Another messiah plunges into the cesspool!

The late General Denzil Kobbekaduwa still lives in our hearts as a revered warrior and gentleman who never compromised himself for expedience. But for the late President J. R. Jayewardene's capitulation to pressure from India, which he had antagonised unnecessarily, Gen. Kobbekaduwa, ably assisted by Gen. Wimalaratne, would have accounted for Prabhakaran and decimated the LTTE way back in 1987. Prabhakaran, it may be recalled, was trapped in Vadamarachchi, unable to face Operation Liberation, but India whisked him away in a military chopper, having frightened the JRJ government into submission with a parippu (dhal) drop.

Gen. Kobbekaduwa is still fondly remembered – the same could be said of Gen. Wimalaratne as well – because he made it known in no uncertain terms that he had no political ambitions, in spite of efforts in some quarters to lure him into politics. He was a brilliant soldier with an unblemished service record and wanted to remain so and fade away. And he did! But, unfortunately, a good general who led the Sri Lankan Army to victory over terrorism has plunged feet first into the cesspool of politics and sullied his image. Sarath Fonseka is his name. He has embraced the very forces that backed the LTTE, scoffed at the war effort, vilified him and carried out a sinister anti-Sri Lanka campaign. This is something never expected of a professional soldier of his calibre.

We are also disillusioned with an indefatigable campaigner who rose to fame in record time in politics for courageously exposing corruption and irregularities in the public sector enterprises and politicians responsible for them. He is Wijedasa Rajapakshe of the COPE fame. He fought valiantly against numerous odds to bring the culprits responsible for the corrupt deals revealed in his reports to book, but in vain. Frustrated, he broke ranks with the government, which had appointed him to Parliament on its National List and chose to remain independent in the House. He was thought to have taken a principled stand, when he stopped short of defecting to the Opposition at that time, as he had exposed the UNP-led UNF government (2001-2004) for illegal and corrupt deals during its brief tenure.

However, much to the disappointment of many, Rajapakshe had no qualms about inviting former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to a launch of his books and CDs at Waters Edge in spite of a questionable land deal involving that hotel and her, which had been brought to light in Parliament. He could not have been unaware that he had invited the wrong person to the wrong place. Later, on Oct. 08, 2008, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment on the alienation of land for the Waters Edge golf course. The SC ruling stated that the entire land transaction, involving around 224 acres, had been done in violation of the public trust vested in the former President Kumaratunga! The SC nullified the transaction, which was declared arbitrary and illegal. The former President was ordered to pay the State Rs. 3 million as compensation within one month.

Wijedasa Rajapakshe, like Sarath Fonseka, who finally closed ranks with the very forces he detested, officially joined the UNP yesterday at Sirikotha in spite of his COPE expose of illegal deals under the UNF government such as the sale of a block of land belonging to the Lanka Marine Services and the privatisation of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation. The Supreme Court on July 22, 2008 declared the LMS deal illegal and void. On June 04, 2009, the SC ruled that the sale of SLIC to a private owner was null and void and ordered that the shares sold in that transaction be immediately re-vested in Secretary to the Treasury.

True, some of the UNP/UNF parliamentarians responsible for those illegal deals have defected to the government but the fact remains that the UNP-led UNF government was bound by collective Cabinet responsibility and therefore has no way of absolving itself of the sin of selling public assets illegally.

If a parliamentarian’s conscience does not permit him to remain in the UPFA on the grounds of corruption, abuse of power, waste etc. how can he ever join the UNP which is equally culpable? This is the one million dollar question that Rajapaksha ought to answer!

We do not question Rajapakshe's right to leave or join any political party but he has only made a mockery of his crusade against corruption and abuse of power, with his frog-like jump. Sadly, he has failed to live up to public expectations. We have another messiah in the cesspool! C’est la vie!

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