He’s a callous politician
The protracted political conflict between Kaduwela Municipal Mayor, G.H. Buddhadasa, and National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader and Former Housing and Common Amenities Minister, Wimal Weerawansa, which has been simmering for several years has now reached explosive proportions, with both of them now entering a new round of verbal warfare. The conflict has its genesis in the 2011 Local Government Elections, where Wimal Weerawansa fielded a mayoral
candidate of his choice from his party to contest against Buddhadasa, the incumbent mayor
Minister Weerawansa left no stone unturned in his quest to secure victory for his candidate. Buddhadasa, more experienced in area politics countered this with an aggressive campaign of his own and secured victory topping the preferential vote list.
Sunday Observer spoke to Mayor Buddhadasa about the conflict, the war of words and the allegations he has made against former Minister Weerawansa.
Q: You have been extremely critical over the activities of former Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who had done some service to the Kaduwela electorate during the past few years. What is the reason for the accusations? Is it personal or political?
A: I have nothing personal against him. But I knew him as a callous politician from the 2011 Local Government Polls where he fielded a candidate to defeat me. He resorted to all sorts of malpractices at the election. He blatantly violated all election laws and created divisions among our own party supporters.
Q: Didn’t you lodge any complaints with the higher echelons of your party against him or his activites?
A: I even reported to the President a number of times. But the President never heeded to my complaints.
Q: You had held a number of protest campaigns and conducted some press conferences to expose the malpractices of Weerawansa. Recently you lodged a complaint with the CID over the Diplomatic passport issue of Mrs. Weerawansa. What are the latest developments?
A: The Police have been completely bias during last number of years. They never acted against any of my complaints.
Weerawansa transferred three OICs, who were his cronies, to all three Police stations in the Kaduwela electorate, and played havoc in the area during all elections. No justice was meted out on those who did not support Weerawansa at election times. My
repeated requests to the higher authorities fell on deaf ear.
Law and order and justice and fair play were not prevalent in law making institutions during the latter period of the Rajapaksa regime, especially in our area where Weerawansa singlehandedly handled all institutions. I was the only politician who openly challenged him from the beginning.
Q: Weerawansa alleges you never co-operated with him in development activities in the areas?
A: What is the development work he has done in the Kaduwela electorate?
Absolutely nothing. Kaduwela residents know the quantum of work I have done for the area during my last tenure and that was why they gladly elected me again.
Not only that, I have managed to upgrade this local body to a Municipal level due to my sheer commitment and hard work and our Council was adjudged the best in theWestern Province for three consecutive
years. Weerawansa had not given a red cent from his decentralised budget to any of my activity in the Kaduwela MC area.
Q: You had alleged that he was involved in mass scale corruption and malpractices. Have you got documentary evidence to prove your allegations?
A: You are asking a silly question. The whole country knows the level of
financial strength Weerawansa had five years ago and his present position after becoming a minister? How did he amass so much of wealth within such a short period? He is not a professional, neither is he a businessman.
He is only a downright garrulous talker. How can he build castles?
I expect the authorities to conduct credible investigations into all my complaints against him and bring him to book. I have great faith in Maithripala Sirisena’s administration and hope justice would be meted out on everybody irrespective of their positions.
Q: In addition to the allegations against him on misdeeds and malpractices, what have you got to say about Weerawansa’s attempt to bring in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate at the forthcoming elections?
A: Absolute nonsense? Weerawansa and the crowd have no vote base at all for their outdated parties. That is why they seek refuge under the umbrella of Mahinda Rajapaksa. I don’t think Mahinda Rajapaksa will ruin his political retirement and ruin the SLFP too by re-entering politics with this bunch of political destitutes.
Q: You mean to say that you are not going to support Mahinda Rajapaksa in the event of his re entry into politics?
A: I am a committed SLFP supporter. Mahinda Rajapaksa has handed over the presidency of the Party to Maithripala Sirisena amidst all SLFP office bearers including his brother, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. Now our party leader is none other than Maithripala Sirisena and our collective allegiance is to him and not to anybody else.
Let Mahinda remain an advisor to the party. If Mahinda Rajapaksa has a fraction of an iota of love for the party he will not be inveigled into this political trap and end up as a political discard.
Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa was not available to respond to Mayor Buddhadasa.