By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Cabinet Spokesman cum Minister Bandula Gunawardana yesterday said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had not contravened the electoral law by appointing military officers and several other public officials as Ministry Secretaries replacing incumbent officials.
In response to a journalist at yesterday’s news briefing, Minister Gunawardana said the Executive President had the discretion to appoint, transfer or remove a Ministry Secretary even when an election had been declared and that the presidential decision cannot be challenged by any law. On the issue of appointing Major General Sanjeewa Munasinghe as the Secretary to the Ministry of Healthcare and Indigenous Medical Services, Minister Gunawardana said Major Munasinghe is a qualified medical doctor who served as the head of the Medical Corp of the Sri Lanka Army.
“He is an MBBS qualified doctor with several other higher medical degrees who has saved lives of thousands of wounded soldiers during the conflict. He has all the qualifications to hold the post at the Ministry of Health and President Rajapaksa has every right to appoint him to this post as he is the appointing authority of Ministry Secretaries.
”Whether it is election or no election, the President’s discretionary power cannot be questioned or challenged,” he added. Minister Gunawardana pointed out that in the past UNP and SLFP led governments had appointed all ranks of armed forces personnel to key public positions starting from Colonels, Brigadiers, Major Generals and similar ranks in the Navy and Air Force and also commanders of the three forces.
Therefore, appointment of top retired Military officers to top jobs of the public services was not a major issue. If President Rajapaksa thinks any officer is suitable for any responsibility, he is empowered by the Constitution to appoint he or she to that post, he added.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed seven new ministry secretaries including Major General Munasinghe as on last 11th.
- Whether it is election or no election, the President’s discretionary power cannot be questioned or challenged