Vinaya? | Sunday Observer


Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was anointed SLPP presidential candidate last Sunday.

In his SLPP convention speech accepting the nomination, Gotabaya Rajapaksa indicated that ‘vinaya’ or discipline would be front and centre of his campaign for the presidency. A day later, the former defence secretary was seen pictured prominently with UPFA MP Prasanna Ranaweera during his visit to the Kelaniya temple to invoke blessings and at propaganda events in Kelaniya thereafter.

Ranaweera is a suspect currently out on bail on several charges of assault and corruption. His name also topped the list of Parliamentarians named in the inquiry report into the clashes in Parliament on November 16, 2018 during the political crisis.

On live television, a dumbfounded nation watched as Ranaweera slapped a police officer guarding the Speaker and threw chili powder sludge at the officers’ faces. He is also accused of having poured water on the Speaker’s chair. He has been suspended from Parliament three times and has built a reputation as being one of the most undisciplined and boisterous legislators in the House.

Pictures of Ranaweera and the presidential hopeful were widely circulated on social media in the form of memes and jokes.

It might be a match made in heaven, Rajapaksa’s detractors quipped on seeing the footage, since this election would also mark the first time in Sri Lankan political history that a man on trial for embezzling state funds in Colombo, and for murder in a California court, was running for the highest office of the land.