, who also went to court against the ‘coup’ said thieves should not be given porfolios.
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— Oshala Herath (@OshalaHerath) December 14, 2018
Wickremesinghe entered the main hall of his Temple Trees Saturday and spoke a few words to hundreds of supporters that were waiting to hear him and walked off the stage, without coming down to talk to them or pose for selfies like Mahinda Rajapaksa would have done.
That Wickremesinghe will alienate his new found supporters is a widely held belief.
"To the Baiyyas, Hoooooooo!," tweeted Munza Mushtaq adressing fellow social media savvy, English speaking urban nationalists who are posing as rural folk growing yams in East European agrarianist-style.
To Ranil, for god’s sake DON’T screw this up! ðŸ˜‘
— Munza Mushtaq (@munza14) December 16, 2018