In his 2005 Election Manifesto Rajapaksa, when campaigning for the Presidency for the first time, with full support of the JVP, promised to the people to abolish the Executive Presidency (page 97 – 2005 manifesto).
Then again in his 2010 manifesto, when contesting for the second term,Rajapaksa promised to take ‘whatever measures’ needed to eliminate frauds, corruption and malpractices. But what he did after elected to the office was completely the opposite.
For instance, he made the Auditor General redundant and irrelevant. For the last few years the Auditor General has not been able to audit public offices and publish its annual report, as no one seems to be taking him seriously. This disrespect to the office of the Auditor General has opened floodgates for mass scale corrupt practices running into billions of rupees.
After winning the mandate for a second term Rajapaksa wanted to strengthened his grip on power and he was determined to change the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, for his private benefit of contesting for office for another term.
In fact, President Rajapaksa refused to take oath until all impediments are removed from the Constituion, guaranteeing him to contest for a third term. Arguably, the most despicable act committed by Rajapaksa taking the country’s legislature and the Judiciary for ride merely to satisfy his greed.
In his election manifesto (2010) Rajapaksa promised to restore Rule of Law and Independence of Judiciary, but what he did after re-elected to the office was completely the opposite. Showing his all mighty power, summoning of Judges of the Apex Court to the President’s House became a common occurrence.
When 18th amendment to the Constitution was brought in, the former CJ Shirani Bandaranayakeknew that the said bill was a death-knell to the democracy and to the sovereign power of the people of this country that all organs of the government exercised on a social contract. But she simply succumbed to pressure and permitted the 18th Amendment without referring it to the people at a referendum. The said amendment to the Constitution was brought, in denying the people of their democratic rights over all organs of governance, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. With that became law, that entire government machinery was brought under firm grip of President Rajapaksa, including the Judiciary and the press freedom.
In January 2013, the Chief Justice Bandaranayake, who fell out with President Rajapaska by refusing number of unconstitutional bills, (including Divi Neguma) was unlawfully removed from office with a scant respect to the Rule of Law and then a stooge was unlawfully installed to occupy the highest office of the Judiciary.
From there on all appointments made to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court was simply according to his whims and fancies, completely undermining the integrity and peoples’ trust and confidence in the Judiciary. In fact, Mohan Pieris went on to say in pubic that in modern day governance the constitutional norm the separation of power does not exists and that there needs to be harmony between the executive and the judiciary, which he observed to the letter during his short term in office as de facto Chief Justice.
The same high handed process was applied to all the other Commissions established by law, which were made to function directly under the command of the Executive President.
Abuse of pubic funds and foreign aids and condoning of all criminal elements in the Executive and the Legislature was the order of the day. Office of the Attorney General was abused to withdraw series of Indictments served on criminals elements indicted in the High Court.
Under President Rajapaksa’s second term Parliament was simply made a rubber stamp. He abused the office to buy opposition MPs and it was filled with all forms of criminals, making it a safe heaven for ethanol and drug dealers, murderer and all forms of other anti-social elements.
There was no transparency in awarding of the mega projects that cost billions of the taxpayer’s money. When Mattala Airport, a project implemented with no proper evaluation was done, was opened there was no passengers to take flights from there. Bringing insult to injury of the people, when it was grandly opened on 13th March 2013 by the President, poor housemaids were forced to travel from Colombo to take their departure flight ‘Air Arabia’ to Sajah from Mattala. Hamabatota harbor, another failed project initiated with no proper project evaluation and assessment of value for money was no exception.
Now this greedy man absolutely with no control of senses talks about morality and what Buddha taught. And wandering in religious places misguiding the gullible people at will. It is apparent that Rajapaksa has not lost the craving for power even after duly condemned and dumped by the people. And it is very unfortunate that the majority of the gullible people are clueless about the true character of this great Machiavellian.
On 08th January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena was elected to office of the President to restore the Rule of Law and good governance sans all forms of abuses that was rampant under Rajapaksa administration. Yet, it is very disheartening to witness that President Sirisena has lost his way altogether, effectively abandoning the people who had placed great trust and confidence in him and brought him to office against all odds.