Soon After Fonseka Was Sentenced To Prison, President And Defence Secretary Should Have Resigned!
S. V. Kirubaharan in France
Most of my predictions that appeared in The Sunday Leader of January 10 (“After The Election: What Will Happen To The President’s Promises?”), have come true. Now I give further analysis and predictions.
Firstly, as I said in my article, the people who voted for the elected President were let down — his promises remain unfulfilled. I presume I do not have to list these — they are widely published in the free and fair media. One such is — rather than removing the ‘Executive Presidency’, more power has been given him by two thirds majority.
Whenever we meet members of the international community, a typical stance is that the Sri Lanka government was unable to do anything on the ethnic conflict, because none of the governments had a two-thirds majority in parliament. Present Secretary of State for Defence of United Kingdom, Liam Fox, worked out an agreement between the People’s Alliance and the United National Party in 1997, aiming to find a common solution to the ethnic conflict.
But the President who has two-thirds majority in parliament, is not bothered about a solution to the ethnic conflict. Like putting the ‘cart before the bull’, the President used the parliamentary majority to strengthen his power, rather than finding a political solution.
As I predicted last January, Sarath Fonseka became a member of parliament, the Rajapaksas prepared a law suit and now he is sentenced to 30 months of rigorous imprisonment. Fonseka may not have dreamt that, one day he was to serve a prison sentence in Welikada. The one time hero who was praised for wiping out terrorism, is today with the same people, against whom he was fighting and who were accused of ‘terrorism’.
Are the charges Sarath Fonseka faced true? If so, firstly the government should take responsibility for keeping a corrupt military commander in service from December 6, 2005 to July 15, 2009. In democratic countries where ‘law and order’ and the judiciary function correctly, presidents, prime ministers and ministers have resigned for mistakes made on their part.
The day Fonseka was sentenced to prison, the President and Secretary of Defence of Sri Lanka, should have either resigned or been charged by the Attorney General for keeping a corrupt General in service. Did that happen in Sri Lanka? And what are the opposition parties doing? They are busy stabilising their own parties at the expense of Fonseka’s term in prison.
What about looking at the reality of military coups in Sri Lanka?
Since 1948, Sri Lanka has seen a coup d’état by the military on January 27, 1962 and two class struggles (revolutions) by the Sinhalese youths in the South (April 4, 1971 and 1987-1989). All ended in failure.
In the recent past, a neighbouring country predicted that there may be a military coup in Sri Lanka. Last month in a press conference, Sarath Fonseka said that a “military coup may arise”. Possibilities of an impending coup cannot be ignored. Valid reasons should be analysed.
Let us consider the failed revolutions in 1971 and 87-89. Where are those who were involved in these failed revolutions? We see only one individual from 1971 and a few from 87-89. Where are the others? The government knows better than anyone else. To fight the 30 years of war, recruitment in the South followed neither procedures nor guide-lines. The generation who had wanted to topple the government, made use of this opportunity and positioned themselves in the armed forces.
Sarath Fonseka knew this fact very well. This was one reason why, during the presidential election, he stood as a common candidate and during the parliamentary election, he co-operated with the JVP and other parties in solidarity with it. He systematically avoided the UNP. Nepotism, corruption, biased judiciary and dictatorships have paved the way for many coups in Africa, Pakistan, Myanmar, Fiji and other countries. Therefore, absence of a military coup in Sri Lanka cannot be taken for granted. Who knows, people responsible for waging a ‘coup’ may be waiting for the green light from an Asian country!
Compared to the earlier civil war, this is worse for the Rajapaksas. The enemy may be everywhere – travelling, eating, drinking and lodging with them. All eggs in one basket could be very dangerous. I presume that Rajapaksas must have taken some precautions. Otherwise they wouldn’t keep a ‘Standby Force’ — Karuna, Pillayan, Douglas and some others with them.
Let us look at the 18th Amendment in brief
If Rajapaksa doesn’t want to be another Fonseka or even Sirimavo Bandaranaike, he should not contest the presidential election for the third term. At the same time, rather than blaming Rajapaksa, that he is preparing to contest the presidential election for the third term, the opposition parties have ample time to prepare themselves for the next presidential election. They should find the lady who will be the strong common candidate. We hope that Rajapaksas will spare the lady from being stripped of her civic rights.
In conclusion, whether Rajapaksa becomes president, Fonseka is imprisoned, or Rajapaksa and the lady contest the presidential election for the third term – win or lose, the ethnic conflict has soon been forgotten by the major political parties and politicians in the South. They are all waiting for the day to say that the Tamil population in Sri Lanka is not large enough to be given any political rights.
By the way, I take this opportunity to congratulate President Rajapaksa for delivering a well memorised speech in the UN General Assembly, double checked by Palitha Kohona and Lalith Weeratunga. The speech received good coverage via the UN webcast, which included the mostly empty seats in the plenary hall.