Roundabout | Sunday Observer


Where did Udith go wrong?

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was captured on camera a couple of days ago calling his Private Secretary Udith Lokubandara a ‘moda yakek’ and ordered him to stay away. Trouble started when the former President came out of his official residence in Colombo after being questioned by the CID over the alleged abduction and assault on journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008.

Some JO heavyweights claimed this incident had happened due to a misunderstanding. A lot of journalists had gathered opposite the former President’s official residence at Wijerama to cover the CID visit to record a statement from him. After Rajapaksa gave his statement to the CID, he had a meeting with JO Parliamentarians. Then someone who had approached the former President had told him that journalists had been waiting outside his residence for a long time. Lokubandara suggested they come inside, while the former President said he would go out to greet the reporters. The former President’s private secretary had not heard him and asked security personnel to permit the reporters to come into the house. The video of how angry this small mistake had made the former President has since gone viral. When journalists asked about the incident later, Rajapaksa laughed it off, saying “I didn’t get angry at all but we have to correct young people when they make mistakes. They are like my children.”


Search for ‘winners’

It is obvious that a new idea has dawned on the prospective UNP Presidential Candidate for 2020. A key UNP Minister had said, the UNP would field a ‘winning candidate’ for the Presidential Election and added, perhaps, this time too, there may be a Common Candidate, but definitely he would be a UNPer, surely a winning candidate.


Development race

As the Government tries to set its house after three years in power, development projects are being launched at a hectic pace. President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Plantations Minister Naveen Dissanayake are all in a race against the clock to launch development and livelihood schemes both big and small. This week, the President travelled North to launch the Myliddy fisheries harbour restoration and then to the North Western project to kick off the Wayamba Ela Phase II.

The Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition will take off in Moneragala next Wednesday, with plans to take the exhibition to Anuradhapura and Jaffna as well.

The flurry of activity has altered the narrative slightly, with even JO frontliners admitting that the development projects were good ideas, with the caveat that they should be implemented properly.


Get set go, for corruption court

The Special High Court to try financial crimes and corruption got to work last week, with the first high profile official of the former Rajapaksa regime being served indictment at the inaugural session on Friday (24). Gamini Senarath, former chief of staff of President Mahinda Rajapaksa will face the first trial at the permanent High Court at bar. The Attorney General has also moved quickly, with indictments also being served against the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the misappropriation case to the tune of Rs 90 million to build a monument for D.A. Rajapaksa, his father, using public funds. Small wonder the JO staunchly opposed legislation to establish the special court! Trials will be held daily at the new court.


Namal takes the lead

Former first son and Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa has taken the lead on organizing the SLPP Youth Wing’s Jana Balaya Colambata demonstration scheduled for September 5. There are whispers in the Pohottuwa faction that former Economic Development Minister and mastermind of SLPP’s convincing electoral success in February this year has been sidelined in favour of the young MP from Hambantota, who is increasingly becoming the face of the Rajapaksa camp. On the social media network Twitter, pictures often appear – many of them posted by Namal himself – of the young politico leading meetings for the September 5 rally with various factions of the pro-Rajapaksa camp.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the organizing committee of the JO demonstration had met at MP Rajapaksa’s office in Colombo, and at the meeting JO heavyweight Dullas Alahapperuma had given a lengthy analysis on the history of toppling Governments. JO members commended MP Alahapperuma’s analysis and said it should have been made in the presence of the masses.