Country can’t wait till next general election-SF

5 October 2012 06:30 pm - 15     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Kelum bandara

New political movement

q:What kind of a political movement will you be forming?
I am trying to register a political party for myself. We applied for it three years ago.  Approval is pending. But, in addition to that, we have realised today that there is a corrupt government run by corrupt rulers.  It amounts to a tyrannical regime. The country’s economy is declining.  The corruption is uncontrollable.  It has never been like that. There is no justice in the country. Likewise, the education and health sectors are collapsing. The business community is complaining.  They have to give bribes and ransom to get things done. Therefore, we cannot wait till another general election is declared to unseat this government. We have to overthrow the government as soon as possible.  We have to get the support of people to defeat this government. For that purpose, we have to form a united opposition to fight against the common enemy.  There are 60 odd opposition parties. I am not talking about each of them. Some parties cannot get at least two votes.  I am talking about uniting the parties with voter- bases.   In this case, we must not talk about the leader of this so-called alliance to avoid unnecessary problems which will hinder the process. We have got a couple of people who have got the blessings of people. They can get together and plan the future course of action.



q:You mentioned that you cannot wait for another general election to defeat this government.  Then, how are you going to do it?
There are provincial council elections coming first. We need to attempt to win such an election first.  There are so many disappointed members within the government. There are ministers and MPs who are unhappy with the government.   We believe that they might join us at some stage.  If we get their blessings, we need not wait for another election.

q:You mean that you can outnumber the government in Parliament through such an exercise?
If we want to unseat the government before the next general election, it will be another option.

q:How confident are you that you will get the support of ruling party ministers and MPs?
They are talking to us already. We are in touch with them. There are quite a large number of them in touch with us. They expressed their displeasure in the way the country is being governed by the present rulers.

q:When you form this alliance, what are the lessons you have learnt from your previous experience as the common opposition candidate at the 2010 presidential election?
We made a certain number mistakes even during the last presidential election.  We had seen a lack of commitment in some of the politicians in the opposition. They were supposed to campaign for me. That is one thing we have to look at this time. We have to get hold of politicians who are sincere and genuine in this exercise.  They have to show their commitment. We should not accommodate another set of corrupt politicians to replace the present lot at the helm of affairs.      If we replace the present system with another batch of corrupt leaders, they too will rule the country for 10 or 15 years and ruin it.  This has been going on for the last 60 years. A change of political culture is needed.  We need politicians with clear track records who love the country and its people.

q:If I refer to the past presidential election, who invited you to join politics? was it the UNP or the JVP?  
Both the parties did it.  They were the two main parties in the opposition at that time.

q: Other than that, is it not your own idea to join politics?
After I left the military service, I was displeased with the conduct of the government. I realised that rulers were talking about fake development. After the war, they were not genuine in their reconciliation efforts. I knew that I would be a stakeholder of all these mistakes if I continued to be with them. Therefore, I quit them. If I came out, I thought I could be critical of their corruption and malpractices.  When I came out, I was invited by the main opposition parties.

q:Did you communicate your willingness to do politics to them first?
Before I communicated, they contacted me at the moment I left.

q:Can you mention the names of politicians who contacted you?
They do not like to be identified by name. I was sent messages by politicians from the JVP and the UNP. But, these are not the bogus politicians who gave evidence against me at the courts.  They have nothing to do with my coming to politics.  They did it against me with the blessings of the present rulers.

q: In the proposed political movement , will there be a role for the JVP to play?
Yes definitely. We expect them to play a major role. But, they have their own agenda and political culture. Although they contested in alliance with other parties in the past, they did politics on their own. When they are in the opposition too, they do it that way. Yet, if another presidential election is declared, I am sure they can work together with us. It is certain that they will not support present rulers.

" I KNEW THAT I WOULD BE A STAKEHOLDER OF ALL THESE MISTAKES IF I CONTINUED TO BE WITH THEM. THEREFORE, I QUIT THEM. IF I CAME OUT, I THOUGHT I COULD BE CRITICAL OF THEIR CORRUPTION AND MALPRACTICES. "


UNP should solve its issues

q: Do you think that the present splits in the UNP affect the process of forming this alliance?  
Definitely, it is a major problem.

q: What is your advice to them?
I have not committed myself to any problem there. I have refrained from commenting or taking sides. They have to solve this problem.  Otherwise, it is not good for the forward march of the opposition.        



q: Three years have lapsed after the war was over. How do you   analyse the progress made during the period in various aspects?   
They have not made any progress in the aftermath of the war victory. The government has failed to work towards the permanent solution to the problems in the north and the east.  They have not addressed the root cause of the problem. They do not make any attempt. They are concerned only about getting political mileage over the differences between the north and the south, and arousing communal tension.  They do it by advocating the Sinhala Buddhist slogan. They want to create differences to win elections. It is a selfish agenda. There is mistrust and suspicion among communities. That has to be sorted out.  There is no proper development in the affected areas. People still live without basic facilities.  They carpet roads and swindle money. They have not been able to restore the irrigation system, and complete mine clearance work.

Minority politcians should do mainstream politics

q:How are you going to win over the minorities to your political fold?
I have already won them over. Eighty percent of minorities voted for me at the last presidential election. They voted one and  a half times more than what they voted for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) at the general elections. They were the people who benefited from the end of war. They have confidence in us.

q:Will you invite the TNA and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to join your alliance?
They can join us any time. They have their political agendas.  But, I basically advocate that Tamil and Muslim politicians should be in the mainstream politics. That is better than having political parties based on ethnic identities. We encourage that system. The unity and harmony among communities are very important.  Like in India, it should happen here.  There, we see people belonging to 300 or 400 communities being united under one party.  We are for such a system. It is not the TNA or the SLMC that should always represent Tamils and Muslims.

q:You mentioned something about a permanent solution to the problems in the north and the east?
The permanent solution should be worked out to dispel mistrust and suspicion. Without that, nothing can be achieved.  I will make a great deal of effort for it. The communities have to live with respect for each other. They should not suspect each other. Equal opportunities should be ensured for all    in all matters.       My priority is to create that situation. I will devote my efforts to bring about a few constitutional amendments  as required and acceptable to all the communities.  

q: There is a demand to scale down the military presence in the north and to reduce the size of high security zones.   As the former Army Commander, what are your views on this?
I do not see any requirement for high security zones now because there is no threat. But, we have to locate the essential administrative units in high security zones in some areas. When it comes to scaling down the military presence, soldiers should not be used in drainage clearance or planting grass. They have to help people resettling in their areas.  They can do infrastructure development work.They are qualified for it. The military presence is important in that aspect to assist people. They should not disturb the daily life of the people. The Sri Lanka Army has to be kept in this country.   We cannot throw them out. The Army has to have base camps. Keeping that in mind, we have to reestablish and relocate military camps.  

" I DO NOT SEE ANY REQUIREMENT FOR HIGH SECURITY ZONES NOW BECAUSE THERE IS NO THREAT. BUT, WE HAVE TO LOCATE THE ESSENTIAL ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS IN HIGH SECURITY ZONES IN SOME AREAS. WHEN IT COMES TO SCALING DOWN THE MILITARY PRESENCE, SOLDIERS SHOULD NOT BE USED IN DRAINAGE CLEARANCE OR PLANTING GRASS."


Mandela's walk to freedom

q:Of the books you read, which one struck you most?
The autobiography of Nelson Mandela struck my mind. I read it with avid interest.  I read how endured enormous hardships in jail.  He was not even allowed to attend his young son’s funeral. Also, he could not attend his mother’s funeral.  What I underwent is nothing compared to the hardships endured by Nelson Mandela.

q:Did you read a lot of parliamentary democracy and practices?
I read Erskine May  twice.




Government had failed in reconciliation efforts

q:The government has come under international scrutiny today due to some allegations regarding the conduct of war. How do you see it?
 The government has failed in the areas of reconciliation, resettlement and infrastructure development. Then, human rights violations come. They still continue with white van abductions not only in the north and the east.  A lot of people are still in detention centres. They are taking the law into their hands.  The international community does not condone them. We also do not condone it.  But, war crimes allegations are exaggerated. If there is credible evidence regarding any incident, the international community has the right to point it out.  We are members of the United Nations. If there are human rights violations or   war crimes, the international community might point it out.  You cannot shout at them saying that these are internal matters. As far as I know, the Army which I commanded did not commit war crimes. If an individual has committed an offence, he needs to be punished.  For that, you cannot blame the whole Army.  I stand by the Army. If we have not committed any crime, we have to clear ourselves of all these allegations. These people do not do it. Therefore, the image of the country is tarnished.  

q:There are concerns in certain quarters that if you become the head of state, you will be dictatorial and revengeful. They refer to some of the statements and remarks you made during the 2010 election.  How do you respond to it?
What are the statements they are referring to?

q:You referred to someone as ‘Kalavedda.’ Also, you made some cortical remarks against Minister Wimal Weerawansa
In the military parlance, we use the word ‘Kalavedda’ to refer to ungrateful people. That is a common word in the Army. This particular person, whom I referred to as Kalavedda, was ungrateful to me.   I helped him to go to the United States to gain a degree. I also helped him to return to the country to see his ailing father. When he was an Army deserter, I helped him.  After doing all that, he told a whole lot of lies at the instigation of a top official attached to Sri Lanka’s embassy in the United States.   We referred to him as Kalavedda because he was ungrateful. I did not use it in anger.
With regard to Mr. Weerawansa, I have to say this. When I invited President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a debate, Mr. Weerawansa wanted to join it instead of the President.  I invited the President. I said when I invited somebody those licking bones around him cannot join. That is what I said.  What is wrong with that?  Some people say that I vowed to jail the present ruler. I did not say that. When I visited Kelaniya, Ratnapura and Gampaha, people complained to me that they were harassed by some politicians.  I said if they did not stop harassment, they would end up in jail under my regime. They would be punished. That is all.  The state media interpreted it that way.   
The complaint is that I would try to control everything with my military background.  I could have done that when I was in uniform.  I could have done it within 24 hours.  We, being disciplined generals, did not want to rule the country that way.  That is why, I retired from the military and joined the democratic political stream.  
The military is not only for war purposes. We also do a lot of man management in the Army.  

q:What did you do whenever you found any free time in jail?
In jail, it is difficult to find free time because prisoners are supposed to do various work including cleaning up their rooms and bathrooms.  Whenever, I found any little time, I read biographies and autobiographies. I read iconic South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and the biography of Indian nationalist leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

" THE COMPLAINT IS THAT I WOULD TRY TO CONTROL EVERYTHING WITH MY MILITARY BACKGROUND.  I COULD HAVE DONE THAT WHEN I WAS IN UNIFORM.  I COULD HAVE DONE IT WITHIN 24 HOURS. "


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  Comments - 15

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  • Asoka Liyanage Saturday, 06 October 2012 02:00 AM

    If you do not get the support of UNP you will achive nothing.

    cumar Saturday, 06 October 2012 02:26 AM

    u should have done that, why u never thought of this? now ur own army soldgers are working against u! specialy all of ur army personal are behind the guy who ran away from vadamarachi and now become the sinhaya.

    dinesh Sunday, 07 October 2012 10:56 AM

    SF has proved that he cannot be bought by the current govt. people i spoke have great regards and admiration for him.
    one cannot compare Gota to SF. SF is a true leader who wishes to improve life for all. we are with him. SF needs to work with the UNP as the main party to unseat this corrupt MR govt.

    Sudu Akka Saturday, 06 October 2012 12:21 PM

    If not for Gota and Mahinda who brought you back from retirement and gave you a new life as Army Commander, you sure did repay them back well. If not for Gota, you will be catching Mada Curry in the Beira Lake today .

    modathilaka Monday, 08 October 2012 06:12 AM

    sinhala satesman ??? others are not satesman...... you should be deported to Tamilnadu better place for you

    MAH Saturday, 06 October 2012 02:24 PM

    This guy is something out of a James Bond movie. Dr. Strange Love comes to mind. He is totally out of his mind. He is about 2 steps short of proclaiming his intentions to lead a coup! Somebody put this guy back in Jail, he needs supervision. Nothing to serious to worry about with this guy, he is totally incompetent.

    Anura Saturday, 06 October 2012 05:39 AM

    If you get support from UNP base yes....
    Again you said sooner you released from the prison that the election results were correct, contradictory to your previous allegation. So wait till next election come.... and the same people will elect again....

    pekawa Saturday, 06 October 2012 05:49 AM

    Those who run away live to fight another day, thats why the "deserter" ran to the USA.from Vedamarachi, and is back sitting and shouting like a donkey,until he runs this time into a stone wall. The general should have finishe dit off in 24hours and we would have been much happier without all these "paraiah dogs"

    sarath Saturday, 06 October 2012 05:51 AM

    SF was more populor when he was in jail than he is out of jail. recall what people said about then and the support they pledged, now he is only a wet blanket. on and off some one will interview him just keep him alive. no go.
    atleast now he should stop talking about curruption of the govt. place your programme to the public and have your own party and see how far you can go. to my judgment you have no political mile to go.

    Naman Saturday, 06 October 2012 03:15 PM

    UNP is now being led by an ineffective Leader---Ranil.W
    The President R, likes to keep him EVER as opposition leader with all it's comforts!
    Need an educated intelligent Sinhala Statesman to lead the country
    We should run a competition for the future leader in TV/Media.
    The people of this country could then decide the Suitable Leader for the country!

    sarath Saturday, 06 October 2012 05:56 AM

    Gota is far beyond SF as a leader. dont judge a person from that point of view. judge him from the todays point of view and compare him with SF as to how meaningful his acts are. SF got himself ruined and now no future.

    Capitaan KuCool Saturday, 06 October 2012 03:49 PM

    This man cannot have friends. Only making enemies with everyone..

    Jaya Saturday, 06 October 2012 06:29 AM

    WALK THE TALK SIR, THEN YOU WILL GET RESPECT.IF YOU READ MANDELLA'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY THEN YOU SHOULD KNOW HE FIRST LISTEN TO EVERYONE TOOK NOTE OF WHAT THEY SAY AND HE TOOK ACTION TO SATISFY MOST OF THEM AND ALWAYS TALKED LAST. ONE QUALITY THAT HE HAD IN PLENTY IS PATIENCE AND HE NEVER SEEK REVENGE EVEN FROM HIS WORST ENEMY.HE WAS A DEMOCRAT TO THE CORE AND A FINE GENTLEMEN. YOU SHOULD FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE AND START A HOUSE TO HOUSE CAMPAIGN NOW SO THAT YOUR PARTY WILL BE READY FOR ELECTIONS IN 2TO 3 YEARS. AT PRESENT YOU ARE NOT READY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF THE PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT FULLY AWARE OT THE PROBLEMS OF THE PEOPLE. ONLY AFTER A PROPER HOUSE TO HOUSE CAMPAIGN YOU WILL REALLY KNOW THE PROBLEMS FACED BY THE PEOPLE.

    Mohan Saturday, 06 October 2012 09:47 PM

    Some govt. paid goons are making crazy comments here. Don't pay attention to them. You are a true hero , a patriot a gentleman and a scholar,and people have proved it. Thank you for coming forward to rescue our country from corrupt rulers.

    Amarasekera Saturday, 06 October 2012 09:07 AM

    Dear sir,

    You must see a docter or be a democrat.

    Thank you


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