The naked em­peror's Fri­day night hor­rors

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - OPINION -

Aiyo Sirisena,

I am writ­ing to you for the sec­ond time in two weeks. That is un­prece­dented but then, what we are real­is­ing is that you are an un­prece­dented Pres­i­dent. With you in charge, ev­ery­thing seems to hap­pen on Fri­day nights, when the na­tion shuts down for the week­end -and this hap­pened this Fri­day as well.

Two weeks ago, on a Fri­day night, you sacked the Green Man as PM, ig­nor­ing every rule in the book. All hell broke loose be­cause, even though our coun­try’s com­mit­ment to democ­racy has been tested many times, no Head of State had acted in such bla­tant dis­re­gard of the laws of the land un­til then.

Two days ago, also on a Fri­day night, you dis­solved Par­lia­ment. Even a Year Ten stu­dent of Civics could have told you that you do not have the author­ity to do so. I shud­der to think of what might hap­pen next Fri­day. Maybe you will is­sue a gazette say­ing you are Pres­i­dent for life, Aiyo Sirisena!

What is with you and Fri­day nights, Aiyo Sirisena? Do you have ‘ aappa’ (hop­pers) for din­ner every Fri­day night and then suf­fer some ail­ment which makes you un­able to think straight? Or, is it that you are now act­ing as Mahinda maama’s ‘Man Fri­day’ and do­ing his bid­ding, with no ques­tions asked?

I don’t know what book of rules you fol­lowed when you were Grama Se­vaka many years ago, Aiyo Sirisena, but when you are run­ning a coun­try, there is a doc­u­ment called the Con­sti­tu­tion, the supreme law of the coun­try. That is what you abide by. It tells you what you should do -- and even more im­por­tantly, what you can­not do.

From your re­cent ac­tions, Aiyo Sirisena, it looks as if you haven’t read this doc­u­ment or, if you read it, you have for­got­ten most of its con­tents. Some are also be­gin­ning to won­der whether you are los­ing your mar­bles be­cause what you have for­got­ten is what you your­self in­tro­duced -- the 19th Amend­ment.

Three years ago, peo­ple voted you into of­fice, ig­nor­ing the mighty Mahinda maama be­cause you promised to abol­ish the Ex­ec­u­tive Pres­i­dency or at the very least, take away most of its pow­ers so that he or she couldn’t act like a dic­ta­tor. Now you are be­hav­ing ex­actly like such a dic­ta­tor, Aiyo Sirisena.

Go­ing by what we saw re­cently, you act as if all you need to gov­ern is the power to is­sue a gazette. I’m sur­prised that you stopped at swear­ing in only a hand­ful of min­is­ters. Why, you could have sworn in five dozen be­cause you don’t care about lim­its set out in the Con­sti­tu­tion, do you, Aiyo Sirisena?

Af­ter you sacked the Green Man -- even if you didn’t have the power to do so -- you boasted that you would show a ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment. Ob­vi­ously, you couldn’t do so de­spite the at­tempts at bribery by your cronies like SB, who I’m told is now more pop­u­larly known as ‘Run­gay da, oya enne nedda’!

You then told us that you of­fered the Pre­mier­ship to Karu and Sa­jith, but they wouldn’t take it. It is heart­en­ing to know that at least some peo­ple in pol­i­tics are de­cent and be­have like gen­tle­men and not back­stab their lead­ers at the first op­por­tu­nity they get -- al­though that is some­thing for­eign to you.

Next you got on stage and spoke about but­ter­flies and about the Green Man and his loy­al­ists in the most per­sonal and dis­gust­ing man­ner, of­fend­ing an en­tire com­mu­nity of peo­ple. That is not how a Head of State should speak in pub­lic but you need to be a fit and proper Head of State to re­alise that.

You also said that, by ap­point­ing Mahinda maama as PM, you had played only one trump and that you had many other trumps up your sleeve. I sup­pose dis­so­lu­tion of Par­lia­ment was what you were re­fer­ring to but do you re­alise that ev­ery­one now treats as the ‘Joker’ of the pack, Aiyo Sirisena?

Did you know that a few days ago the peo­ple who worked hard to bring you to where you are to­day gath­ered to com­mem­o­rate Sob­hitha hamudu­ruwo? Did you know that they apol­o­gised to the coun­try for their folly? Thank­fully, that hamudu­ruwo is not with us to wit­ness your treach­ery, Aiyo Sirisena.

Be­fore ‘dis­solv­ing’ Par­lia­ment, Aiyo Sirisena, you ap­pointed many min­is­ters. Among them were the peo­ple who abused you dur­ing your cam­paign. Then again, wouldn’t Wi­mal be happy that he is able to dis­trib­ute more houses to his fam­ily and Johnny must be thrilled he can do a few more trade deals?

You have now set a prece­dent by do­ing what you want, ig­nor­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion al­to­gether. So, it wouldn’t sur­prise me if Mahinda maama does the same -- say­ing that he can run again for Pres­i­dent. Af­ter all, who cares about the Con­sti­tu­tion now? Isn’t that a com­fort­ing thought, Aiyo Sirisena?

I am re­minded of what you said at Nikaw­er­atiya a year ago. ‘ Ko­ley iraa­gena angey ha­laa­ganna epa, laun­dry hathakin wath sudda karanna behe’ (Don’t tear the gravy bag and spill it on your clothes, it can’t be cleaned even by seven laun­dries). Isn’t that what you have just done, Aiyo Sirisena? Yours truly, Punchi Putha PS - I am sure you would have heard of the tale of the Em­peror’s new clothes where some­one tricked an Em­peror into be­liev­ing that his new clothes were vis­i­ble only to ‘smart’ peo­ple. The Em­peror walked about naked and no one dared to tell him, un­til a lit­tle boy pointed it out. In this in­stance, how­ever, many peo­ple are point­ing this out to you, Aiyo Sirisena, but you don’t seem to re­alise how po­lit­i­cally naked you are!

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