A nation’s outrage burst in full flow last Sunday evening when President Maithripala Sirisena thought fit to induct 26 members of the SLFP as Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of his government, rolling out the red carpet of welcome to a questionable coterie of the Rajapaksa regime the people held in opprobrium and had voted never to see returned to power again.
It was not so much that Maithripala had flouted one pre-election promise not to increase the Cabinet to more than thirty that surprised the public and caused the horror but the shock that he had chosen to appoint the self same lieutenants of the corruption-ridden Rajapaksa regime as his own new standard bearers of his vision of change.
The word on the street was that President Maithripala had either, entranced in a sublime state, taken the practice of loving kindness to extraordinary lengths and, whilst playing the role of a political Sadhu Sumedha, generously distributing his people-gifted executive powers on the Prime Minister and asking naught in return, was bestowing maithri and karuna in abundance on his political enemies regardless of their conduct; or that he was nursing a political death wish that would place in peril the very wellbeing of his government and put his own credibility on the line.
Maithripala Sirisena swept to power as the messiah of change at a time when corruption was rife and dissent stifled. He was the nation’s star of hope to usher in real change which was to change the executive presidency, to crack down on corruption and to restore honesty, decency and transparency in government and in the conduct of its members.