At meeting after meeting President Maithripala Sirisena is pledging that he wants clean politics in Sri Lanka -- one of the main purposes for which he was elected in 2015 -- and that he would ensure tough legal action against all those found guilty of serious frauds, corruption, bribery or other criminal offenses. Speaking at meetings held in different parts of the country, the President said that last year he had received comprehensive reports from the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption and the commission which probed the Central Bank’s alleged bond scams from February 2015 to March 2016.
Some 34 major cases of serious frauds or corruption by VIP politicians and officials of the former regime were reported by the first commission and he had submitted the cases to the Attorney General’s department and the Criminal Investigation Department with a request that the prosecution be launched urgently and effectively.
The President said the Bond Commission also has had made serious charges against several persons including the Central bank’s then Governor Arjuna Mahendran and his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. He vowed that whoever the politicians or officials , whatever the post they held and whatever party they belonged to, he would take tough legal action to bring them to justice. The President said politicians at national or local council levels and officials should set an example to the people in honesty and integrity and act in the highest interest of all the people of our country. He said rhetoric and rosy promises were now not acceptable to the people because even in rural areas most people and mainly the youth had smart phones or computers and were well informed of what was happening and who was doing what. Therefore it was essential now to lead by example and practice what is preached.
The President appealed to the people to take a major step towards restoring integrity, honesty and service-oriented leadership by voting for the right person and the right party at the February 10 elections to 341 Municipal, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas. Though the local elections would not affect the central government it was important to have local councils where the chairpersons and members worked hard and with commitment to bring about sustainable, eco-friendly and all-inclusive development in their areas. He indicated that at the national level, he hoped that the national unity or consensus government between the two major parties, the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party would continue, with the focus this year on development based on the vision 2025 strategy.
International politics is at the cross roads with some analysts saying civilisation itself is at stake largely because of what the United State’s President Donald Trump is doing or undoing. On Thursday he caused a major uproar by referring to the African continent comprising 53 countries as a ‘shithole’. African leaders were expected to respond angrily while even in the US many analysts believe Mr. Trump may not last long for many reasons including the alleged collusion with Russia before and after the November 2016 presidential election and questions about his mental fitness.
Basically if Trump has dragged the world into whatever hole, he was elected by American voters though a majority of them were middle class white Americans. This has important lessons for Sri Lanka. We get the government and the leaders we vote for and therefore at the February 10 poll the voters need to be fully aware, check and double check the credentials of the party and the candidate, they are voting for. Otherwise we do not know what hole Sri Lanka would end up in.