Of Presidential whiplashes and jaunts by the joint heads | Sunday Observer

Of Presidential whiplashes and jaunts by the joint heads

Oh dearie me! What a blot in the copy book! The ugly black ink spot dropped by the owner of the copybook himself.

Yes, yes, I speak of the President. We live in times when he himself decreed there was no need to precede his designation with Honourable or His Excellency.

That’s why I mention his designation without any salutation in front. Fine man to make such a pronouncement when the former incumbent was soon encouraging the substitution of ‘Your Royal Highness’ for the usual appellations.

In his rule, the former Prez felt justified since he was not head of a democracy where all are equal and all rule all. Rather was he the king amidst a royal family with slaves around - sycophants constantly saluting and bending in obeisance to please him.

Hence the jubilation when a fresh sweet breeze blew through the length and breadth of this country on 8 January 2015. The breeze became a wind, still comforting, when in August a green and blue government was formed. The first minor sulisulanga was when most of the plum ministries were given to SLFPers and good, intelligent, decently backgrounded UNPers were handed out deputy or state ministerships.

A sinister strong wind blew when defeated blue candidates at the August general elections were roped into the Cabinet, through the back door. OK, never mind we said. If PM Ranil accepts it, who are we to protest.

Visibly angry

Then on Saturday 15 October the President causes a whirlwind by spewing strong gusts of verbal wind against the FCID, CIABOC and CID.

The gust was so strong that it blew away the Head of the body investigating bribe taking and corruption.

We thought she was too substantial to be shaken by a gust of wind, strong though it was and emanating from the local Zeus among the god-imagining blue MPs surrounding him. Tuesday of this last week saw the Prez accepting the lady’s resignation.

This cat has an admission to make. When she heard the President make his strong statement against the FCID et al, she thought he was criticizing them for being slow in completing cases of corruption and murder.

She realized she thought wrong when the next day a hornets’ nest was activated. People started buzzing around with this explanation and that so much so that this feline’s brain was all mixed up. Then she heard respectable and respected reps of the people criticizing the Prez.

On Tuesday 19th night TV news she hears the Prez himself refer to what he said and the noise that greeted it. She listened carefully. Was he going to retract what he said? Was he going to explain why he said what he said? Was he going to elaborate on the sharp criticisms he levelled.

No. None of these expected reaction or explanation. What he dinned into the listeners at a worthy gathering to assure good drinking water to many thousands with JICA help was only a reference to white vans of yore. He asked: could you say what you said against me before I took over? No! You would have been abducted by a white van even before 24 hours passed.

Now that was a real malle pol answer, a real running round the mulberry bush explanation. He skirts the core and goes off at a tangent. That leaves this cat even more confused.

Why this tirade from our Prez? Is there any genuine political interference ongoing in the anti-corruption apparatus? Was he right to raise the alarm over such interference? Hopefully, the tirade will warn off anyone trying such hanky-panky. Stories swirl around about those of the opposing side being given a helping hand, a straw stretched out to a sinking ex leader and probable next leader.

The most ludicrous explanation for the tirade was that since Maithripala S could not lash out with his skate tail at his son who was supposed not to have been in the night club that was attacked in the wee hours, he took his favourite whip and swung it against the institutions mentioned above.

This feline refuses to give up. She’ll listen to all the tales that swirl around and decide later. She still admires the President!

Too many overseas jaunts

There was, this feline believes, a warning that emanated from the Prez’ office that overseas trips had to be curtailed by Ministers of State, MPs and others with political power. But that did not hold the outflux.

A large contingent from the Kandy Pradeshiya Sabha trotted off to Katunayake to take wing to China with the Central Province Guv giving a lame excuse for signing the OK forms. Then some other Pradeshiyas went to Russia or some such destination. Then the people started mumbling and grumbling that the two Heads were globetrotting excessively.

This feline comments: So what? They have to go when they are invited. How stupid to expect the President to turn down an invitation to the BRICS gathering in Goa. He would meet the big wigs in the emerging economies of the world – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Well, our Prez met Putin and of course Mody and the mighty Xi Jinping among lesser heads. He also hobnobbed with others invited like himself of countries in the Bay of Bengal. So that was a most useful trip.

People know Ranil loves travel, but his most recent trip to Brussels was necessary and would restore the lost GSP come 2017.The present leaders go in small groups, travel light in expenses in commercial flights and returns are large. So let’s stop bellyaching about their travels.

But about threats and whipping and resignations and all that we need to watch out and insist on yahapalanaya, if not the genuine thing which seems to have gone with the wind, (as the newest Nobel Laureate for Peace sings) at least a semblance where the law is the same for everyone, Gotabaya and service commanders included.

- Menika