by Podi Malli, Sinnathambi and Chinna Kaaka
(June 24, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The vociferous and one time outspoken critic of President Dr Mahinda Rajapakse who stood shoulder to shoulder with the opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka in the presidential elections has been effectively silenced by the government with his appointment as Minister of Justice.
The one time eloquent critique of the President is none other than the bought over leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauff Hakeem who is maintaining bowled over silence on several controversial issues. He is proving that he has been systematically marginalised following his allegiance to the government.
His exceedingly titled ministerial post is a name sake placement for him and in reality he has been empowered with menial duties and his influence as Justice Minister on major judicial and political matters are said to be tightly controlled.
Instead of sending/ taking the Justice Minister on foreign tours, the President Mahinda Rajapakse is comfortable in aligning with the Attorney General. The Attorney General who comes under the Justice Ministry has travelled to meet UN Secretary General in New York, UN meetings in Geneva and also has accompanied the President in his foreign tours.
Minister Rauff Hakeem is the prime witness to the violent abduction of General Sarath Fonseka soon after the Presidential election. Since his appointment as Justice Minister, he has not moved a jot even to help a fair judicious process for his one time political friend.
Then on the question of the controversial appointment of Mrs Shiranee Bandaranayake as Chief Justice, it is claimed to be an exclusive effort of the President and the Justice Minister was not approached for his opinion on her appointment. Controversy of conflict of interest of the Chief Justice due to her husband’s involvement in important government positions is said to be known to the Minister. But his status is such that he is unable to assert his position as a Minister.
The Cabinet Minister Rauff Hakeem is unable to influence the President to induct his party in the political talks currently underway with the Tamil National Alliance. Instead, he is making public appeal for his inclusion.
Podi Malli and Sinnathambi said to the Chinna kaaka: ‘The tail of the Thambiya’s/Kaaka’s in the Kulla (hat) will not swing without a reason’. Chinna Kaaka replied: ‘Don’t rush to conclusion my friends, time will tell Hakeem’s swing will be the right summersault for the Muslim cause’.