Embattled Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe criticised President Maithripala Sirisena’s coalition government yesterday saying it had failed the nation and urged Buddhists monks to lead a campaign for political change.
Rajapakshe, who faces possible expulsion from the cabinet, took Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne head on accusing him of interfering in the affairs of the justice ministry and took thinly veiled swipes at Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too.
Speaking at a public meeting at Rambawe in the Anuradhapura district, the Justice Minister said his cabinet colleague Senaratne was not worried about the spread of chronic kidney disease and dengue and instead poked his nose in the affairs of others.
.”Even if everyone in the country is affected by kidney failure and everyone dies of dengue, our health minister has more important things to worry about, such as the AG’s department and the justice system…,” he said.
He was referring to Senaratne’s comments last week as cabinet spokesman that the government wanted speedy prosecutions in the high profile corruption cases. Minister Senaratne had said the Attorney-General’s department which initiates prosecutions should function more efficiently. The cabinet was also seeking the establishment of more High Courts to reduce laws delays.
Rajapakshe said a political slogan made popular by the late Junius Jayewardene in 1982 and subsequently borrowed by his nephew, Ranil Wickremesinghe, had become a “curse” on the nation.
“I have no clan to protect, I have no children to crown,” both UNP leaders had said in their election campaigns to demonstrate that they were opposed to family rule, but Rajapakshe saw it as the bane of Sri Lanka’s society.
“This slogan and the mind set it created is the curse of our nation. There is a clan of millions to protect and hundreds of thousands of princes and princesses in this country to crown,” Rajapakshe said.
“The country is being ruined because we have leaders who do not feel for the country.”
He posted the video of his speech at Rambawe on his verified facebook page www.facebook.com/wijeyadasarajapakshe
The minister said the two-party system dominated by his own UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of President Sirisena had failed the country for the past 70 years.
“We tried a unity government with the UNP and the SLFP coming together and that too has proved to be a failure,” he said. “The Buddhist leaders and others should decide on an alternative political leadership.”
He did not spell out what that leadership should be, but sources close to him said Rajapakshe calculated that he may be booted from the cabinet soon and should carve a place for himself to face future elections.
He indicated that he was championing Sinhala Buddhist nationalism.
“When I speak about the problems faced by the Sinhala Buddhist majority, they call me a racist, they say I am a ‘gothrikaya’ (a tribal), but when minorities talk about their issues, they are patriots.”
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had been empowered by the UNP working committee to decide on Rajapakshe’s fate amid calls for his immediate sacking from the cabinet.
UNP members had accused the justice minister of dragging his feet and not prosecuting high profile individuals of the former regime despite pledges of the new government to swiftly bring them to justice.
Courtesy: Sunday Island