My dear Mahinda maama, I haven’t been writing to you for some time now but I thought I must do so now, especially because you somehow seem to find a way of being in the news even though you are not in power. When you hit the headlines, it is invariably linked to one court [...]

5th Column

Now we think back


My dear Mahinda maama,
I haven’t been writing to you for some time now but I thought I must do so now, especially because you somehow seem to find a way of being in the news even though you are not in power. When you hit the headlines, it is invariably linked to one court case or another, but that is a small price to pay!

Now they tell me the courts have ruled that you are no longer the leader of the Blue Party – despite claims that Maithri took the leadership ‘by force’. This court decision comes as no surprise, Mahinda maama, but what surprises me is that there was even a court case challenging Maithri’s leadership.

If memory serves me right, Mahinda maama, shortly after the last big election which you lost to Maithri, you told us a story of how you met at Chamal maama’s official residence and agreed that Maithri should be the Blue Party boss. Yet, your supporters now claim that he took the job forcefully.

Pardon me, Mahinda maama, but sometimes it feels as if there is a pattern here. You – and those ‘Blue’ supporters in your camp – appear to be selectively forgetting certain events that happened when you were the boss and you had the final word on anything and everything that happened in the country.

Remember SAITM, the medical school that you gave your blessings to? You gave the school a huge loan and offered scholarships to those enrolling in it. Students who would have otherwise gone to state universities joined, because they could study medicine and your scholarships made it affordable.

SB, who championed SAITM’s cause then, is still doing that although he has been smart enough to switch sides. Those in your camp however behave as if this is a monster created by Maithri and the GMOA, which squeaked like a mouse then, is now roaring like a lion – but that is a different story!

Then, those in your camp are very upset that Jagath, the military chap who you promoted over and above others as Sarath’s successor, has been accused of war crimes while he was serving as our ambassador in Brazil. They are shouting from the rooftops about protecting our ‘war heroes’.

Correct me if I am wrong, Mahinda maama, but where was all this breast beating when, soon after the big election, Sarath, the greatest war hero at the time, was dragged kicking and screaming from his office by officers junior to him and detained, court-martialled, stripped of his rank and imprisoned?

Then, there is the infamous ‘sil redi’ case. We have heard all the arguments for and against, and the courts have determined that while your secretary Lalith and that other chap were at fault, it was also very clear that they were acting on your orders. In fact, you yourself have confirmed that.

If that is so, Mahinda maama, why did you forget to turn up in court, accept responsibility for giving the orders and face the consequences instead of allowing your poor secretary to take the rap? Surely, that is not in keeping with the paternal ‘aadambarakaara thaaththa’ image that you have cultivated?

Then we saw the ugly spectacle of Buddhist monks going about with their begging bowls, asking for money to pay off Lalith’s fine. That was disgusting. Even though you claim to be a protector and saviour of Buddhism, we didn’t see you – or even the Mahanayakes, for that matter – condemning that!

You also complain about postponing provincial council elections. I agree that postponing polls for whatever reason is bad but you must also admit that the Green Man and Maithri outsmarted you after the courts rejected the 20th Amendment. You thought elections will follow but they beat you to it.

You claim you never postponed elections and always held them on time. Yes, you did, when it suited you but not when it didn’t. Remember the elections to the Northern Province? They were held more than four years after the war was over- and that too only because India and the UN asked you to.

That is why elections should be held when they are due – and not earlier or later and you, of all people, should know about this. I am trying not to remind you about how you took Sumaney’s advice and held an early election because the planets were just right- and the rest is now history!
Mahinda maama, you can still play a role in the affairs of our nation but I think you should steer clear of disowning everything that you did when you were the boss. Instead, if you accept responsibility and admit your mistakes, who knows, Namal may someday write a book called ‘Agamethi thaaththa’!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha
PS: I heard that the ‘other’ Sarath is now going before courts to challenge the postponement of the provincial council elections. This is the chap who was appointed by Satellite but cut short her term by a year, then supported you with ‘Helping Hambantota’ only to publicly seek forgiveness for that later. Now, he is again on your side. With friends like these, Mahinda maama, who needs enemies?

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