The Sunday Leader

Election With Minimum Violence – Keheliya Rambukwella

While many directed their finger at the ruling party for carrying out violence to deter the opposition election campaigns, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that they have given necessary instructions to their party members and supporters not to engage in any kind of violence  and added that such violence would only be disadvantage to their political campaign. However, he said that there could be a few isolated incidents which is natural in this part of the world.

Excerpts of the interview:

By Waruni Karunarathne

 

Q: There are allegations leveled at the ruling party for carrying out various attacks to deter the opposition campaign. How do you respond to that?

A: What attacks are you referring to?

 

Q: Recently also there were several reports on attacks which included an attack on a set of journalists supporting the opposition candidate and an attack on former president Chandrika Kumarathunga and Ms. Premachandra. How do you justify these kinds of attacks?

A: As far as the Kurunegala incident related to the journalists is concerned, the judicial process has begun. They have taken the suspects to custody and produced them in the magistrate’s court,  the suspects were remanded. Incidents can take place. In the Sri Lankan context or rather in this part of the world during elections few such incidents can happen. When you compare this situation with some of the elections held sometime ago this is an election with minimum amount of violence. If you look at it, there is no pattern of violence but there are isolated incidents.

 

Q:  Do you think these incidents can make an impact on the overall picture of the election?

A: There are few things happening. In this part of the world it is natural to have some isolated incidents of this nature. As far as the ruling party is concerned, we do not encourage this type of incidents at all. And also if you look at the Kurunegala incident, we have already begun investigations and the suspects have been arrested, produced before the magistrate and some are remanded.  Such legal process also takes place. At the same time there are complaints about all parties it is not a one sided story.

 

Q: However Deputy Minister Muthuhettigama was released on bail. How would you ensure that he would no longer engage in election law violations?

A: I have no right to talk about it, because it is the judicial process that has taken place. The police has done their job by arresting him. When he was produced before the magistrate, the magistrate has taken the legal procedure.

 

Q: What can the government do to ensure that the ministers or their supporters do not engage in this type of violence?

A: As a party we have given instructions to all our ministers, MPs and even our party supporters not to engage in violence because it is a disadvantage to us. As far as we are concerned we are in a very comfortable position as far as victory is concerned. We have no doubt whatsoever. In a situation like that, we have given necessary instructions to every person involved in the party not to engage in any kind of violence. But by and large, when you have thousands involved in party work, there can be one or two incidents. Anywhere in the world that happens. For that reason we have to get judiciary and police activated which we have done.

 

Q: How do you look at the role of the international observers in the election monitoring process?

A: It has been the practice since long years ago. Some of these NGOs are very biased. We can see it by looking at their behaviours. Some of them play a neutral role. However, I do not think that we need any international monitors.  In fact they should have been there during the Prabhakaran’s time to observe in the North how they ripped the elections. When we have achieved peace, I do not see a reason why they should be here. I am sure these observers need to be paid a lot for their assignments.

 

Q:  There are allegations that there is a lot of money involved in cross-overs. How do you look at this trend?

A: As far as we are concerned, we have not paid anybody money when they cross over to our side. This is a highly rumoured matter. When Navin Dissanayake crossed over he said he was offered half a million. Immediately our party made a complaint saying that we have not done anything like that. Immediately it was exposed how they had discussed what to say and how to manipulate the situation. When it came to investigations he said something completely different. These are all manipulations. As far as our party is concerned we are not offering money for cross-overs or to vote.

 

Q: The opposition claims that they are very confident of the victory of Mr. Sirisena. How confident is the government right now?

A: When it comes to an election, every candidate is confident. Even Sarath Fonseka was confident. We have no problem of them being confident – but the public is with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has done so much service to the community and without any fear and intimidation; we will win with a majority more than the last time.

2 Comments for “Election With Minimum Violence – Keheliya Rambukwella”

  1. The media minister you were behand the dirty work in election,creating problem among the people and misleading the people but most of them knew minister of media is big JOKER.journalist were atttack the incendient took place ms kumarathga meeting.the court began to take action. if you knew the value of the education and journalism your answer was stpuit.minister you knew knew you bombs blasted at jaffna election day, media is simply to bogou mr rajapaska will win the election but he killed 100000 thousand civilians inculding journalist.

  2. Ratnasekera

    We don’t trust this crook and opportunist. All his personal assets should be investigated and accounted. The elections were rigged… unfortunately for them the Northern & Eastern blocks defied their plans.

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