5th Column

A man despised by many

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Aiyo Sirisena,

I thought of writing to you because you are always in the news now and not many people seem to like you these days. It began when the Channel 4 documentary on the Easter attacks was aired, then you fought with your secretary Dayasiri and now you are fighting with the Field Marshall!

We heard you say after the Channel 4 documentary that the highest court in the land which asked you to pay compensation in millions should review their decision. You seem to think that, just because Channel 4 claims there was a conspiracy to stage the Easter attacks, you are no longer responsible. 

I don’t quite know how to explain this to you in simpler terms, Aiyo Sirisena, but no one has accused you of staging those attacks. What you are being asked to pay compensation for is your negligence in not supervising key officials under you and thereby making it easier for the attacks to occur.

We realise that you are not in a very comfortable situation right now. With threats of multi-million rupee fines and potentially even a prison term hanging over you, your ability to negotiate with other political parties has weakened considerably. That was the beginning of your woes in the Blue party.

So, when Nimal went to court, challenged his expulsion from the Blue party and won, you had to invite him and others like him who had joined Uncle Ranil’s Cabinet back to the party. Dayasiri was having none of it so you did the unthinkable: you invited the ‘traitors’ back sacking Dayasiri instead!

In doing so, it is likely that you judged Dayasiri by your own standards. You stabbed Mahinda maama in the back when you were his secretary, so you must have expected Dayasiri to do the same to you. That is why you thought you should act first, so you sacked him without even a proper inquiry.

Now it is Dayasiri’s turn to go to courts against you. This, he has done. Does it mean that, he too will be welcomed back into the fold like old Nimal was? After all, one thing we know about you is that, just as much as you are quick to make enemies, you are also quite capable of forgiving them.

Why, in that presidential election campaign, Mahinda maama was your sworn enemy. You said that if you lost that election, you would be ‘six feet under’ and promised to shut down the airport to prevent him and his clan from leaving the country. Yet, three years later you made him your Prime Minister!

The man who then became your No1 enemy was Uncle Ranil, who you sacked until the courts ordered you to reinstate him. He is the boss now. I am sure you will become his best friend and join his Cabinet if it means you won’t face fines or time in jail but he is sensible enough not to ask you.

Some even say that you are trying to cosy up to anyone who would make you his or her next Prime Minister. You have indicated that the Blue party, under your leadership will offer their support if you can land this job. Do you think anyone in their right mind will take up your offer, Aiyo Sirisena?

The other day, you engaged in a loud slanging match with the Field Marshall in Parliament. You claimed that after being the victim of a bomb blast, he was taken in one vehicle and his intestines followed in another vehicle. That is more of a compliment to him because he returned to end the war.

It is not that we are great admirers of the Field Marshall in his role as a politician. Nevertheless, it was you who appointed him Field Marshall and restored him to his due place, after he was court martialled by Mahinda maama’s kangaroo court. Yet, here you are today, fighting with him too!

You tell us every now and then, Aiyo Sirisena, that you are doing all this to resurrect the Blue party to its former glory. Do you realise, however, that all you have done since becoming the big boss eight years ago is to gradually ruin the Blue party, one step at a time, and reduce it to rubble which it is now.

If memory serves you well, you will remember that your solemn promise to the people who voted for you at that time was that you will serve only one term, abolish the presidential system of government and then, quietly retire to your hometown of Polonnaruwa as the simple farmer that you once were.

Yet here you are still, lingering like a bad smell. You haven’t abolished the presidential system, you want to remain in politics and we have seen no intention of you spending the evening of your life in Polonnaruwa. So, do you still expect voters to have faith in you or the Blue party, Aiyo Sirisena?

Isn’t it the ultimate irony that the aristocrat SWRD, whose death we commemorate next week, built a party for the common man with his ‘sangha, veda, guru, govi, kamkaru’ slogan and kept it alive for 65 years only for it to be destroyed by the only man who was a ‘real goviya’ to lead the party?

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: You haven’t told us yet who you will support at the next big election; but we won’t at all be surprised if four of our five living leaders – you, Mahinda maama, Gota maama, and Uncle Ranil – all appear on the same stage. Satellite, we know, won’t join you because she can’t stand the ‘R’ clan!