By Sandun A. Jayasekera
President Maitripala Sirisena said yesterday that some Government members are using the media to attack him because he appointed a Commission to inquire into the Central Bank Bond issue.
He said this at an event held to mark the second death anniversary of the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera held at the Ape Gama premises in Battaramulla.
“Some in the government blame me for appointing a Commission to inquire into the Central Bank misdeeds. These individuals are making a wrong analysis of me based on that. A very few people in the government are accusing me through websites and running facebook campaigns. I am attacked by spending money on certain media institutions and by reserving pages in weekend newspapers. Some in the government are giving money to media entities operating from abroad to attack me. Why is this? Because I appointed a Commission to look into the Central Bank matter. If Venerable Sobitha Thera was alive he would have approved of what I did. Why did we come here? Why did we change the previous government? What is our objective? Did we come to fill our pockets? Did we come to rob? I did not appoint this Commission targeting anyone in the government or targeting any MP or Minister.
“The people of this country know the situation regarding the Central Bank incident. At that time there was strong public opinion against the incident. There was a huge outcry irrespective of politics that there was a grave fraud that had taken place and asking to take action on it and asking me to appoint a Presidential Commission. I did it.”
The President said he was elected to the presidency on January 8 and took oaths on January 9. “The Central Bank incident happened just three months after forming the government. Those responsible for this should be held responsible.
I am not a person who is greedy for positions. I will go back as I came. I am not a person who came to this position to stay. I am a man who came to go. But I need the support of all to do my job properly. There are many issues I cannot reveal about the court cases mentioned by Prof. Wijesuriya. I told ministers who are with me here, a while ago, about an incident that took place recently. We did not come to rule the country in that way. If our intentions are pure we must work cleanly. We have still time left as said by Prof. Wijesuriya. We must make the people aware on the good work we have done in the last three years and also our failures. We have time to correct ourselves and go forward.
But from morning till night, leaving aside the state media, the private media does not say anything about what we have done other than scolding the government. Today we are getting scolded for the petrol problem. I am shredded to pieces. Those who are scolding me think that I am the person who is distributing petrol at fuel stations. When there is strike at a hospital too I am scolded. They think I am the one who is giving medicine. When you cannot put a child to a school, the President is to blame. They think the President admits children to schools. There is a reason for this. From the viewpoint of the people it is correct. What is the reason? Presidents before me have made them accustomed to think like that. That is the true story. The only thing that Presidents who ruled this country did not do was pump petrol into vehicles at fuel stations. They did everything else. Therefore when a normal issue comes up in the country they think that the President had not done his part.
“We are here today to commemorate the second death anniversary of late most Venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera and to erect a monument in his memory, to celebrate his life which was decorated with his human qualities, social and national service. We never expected his untimely death following his sudden illness. He got ill and left us in an unexpected moment convincing us of the law of the universe,”
I knew Ven Thera for more that 25 years. He dedicated his entire life to resolve social issues, to launch welfare programmes for war affected people during the conflict as well as for religious or Sasana services. He took much pain to correct political wrongdoings and to create good governance. He gave the leadership to stimulate a political revolution. But he did not restrict himself to any political ideology or a policy of a political party. His objective was purely to create social justice based on human love.
Motivated by his love for human being, Ven Sobhitha Thera first floated the concept of ‘Common Candidate’ during the Presidential Poll in 2015 and gave the leadership and convinced each and all social, political and civil organizations, Trade Unions for the common cause of the victory of Common Candidate. He was successful and he won his struggle.
If my memory serves me correct, the idea of a Common Candidate was among all of us since the first Presidential Election held in 1982. But no one was able to field a Common Candidate ever until 2015. It was because of the leadership and dedication of Ven Sobhitha Thera that the Common Candidate was able to win the Presidential poll in 2015 bringing victory not only to him but to the concept as well.
It was not an easy task in anyway. The election was a big challenge and a risk. There were so many complex issues involved with the election campaign of the Common Candidate. It was a clean campaign sans the use of state assets, political or state power.
If and when we work for a unity government we all must be determined to dedicate ourselves for social justice, rule of the law and good governance. We also must not hesitate to punish any who are engaged in wrongdoings. No one can protest when action are taken against wrong doers. Unfortunately, that is my main problem. My problem is actions are not taken to punish wrong doers. Al members of the cabinet are aware of what I have spoken in the cabinet on these issues.