Advisory Council To Be Handed Over Charge Sheet
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe was last week charge sheeted by the pro-reformists group for acting in violation of the party constitution.
The complaint together with the charge sheet has outlined 20 charges against Wickremasinghe and has called for a board of inquiry that is agreeable to all parliamentarians, provincial councilors and Working Committee members to inquire into the charges.
The letter signed by UNP Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne was handed over to the party Secretary Tissa Attanayake’s office last Thursday (17).
Gunaratne said that the letter was handed over to one of Attanayake’s secretaries since the Secretary had traveled to the Katunayake Airport to welcome Wickremasinghe who was returning to the country from London. The 10-page charge sheet in the possession of The Sunday Leader includes charges on the violation of the party constitution and the party’s stance on the war carried out against the LTTE. (See box)
Gunaratne also pointed out that the party leadership had failed to implement the recommendations of the R. S. Attanayake and N. G. P. Panditharatne reports of 1999 and 2004 respectively, both of which were appointed by him. According to the UNP Provincial Councilor, the committees were appointed to make recommendations on bringing victory to the party. The committees had recommended a change in the party leadership, which Wickremasinghe has failed to implement.
The pro-reformist group of the party is however doubtful that the party leadership would allow any action called by the complaint.
However, Gunaratne said that he was determined to proceed with the complaint and to ensure that the party does not cast it aside.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake confirmed receipt of the charge sheet/complaint handed over by Gunaratne.
He told The Sunday Leader that Gunaratne could not hand a charge sheet against the party leader.
“It is a letter against party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and not a charge sheet,” he said. Attanayake observed that he would now hand over the letter to the party’s Advisory Council to decide on the action to be taken with regard to the letter.
“The decision to act on the letter is with the Advisory Council and the Working Committee,” he noted. However, when asked when the next Advisory Council meeting would be held, Attanayake said no date has yet been fixed for either an Advisory Council or Working Committee meeting. Therefore, any discussion leave alone action against Wickremasinghe was not likely to take place any time soon.
When asked, Gunaratne said that he was in the process of consulting his lawyers to look into whether there was a possibility of instituting legal action. He told The Sunday Leader that he was yet to receive any response from the party to the letter handed over by him.
He said would give the party a few days and write another letter by next week asking if there has been any progress
UNP Co-Deputy Leaders Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa declined to comment on the letter handed over by Gunaratne.
The Charges At A Glance
1 The removal of parliamentarians and electoral organizers from the Working Committee and the suspension of party membership for democratically expressing views on the need to change the party leadership.
2 The non appointment of party organizers to some electorates and the appointment of persons on a temporary basis during election times.
3 Not giving nominations to former public representatives of the party and popular members.
4 Appointing persons without a vote base and not elected by the people to responsible posts in the party for personal reasons, ignoring efficient party members.
5 Not granting powers promised to Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa at the party’s Working Committee meeting on March 23, 2011.
6 Not calling a special convention according to Clause 5 of the party constitution to legalize the appointments. (Related to charge 5)
7 The appointment of Ravi Karunanayake as the party’s national organizer on a unilateral decision when Ranjith Madduma Bandara’s name was proposed for the post at the Working Committee meeting.
8 The non-presentation of the annual accounts of the party.
9 The non publishing of the reports by Panditharatne and Prof. Attanayake’s committees appointed by Ranil Wickreemsinghe to receive recommendations on bringing victory to the party.
10 The removal of Rosy Senanayake, Buddhika Pathirana, Imthiyaz Bakeer Markar and Chandra Gankanda from the party’s Working Committee without any fair grounds after they openly pledged their support to Sajith Premadasa and Ranjith Madduma Bandara who expressed their desire to contest for the posts of party leader and national organizer respectively.
11 The appointment of persons who have been defeated at elections to the Working Committee and as electoral organizers ignoring members who have been voted in by the public simply because they openly expressed their views.
12 The holding of election by the party leader against a UNP candidate and calling the UNP members not to vote for the candidate.
13 The removal of parliamentarian Thalatha Atukorale and the appointment of a Provincial Councilor, Shanthini Kongahage as the head of the Lak Vanitha Unit ignoring other women parliamentarians.
14 The disrepute brought to the party by Ranil Wickremasinghe after openly criticizing the war when it was coming to an end after 30 years and when the whole country supported the effort irrespective of party politics. The UNP was identified as an unpatriotic party as a result.
15 The failure to launch a proper campaign to vote against the 18th Amendment and defeat it, when the people and even government ministers spoke against it.
16 The fear instilled in the minds of parents to allow their children to join the UNP due to the appointment of your homosexual partners to positions in the party ignoring the most suitable persons to hold such posts.
17 The failure to take proper legal action against and remove some of the party legislators who continue to support the government while being in the party.
18 The victimization of Buddhika Pathirana, Rosy Senanayake, Dunesh Gankanda and Imthiyaz Bakeer Markar even after removing them from the party’s Working Committee after they pledged to vote for Sajith Premadasa and Ranjith Madduma Bandara when they announced their intentions to contest for posts in the party.
19 The cancellation of posts held by several Buddhist monks in the Bhikku Front (an action not permitted to be carried out by a layman) who have said the party leader should step down and appoint new monks to the posts.
20 The failure to summon the National Executive Council consisting of parliamentarians, provincial councilors and local government members in order to formulate policies and programmes to bring victory to the government.