09 June 2015

Pot Wijedasa and Kettle GL

Wijedasa Rajapakse, Minister of Justice, claims that Prof G.L. Peiris is greedy for a ministerial portfolio, even in a government led by Velupillai Prabhakaran.  He adds that Prof Peiris is worried that he might not be given nominations at the next general election and that’s why he (and others, for the same reason) have brought a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

He could have added ‘Prof Peiris can’t tell his left hand from his right’.  And as an aside, whisper ‘Even Anura Kumara Dissanayake is as confused!’  There is nothing easier than being presumptuous about what someone thinks and does and why.  In the case of Prof Peiris, however, the ministerial-greed charge can be sold given his (Peiris’) track record: Minister in Chandrika Kumaratunga’s governments (1994-2000, 2000-2001), minister in Wickremesinghe’s 3-year government (2001-2004) after crossing over from the People’s Alliance to the UNP in 2001, and minister in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s governments (having crossed over from the UNP).  

One charge or piece of conjecture that can be supported, however, does not mean that others are defensible.  The assumptions here are that a) Ranil doesn’t deserve to face a no-confidence motion, and b) the said motion was a product of fear regarding nominations.  Could be true but that’s only part of the story.   Confidence is pretty much a subjective matter and is informed by political prerogatives that have little to do with a person or government’s performance.  Wijedasa Rajapaksa knows this well.  After all he was eying a parliamentary seat when the then president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, showed her lack of confidence in his current boss, Ranil Wickremesinghe, by grabbing three key ministerial portfolios.  

So when Wijedasa talks as though he has the last word on democracy, we have to treat it as the uttering of just another politician.  And not because of all these loose remarks he has made.  

If he knows about democracy he must know about representation.  He must know who got votes and who did not.  He must know who stood for election and who was terrified to go before the people.  He must know of usurped mandates.  He must know of abused mandates too.  He must know of pledges and discarding of pledges.  

He cannot talk of dissolving parliament when he knows that part of the reason why Maithripala Sirisena is the President and Ranil Wickremesinghe the Prime Minister is the promise to do away with the Proportional Representation system through electoral reform.  He must know that his party and its leader deviously planned to replace a system where the President has absolute power with a system where all that power is transferred to the office of the Prime Minister.

So when Wijedasa Rajapaksa says ‘Professor Peiris is misleading people by giving wrong information,’ we cannot but talk of pots calling kettles black.