‘Ranil’s Sexual Preferences A Problem’ – Maithri
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The allegation leveled against UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe that his homosexual tendencies have affected the party’s progress is a much talked of topic in political circles. The 16th charge in the list of charges level against Wickremasinghe by UNP Southern Provincial Councilor and Attorney Maithri Gunaratne states fear has been instilled in the minds of parents to allow their children to join the UNP due to the appointment of the party leader’s homosexual partners to positions in the party ignoring the most suitable persons to hold such posts.
“I do not see a problem with the sexual preferences as long as the partner is not involved in the political process and decisions are not made in favor of their partners,” Gunaratne said in a telephone interview with The Sunday Leader. Gunaratne notes that he has evidence to back every charge made by him, including that on the party leader’s homosexual tendencies and would do so before a proper committee of inquiry.
Q: Do you have an issue with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe’s sexuality?
A: I do not have an issue with regard to the sexual preferences of the party leader as long as they do not curry favors as a result. He can have any preference, but it should not be involved in the party’s political process.
Q: Have there been incidents where young boys have been victimized in the party after refusing his overtures?
A: The best example is the case of parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana. The parliamentarian had been asked on three occasions to accompany him (Wickremasinghe) to various hotels and villas in the South. The victimization against Pathirana started when he did not respond to the overtures.
Q: But can you prove beyond doubt that Wickremasinghe’s homosexual tendencies have affected the party’s progress?
A: May main witness in the charge against Wickremasinghe is parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana. I will lead his evidence. There are several other witnesses as well. However, I cannot divulge their names at this moment, but they too will come forward when an inquiry is held into the complaint made by me. These are not frivolous charges and I have evidence to prove each one of them. That is why I have called for a committee headed by an independent judicial officer agreed to by both parties to inquire into the allegations and I will produce all evidence.
Q: Is Buddhika Pathirana ready to come forward and back you on the allegation leveled by you?
A: Yes he has agreed. I have had an extensive discussion about the matter with him. During a visit to the South I asked him why he was being victimized and he explained the reasons and said it all began when he did not respond to the party leader’s overtures. He is being victimized and attempts are made to remove him from the party in order to get him out of the parliamentary seat. Once Pathirana is removed from parliament, the next in line from the Matara District is a person appointed to the Working Committee by the party leader even after he had lost the election and has also appointed him as the party’s international affairs secretary. The modus operandi now is to get Pathirana out of parliament in order to get the party leader’s favorite appointed to the House.
Q: How does Wickremasinghe’s sexuality hinder the political progress of the party?
A: If he is going to give people and candidates prominence due to his sexual preferences even if they are not accepted by the people, it would hinder the party’s aim in achieving electoral victory. The party would not win elections if persons who are not accepted by the people were pushed forward. When Mahinda Wijesekera was the district leader for Matara from the PA, there was no one to hold the post from the UNP. According to the party tradition, the district leadership is held by a member of parliament, who at the time was Sagala Ratnayake. The UNP’s district organizer post was given to Provincial Councilor Justin Galappatti since the Member of Parliament did not want to hold the post because he was unable to face Wijesekera. However, Ratnayake wanted the district leadership when Wijesekera was injured and incapacitated in a bomb blast in 2009. The party leadership tried to appoint Ratnayake and Galappatti requested that he be allowed to hold the post until the conclusion of the Southern Provincial Council elections, which was just a few months away. Nevertheless, the party leadership ignored the request and in order to appoint Ratnayake, he removed Galappatti. The post was handed over to Ratanayake, and deeply hurt by the incident, Galappatti crossed over to the government and contested the Provincial Council elections from the UPFA and won. What Ratnayake did not realize was that Galappatti would have managed to get another seat for the UNP in Matara had he remained in the party. If that was the case, Ratnayake would have entered parliament at the last general election.
Galappatti was a senior UNP member who has made many sacrifices for the party. He fought for the party and during the infamous Wayamba Provincial Council election under President Chandrika Kumaratunge, he was attacked and stripped in Kurunegala. However, he continued to fight for the party. The party leadership favoured another and ultimately sacrificed him.
Q: Do you believe that one should be a heterosexual to be a political leader?
A: The ideal situation would be a heterosexual given the traditions of the country. However, I do not see a problem with the sexual preferences as long as the partner is not involved in the political process and decisions are not made in favor of their partners.
Q: Has the party officially responded to your complaint?
A: No there has been no response. However, I will follow up with another letter. I am
also getting legal advice to look into instituting legal action as well. The party leader has grossly violated Article 2 of the party Constitution.