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Remove Rajapakshe : UNP informs President

The United National Party has officially informed President Maithripala Sirisena to remove Justice and Buddasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, from his post.

The UNP leadership has informed President Maithripala Sirisena to take necessary action to remove Dr. Wjeyadasa Rajapakshe from all his Ministry posts. This follows a UNP working committee decision that Rajapakshe had failed to abide by working committee decisions and continued to criticise government ministers and its policies, UNP General Secretary Minister Kabir Hashim said yesterday.

Hashim said in a press release that during the working committee meeting held on August 17, allegations were made against Minister Rajapakshe saying he was breaching collective responsibility of the Cabinet and the party.

The committee unanimously decided that he should be given time till August 21 to correct his statements failing which he should be removed from all ministry posts if he failed to do so before that date. Accordingly the working committee held discussions with party President Malik Samarawickreme and notified Minister Rajapakshe who agreed to it.

However he had later breached that agreement by failing to retract his previous statements and again breached collective responsibility last weekend by continuing to criticise Ministers of the party and government policy.

Given Rajapakshe’s failure to abide by the working committee, it unanimously decided that he (Rajapakshe) should be removed from all his ministry posts.

Meanwhile, UNP MP Nalin Bandara briefing media at Sirikotha yesterday morning said the call for removal of Minister Rajapakshe does not extend to party level. The demand is only restricted to his position as a cabinet minister. There is no demand as yet to remove Rajapaksa from the UNP, he said.

MP Bandara said they have forwarded the request to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the matter and expressed his confidence over the possible removal of Minister Rajapakshe from his position as a Cabinet minister. “To my understanding, the President will agree with a request made by the Prime Minister in this matters. We are awaiting a final decision with much confidence” MP Bandara said.

MP Nalin Bandara rhetorically speaking said “if there is friend who is an enemy in disguise or if a person is in our house who is a friend of our enemy, that person should be expelled from our house.”

The reasons to call for removal of Wijayedasa Rajapakshe from his position as a Cabinet Minister were twofold, MP Bandara pointed out.

He said the dominant reason was Wijayedasa Rajapakshe’s failure to accomplish his functions as the Minister of Justice in the Yahapalana government. MP Bandara pointed out establishing a solid legal and administrative structure against corruption was one of the main campaign promises made by the Yahapalana government.

“The Yahapalana government was elected in 2015 with 6.2 million votes, as a result of a rallying call against corruption. People urged us to enforce law correctly and fairly. To achieve this goal, the administrative structure of the legal entities must undergo a change, which did not happen as yet. Or we need to expedite the fight against corruption using the current legal framework. Minister of Justice didn’t opt for either,” UNP MP Nalin Bandara said.

MP Bandara explained the other reason which compelled them to demand the removal of Rajapakshe from his position to be his irresponsible comment over the Hambantota port agreement.

“Secondly, Wijayedasa Rajapakshe failed to abide by the collective responsibility that every Cabinet minister holds. His comment on the Hambantota Port agreement was irresponsible coming from a Cabinet minister. The Cabinet takes collective decisions and it is unbecoming for a Cabinet minister to go outside and criticize a decision the Cabinet collectively took,” MP Nalin Bandara explained.

MP Bandara further pointed out that the demand to expedite legal action against the corruption in previous regime will not take the shape of what happened with former chief justice Shiranti Bandaranayake. “Our demand is to expedite not to interfere with the legal system.” MP Bandara pointed out how the case against Filed Marshal Sarath Fonseka was taken up by a three member committee which conducted its hearing on a daily basis. “We have examples and provisions to expedite hearing of these cases. There is no use of the Attorney General if it is acting in the same manner it did under the previous regime.” Bandara added.

MP Bandara also pointed out the Joint Opposition has lured Wijayedasa Rajapakshe into a trap where they have fed him with dreams of running for presidency as the common candidate in the next coming 2020 presidential election. “The largest group of thieves is with the Joint Opposition. They are trying to manipulate Wijayedasa Rajapakshe to slow down the legal procedure against them. Now, one JO member said he was bitten by a viper, when he was summoned to testify on corruption allegations. Even this ‘lady’ skipped testifying before the CID over the Thajudeen murder case four or five times.” Bandara said.

MP Bandara expressed his confidence over expedite legal process against crime and corruption allegations when barricades in its way be lifted in near future.