By Madhuri Ranasinghe
In a twist that left cricket fans scratching their heads, President Ranil Wickramasinghe penned a letter to the cabinet on the evening of November 27, announcing the removal of Mr Roshan Ranasinghe from his ministerial post. The cricket crisis in Sri Lanka has now taken another intriguing turn. Adding to the drama, former Minister Roshan Ranasinghe claimed in a special statement to Parliament that he’s received life-threatening threats, suggesting a murky underworld lurking behind the scenes.
For the neutral observer, it might raise an eyebrow—can cricket money wield such power as to shuffle ministers? Sri Lanka’s cricket coffers have been a subject of contention, with the Government’s Auditor General revealing in an audit report how funds have been utilized in the past. The wealth intended for the nation appears to have fallen into the hands of a select few. While sports association laws might brush this off as normal, the Auditor General’s report cannot be easily dismissed by anyone advocating for a fraud-free Sri Lanka.
The Parliament, in a rare show of unity, unanimously called for the removal of Sri Lankan cricket officials. President Wickramasinghe’s move aligns with this consensus, possibly scoring political points. This chess game in Parliament prompted speculation—would the President be timed out or hit a six? As of now, it seems he’s skillfully timed his move and struck a six, but the game is far from over.
The President’s removal of Roshan Ranasinghe also serves as a warning shot to the powerful figures within the Pohottuva party. By doing so, he appears to have shielded his Chief of Staff from the opposition’s onslaught. The dynamics within Pohottuva remain unpredictable, with some strongmen seemingly unaware of the President’s strategic play.
President Wickramasinghe’s announcement of a Parliamentary Selection Committee to investigate delays in approving appointments adds another layer to the political chessboard. Removing the sports minister at a time when Parliament has called for change in the cricket administration may strain the delicate balance between the executive and the legislature. It sparks speculation about potential conflicts on the horizon.
As rumours circulate about the possible dissolution of Parliament, the political climate in Sri Lanka seems poised for a heated 2024. The question remains: where will the cricket money flow this year? The answer may hold the key to the unfolding drama that promises to keep the nation on the edge of its seat. As the cricket hype continues, the political innings in Sri Lanka appear set for a thrilling match in the coming year.