President Maithripala Sirisena said his Government had restored freedom and democracy in the country and promised to end economic instability in the country as the ruling national unity coalition marked its first year in office with a massive rally in Matara yesterday.
Large crowds gathered at the Kotuwegoda Sanath Jayasuriya stadium in Matara for the commemoration event which Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also attended.
A fired up President Sirisena also threatened the members of the pro Rajapaksa ‘Joint Opposition’ saying he would expose their lies and corruption that would leave them with no choice but to keep walking the streets.
“Some people say they will make new parties. Let them try. The day they do the extent of their thuggery, corruption and lies will be exposed. All the secrets that have been hidden till now will be exposed on that day. Then all they will be able to do is to walk the streets,” President Sirisena charged, in reference to the JO Paada Yaatra held two weeks ago, as the crisis within the SLFP deepened this week.
President Sirisena said there were those who were dreaming of building a new Government, but assured the crowds that the unity coalition would rule for the next five years. “We shall see who will govern after 2020,” he taunted.
The President vowed that he would never permit thieves and brigands to govern Sri Lanka again.
He warned his own Government members that corruption would not be tolerated. “We will not allow them to be corrupt. If they get caught we will punish them worse than the others,” the President vowed.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who also addressed the rally said the Government that was elected into office in August 2015 had inherited a “garbage dump.”
“A family and its associates had destroyed the country. That is the country that we were left to pick up. Under the former regime the country had fallen behind drastically,” the Prime Minister charged. He said the National Government had been created to rebuild a fallen nation. “Today we are building a new country. A country that was destroyed by war is being rebuilt. When we mark our second year in office, the country will be in a much better place,” he pledged. The Prime Minister said that the two main political parties in the country had decided not to be rivals and to govern together to show the world that Sri Lanka was not a failure. Both leaders hit out against the former President, reasserting their commitment to national security.
Pix by Pradeep Pathirana and Shantha Ratnayake
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said he was not the one who struck deals with the LTTE to win an election. “I thought it would be better to stay in opposition than make deals with the LTTE. So who is the traitor? The person who made deals with the LTTE or the person who didn’t?” he charged, speaking openly about well known secret about the 2005 presidential election that Wickremesinghe lost by 180,000 votes.
President Sirisena also said there were those who went about beating their chest about patriotism.
“We love this country more than those who just brag about it. No foreign forces will be allowed hold sway here,” he charged. I was not the one signed a deal with the LTTE
Several Ministers and leaders in the ruling coalition attended the Matara rally including Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Law and Order Minister Sarath Fonseka. The rally was themed “A New Country, One Journey”. (DB)