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Militarisation: Sri Lankan President brings six institutions under military control

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued a Gazette notice mandating that six institutions will under the control of the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry.

The MILODA Institute, also known as the Academy of Financial Studies, the National Police Academy (NPA), the National Authority for the Implementation of Chemical Weapons, the Department of Multi-Purpose Development Task Force, and the Api Wenuwen Api Fund, are amongst the institution taken under control of the Defence Ministry. The Department of Immigration and Emigration also came under control of the Defence Ministry in March of this year.

Rajapaksa is utilising Article 44 (2) of the Constitution to reassign departments, as the article permits him to reassign subjects and alter the functions of Ministers and non-Cabinet officials appointed by him.

Chandani Kirinde, writing for Financial Times LK, notes that the Api Fund was initially set up as a collaboration between the military and the Central Bank to build 50,000 houses for Sri Lanka’s security force whereas the NPA used to serve under the Police Department.

The Multi-Purpose Development Task Force which was set up to help eradicate poverty is now headed by military leadership, with former Sri Lankan General Nanda Mallawarachchi in charge,

The Economist has written on Rajapaksa’s push for the normalisation of the “military’s influence in the civilian sphere”, noting that it undermined "reconciliation" efforts.

Read more here: Sri Lanka’s new president is putting soldiers in charge of everything – The Economist

Read more from FT LK.