Former President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the public to help him pay compensation for his lapses to prevent the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019. The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered him to pay Rs. 100 million as compensation. He would have the public believe that there are only three months left for him to carry out the SC order, and he will have to go to jail if he fails to do so. Whether anyone will be so stupid as to part with his or her money in a bid to prevent a politician from going to jail remains to be seen. What made Sirisena think that the discerning public will spend their hard-earned money to deny themselves the pleasure of seeing a political leader behind bars?
Sirisena is trying to make himself out to be so poor that he cannot raise Rs. 100 million! It is doubtful whether he will succeed in his endeavour. His has been a rags-to-riches story, and the same goes for all other Sri Lankan politicians. The people who enabled them to achieve success in life are still in rags, struggling to keep the wolf from the door!
Sirisena is one of the politicians who have mastered the art of pulling the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting public. He took the masses for a right royal ride and achieved his presidential dream in 2015. He did so by shedding copious tears for the victims of the Rajapaksa misrule and promising to usher in good governance and throw the members of the Medamulana clan behind bars for their crimes, but a few years after securing the presidency, he unashamedly closed ranks with his betes noires and cocked a snook at the public. He famously used a cheap ballpoint pen to sign papers at his induction ceremony in January 2015 but did not scruple to allocate public funds with a generous hand for refurbishing a palatial state-owned house with a view to occupying it in retirement. Thankfully, his plan seems to have gone pear-shaped. He was more airborne than ‘chairborne’ as the President, and it will be interesting to know how much his numerous whirlybird rides and foreign travel cost the state coffers.
It is his abject failure to ensure public security, in his capacity as the President and Minister of Defence, that the SC has asked Sirisena to pay compensation for, and why on earth should the people help him? Sri Lankans, no doubt, deserve punishment for having elected failed politicians as their leaders over the years but, in our book, the suffering they are undergoing due to their country’s bankruptcy could be considered their comeuppance and no other punishment is required.
Gone are the days when the rich died poor in politics in this country after spending all their money for the good of the public. Today, the indigent and their families amass colossal amounts of wealth thanks to politics. None of the prodigal scions of the present-day political families have any discernible sources of income but are living the life of Riley, sporting expensive designer wear, moving about in flashy vehicles and having fairytale weddings while the children of the ordinary public are undergoing untold hardships and being tear-gassed and baton-charged for trying to win their rights.
A presidential election costs the candidates of the main political parties billions of rupees. How did Sirisena, who claims to be in penury, raise funds for his presidential election campaign? His younger brother, Dudley, is one of those who helped him financially.
Dudley is a member of the Rice Millers’ Mafia, which has earned notoriety for exploiting farmers and consumers alike with impunity. He would not have been able to achieve success without Sirisena’s backing. There are many others whom Sirisena helped in numerous ways; he even granted a presidential pardon to a convicted murderer on death row. It is up to them to provide him with necessary funds to pay compensation in keeping with the SC order, if he is really in need of money
Courtesy The Island
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