The late developer | Daily News

The late developer

One often comes across instances where dullards, while in school, transforming into geniuses in adult life and going onto make a success in their fields of endevour. On the other hand the bright sparks have ended up as losers and failures in life. The first category belongs to those commonly described as late developers.

It appears that former Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe too is being stuck by this phenomenon- in a different sense though- for wisdom has begun to dawn on him only after four long years in the Yahapalanaya Government. The senior lawyer and President’s Counsel who burned the midnight oil to see the birth of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution during the hay day of Yahapalanaya has suddenly began to see ghosts in this groundbreaking piece of legislation after leaving the Government and joining forces with Mahinda Rajapaksa and Co. He has gone so far as to condemn 19A in a recent interview with the media arguing that the amendment tied the hands of the President, ignoring the fact that curbing the Executive powers was the main reason he so assiduously worked towards in ensuring 19 A saw the light of day. Not just he, a wide section of civil society, professionals intellectuals, artistes etc. joined forces to ensure there would be no interference by the Executive in the legislature and the judiciary and towards this end supported the establishment of independent commissions.

Rajapakshe cannot be unmindful of the immense benefits and advantages the establishment of these independent commissions brought about in depoliticizing the judiciary, the police and the public service. By now claiming that the Constitutional Council is acting with political bias and it circumscribed the powers of the Executive, Rajapakshe is only negating the efforts of stalwarts such as the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera whom he greatly admired, and who strove with single minded purpose to get rid of the Executive Presidency, before his untimely death.

Now Rajapakshe wants the President to appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the conduct of the members of the Constitutional Council appointed in terms of the very 19A, he himself took great pains to carve out. He claims that the CC was highly politicized since it rejected the names recommended by the President for appointment to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. Did not the CC make appointments during the four years he was in the Government and is it only now that it is being politicized? What validity can any intelligent person give to such a claim? Besides, the CC includes the representatives of the President, as well as all political parties, including the JO. Why does Rajapakshe fail to mention the fact that all choices to the Supreme Court made by the CC were unanimous, as revealed by the Speaker in Parliament recently? Why pray, did he wait four long years to suddenly claim that the CC was politically biased?

He (Rajapakshe) says that members of the CC did not have the authority to reject nominations of the Executive for judicial positions. Did he expect the CC to be a rubber stamp to blindly endorse all names forwarded by the President when the whole purpose of the CC was to preclude interference of the Executive in judicial appointments? What does he suggest? To revert back to the 18th Amendment where such appointments were made on the fancy of the Executive? He has also gone on to question the qualifications of members of the CC to decide on the appointments to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Is he implying that even the nominees of the President are not qualified, taking into account that all appointments had the unanimous nod of the CC?

It looks as if the Rajapakshe has become the mouthpiece of powerful elements who are now having misgivings over the enactment of the 19A, in the same way he did a hatchet job in Parliament during the recent political crisis. To that extent it is he himself who is playing politics and not the CC which he is accusing of being politically biased.

In any event few would take Rajapakshe’s claims seriously given his dubious record as a Minister in the Yahapalanaya Government. It is this selfsame Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who, as a member of the Cabinet raised both hands in favour of leasing out the Hambantota Port to China only to later go public claiming that the Government had bartered away the country’s future generation. He has also accused the Government for being a co-sponsor of the Geneva resolution and from time to time has hit out against taking legal action against members of the security forces charged with criminal acts. He had also found fault with the Government for allegedly being in cahoots with the Tamil diaspora. He however never quit the government in the face of such ‘betrayals’. However right along his tenure as a Minister it was obvious that Rajapakshe was playing footsies with his namesake and it was only a matter of time before he switched sides, which he did on October 26.


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