Sri Lanka former president claims “zero” national security, criticises militarisation
ECONOMYNEXT – The ‘national security’ candidates of Sri Lanka’s last election cycle don’t seem to have delivered on that front and the government is not ready to correct the mistakes of appointing retired military men to key civil administration positions, former President Maithripala Sirisena said.
Addressing a press conference on Friday July 01, Sirisena said the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)-led government has mismanaged the country politically, economically and socially.
“National security was the foremost slogan of the last election. Today, there is zero national security,” he said.
The former president did not elaborate or offer specific examples of national security purportedly deteriorating since the election of the SLPP government. However, the past few weeks have seen an apparent increase in shooting incidents, though it is unclear whether this is due to an increase in media reports of such incidents or an actual statistical increase thereof.
There was, however, cases of retaliatory mob violence and arson attacks around the island on May 09 after government supporters launched an unprovoked and widely condemned attack on peaceful anti-government protestors. Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since Independence, leading to high inflation and crippling shortages which have in turn triggered a wave of nationwide protests that sometimes turn violent.
Sirisena recalled how he was accused of compromising on national security following the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings which killed 269 Sri Lankans and foreign tourists and injured over 500. The attack, officially attributed to Islamic fundamentalists, happened on his watch, and then Prime Minister and incumbent PM Ranil Wickremesinghe complained of being excluded from Security Council meetings due to political differences between the two leaders.
“They made me the accused, claiming there was no national security, and asked for a mandate promising to end that. I would like to ask the leaders of that campaign, what has happened today to this promised national security? Is there national security now?” he said.
“It wasn’t suitable people who were appointed to those positions [in civil administration]. The appointment of military figures to many institutes was severely criticised both locally and internationally. The government is still not ready to correct these mistakes,” he added.