of the CFA judgment
on a hunger strike against the
ceasefire (inset) Ven.
and Wimal Weerawansa
landmark judgment delivered last
Tuesday has firmly resolved the raging
dispute about the validity of the
Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) signed
between former Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe and LTTE Leader
Velupillai Pirapaharan in 2002 by
upholding its efficacy.
the three petitions that challenged
the validity of the CFA, the Court of
Appeal ruled that the agreement was
indeed valid in addition to it being
in full force and in effect.
only has the judgment settled the
legality of the CFA after five years
in existence, it has also given rise
to important implied interpretations
that would help shape jurisprudence
and more so, political analysis in the
what is seen as an important
interpretation -- which also
reinforces the role of a prime
minister, a 'first among equals' in a
legislature, the court ruled that it
is not only a president who is endowed
with powers to enter into a valid
agreement but also a prime minister.
is all the more important when the
debate continues that the 1978
Constitution had created an
all-powerful executive presidency with
a figurehead prime minister whose
decision making clout is seriously
undermined. The landmark judgment, for
interpretation purposes, douses enough
cold water on this argument by
upholding the right of a prime
minister to enter into an agreement on
behalf of the state.
three petitions that challenged the
CFA were filed by the Janatha Vimukthi
Peramuna (JVP), Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU)
and the Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya (SJS).
In delivering judgment, Justice S.
Sriskandarajah dismissed all three
petitioners' primary objection to the
CFA was the purported belief that it
lacked a legal foundation, was
unconstitutional and therefore illegal
as it was not an agreement entered
into by the president of the country
at the time, Chandrika Bandaranaike
Kumaratunga. The petitioners had
sought a writ of certiorari to have
the CFA quashed on the same basis.
Sriskandarajah in his order has
clearly stated that in addition to the
president, the prime minister of the
country also enjoyed a right to enter
into such agreements.
judgment was delivered at a
politically significant time. The CFA
detractors for some time have been
alleging that it should not be allowed
to complete five years as it would
"acquire legitimacy" before
the international community in
addition to getting crystallised.
there were mass protests calling for
the abrogation of the CFA while a
group of Buddhist monks launched a
fast unto death just prior to February
22, the fifth anniversary of the
beyond the CFA, the Appeal Court also
pointed out that the Supreme Court too
had accepted the legality of the CFA
in its order on the P-TOMS agreement.
judgment stated: "The president
appoints the prime minister (Article
43(2) of the Constitution) a member of
parliament who in his opinion is most
likely to command the confidence of
president, prime minister and the
ministers are members of cabinet
(Article 43(2) of the Constitution)
and the cabinet is responsible to
parliament (Article 43(1) of the
relation to the appointment of cabinet
of ministers it is laid down that the
president shall make such appointment
in consultation with the prime
minister. However there is no
obligation on the part of the
president to follow the advice of the
further, the judgment also addressed
the political situation that prevailed
at the time of signing of the truce
when the president and the prime
minister represented two different
judgment stated: "In these
contexts the prime minister has a
pivotal role to play, as being the
member of the cabinet and member of
parliament who commands the confidence
of parliament, especially when the
president and the majority of the
members of parliament are represented
by two different political parties
which have different political
emphasising on the role of the prime
minister, it added: "In this
instant the prime minister was the
head of the governing party and the
president belonged to the party which
was in the opposition. Hence the
submission of the petitioner that the
post of the prime minister is in the
legislature and not in the executive
has no merit."
referring to the Supreme Court
judgment that ruled out the P-TOMS
agreement, the Appeal Court in its
judgment stated that the validity of
the CFA was upheld in the said case.
said: "In Wimal Weerawansa and 13
others vs Attorney General and three
others (supra) the Supreme Court
observed that there is no illegality
in the president of the republic
entering into a Memorandum of
Understanding for the establishment of
a Tsunami Operation Management
Structure (P-TOMS), and in this
instant the MOU has been agreed and
accepted on 24.6.2005 by the
Secretary, Ministry of Relief
Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (the
third respondent in the said case) for
and on behalf of the Government of the
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
Lanka (GOSL) and the fourth respondent
(in the said case) for and on behalf
of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
the above circumstances a public
officer has agreed and accepted for
and on behalf of the Government of Sri
Lanka. As I have discussed above the
president, while personally performing
some of the executive functions,
operates the rest of the executive
function of government through the
cabinet of ministers and public
officers. Hence the submission of the
petitioner that the prime minister
cannot sign an agreement for and on
behalf of the government of Sri Lanka
has no merit.
the above analysis it is clear that
the cabinet which is headed by the
president and which is in charge of
the direction and control of the
government could take a policy
decision to enter into an agreement
with the second respondent and the
first respondent who was the prime
minister and the member of the cabinet
could enter into an agreement for and
on behalf of the Government of Sri
view of the above, the submission of
the petitioner that the first
respondent is not clothed with any
power or authority or jurisdiction to
sign the CFA, in as much as the
president of the Democratic Socialist
Republic is the head of state and the
first respondent has usurped the
powers of the president by entering
into the aforesaid agreement and it is
in violation of Article 30 of the
Constitution, have no basis."
regard to the petitioner's position
that the LTTE was proscribed by the
Government of Sri Lanka under the
Prevention of Terrorism Act and any
agreement signed by anybody including
the first respondent with the LTTE is
illegal and bad in law, the Appeal
Court once more referred to the
Supreme Court ruling on the P-TOMS
said: "This question was dealt
with by the Supreme Court in Wimal
Weerawansa and 13 others vs Attorney
General and three others (supra).
Where the Chief Justice Sarath N.
Silva when deciding the alleged
infringement of fundamental rights
relating to the Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) for the
establishment of a Tsunami Operation
Management Structure (P-TOMS), which
has been agreed and accepted on
24.6.2005 by the third respondent (in
the said case), the Secretary,
Ministry of Relief Rehabilitation and
Reconstruction for and on behalf of
the Government of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (GOSL)
and the fourth respondent (in the said
case) for and on behalf of the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
held: 'Mr. S.L.Gunasekera, contended
that it is illegal to enter into the
MOU with the LTTE which he described
as a terrorist organisation that
caused tremendous loss of life and
property to this country. The
contention is that even assuming that
the President could enter into a MOU
for the object and reasons stated in
the preamble, the other party to the
MOU is not an entity recognised in law
and should not be so recognised due to
antecedent illegal activities of the
this regard I have to note that the
matter so strenuously urged by counsel
cannot by itself denude the status of
the fourth respondent to enter into
the MOU. The circumstances urged by
counsel cannot and should not have the
effect of placing the fourth
respondent and the organisation that
he seeks to represent beyond the rule
of law. We have to also bear in mind
that already a Cease-Fire Agreement
has been entered into on 23.2.2002
between the Government of Sri Lanka
and the LTTE, which according to
Section 2(b) of the MOU 'shall
continue in full force and effect.'
the argument flowed that the Supreme
Court has unequivocally held that the
government entering into an MOU with
the LTTE as not being illegal.
Therefore from the preamble of the CFA
it had been made clear that this
document is a policy document on a
it was submitted that it is axiomatic
that the contents of a policy document
cannot be read and interpreted as
statutory provisions. Too much of
legalism cannot be imported in
understanding the scope and meaning of
the clauses contained in policy
Appeal Court judgment further said:
"In the first part of my order I
have analysed the merits of this
application and I have held that this
application has no legal basis. In the
second part of my order I have
analysed whether the CFA is
justifiable and I have held that the
CFA is not justiciable. As there is no
legal basis for this application and
as it is misconceived in law this
court refuses to issue notice on the
respondents," the judgment said.
the landmark judgment that clearly
specifies the legal position of the
CFA and insists that it is "in
full force and in effect," its
detractors continue to refer to the
statehood test and how the CFA has
aided the LTTE's position to inch
towards international recognition as a
separate entity by formalising its
the day after the judgment, there was
JVP Parliamentary Group Leader, Wimal
Weerawansa calling the CFA illegal
from his privileged position of a
legislator. While different groups as
well as individuals certainly have the
right to defend their views, the real
question before the government itself
is a different one.
is the government that has been
vacillating on the CFA issue and
included in the presidential
manifesto, a pledge to abrogate the
CFA. Yet, 14 months after being
elected, the Rajapakse administration
has not abrogated the agreement,
continues to criticise it and
sometimes pays lip service (depending
on occasion) while by and large, it
has failed to honour its commitment.
the legal position now being very
clear, perhaps it is the government
that needs to turn the searchlight
inwards and strengthen the agreement
to create a basis for future peace
the refugee city
refugee camp in Batticaloa
and photos by Arthur Wamanan
town does not look like a war zone.
People from as far away as Trincomalee
have come to Batticaloa to seek
shelter from the shelling.
the place has not been touched by the
recent violence in the east, people
already have got used to the
events such as abductions and
shootings indicate that Batticaloa is
not 100% safe. "The situation in
Batticaloa is slightly better than in
the surrounding areas. There have been
isolated incidents in the area
recently. But, you cannot say what
will happen," said K. Satheesh, a
security guard in Batticaloa.
to civilians, the security situation
in Batticaloa is almost the same as in
Jaffna. However, people are able to
move out of troubled places relatively
easily than in the north.
said that the only difference was that
there was only one road connecting the
Jaffna peninsula to the rest of the
country, whereas there were several
roads connecting Batticaloa with other
can get out of the town through many
routes avoiding the problem areas.
That is why we are in a slightly
better position than the people in the
north. However, the security situation
is almost the same," he said.
town is also frequently haunted by the
booming sounds of artillery fire from
the military base in Batticaloa.
say that the shelling usually goes on
for half an hour until the LTTE fires
one or two from the other side.
used to it
LTTE fires one or two shells to the
military target, which silences them
for about 45 minutes. Then the
military starts firing again,"
people however seem to have got used
to the sound of shelling and behave as
if the booms are an alarm from a clock
tower every 15 minutes.
are used to it. We know that the
civilian areas would not be targeted
by the LTTE as it has not happened so
far," he said.
refugees who have moved to Batticaloa
had a very different story to tell.
Many of them had been continually
displaced for the last 10 months due
to frequent attacks.
Maheswaran (19) lost two of his
cousins due to the shelling in
Kathiraveli last November. His right
arm was also severely injured by one
of the metal pieces after the blast.
in the yard
was at the doorstep of my house when
one of the multi-barrel shells landed
in the yard. My cousins were in the
yard and were killed instantly. There
were others who were killed in the
incident as well."
and his family had stayed inside their
home until the shelling had stopped.
"We did not know where to go at
the time. The only safe place was the
house. We left a week after the
incident, as there was no shelling for
some time," he added.
and his family are now in the
Thalankuda refugee camp, where there
are 416 families. The camp was earlier
situated inside the premises of the
Thalankuda school, but had to be
shifted for the benefit of the
students in the area.
member of the camp management,
Eliyathambi Mehala said that the
displaced persons came from places as
far as Trincomalee.
people were displaced from Trincomalee
to Kathiraveli and then Vaharai. We
are working with non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) in providing them
with the essential items," she
said that there were no shortages in
any of the items for the displaced
persons and they were looked after by
the government agents and the NGOs
working with them.
civilians had moved from LTTE-controlled
areas to the government areas.
refugees said they were forced to move
away from the LTTE areas due to
continuous shelling by the Sri Lanka
had no place to run in the LTTE areas
because we knew the military would
target every place. Therefore, we
moved out because we thought the best
way to avoid shelling was to go to the
place where they were firing
from," said Sinnathambi Laganatha
lost one of his daughters in the
shelling when they were in the
other daughter had lost one of her
arms while his son was seriously
injured in the back.
the only worry for Loganathan is his
family. "I am a farmer. I had my
own land and was satisfied with the
income I got. Now I don't know what
would befall my family if something
happens to me," he said.
displaced persons also faced the
problem of mental depression due to
the continuous hardships they face. "I have gone through enough. One of my children is no
more, another one has lost an arm. My
wife was also injured. Sometimes I
feel like thrashing someone to bits.
But, I have to think of my
family," he said.
on the other hand said that all he
wanted was an environment where he
could study and enjoy his youth as
other youngsters in the country.
said that it was the government's
responsibility to provide help for the
is partly because of the government
that we have moved out. They say that
we have been liberated. Now they have
to look after us since we have no hope
and no future," he said.
refugees said that they had not
received any help from the government
don't hate the government. But, the
government looks at us and treats us
differently. We are not in a position
to hate them. All I want is normalcy
where I can be with my family and
friends," he said.
they seem to be in a safer place,
their thoughts and minds are in the
homes they have left and the loved
ones they had lost on the way to
do not wish to go back to their homes
unless they are assured of their
safety. "There have been radio
announcements asking us to go back to
our homes. We will not go unless there
is a peace process going on. Who knows
whether the fighting would start after
we go back?. We just want to go back
home," they said.
Batticaloa Government Agent, S.
Arumainayagam told The Sunday Leader
that the government had not officially
asked the displaced persons to go back
to their homes.
are still preparing the ground work in
these areas," he said.
displaced persons, like all of those
in the rest of the country are waiting
for a permanent solution to go back
home and live with no fear.
is far away," said the 19
year-old boy looking across with his
eyes full of questions that cannot be
scorching sun and the heat inside the
tents are no match to the suffering
and anguish in their minds.
rest of the town is waiting for
something to happen and continues to
live with the booming sounds made by
the artillery firing.
slow boat to China and the jumbo
Lanka has always held a special place
where countries like India and China are
concerned. A Sri Lankan head of state
therefore is always extended a warm
welcome by these two countries.
Mahinda Rajapakse and First
Shiranthi Rajapakse in deep
arriving at a function in China
reason for the special treatment meted out
to Sri Lanka was the good relations the
Bandaranaikes had with India and China.
Given these good relations, whenever any
Sri Lankan leader visited they were
extended a warm welcome.
President Mahinda Rajapakse did not
receive this usual warmth. The President's
unhappiness over this was also very
visible during his official visits to both
India and China.
the President's recent visit to India, he
wished to pose for an official photograph
with Indian Premier Manmohan Singh, but he
was denied this opportunity. The reason
was the opposition raised by Singh to the
idea. This was one unpleasant incident the
President had to undergo during his
official visit to India.
this resulted in several misunderstandings
with the Indian government. The deprived
photo opportunity reflected the
deteriorating good relations that once
existed between Sri Lanka and India.
a result, the President needed the Chinese
visit to redeem lost prestige and his
visit to China was therefore considered
from the time the flight to China took off
from Katunayake, things didn't go
according to plan.
President's official visit to China along
with his mammoth delegation looked more
like a pilgrimage owing to the large
number of participants. The President was
accompanied by 266 delegates to Beijing
according to reports published in the
Chinese newspapers no less.
Chinese were puzzled as to why the
President was accompanied by such a large
the time the flight landed in Beijing, the
President had to face some unpleasant
was only the lower ranking Deputy Foreign
Minister of China, Zuei Meeyankai who was
present at the airport to welcome
President Rajapakse and his entourage to
China. That is the equivalent of Deputy
Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila going to
receive the Chinese President at the
Bandaranaike International Airport. The
lukewarm welcome was the subject of much
discussion among members of the government
delegation as it was not the tradition to
send a deputy minister to welcome a Head
is common practice usually for the
president, vice president, the prime
minister or at least the foreign minister
of the country to welcome the head of
state of another country. Therefore the
deputy minister's presence to welcome
President Mahinda Rajapakse did not go
unnoticed by the members of his
size of the President's delegation to
China made headlines in China as well and
the Chinese press called Rajapakse's
delegation a "jumbo delegation."
an official visit to any country by a head
of state is concluded within the shortest
possible time as it is believed that
attention increases if the visiting leader
stayed in the country for longer than
required. Therefore it is common advice
given to all heads of state to conclude
their official tours within the shortest
however broke this tradition and opted to
stay in China for six long days.
Therefore, even the little attention he
generated at the beginning of the visit
faded away during the latter part of his
tour. The President only visited
provincial councils and temples during the
latter part of his tour.
media reported of several agreements
signed by the President with the Chinese
government during his visit.
he could not arrive at any agreement with
regard to the much anticipated Hambantota
Port Development Project.
President who undertook the official tour
to China with the main aim of securing an
agreement to build the Hambantota Port,
even spending Rs. 60 mn in the process,
failed to come up with any agreement.
Chinese tour however proved to be quite a
joy ride for some. Some even held birthday
Dinesh Gunewardena's birthday was
celebrated two days before the tour ended
in China. The party was attended by a
large number of people including ministers
several ministers also had to face issues
regarding their phone bills as they had to
pay for the international calls they had
taken to friends and relatives in Sri
President's delegation is usually entitled
to free phone calls, but due to the size
of the delegation, the Chinese government
was forced to hold back the privilege.
However, most ministers who were unaware
of this made calls to Sri Lanka. That was
on the first day of the tour.
the second day, they were informed that
they have to pay for the calls. When
inquired, they were informed that they
were not entitled to make free
when former President Chandrika
Kumaratunga visited China two years ago,
she was extended a warm welcome. The
privileges extended to her and her
delegation at the time were not extended
to Rajapakse and his delegation.
was during this tour that the President
was informed by his brother and Defence
Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse of the
attack on the foreign ambassadors in
Batticaloa. Gotabhaya called the President
and kept him up-to-date on the matter.
President informed Gotabhaya of the steps
to be taken. Gotabhaya then requested the
President not to permit any foreign
diplomat to visit areas where operations
were being conducted.
President however told Gotabhaya that a
final decision on the matter would be
taken after his return.
opens out on secret deal with LTTE
the current political situation in the
country has brought into the open the
style of governance by the Rajapakse
brothers, attention has also been focused
on the main opposition, the UNP.
UNP working committee met at Sirikotha at
4 p.m. last Monday.
meeting commenced with the reading of
names of members who were absent at the
meeting. It was only Hemakumara
Nanayakkara who had informed of his
absence from the meeting out of the 11 UNP
working committee members who defected to
the government. The others had not
informed the working committee of their
the way out
Ravi Karunanayake pointed out that the
defectors have not attended two
consecutive meetings and said that if they
did not attend the third working committee
meeting, they would be out of the
committee according to the party
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe then
congratulated the nine newly appointed
working committee members.
on the agenda was for Attorney Daya
Pelpola to present the proposals of all
members on party reforms. The proposals
were then passed.
proposal presented at the meeting was for
the abolishing of the posts of deputy
leader and assistant leader from the party
as such posts were not provided for in any
working committee decided to present the
proposal at the party's convention
scheduled for March 18.
then presented a letter that was sent by
Navin Dissanayake to the party leader.
Members of the working committee decided
that a disciplinary inquiry should be held
against Dissanayake as he still claims to
be a member of the UNP. Karunanayake then
presented a statement given to the Lakbima
newspaper by Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena.
working committee then decided to take
disciplinary action against Abeywardena as
Michael Perera posed a question at this
point. It was on the parliamentary select
committee called by Sripathi
has turned the country's political
scenario upside down. According to him,
there has been a secret agreement between
the Rajapakses and the LTTE before the
election. We must look into it
immediately. This select committee is
essential to find out the truth about this
agreement. We cannot let it go,"
also agreed and said that
Sooriyaarachchi's call should be
we must look into this secret agreement.
We cannot allow COPE to be undermined as
well. We must hold rallies and protest
campaigns in March to create awareness
among the public on the rising cost of
living and the impact of the war,"
a protest is to be held in Wattala on
March 15 and a public rally is to be held
in Gampaha on March 11.
then made a statement on Karu Jayasuriya.
Jayasuriya made several statements at the
Janapathi Jana Hamuwa on TV recently. He
said that he and Milinda have been caught
in a mud slinging campaign over the COPE
report. Karu also said that a committee
privatised three institutions and that it
was headed by the then Prime Minister.
That is wrong. The COPE report does not
say that the privatisation was wrong. The
question is the process adopted in
privatising the institutions,"
then said something that he had never said
me nor any of my representatives have
entered into agreements with the LTTE
before or after the presidential election.
Before the election one representative
held a discussion with the LTTE. He asked
the LTTE to respect democracy and allow
the people to vote in the north. However,
they wanted a written assurance from me on
the formation of an ISGA. I didn't like to
even talk of it. I said that it would only
be discussed once we come into power. The
matter ended there.
then told my representatives not to even
hold talks again," Wickremesinghe
at the meeting then asked who the
representative was, but Wickremesinghe
said he did not want to respond as it was
against proper political practice.
directive that went unheeded by the
former Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and
Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi were sacked from
their portfolios, a large number of people
rallied around them, especially around
Samaraweera who returned to the island
following his sacking.
large crowd that mobbed Samaraweera when
he returned to the island from Singapore
was considered a show of strength by
President's advisors in turn wanted to
show the 'people power' of President
advisors decided that ministers had to be
present at the airport to greet the
President upon his return from China.
Calls were immediately made to ministers
from Basil Rajapakse's office.
caller, a brigadier employed in Basil's
office, informed all ministers to be
present at the Katunayake Airport at 8
p.m. to welcome the President back to Sri
the operation was being spearheaded by
Basil, everyone thought that the airport
would be overflowing with ministers.
only four cabinet ministers - Jeyaraj
Fernandopulle, Rohitha Bogollagama, Karu
Jayasuriya and Sarathchandra Gunaratne
were present at the airport to welcome the
President. Two deputy ministers were also
present. Apart from that, several
religious leaders were also present at the
monk had a question for Fernandopulle.
"Why didn't you go? You are the
minister next to the President."
smiled and responded. "Your holiness,
I do not participate in these embarrassing
trips. Over 200 participated in the trip.
Is it not enough?"
of the town
monk who was engaged in a friendly chat
with Fernandopulle, then asked for the
reason for such a large delegation to
travel to China. The monk further noted
that since the large delegation was now
the talk of the town, he asked as to why
the President was not advised against the
move. Fernandopulle was evasive in
responding to the question.
this time several officials had made their
way to the airport.
don't know your holiness, you better
advice. Your advice may be heeded,"
monk then inquired after Mangala
Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi.
told the monk that the battle cannot be
fought for long. "They will return to
the government soon," he said.
little while later, Bogollagama and
Jayasuriya made their way to the VVIP
we the only ones here?" Bogollagama
whispered to Fernandopulle. They agreed
that it was not a good sign.
are not organised by us, so we cannot be
held responsible for this. This was done
by the big shots in the Presidential
Secretariat. This is the response when big
shots do things," Fernandopulle said.
Bogollagama however said that at least 50
to 60 ministers should have been present
at the airport.
flight with President Mahinda Rajapakse
landed in Katunayake at 9.15 p.m.
President who looked around the VVIP
terminal called an official from the
Presidential Secretariat and inquired
after the poor turnout of ministers.
official responded that although the calls
were made from Basil's office, this was
the best they could do.
President's facial expression changed with
shortly after, another incident took
place. The President was first blessed by
the Buddhist clergy. It was then the turn
of the Hindu priest to bless the
President. The priest after blessing the
President was about to apply holy ash on
the forehead when he was interrupted.
careful when you do it. If pictures of you
applying ash on my forehead are published
by the media, then you too might be
killed," the President said. Through
his statement, Rajapakse reminded everyone
of the fate of the Hindu priest in Vaharai
who was shot and killed after he blessed
and applied ash on the President's
forehead during his visit to the east.
President then asked the media not to
publish pictures of the Hindu priest to
protect his life.
Mangala upstaged Mahinda at the CC
criticism leveled against the government's
actions by former ministers Mangala
Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi
earned the wrath of President Mahinda
Rajapakse and his brothers, leading to
high drama in the political scene.
President's team to attack Samaraweera and
Sooriyaarachchi included SLFP Secretary,
Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Dilan
Perera and Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Sirisena
leveled many allegations against
Samaraweera, including one stating that he
had violated party discipline.
on the other hand charged that he was not
informed of any official meetings of the
is in this backdrop that the SLFP
parliamentary group met at Temple Trees
last Wednesday. Samaraweera and
Sooriyaarachchi were informed of the
meeting, but they were later informed that
the meeting was cancelled upon arrival at
the party's central committee office
bearers were called for a meeting the same
night at 7 p.m. at Temple Trees. The
administrative secretary of the party
headquarters, Ariyapala, informed
Samaraweera of the meeting.
the news of the meeting, various reports
started to appear in the media. There were
even rumours that Samaraweera was asked to
attend the meeting to revoke his party
decided to attend the meeting, but before
that asked Ariyapala why the meeting could
not be held at the party headquarters.
Samaraweera explained to Ariyapala the
issues that may arise in attending a
meeting at Temple Trees given the present
political background in the country.
However, Ariyapala noted that the venue
could not be changed as due consideration
had to be given to the President's
finally decided to attend the meeting at
intended to be at Temple Trees at 7 p.m.,
but was prevented from doing so at the
gate. Samaraweera was thoroughly checked
by the security personnel at the gate. His
invitation for the meeting was called for
and the vehicle was also checked at the
first gate. Samaraweera had to endure the
same procedure at the second gate as well.
going through all this, Samaraweera made
his way to the venue of the meeting at
around 7.08 p.m.
soon as Samaraweera entered the room many
stopped talking. Although Samaraweera
could have sat in the front row as the
party treasurer, he opted to take a back
seat. Pavithra Wanniarachchi was seated
next to Samaraweera. Since his arrival in
the hall, the discussions stopped and the
first to address him was the President
Treasurer, how are the party's
finances?" the President asked.
Excellency the President, I cannot speak
of it off hand, but if you give me two or
three days I can submit a report on
it," Samaraweera responded.
administrative secretary intervened and
said that there were no financial issues.
President then had a question on the Sudu
Nelum movement. "What's the position
of Sudu Nelum? Why has a room been
allocated for it at the party
headquarters?" Rajapakse asked.
there are several assets of the movement
in that room like T-shirts and so on, but
if the room is needed, then it could be
cleared and given back," Samaraweera
then joined the conversation. "We
also have some money of the Sudu Nelum
movement. Accounts were maintained at
district level," Wanniarachchi said.
said that the monies were utilised for
welfare activities, especially for the
welfare of security personnel.
President then asked as to who was in
control of the funds. Samaraweera
responded that it was under the
immediately called his Secretary Lalith
Weeratunga. "Lalith there are some
funds of the Sudu Nelum under our office.
Look into it immediately," the
next topic to be discussed was the May Day
the May Day rally was being discussed
Sirisena intervened and said, "The
next topic according to the agenda is to
discuss the current political situation.
Ministers like Sripathi and Mangala have
put the government in a tight spot. They
held press conferences and even publicised
letters in the media."
President agreed. Sirisena proposed that
Samaraweera's and Sooriyaarachchi's
conduct be brought before a disciplinary
permit me to say a few words,"
Samaraweera requested at that point.
now the matter will be taken up at the
disciplinary committee, say what you have
to say there," the President said.
Excellency the President, I am not trying
to make any excuse. The topic of
discussion here is me and this allegation
that I have violated party discipline. It
is not right for me to be present when I
am the topic of discussion. I may pose an
obstacle to those who want to express
their opinion on my conduct. Therefore I
will present a letter to the party
secretary. There is a copy of it as well.
Please table that and give a copy to every
member. I will leave after that, please
allow me to do so," Samaraweera
handed over the letters and prepared to
leave the room when the President stopped
don't leave. This a democratic party,
whatever you have to say you can
say," the President said.
Mr. President, I do not see that
happening. I am fighting to protect that
democracy," Samaraweera said.
left the meeting at 7.41 p.m.
soon as Samaraweera left, Sirisena
collected all the copies of the letter
from Ariyapala and it was not distributed
among the membership.
is nothing to give in this. It is an
international campaign to slander the
government," Sirisena said and
avoided distributing the letter.
disciplinary committee was thereafter
appointed to look into the conduct of
Samaraweera and Sooriyaarachchi.
Samaraweera's departure, many started to
talk. "Look how they speak now. As if
they have done so much for the
party," Anura Yapa said.
even you gave money to them and
helped," the President said.
Samaraweera was at the meeting another
interesting incident took place. When the
disciplinary inquiry issue was taken up
for discussion, Anura Bandaranaike walked
up to Samaraweera.
first held Samaraweera's hand and then
whispered something into his ear.
I cannot stay here given the things that
are going to happen. I am leaving.
However, I admire your courage," he
received calls soon after he returned home
from the meeting. All the callers were
full of admiration, saying they were
amazed by Samaraweera's courage.
you have an amazing strength. The 18
UNPers who defected cannot attend a
working committee meeting together, but
you attended alone a meeting presided by
the Executive President. It was like
walking into a wolf's den," some
callers informed Samaraweera that they had
not received copies of his letter
submitted at the meeting and asked if they
could get some copies.
Treasurer Mangala Samaraweera last
week tabled a letter at the Central
Committee querying whether he and
Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi had
violated party discipline by
bringing to the President's notice
the corruption within government and
the nepotism therein. Following is
an English translation of the full
text of that letter written in
of the Central Committee,
Lanka Freedom Party
the political visions of the SLFP
I am yet unaware of the agenda for
the SLFP Central Committee meeting
scheduled for March 7, 2007, recent
reports have given me the indication
that this meeting would be a
politically decisive one for my
future in politics. Irrespective of
the veracity of these reports, I
have been a member of the SLFP
Central Committee since 1991 and the
treasurer of the party since 1999
and I wish to draw your attention to
February 9, His Excellency the
President sacked Minister Sripathi
Sooriyaarachchi and me from our
ministerial portfolios, using the
executive powers vested in him. At
the SLFP executive committee meeting
held the following day (February 10)
the President, and other party
activists have eventually called
meetings at district level and made
preposterous allegations against
Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi and myself.
These allegations were given wide
publicity in the state media.
order to clearly respond to the
allegations leveled against me by
the President and to bring the
government back on the right track
and also to protect the middle path
adopted by the SLFP, I forwarded to
His Excellency an open letter with
10 proposals on February 15, 2007. A
letter was also sent to party
Secretary Maithripala Sirisena on
February 23 responding to the
allegations he leveled against me.
Through these letters we have
responded to the allegations made
against us. I do not wish to speak
on the matter any further as all
parties concerned have opted to
remain silent on the matter.
However, I wish to table both those
letters as they are of utmost
to the J. R. Jayewardene
constitution, the president has the
power to sack any one at any time
from the cabinet. Irrespective of
its unfairness and dictatorial
nature, we all know that such a
decision cannot be challenged.
the main policy of the SLFP that was
formed by S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
in 1951 was democratic principles
that ensured its members the right
to express their thoughts. Following
that guiding principle, I explained
certain concerns with regard to the
government and the party to the
party leadership and expressed my
criticism on certain matters, in
order to protect the government and
to bring the SLFP back on the right
track. The main reason for sacking
Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi and me from
our portfolios, was the fact that
we, as responsible party members
decided to point out certain
shortcomings in the government
according to SLFP policies.
sacking us could be justified
according to JR's constitution, it
is in total contravention of the
political vision of S.W.R.D.
only wrong that we have committed to
be sacked was to bring out the
issues that are festering in the
hearts of our party loyalists. I
believe that every party member who
is aware of the services that I have
rendered to the party during my 18
year political career would not
agree with the President's actions.
loyalists are aware of the fact that
I have never betrayed the SLFP even
by thought since the late Mrs.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike appointed me
as the Matara organiser in June
1988. I also believe that you would
not forget my contribution to bring
the SLFP led PA government into
power in 1994, sustain it in power
and also to bring it back to power
when the government was at its
there were splits in the party I
have worked unconditionally with the
party leadership to resolve such
issues. I have followed this
principle during the tenure of
Sirimavo Bandaranaike's leadership
and even during Chandrika
leadership, which spans over 10
have been the occasions when senior
members of our party and ministers
have conspired against the SLFP with
opposition members. Many have been
the instances when the government
was faced with a difficult situation
when the opposition has attacked the
government through the media. In all
those instances, it has been my
policy to work together with the
party leadership to resolve the
issue by ensuring that none of the
ministers were sacked from their
portfolios and the party and keeping
them within the party and working to
resolve the crises without cornering
them in the party. I never conspired
to chase away persons whom I felt
would some day further complicate
issues that would arise between
is well known among everyone that we
now have a government and a
President from our party as a result
of the battle of ideologies that
were carried out within the party by
the late Lakshman Kadirgamar and a
few other members including myself.
former President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga not
dissolved the then UNF government in
February 2004, the UNF government
would complete its six-year term on
December 5, 2007. Which means we
would still be under a UNF
government and most probably, the
country would be ruled by a UNP
one with a proper sense and memory
can forget that after dissolving the
UNF government, which was not people
friendly, we joined hands with the
JVP to bring back our government and
worked unconditionally to bring
Mahinda Rajapakse to the post of
am amazed by the harassment meted
out to me by certain leaders from
our party given my history with the
party. Even today, my only aim and
wish is to bring the SLFP back to
its initial policy framework. That
is to reinstate the political
policies based on the middle path,
which have now been distanced from
the party, and to establish
democracy within the party and to
protect the freedom of expression.
Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi and I have
been engaged in a constant battle to
bring the government, which we have
brought into power, back on to the
right track. Positive criticism has
therefore been made. Long
discussions have been held with the
leadership. Finally, it was all
informed in writing as well.
the circumstances, it is the duty of
the party central committee to
present the real reasons for our
ouster from the portfolios to me as
well as other party members.
our request, asking for the fight
against terrorism to be carried out
in a manner that would not violate
human rights contravene party
policies? Is it against our party
policies to ask to find a political
settlement to resolve the ethnic
conflict that has gone on for more
that three decades?
it wrong of me to have got the
blessings of two opposing countries
- the US and Palestine? Is it also
against our party policies to reveal
bribery and corruption, and to
educate the leader of nepotism
within the government?
to our party constitution, "The
main policy of the SLFP is
democratic socialism. That is the
middle path. The foundation of
democratic socialism is personal and
public freedom. We consider these to
be important aspects of a free
democracy. Freedom to think and
express thoughts, hold meetings,
follow any religion, exercise one's
franchise are considered personal
liberties." It is now our main
responsibility to reinstate this
policy within the party.
conscientiously state that
irrespective of the challenges that
would befall us in the future, I
would continue in my journey
protecting further the party polices
of the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike,
established in 1951.
Lanka Freedom Party.