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The lad who set the paddy field ablaze….

12 December 2018 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
- Chinua Achebe

What cost Bill Clinton a second term in office was not his affair with Monica Levinsky , per se. It was his sworn deposition and the public affirmation by him that he had nothing to do with the latter, which later was proved and he admitted, as false. He admitted the affair and that it was wrong and apologised. Yet as the President he had lost the confidence of the public, not only those who voted him to power. President Clinton himself, in the eyes of the American citizen, had become persona non grata. A cardinal, grave and unforgivable wrong committed by the man holding the most powerful position of the most powerful nation in the world. No, it was not something about national security, espionage or financial integrity etc., the type of mortal sin, that you would associate with the downfall of a top politician but simply assuring the public, falsely , that he had no connection with a White House intern. So sensitive is the issue of public trust, which a Head of a State is held accountable to the populace.  

He simply opened the door for the wolves. He is simply a lad who would set fire to the entire paddy harvest when an old man smote him with a ‘tokka’ on the head

Now fast track to Sri Lanka and President Maithripala Sirisena. He was elected by 6.2 million people on January 8, 2015 and one thing that he reiterated, even tearfully, was that he was in danger of losing his life, along with those of his family, in the hands of the then incumbent President. Well, he got elected as President and even afterwards narrated the story as to how he spent the night of the election in a coconut estate, lights switched off for fear of life. And we took him seriously. It was the possibility of an assassination of the prospective President of the country and was serious.  

Revolution ‘Moonlight’

October 26, 2018 was unprecedented in the history of Sri Lanka. Dr. Dayan Jayatillake equates it to the October Revolution. It is common knowledge now that he mixes political commentary with amusement. Yet in a serious note, that day not only marked the first instance where a President, openly and brazenly, engaged the Supreme Law of the land, in the breach, triggering a series of events, that led to absolute belittling of the dignity, credibility and confidence the citizenry were wont to see in their first citizen, their leader, the top executive of the Republic; making not only himself, but the entire country the laughing stock of the world.   

First he lamented of yet another assassination plot thus compelling him to remove the constitutionally elected PM and appoint the former President, who he had repeatedly accused of seeking to exterminate him, stating that in terms of the Constitutional provisions his appointee could muster the majority support of the Parliament, for which purpose he prorogued it. Then the assurance that he would not remain in office if Ranil Wickremesinghe commanded the majority support of Parliament. When it dawned on him that it was not the case ,the second breach of the constitution , a much more outrageous and brazen violation, by dissolving Parliament, and of course he didn’t resign.   

Then again he wanted the UNF to show the majority, assuring them he would accordingly bow down to the will of the Parliament. Parliament passed two ‘No Confident Motions’, and two other motions that clearly showed , that MR did not have 113 votes in the House. Yet the President would not recognize the defeat of his pet government and appoint the MP who enjoyed the majority support and now swears that he would never appoint Ranil as PM even if all the 225 MPs were to support him. He is ready, he says again, if really pushed to the wall, to resign and go back to Polonnaruwa.  

‘The tokka’

I do not hate our President. I feel sorry. I know the real danger, in terms of negating and reversing all the salutary and salvaging effects of a three and a half years of good governance, is not from him. He simply opened the door for the wolves. He is simply a lad who would set fire to the entire paddy harvest when an old man smote him with a ‘tokka’ on the head. As I have mentioned in an earlier article, President Sirisena, is not the only one whom the enchantment of Executive Presidency has bamboozled, but he surely is the one who had been overwhelmed to such an extent; to make him forget to stand still when the national anthem was played on public stage. The bewilderment runs that deep, fellas!  

Leave alone all the constitutional debacles and bad decision making culminating in this gridlock; what about straight-faced lying in relation to the ‘six feet under ground’ story insinuating that the former President and now his pet PM, wanted him assassinated?

Leave alone all the constitutional debacles and bad decision making culminating in this gridlock; what about straight-faced lying, in relation to the six feet under ground story insinuating that the former President and now his pet PM, wanted him assassinated. Media reported the President brushing off his statement given earlier as something uttered in the heat of electioneering and from the campaign stage, thus not to be taken seriously. Let me repeat that: the President says that the assassination attempts that he tearfully referred to were false statements. The President of the Republic has falsely and repeatedly claimed he was subject to assassination attempts by his predecessor whom he defeated and now, says that was all in a lighter vein.  

In a lighter vein

One would think that an alleged assassination attempt on the life of the Executive President, the head of the State would be something serious. At least , that is what I thought! Yet now it turns out that it was just part of the garrulous election speeches. The main informant whose words the President took so seriously, to the extent of removing the constitutionally elected PM, is now a nomination hopeful for the Lotus Bud political party run by the Rajapaksas. The political quicksands the President finds himself now in, does not seem to give way to terra firma as he would have expected. Now with the latest bombshell with his claim that it was due to the MPs raising the crossover money up to 500 million that MR was not able to win 113 in Parliament, it is clear now that our President has neither the honesty nor the mettle that is required to lead a nation.   

The damage caused by the October 26 moonlight putsch, is unfathomable politically, socially, economically and ethically. The country which kept representative democracy alive for nine decades, sometimes surpassing more advanced nations, now finds itself the laughing stock of the international community. As salutary as judicial boldness and integrity coupled with the bravery of those who dare to seek relief against dastardly crimes committed on the Constitutional sacredness, no decision of court is going to stabilize and get us back on track. The stab has pierced far deeper! It will take years if not decades to rectify the wrong committed on that moonlit night.  So , Ladies and Gentlemen, goes the story of the foolhardy lad who set fire to the family paddy harvest because an old man gave him a ‘tokka’.  

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