Is the Head of State and Government, the Commander-in-Chief of forces one who is mentally suitable to hold such office?
Recent statements by President Sirisena have raised major questions about the status of mind of the person, and his commitment to both the process and the principles that saw his election as President of this country. The most striking of these is his call to remove both the 18th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution.
Let us be kind, and consider him as a forgetful person, on his call to remove the 18th Amendment. It has been repealed, and was so done under his leadership in adopting the 19th Amendment, and that was passed in Parliament on May 15, 2015. Does he not remember the statement he made to the nation on his own role in getting this adopted with a huge majority in Parliament? Such forgetfulness could be one of political expediency and not that of mental unsuitability.
Has he also forgotten what the 18A was and why it had to be removed? Has he completely forgotten what the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera had said of the need to remove 18A? Does he not know that 18A was how Mahinda Rajapaksa abolished the two term limit on the presidency, making it possible for him to hold office as long as possible or needed (by him) till his son Namal was groomed for the Office?
Do the twists and turns in presidential thinking make him unaware that it was the abolition of 18A and the adoption of 19A that has made Namal Rajapaksa too young to take over the presidency today at 30; something his father and possibly the rest of the Rajapaksa Regime would have liked?
Forgetfulness of such scope goes beyond mental imbalance, having a strong connect with the politically crooked. Is Maithripala Sirisena trying to prove to us he is not the person the people elected as the Common Candidate in January 2015? He need not try so hard, we know it, and have done so for some time.
He was Rising Star of Crookedness in the politics and governance of Sri Lanka, who has been playing his own game in politics to retain the powers of the Executive Presidency that he certainly helped remove to a large extent in the aurora of a new phase in our politics. When he wants the 18A removed, he must be having touching memories of how he, as so many others, voted to bring in that Amendment, which was disastrous to democracy. Is he now trying to ease such pain of mind by calling for removal of 19A?
Let us not forget, as Sirisena tries to bend our minds, that the 19A saw a return to a more democratic form of government and constitutional politics, in contrast to the crooked authoritarian policies of the Rajapaksa Regime. 19A was certainly not good enough for the majority of voters in January 2015, who sought the abolition of the Executive Presidency. That is a problem the people will have to face and take necessary steps in time to come.
But the Sirisena mindset of political amnesia and survival of the crooked is certainly not the stuff of political necessity today, even after all those failures and disasters in governance we have seen in Yahapalanaya.
Sirisena’s twists and bends in politics and governance is less to do with the people, and much more to do with the Rajapaksas. His mind is engulfed in the move to bring the defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa to office as Prime Minister in that October 26 coup of the crooked last year. Over and over we see that Maithripala Sirisena did not want to defeat Rajapaksa. It just happened, because that is what the people wanted, not what he wanted!
His efforts today are all tied at having some new deal with the Rajapaksas. Issue puzzling statements about him being the next SLFP presidential candidate; Have increased hope in the rising difficulties faced by Gotabaya…the theme goes on with steps in a new political dance of the SLFP and SLPP. The goal is the Presidency, with the reduced powers of the 19A (which he wants removed) and Mahinda Rajapaksa serving as Prime Minister – under Sirisena!
Just now, another presidential term for Sirisena remains in his dream world. But the stuff of crooked politics is such that dreams of such survival are not beyond expectation. Retirement at Polonnaruwa is not the goal of Sirisena today, just as retirement at Hambantota was not that of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
We are at the rise of the Sirisena –Rajapaksa Naadagama, a performance of dirty politics that could take the country to disasters worse than Easter Sunday. Race and Religion are the themes of both performers, with plenty of the corrupt and crooked providing the stagecraft.
We must also not forget the other solo player in the presidential dance. Ranil Wickremesinghe, one who has lost public support, but holding on to party manipulation. Just now, Sirisena has burnt his boats with Ranil. But, the flexing capacity of the crooked leaves room for more convoluted political relations; and Sirisena is a long jumper of the crooked, and not a high jumper of the just.
Getting back to the memories and mindset of Sirisena, he will realize that 18A is no more, and 19A will remain, unless removed by another 2/3 majority in parliament. Sirisena has no call for such a majority today; in fact his reality is one of a decreasing minority.
We will soon have much more of mental instability in the highest seat of Office