The Fifth Column

22nd June 1997

Putting on an independent image

SATURDAY - Mangala has dissolved the Boards at Lake House, Rupavahini and SLBC. I told him to put in people we can trust so that they will only boost our image, without trying to be “independent”. After all, there are so many “independent” TV stations and newspapers which never give our point of view; so what’s wrong with the state media boosting our image? And, to think that Dharme couldn’t understand this simple principle!

SUNDAY - The newspapers are full of details of how Fowzie refused to take oaths. After all that fuss, it would have been better if he resigned; at least, that would have made Ashraff happy!

MONDAY - Ashraff is complaining that his portfolio is not enough. I smiled my charming smile and told him I will look into it but he doesn’t seem to be convinced. I heard he wants to leave his official residence, but that’s not worrying, because I know he is only showing his frustration. Mangala tells me not to give in, this time around.... And, poor old Badi has died. Must have been a disappointed man in his last days seeing what Wretched “P’ has done to the education system.....

TUESDAY - Sira is detained. Got Chandrananda to issue the order. But what I can’t understand is why everyone is worried about him. With Lohan, they were asking “why AREN’T you arresting him?” but with Sira, they are asking “why ARE you arresting him?”! I told the newspapers to give maximum publicity to the fact that Sira is being given VIP treatment with meals and TV and all that. Of course, Lohan was given the same treatment but we didn’t want everybody to know that....

WEDNESDAY - Mahinda has returned from Geneva, and he took oaths as the Fisheries man. I almost expected another protest from him, but no he was very tactful and obedient. Must be hatching some plot with Anura, I believe....

THURSDAY - It’s Poson tomorrow and I thought whether I should observe ‘Sil’, but decided against it. They will have pictures of myself in a ‘Sil redda’ and everybody will think I am another Premadasa. And, anyway, I’ll be hungry if I were to fast for such a long time. How can I maintain my ‘figure’ with such measures of austerity?

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