The Sunday Leader

Govt. Has Successfully Concluded World’s First Hi-Tech Election Rigging Operation — Mangala

Mangala Samaraweera

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

Mangala Samaraweera

SLFP (M) Wing Leader and Co-media Spokesperson for General Sarath Fonseka, Mangala Samaraweera charged that software/paper rigging finally changed an approximately 1.5 million vote victory for General Sarath Fonseka into a 1.8 million majority for President Rajapaksa. He said this “is perhaps the first successfully carried out software/paper rigging in the world.”

Excerpts:

Q: General Sarath Fonseka’s camp has said the polls were rigged. On what basis do you make this allegation?

A: We have many reasons to believe the election was manipulated in the most insidious and subtle manner to distort the true mandate of the people. I would accuse the government of concluding successfully what I would term the world’s first hi-tech election rigging programme. The details of which are beginning to emerge. Before I get into that I would like to highlight some of the more conventional types of election malpractices and irregularities of this scandalous election.

People will realise one day soon that this election was perhaps the most outrageous and insidious election ever held in a country which claims to be democratic. Once the true details emerge, the world will realise that this election is even more shocking than the notorious election held in November 1933 under Adolf Hitler in Germany, which is seen by many historians as one of the most scandalous elections ever. Hitler claimed that 96% of the voters had voted for him and amazed the world by even claiming that 2,100 of the 2,300 inmates at the Dachau concentration camp voted for him.

Q: Yes, but on what basis do you make this allegation?

A: Before I explain this very serious and complex picture of vote rigging, I must say this is not at all a case of sour grapes and to justify the defeat of our candidate. In my 21-year-old political career I have never resorted to justifying our political setbacks before by making allegations against the victor. However, this time there are serious questions now surfacing and these questions need to be answered before we can be convinced with the claims of victory.

I will start off with the mundane. First the mood of the country — Did the people of our country act in a manner they should after giving the President a resounding victory? The majority of the people were shocked and stunned by the announcement, while small pockets of supporters led by a few UPFA PS members took to the streets in intoxication. What was most indicative of what may have happened was the Election Commissioner’s statement on January 27 announcing the final results. I would ask people to read his statement carefully and read between the lines.

To me the statement is more a cry for help from a man held hostage with a gun at his back  than an official statement proclaiming the victory of President Rajapaksa. I would like to highlight that at one point he says, “Now on certain occasions we can’t even protect our ballot boxes. This is a big situation. A wrong situation. Because of this I’m sad to say I have had to work in great difficulty.” Leaving aside the other extremely serious allegations, which are emerging, this statement by the Elections Commissioner alone would have been enough to declare the election null and void in any other country which is truly a practicing democracy.

He also talks about the unprecedented misuse and abuse of state properties and resources at this election. The misuse of public funds is well documented in the Transparency International report recently. He also highlights how he was totally helpless in the face of the despicable and totally partisan media onslaught by SLRC, SLBC and other state media. Despite appointing a Competent Authority under powers vested with him, he had to withdraw the Competent Authority in a most shocking manner.

Even on the day of the election, state media was campaigning for Mahinda Rajapaksa with advertisements and other programmes. These allegations in themselves would be enough to disqualify the President in an election petition if we really had a truly free judiciary. Unfortunately, we have to remember the present Chief Justice has also been appointed in total violation of the constitutional requirements.

However, the country cannot wait for the court ruling because what finally changed an approximately 1.5-million-vote victory for General Fonseka into a 1.8 million vote majority for President Rajapaksa in the early hours of the morning is perhaps the first successfully carried out software/paper rigging in the world.

Q: Does the opposition have proof that there was software/paper rigging?

A: We don’t have proof at the moment. As I said earlier details are emerging and there are many questions that require answers. The international election observers who were here have apparently issued a report claiming the polling day was violence-free and extremely peaceful, and concluded that the election was free and fair. These monitors who issued such a report after spending a few days, most of which were spent wining and dining at events organised by the government, had made some senior members of the delegation say this was the best-paid holiday they have received.

The election day was relatively free of violence, although there were government-inspired grenade attacks and artillery firing in the north. In their master plan they did not want the software rigging operation in the north, but were only interested in reducing the majority of Sarath Fonseka in the north and east by keeping the voter turnout low. In their master plan they had already decided to allow Fonseka to gain a victory in the north and east in order to back up their allegation of him only having the support of LTTE sympathizers in the north.

At the beginning of polling it was planned to show Fonseka in the lead in the north while the rest of the country gave a massive endorsement of Mahinda Rajapaksa. We now believe that the results were changed with the connivance of certain senior counting officers in the District Secretariats with whose help the final numbers of the tally sheets were heavily inflated in favour of Mahinda Rajapaksa. We are also receiving information on how these counting officers were handpicked by Basil Rajapaksa before the elections. We are in the process of getting concrete proof about this shocking operation. Until such time as we will have those in hand I will say with responsibility and gravity that this was one of the most sophisticated poll-rigging programmes carried out anywhere in the world.

Q: Are you saying there was no rigging on ground level during the polling period?

A: The traditional, crude forms of rigging never took place where armed hooligans show up in booths and stuff boxes. On the other hand even the polling day was violence-free. Like in the Zimbabwean elections, most violence took place in the run-up to the election. Goon squads operated by Colombo were based in various parts of the country. In Matara alone these squads, handled by the officer-in-charge of the Gemunu Watch along with two relatives of the President, roamed the area in government vehicles with impunity carrying arms.

They threatened opposition supporters with death and several times came near my house and shot in the air. Despite repeated complaints to the police with even their names, they turned a blind eye. Finally, when a police officer arrested a vehicle with armed thugs and remanded them, the thugs were released the following day because of “orders from above.” The respective police officer was questioned by the CID for carrying out his duties. I wrote a letter to the IGP on January 22 with details and names of the culprits, and in response the police raided my house in Matara, searching for weapons.
There were two other forms of rigging at the election. One was the issuing of temporary IDs. The Elections Commissioner ordered the issue of 2.1 million IDs. They were to be issued through the Samurdhi officers, but when the opposition complained it was decided to issue them through the Grama Sevakas. We are now receiving information that apart from the 2.1 million approved ID cards, thousands of false ID cards have been issued to trusted party people. These have been issued in place of dead persons and those who have gone overseas. We believe there might have been 400,000-500,000 votes rigged in this manner. The ID card machine and the laminating machine it is learnt were taken to Temple Trees in the run up to the elections.

Another method that was used, again not at the polling booth but at the counting centers, is to change the bundles. When counting, ballot papers are divided according to symbols and packed into bundles of 50. If a betel leaf ballot paper is placed on top of a swan symbol bundle, that bundle is counted as a betel leaf bundle. This was noticed in certain areas.

Q: In which areas were there malpractices recorded during counting?

A: It happened even in Matara. For example, 20 bundles are a few thousand votes. The coup de grace, however, was the massive operation which was carried out. We will come out with the details. My life is in grave danger, but I am confident that we will be able to come out with the details. There are so many questions that need to be answered:
Why did SLRC send its staff on leave on the 26th and 27th and operate for two days through an OB bus from Temple Trees? The usual practice has always been that before any media institution can give results a copy of the results certified by the Elections Commissioner has to be sent. Why were computer generated results sent this time?

Usually postal results are out by 2 am and the rest of the results start to come in. This time the postal votes took so long that electoral results got delayed; why  did the voter turnout, which was announced by the district secretaries in some districts, increase dramatically when the final results were announced? Why did Basil Rajapaksa spend so much time with the Elections Commissioner? According to information, he had been with the Elections Commissioner since 3 pm.

We have reason to believe that the Elections Commissioner was put under duress to release the certified results against his wishes.

Q: The opposition camp has also said polling agents at counting centers were assaulted and chased away. Have those agents made official complaints?

A: I’m not sure that official complaints were made. They were attacked and chased away. They were not in a proper state to make complaints. Most of the representatives in counting centers were chased away at the time the hi-tech conspiracy was taking place.

Q: What action does the opposition plan to take with regard to the alleged poll rigging?

A: The opposition must first keep the people informed. Many are asking why the opposition is not on the streets with the people protesting. We will also take this to the people and try to deal with this great conspiracy at different levels. While protesting with the people, we will file a presidential election petition for what it’s worth. We will keep the international community informed of these developments and will also ensure that such insidious acts against the people’s mandate will not be repeated during the general election. We are trying to get to the bottom of this terrible crime so that we can prove to our people what really happened.

Q: How long would it take for the opposition to gather the necessary proof to take action?

A: We will try to do it in the shortest possible time. It’s going to be a very dangerous investigation because we are dealing with a regime prepared to kill, maim, intimidate or threaten to hang on to power. What is remarkable is that the President is not behaving like a man who has gained such a remarkable victory. Even during a statement made after the results he looked guilty and dared not look at the cameras, which made me realise that he still may have a conscience. The Rajapaksa regime has already started a witch-hunt against their political opponents. Sarath Fonseka is being harassed in the most shameful manner. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s security is being removed, my house was raided on the 27th and my colleague Upulangani Malagamuwa’s house was stoned by government-sponsored mobs.

Q: What will General Fonseka do now?

A: Fonseka has the ideal qualities needed for a politician. He also has the charisma and personality to attract the people. That is why I feel that while fighting to regain the position he rightfully deserves he must remain in politics and come forward at the next general election on behalf of the millions of people who voted for him.

337 Comments for “Govt. Has Successfully Concluded World’s First Hi-Tech Election Rigging Operation — Mangala”

  1. Rahul

    Many learned who contribute/write here does not understand the True picture (and blindly criticise either SF or MR.) or what is happening in Sri Lanka, I live in USA & TRAVELLED TO S/L during OCT/NOV/Dec 09 and visited North/South and East and can give an impartial report: the weakness of this President ,is that there are some members of his family who try to ruin his good reputation , there is some sort of corruption in the public service like what happened during UNP rule, there is no whatsoever accusation directly at the President….this President is loved by the Sinhala,muslim and a section of the tamil population as he had been a very strong leader who loves his country, people are happy that there are NO BOMBS on streets and no passport is needed to cross Anuradhapura or to the East, I noted that specially mothers are happy that children and husbands are safe to return home, this is after 30 years of WAR, there a lot of development taking place by way of Roads and infrastructure. looking at the situ I expected MR to score over 60%. The reason why Sarath F. did not get more votes was because of JVP ( the sinhala people hate them and they command about 1% of the vote) Most votes SF received was the UNP vote base , I noted people no longer support this great party UNP, as people feel UNP & SLFP policies are one and the same and SLFP & specially MR’s policy on Terrrism is much stronger. My thinking is that the next General election will see around 62% or even more for the ruling party. Unless UNP get rid of the corrupt old politicians like Ravi K. and starts a new journey it is very difficult for them to come to power or get a larger piece of the cake.

    • heamalatha

      Can you please tell me why innocent tamils were killed and there homes were burned down in colombo and other parts of Sri Lanka in 1977 and 1983 during the so called riots? What is the gurrantee that it won’t happen again?

      • Samantha

        It had happened when UNP ruled the country. Under the UNP rule even Sinhala youth was killed during 88/89. So, we can assure it won’t happen again while MR is ruling the country.

      • Sri Lankan

        YES WE CAN TELL YOU WHY TAMILS WERE KILLED. ITS BECAUSE PRABAKARAN KEPT THEM AS SHIELDS TO PROTECT HIS SORRY HIDE.
        IN 1977 ITS THE UNP WHO SENT POILCE ON LEAVE AND WENT ON A RAMPAGE AND KILLED OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND NOT ONLY TAMILS
        IN 1983 ITS UNP GOONS WHO AGAIN KILLED INNOCENT TAMILS ON PREMADAS (THEN PM) ORDERS
        IT SEEMS EVERYONE IS IN DREAM WORLD WHERE THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT REALY HAPPENED BUT WE REMEMBER THAT IS WHY WE DID NOT VOTE FOR SF AND HIS UNHOLY ALLIANCE.

  2. Orpheus Perera

    I have been reading and listening to all for the last 10 years, I have been closely observing what Chandrika and Ranil were doing, I watched the peace talks, how they failed. I have read what Norwegian, British and American politician were saying about LTTE and their war. I thought we have no more leaders who can beat the terrorist. When I visited SL in 2008, I watched the TV interview of Robert Blake. I am an outside observer. I have written to Lankaweb letters, based on my observation since then defending MR, GR and our soldiers. I have written to the Guardian (not published), to Asia Tribute, Japan Times and to Gordon Brown.
    No doubt, SF was a part of the team that won the war. I believe that MR is the best leader you had even better than late D. S. Senanayake.
    Ex. General Fonseka should have listen to me(my letter dated 30th of November 2009 titled Re. General Sarath Fonseka)
    The results of the Presidential election is more in favour of SF, than unbiased people would have expected. He came to politics overnight, with one foot in America and the other in Sri Lanka. SF received the Chronic UNP votes, the people who will not change the party even if a UNP leader promise to divide the country into pieces and sell over to foreigners or fill the country with drugs.
    Remarkably, he got less than what Ranil would have got even SF is a better leader than Ranil. Also he was rejected by majority of the people of his own home town and a former UNP strong hold, held by Dr. Sadda Tissa for many years.
    It is curious to know why the majority of Tamil speaking community(including Muslims) voted in favour of SF, who was a general of an Army which Tamils used to blame since 1960 s of harassing the people in Valvitithurai(without the consent of the respective Governments). In front of Sinhalese people SF claimed that he won the war against LTTE Terrorist and not the government(I think war heroes are the soldiers who put their lives on line).
    Sararth told the foreign media
    “the vote was rigged”, and has promised to launch a legal challenge to the outcome of the ballot.
    The BBC report has two statements contradicting each other. SF has said that he was uncomfortable because 100s of soldiers were around the hotel. Then again he says now his life is at stake, after the soldiers were removed.
    I think this was the most peaceful and fair election ever held in Sri Lanka. I can remember, as a small child it was scary to go out during the lection periods, I have witnessed and heard of lots of violence even on the election days. I can also remember my farther saying, during the times of State Councils(Sri Lanka under British Raj), UNP candidate S. W. R. D Bandaranayake’s supporters offered free transport to groups of LSSP voters walking to Polling Booths(which were far away from their homes). Then they were taken to farther remote areas and dump them and by the time they walk to the palling booths, the booths were closed and election was over. These incidents took place at the last day of the election and they were unchallenged during the British rulers
    If FS won the election he could have handed over MR and his brothers to UN(the West) to be tried for war crimes. If FS won the war for the Sri Lankan, who committed the war crimes?
    Now stop your biased arguments and help the elected president to make Sri Lanka prosperous and self sufficient. You people should have read about the things that happened in Chillie(and all of Latin America)and things that happened in Iran during the last 60 years and even in Iraq.

    • DK

      Mr Orpheus,

      You are deluded. I hope your head up the Rajapakse’s comes out to see the reality. There is no way in hell they will develop this country.

      There is no way in hell he will garner western support.

      I would rather live under the west than live under China, Myanmar and Iran.

      All you blind dingbats will suffer.

      • Chandrika Kumarathunge

        When did ever Westerners support this country? I do not remember. Could you plese help me.

      • Sri Lankan

        Don’t you understand we are no longer are beggars we will develop our country without west This is why all of you who worship west does not like MR but we Sri Lankans love him because he is the only leader who faced the United West and won

        • ananda

          We are worse than beggars – we are now slaves to India and china!!! Soon the chinese will not need visa’s to enter sri lanka like the indians

        • Ela Kolla

          Hahaha… “we will develop our country without west” ??? Lol.. that’s a good one man.. You clown, the only reason the country is economically even somewhat stable is because of the money that is being pumped in by other countries. and the so called “only leader” is planning on getting another loan, obviously you don’t like to read about the bad things about your king.

  3. suranka

    This election result and the way President Rajapaksa ruling the country remembers me Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

    No one wants SL to be another Zimbabwe or Sudan or Myanmar.

    GOD bless Sri Lanka.

  4. Chandrika Kumarathunge

    Hi Mangi! All our conspiracies against this country went wrong. I do not know why? What a mess we all are in! Please help us God!

  5. JagathW

    Cost overblows on projects, particularly IT projects do happen. While it is good to improve management practices and minimise them, still they do occur..
    To accuse the MR government of corruption on one or two failed projects is taking things out of context..
    Here is an example of such failed project in a developed country.
    This has todate cost more than AUD 1.3Bn (Rs 130,000,000,000 )and still no end on sitght.
    mind you this is a very ordinary ticketing system for a state rail network with 16 electrified lines, the central City Loop subway, and 200 stations, with a total length of 372 km of electrified lines. My estimate cost ofor a project of this magnitude is $ 20M to 30M max.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/victorias-myki-to-cost-1bn/story-0-1111115469162
    I am not condoning this kind of waste anyware, but let us pl learn to put things in to perspective…

  6. mihindu

    Please get rid of SF from the political scene as soon as possible.It is good for all stake holders.Politicians have to be groomed and it is a process so is the making of a general.So let it be.

    MR will get over 65% at the parliamentary elections.

    People accept this verdict.

    Think of the next 10 years and groom young leaders like Sajith.Ruwan Wijewardene etc.Bring respected figures like Rukman Senanayake to the forefront,

    I am an independent observer.We don’t like to see the likes of Ravi K anymore.

    We are the floating vote and the deciding factor.

    Only the hardcore UNP/JVP believe Magala’s stories.

    Help Rajapakse to build the country.

    Stop this nonsense.

    • maluman

      Mihindu, this is the most manipulative, corrupt government SL has ever had. They are willing to bribe, kill, kidnap, intimidate in order hang on to power. Do you really believe that in spite of flouting all election laws, slinging mud at SF on state TV 24 hours a day, burning opposition officers, attacking opposition activists, killing opposition members etc, that this election was free and fair. It is obvious they rigged it and robbed it. How could the government (which surveys indicated would lose the election), win SF’s hometown ambalangoda, CBK’s hometown Attanagalla, UNP’s stronghold Colombo, and JVP’s stronghold Tissamaharama?????

      • mihindu

        My dear Maluman,eradication of corruption,yes but not with UNP -never ever.They will teach a few things to MR that’s all.For this end movements of civil society needs to be mobilised.Of course JRJ killed all of them in 1977 -1983 -remember?So the opposition needs to organise these again.You can direct a government from opposition.Do you know the Hartal of 1958?This result is a verdict of a grateful Sinhala electorate.Even the SLFP puts forward a broom in Attanagalla it will win.They know how Rajapakses was behind Badaranaikes in 1956.Well electrorates needs nursing for years like so just because someone is from Ambalangoda does not mean he cam win.The JVP voter is left based and they will never support them when with the rightist UNP.

  7. Bertsr

    Sure the Presidental elections and the General Elections were rigged. The devious master mind Basil saw to it. But I dont think He will last.,

  8. Abdullah

    An Interesting ALLEGATION,Was Basil Rajapakse so popular in Gampaha District to receive over 425000+ PREFERENTIAL VOTES in the Parlimentary Elections?Can somebody elighten me,PLEASE

  9. Abdullah

    I think MANGALA should take responsibility for the current state of affairs,He initially Conieved/conspired with CHANDRIKA than was behind the Campaign as the KEY MAN getting MAHINDA Elected through all his Scheming and manipulations.RIGHTLY MAHINDA washed him off from the inner bracket/Machinery and Booted him out after getting Elected…I REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT WOULD BE THE FUTURE FOR SRI LANKA WITH SUCH SELF RIGHTEOUS/SELF CONCERNED POLITICIANS

  10. BASH

    If this story is true, the elections commissioner and his entire family should rot in hell, we all trusted him to be fair

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes

Switch to our mobile site