Sarath Fonseka Pulling his
By Munza Mushtaq and Cassandra Mascarenhas
confusion prevailed in government quarters as to whether
former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka had accepted his
new appointment as Secretary to the Ministry of Sports
with even Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge expressing his
lack of knowledge on the issue.
The Sunday Leader yesterday evening, “I don’t know
whether he has accepted this because I am in Matara,
call me on Monday and I will tell you.”
Rajakarunanayake also expressed his total
unawareness on the matter. "I honestly don't know," he
reported to have told close confidantes that he will not
accept any position which was likely to be an insult to
his stature. He had said it was better that he leaves
the country in dignity rather than accept positions
which discredit his standing.
contact Fonseka failed as his mobile was continuously
switched off over the weekend.
defence spokesman minister Keheliya Rambukwella however
shrugged off mounting criticism over the controversial
told The Sunday Leader that the appointment of Fonseka
was in no way an insult to him as this was the senior
most position when it comes to public administration.
spokesman maintained on Friday that the former Army
Commander had already accepted the new appointment.
further reiterated that Fonseka is currently holding the
highest position in the military as Chief of Defence
Staff and now Secretary to a ministry which is the
highest position in public administration.
have no idea about the government administrative
structure are making baseless comments. If it’s an
insult as everyone says, why did nobody voice any
protests when Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda was
appointed as a ministry secretary,” he said.
United National Party (UNP) and the Janatha Vimukthi
Peramuna (JVP) criticized the government’s decision to
appoint Fonseka as a Sports ministry secretary insisting
it was an insult on the ex-commander.
Lakshman Kiriella pointed out that while the government
was seen promoting terrorists in the likes of Karuna
Amman, individuals who led the movement against the
rebels are made mere secretaries that too with no
relevance to their subject.
“He has not
accepted it yet but we see this as an insult to a person
who has conducted the war very successfully. Karuna
Amman who actively participated in so many raids against
the Sri Lankan army is now a cabinet minister while
Sarath Fonseka is a secretary who in reality has to bow
down to Karuna Amman,” Kiriella said.
“This is a
real insult to him and I hope he refuses to take up this
new appointment,” he added.
Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath told The Sunday
Leader that the new appointment was not a suitable
position for Fonseka.
government is trying to insult all military commanders,
for example Wasantha Karannagoda was also appointed as
Secretary to the Highways and Road Development Ministry.
We see this as a very unhealthy development,” he added.
members of the general public too expressed their
surprise over the new appointment highlighting that the
new position did not give due recognition to Fonseka.
Worker Nimal Istanil was of the view that the position
of Secretary to the Sports Ministry was not a suitable
job for the former Army Commander. “How can he be
demoted in this manner, they can’t expect him to take
orders from someone else? The job is not good enough for
him; he should be given a better post, Istanil said.
J.V.P. Karunatunga, a three-wheel driver questioned the
basis on which the appointment was made. “General Sarath
Fonseka was an army commander, he has nothing to do with
sports but in this country with all its politics, it
does not seem to matter if the person is suitable for
the job or not.”