One World One Ummah

Sarath Fonseka Must be Told This Land Belongs to All- Mano Ganesan

leave a comment »

By Thava Sajitharan

Democratic Peoples Front leader Mano Ganeshan first wanted to leave the recently formed United National Front (UNF) if they were going to nominate General Sarath Fonseka as the presidential candidate of the UNF. But, later Ganeshan decided to support him.

Excerpts of the interview are as follows:

You have reportedly expressed a willingness to support Gen. Sarath Fonseka in the event the latter is placed as the presidential candidate by the United National Alliance (UNA) of which your party is an ally. It would mean that you are supporting the very same person who led the war which you spoke highly critical of a few months ago. What is the rationale behind your stance…?

My party, DPF is a component of UNF. Neither DPF nor the UNF have made any official announcements. Fonseka has just submitted papers for retirement. Has he officially said that he is contesting? We are only looking at all available options. Fonseka would be also an option. Anyway, I as the leader of my party commenced some discussion with Sarath Fonseka. We have discussions with Tamil and Muslim parties. We are discussing with the parties within UNF. I think this is the sign of a functioning party within the democratic radius.

Some of the minority parties are said to be of the view that support could be offered to Gen Fonseka on the condition that he should abolish the executive presidency. Nonetheless, all the Presidents in the past two decades promised to do away with the existing system but none of them did it in reality. Besides, Gen Fonseka in September 2008 reportedly said `I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese’. He also reportedly said that ‘minorities must not demand undue things’. What makes you think that he would act differently or that he would heed to the minority parties?

Minority parties, you mean the Tamil and Muslim parties? More than the Tamil and Muslim parties, today UNP, SLFP (M) and JVP are asking for the abolishment of the Executive Presidency. Until recently minorities thought that the Executive Presidency is advantageous to the minority interests. Today Parliament has been weakened very much and the real government is run from the Presidential palace. There is a new class of ‘President’s men’ who has arrived in this country today. Pathetic are the cabinet Ministers within the Parliament. It is because they are not in the know of the running of the government. Now within the UNF our party and SLMC have also come to the position for abolishment. I think we as minorities can never go to Presidential palace but only to the Parliament.

Therefore, we cannot just be idle when our Parliament is slowly becoming a mere talk show assembly. Yes, CBK and the incumbent President agreed for the abolishment but did not adhere to the agreements. We need two third numbers in the Parliament and a friendly President who agrees for abolishment. So we are trying all the available avenues. What is the democratic alternative for us? If all the democratic avenues are unsuccessful then it will be an invitation to revolt. People may take to streets. Last part of your question refers to Sarath Fonseka’s comments made in 2008. We can never accept that stand. This country belongs to all of us. Let Sarath Fonseka be told.

But, these types of comments have been made by many in the major parties. If you ask me, I will tell you that a sizable number of politicians harbor such ideas within themselves. Not only in JHU and NFF but there are such persons in SLFP, UNP and JVP. There are Sinhala politicians while in government had said worst things. Some had gone to the level of eating the Tamil flesh. On other hand there had been Tamil counterparts too. Certain Tamil politicians wanted to swim in the Sinhala blood. It is the pathetic reality of our common motherland. We need to rebuild our common motherland for the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims and Buddhists, Hindus, Islamists and Christians. Please let me tell you loudly that the Common motherland is more important than a common candidate. We have to work through to achieve. If you have an alternative tell me. The pundits who criticize never come out with any successful alternatives.

A few weeks ago, you stated that you had communicated with a representative of Gen. Fonseka. Is it confirmed that he will be nominated by the UNA as their Presidential candidate?

A representative of Fonseka met me in Colombo. I said that some time before.

It has not been countered. So you know it is correct information. It is not only UNF in the scene but also JVP. This is on one hand. And Tamil and Muslim parties on the other hand. Let the announcement for the Presidential elections come. There will be more surprises for the government. I cannot comment further.

How do you interpret the letter sent to the President by Gen. Fonseka. Does it indicate that he would contest the Presidential elections?

Sarath Fonseka has already removed his uniform unofficially. I think it has a political meaning. He means business. Isn’t he? This is my guess.

The TNA has not ruled out the possibility of fielding a Tamil Presidential candidate. In that event who would you support?

Yes, it is one of the options. Not only the TNA but we as DPF have too pronounced this. President Mahinda, Common Opposition candidate, Common Tamil candidate and boycott are the four options we have. Last time Tamils in the North and East were told to boycott by LTTE. Today it is history. Boycott is the worst. It is against democratic engagement. And also we cannot simply leave it to the people’s private decisions. All Tamil and Muslim parties are to give leadership directions to our peoples.

The government has said that it would allow the opposition Parliamentarians to visit the IDP camps in the future? What is your comment about this new development? Are you planning to visit the IDPs?

Why the sudden announcements after six months? Is it GSP phobia? It is coming after allowing Indian MPs. Yes, we will visit independently. Visiting the camps is just one element of our struggle. We want our people to go home. Their rights to their ancestral land are supreme.

As a human rights campaigner, what are your observations about the resettlement process which is said to have been expedited..?

More than the conditions of the camps, the violation of the rights is my concern. They are being kept there against their will. The barbed wire and military security surrounding the camps are not for the protection against any external invasion. They are to prevent people from going out.

The people should have been given the right to stay with their relatives and friends of their choice long before. In the name of demining and screening, you can’t keep the women, children, sick and aged for months behind barbed wire. Government is expediting the process due to our pressures. Anyway this is what is expected out of a government. They can’t demand credit for this. We legislators have to visit and make our own independent assessment.

We need to know the total numbers of people arrived since May and settled and the numbers that remain. They can’t put them into another transit camp and call it resettlement. The people need to go to their very own villages. Until then this is going be the top priority for us.



Written by

November 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Posted in Articles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: