Sign saying ‘outsiders are not allowed in’, at a kade in Kalutara.
The Rajapaksa family is used to getting what they want. The kids want to race cars or be astronauts so they get tax breaks and satellites. Mahinda wanted an airline so he got Mihin. Now Basil wants control over provincial level patronage and the Supreme Court was standing in the way. So the family wanted the Chief Justice removed. This, however, does not simply waste the people’s money, it’s a pretty direct violation of law and order. And, quite embarrassingly, the charges are quite patently dumb.
Any charges or Parliament papers are usually a paper cover over the ultimate fact that the Rajapaksas simply want something. The 18th Amendment was simply Mahinda wanting more power. The Fonseka prosecution was simply Mahinda wanting to be rid of someone who’d dared oppose him. In the latter case, however, Fonseka actually was a dodgy dude and the charges, while trumped up and often contradictory, were still believable. In the Shirani Bandaranayake case, however, they have nothing. Like, I thought they we have something on her, but they have absolutely nothing. It’s actually quite pathetic.
The broad charges are that she A) had money B) bought a house C) had bank accounts D) delivered a decision to the wrong ceremonial person E) wrote something in Groundviews (before it existed) and F) has a husband under investigation. I was reading through the charge sheet and it’s just dumb. They couldn’t even make up anything serious. As per her response, she seems to have just bought a house for her sister in Australia, had bank accounts and made some administrative decisions. The charges relating to her husband may be serious, but that’s still not legal grounds for impeaching her, nor do they make any case that it is.
As Bandaranayake’s lawyers said, “The document dated 14/11/2012 contains no charges in Law.” Seriously, there’s nothing there. Even by the broadest definition, there is no grounds for impeachment, and they haven’t even made a compelling story up. Literally, there’s nothing there.
All that’s really there underneath is that the Rajapaksas want her out, and the Rajapaksas usually get what they want. This faux impeachment, however, is really beyond the pale. It’s just patently dumb, and I pity the legal draftsmen who had to convert what a gossipy school note into some sort of coherent document, and failed. Of course, I have nothing but contempt for the MPs who signed this thing, seemingly without reading it, just to curry favor with the king.