Mahinda defends impeachment of Shirani

Mahinda RajapaksaFormer president Mahinda Rajapaksa strongly defended the controversial impeachment that ousted Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike in January 2014.

The move was heavily criticised by the international community and legal watchdogs as an authoritarian and undermining the rule of law.

“We did everything as per constitutional provisions,” Rajapaksa told the BBC Sinhala.

He also vowed to win an outright majority in parliamentary elections due on 17 August. Rajapaksa told BBC Sinhala he was confident of winning more than half the seats in parliament.

He is hoping to become prime minister, but the result is far from clear-cut.

A Rajapaksa win would mean an uneasy cohabitation with party rival Maithripala Sirisena, who beat him in presidential elections in January.

Their ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party remains divided over the two men – the president failed to stop his predecessor from standing as a party candidate in the polls.

Rajapaksa was giving his first BBC interview since he was elected president in 2005 – relations during his nine years in power were strained over accusations of human rights abuses and media freedoms being curtailed.

“Clearly we will secure 117 seats,” he told BBC Sinhala.

He rejected claims by the current Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe, that his campaign was in disarray.

He said he does not regret any of the policy decisions he took while in power – apart from one.

“Calling an election two years ahead of schedule, I think, was a wrong decision,” he said.

“I haven’t done anything else for me to regret.”

And he bristled when questioned about his amendment to the constitution that removed the two-term limit on the president.

“People know very well how long one should be allowed to stay. I believe we should allow the public to decide.”

Perhaps most controversially, Rajapaksa also accused his successors of not doing enough to investigate killings and abductions that occurred during his tenure.

The killing of senior journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga, a fierce critic of Mr Rajapaksa, shocked the world in 2009.

“The same Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe has publicly accused a certain person of murdering Lasantha. Now they can investigate. They were in power for six months,” Rajapaksa said.

The same argument applies to the disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda, said the former president.

Eknaligoda, a political columnist and another strong critic of Mr Rajapaksa, has been missing since January 2010.

“Why they don’t investigate now? Is it because those who are accused are in the UNP government? I truly suspect it is the case.”

Many will find his accusations extraordinary, coming as they do from a man who was in almost total control of Sri Lanka for years.

But interestingly he was very careful not to criticise President Sirisena, who now heads the party and coalition Mr Rajapaksa himself led for nearly a decade. (Colombo Gazette)

8 COMMENTS

  1. Mahinda Rajapaksa thought everyone was a fool as Prabahkaran, especially the West. Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden haven’t committed any crime, but exposed the West’s double standards. Those three gentlemen have paid heavy price for their good deeds. I haven’t committed any crime, but the West brought me to the street; because I exposed the West’s ill democracy. The West will punish Mahinda Rajapaksa for eliminating the LTTE; without people turning against the West and going with China. Mahinda Rajapaksa doesn’t know the West yet, but he will in due time. Mahinda Rajapaksa has failed to look-after the people who voted for him to keep his power. Just wait and see how smart the West is compare to the Rajapaksas.

    The Crusaders for democracy is the brain work of the West. I had no problem when the JVP became a political party, because the JVP never had support from the foreign powers as the LTTE. Therefore, allowing the LTTE as a political party will backfire on Sri Lanka in due time. I have visited the North for few months; it is still a very pro LTTE and pro West. Ranil Wickramasinghe will destroy this country by dancing according to the West. Mahinda Rajapaksa will make this country to go bankrupt by getting loans under high interest rates to look-after his family and friends. Sri Lankans do not have that many choices; we are between the devil and deep sea.

    • So Antany Peter what’s up haven’t been able to get over the fact that your beloved LTTE was defeated by the will of Sri Lankans. Keep blaming the West for every ill in the world because they didn’t come to the rescue of your hero VP in the finale stages of the war. You are fine example of hypocrite living in a Western country. It says a lot when faire minded Tamils live in Wellington don’t have a bar of you and even to acknowledge. When its come to dancing you are the one who join the Ballroom dancing class in Wellington . No wonder you keep avoiding to meet me and debate the issues face to face. Don’t try to change stripes & spots now you always will be raving LTTE sympathizer.

  2. MR at least followed constitutional provisions to remove the CJ. What did good governess did when they removed the existing CJ. No law, no constitutional provision. How did they create Financial Crimes Division outside the ambit of policing. These violated law will haunt the very people who are using them now. I am sure a future government also can penalize the people who ridiculed the war. All this irregular publicity stunts the PM is doing have to be taken to task by a future government. We should break the cycle where government servants are held responsible for the conduct of their masters. Eventually there will be no one to take responsibility but to blame which is easy. The communal element is used by the UNP by saying things to please Tamils in their areas and Muslims in their areas. They can do that because they do not have a commitment by the land. The Tamil and Muslims who is voting by race is not considered racial by the so called civic society members.

    • REPLY TO Nawaz DaPUK
      YOU STUPID MORON YOU STILL DONT HAVE A CLEAR VISION HOW TO SAVE THE COUNTRY. YOU M UST A CROOK WHO IS SUPPORTING THE JARAVASSAS.

  3. Every one makes mistakes. Accepting the responsibillity of them is a great thing. Not observed here.One knows what he did more than any one else.What ever the reason removing CJ may affect Rule of Law since the latter person has general reluctance to be independent. Should be done only if essentially needed. Some one could day an important decision was done on people’s request if only consent was received through a referendum. I feel prediction is not realistic.I cannot imagine where the efforts towards.

  4. Yo! Don’t talk BS you pathological liar. If you think what you did was constitutional then you don’t know the pking constitution. You must have passed the law exam they way your dumb mutt son passed it. All you and your family do is cheat and crave for more and more at the expense of the public. Dont TALK BULL SHIT!

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