2 December, 2023


A Disunited Government But United Against Accountability, Justice & Reconciliation 

By Kumarathasan Rasingam

Kumarathasan Rasingam

The coalition Government of United National Party [UNP] – Sri Lanka Freedom Party [SLFP] calling itself as a Government of ‘Good Governance’ took office in January 2015 with Mithiripala Sirisena [SLFP] as President with Ranil Wickremasinghe as Prime Minister [UNP]commanding 105 members of Parliament  and Mithiripala Sirisena [SLFP] holding 97 members. Two major political parties who were battling against each other in all parliamentary elections joined to form a historical Government giving high hopes and optimism to all sections of the people in Sri Lanka particularly for the Tamils. Plenty of vote catching promises were made. The most important being the elimination of bribery and corruption and prosecuting past corrupt politicians particularly the former President Rajapaksa clan, who amassed wealth unprecedented in the history of Sri Lanka. The other promise was to offer a just, and permanent political settlement to the 70 year old ethnic problem with promises to take steps to redress the other grievances due to war and after the war. Another important promise was to replace the old JR Jayewardene’s constitution with a new constitution engaging the public from all walks of life with a consultative process. The mandate of the people was obtained to carry out the above commitments with the approval of 6.3 million voters during the elections, including the majority of Tamil and Muslim voters.

The Government acted on the promised steps to set up a Constitutional Council, independent Police Commission, and independent Judicial Commission while clipping some powers of the President under the 19th Amendment. The extent of independence and impartiality is far from satisfactory when looking back at some of these Commissions’ past conduct of functions which appear to be falling in line with the ruling Government’s thinking.

The Government after more than 30 months in power is still grappling with power struggle, inner divisions and personal clashes in and outside the Parliament particularly between the UNP and SLFP ministers and high ups. Doubts as to who runs the Government, President or Prime Minister also are cropping up due to lack of co-ordination and consultation or even personal communication. The recent meeting of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Counter Terrorism with the Tamil political prisoners in Anuradhapura irked President Mithiripala Sirisena who was unaware of it until knowing the UN Rapporteur’s scathing comments on Sri Lanka made by him in a Press Conference.

The Joint Opposition Group initiated by Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has also become a veritable irritant threatening to scuttle the Governments move to enact a new constitution, not to mention his venomous opposition to increased devolution of powers to Northern Provincial Council, a permanent political weapon used to sway the Sinhalese voters. PM Ranil is also accused by some in the Maithiri’s quarters for the soft approach in the prosecution of Mahinda Rajapaksa associates as a check mate to SLFP’s electoral ambitions and gains. The net result is a government which is running only to survive and last until the next Parliamentary Elections. This corroding instability has resulted in many failures for the ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ which has progressed to a Government of “NO CONFIDENCE’ and ‘NO GOVERNANCE’ hoping to survive until the Parliamentary Election in 2020.

1. All the recommendations of the UNHRC Resolution 30-1-2015 remain unimplemented except the Office of Missing Persons Act which was passed in August 2016 without adequate powers to ensure culpability for the offenders but only ensuring impunity for them.  The Internal Judicial Mechanism is yet to be conceived and with the declared statements of President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister not to prosecute any security personnel for war crimes, even holding investigations, the principles of justice and accountability have got their good byes in no uncertain terms, while burying the reconciliation process.

2. The proposed new constitution could be an aborted or child of miscarriage. The all powerful Maha Sanga with its three Chief Prelates landed their knockouts for any new constitution, calling on the Government to look after the existing constitution with suitable amendments which should be confined to reduction of Presidential powers and electoral reforms, with Buddhism and unitary system remain as it is. The government has also yielded to the demands of Maha Sanga by declaring that any changes or amendments to the constitution will be submitted to Maha Sanga for their pre approval. This is nothing but a slap on the face of the 6.3 million voters who gave the mandate for a new constitution and who only have their right to exercise either to approve or reject it based on the sovereignty of people over everything else.

The statement of the Joint Opposition Group “No one should act against Maha Sanga and its stand”. And the statement of UNP member Kajantha Gunawardene “Consent of two parties is required to enact a new constitution, one is the consent of Maha Sanga and the other is the consent of people. Without these consents a new constitution cannot be enacted”. These statements are the writings on the wall as to the fate of a new constitution.

It appears that Sri Lanka holds the unique distinction of having two states with the veto power, being vested with the Maha Sanga.

Furthermore, there is no consensus between UNP and SLFP members as to the enacting of a new constitution, with the UNP Members backing a new Constitution and some SLFP members including the Joint Opposition Group insisting on some amendments to the existing constitution. It is suggested that an amendment stating that along with Buddhism, its precepts and philosophies must be given foremost place would also be appropriate as a reminder to the Buddhist politicians.

It is to be stated that the move to incorporate the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances and implement as a local legislation has been blocked by Maha Sanga who opposes it as s trap to prosecute security personnel even though the former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera insits that its provisions would apply to future disappearances and prevention of recurrences

It is an irony of fate that the Maha Sanga which maintained deadly silence during the massacres of innocents in 2009 and during the violence unlashed against the Muslims and their Mosques recently, is now holding the whip hand over the elected Government and spoiling the reconciliation process to keep the communal fire burning.

The coalition Government’s promise to punish the past corrupt politicians particularly Mahinda Rajapaksa’s group is almost given up after viewing the grassroot popularity of Mahinda Rajapaksha family still having its hold.

The coalition Government has failed to honour its promises given to Tamils who voted expecting the ‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’ to redress their grievances as well as offering a just political settlement;

Some of the dishonoured promises are:-

[1] Release of Tamil political prisoners with or without trial.

[2] Release of civilian lands occupied by security forces for no justifiable reason.

[3] The promise of President given to the delegation of disappeared women in Jaffna on June 12, 2017 remains in limbo with no facts and figures coming from the National Security Council or President.

[4] No initiatives have been taken to arrive at a political solution for the ethnic issue nor any talks have been held with Tamil National Alliance Party and others, except the guaranteed statements as to Buddhism’s foremost place and unitary constitution. The statement of Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake sums up the position of the Government. “Fostering and protecting Buddhism, giving due respect to Buddhism and strengthening unitary system of Government are the objectives of the national government”

By strengthening the already existing unitary system of Government, a Federal System or any other form of devolving the powers of centre are completely ruled out. This statement has effectively killed the election manifesto and pledge of Tamil National Alliance Party, who are now left wondering and searching for any salvage while continuing to offer their meaningless support to a Government which is proceeding with their own agenda.

In this post election scenario which has killed the hopes of Tamils in all matters the dubious stand of Tamil National Alliance is drawing criticism from all Tamils including Diaspora Tamils.

Tamil National Alliance’s unconditional backing of this government with nothing in return so far is comparable to chasing mirages for water in the desert. As usual and as experienced in the past, the Sinhala leadership has proved their diplomacy and political strategy to subdue the occasional and momentary noises and outbursts of Tamil National alliance and their weak knee opposition.

The Tamil Leadership right from Independence in 1948 have resorted and tested conciliatory approach and hobnobbing politics with Sinhala leaders, like G. G. Ponnampalam, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam and Amirthalingam, They finally succumbed to the wiles and guiles of Sinhala Government s, opening the gates for confrontation by Tamil youths as Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam which stood for thirty years against the Government and its security forces. However it collapsed due to the skillful diplomacy of Sri Lankan Government who conducted a Genocidal war with the support of 22 foreign governments who labelled it as a ‘war on terror’ refusing to tackle and discarding the underlying causes for militancy.  However, Sri Lanka is still manoeuvring to extricate itself from the clutches of UN Human Rights Council, United Nations and Security Council, whose on the spot investigations and report on War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity are staring at Sri Lanka’s faces.

The recent statement of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism Ben Emmerson in Colombo who visited Sri Lanka in May 2017 could be a pointer. He said “Sri Lanka could face a range of measures including a referral to UN Security Council, if it fails to meet the commitments it made under a 2015 UN Resolution. “Sri Lankan Government has done almost nothing to hold human rights violations in the military to account”.

Sri Lanka’s attitude to international criticisms and allegations concerning its human rights violations, and war crimes has always been initial flat and blunt denial, and character assassination of officers who investigated and reported, later a qualified and partial admission and raising the defence of state sovereignty and internal matter coupled with delaying tactics to make the issue stale and/or frozen, even forgotten.

Tamil National Alliance’s role in backing the Government’s tantrums unconditionally is despicable and unjustifiable bordering on betrayal of Tamils and their causes. Stumbling Sampanthan and dual actor Sumanthiran do not represent the TNA or Tamils as a whole. The duos who only participate and hold most of the talks with Government and Foreign Emissaries, keep the matters talked in secret which only harbors suspicion and doubts. It is high time that TNA particularly Illanki Tamil Arasu Katchi [ITAK] shed their lopsided relationship and futile flirtations with the Government and initiate a campaign soliciting international support and pressure against the Government. Casual and opportune criticisms of Government and empty hopes and promises are not the needed steps. A mass campaign of protests is the need of the hour and making use of the present international understanding and awareness of the Tamils’ problem.

For the Sri Lankan Government, the prophetic opinion of TARZIE VITTACHI [Free lance Journalist] on his book “Emergency 58’    Pages  6-8 [the first pogrom against the Tamils] is worth quoting.
“When a government, however popular begins to pander to racial or religious emotionalism merely because it is the loudest of the raucous demands made on it, and then meddles in the administration and enforcement of law and order for the benefit of its favourites or to win the plaudits of a group, however hysterical it may be, catastrophe  is certain”.

He ends with a question: “HAVE WE COME TO THE PARTING OF THE WAYS?”

Many thoughtful believe that WE HAVE

The question is now is IT DUE OR OVERDUE?

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Latest comments

  • 2

    The CT or you have given an apt title to your analysis.
    Yes, whether they are SLFP or UNP or any other party from the South , they are always united in denying the rights of the minorities.
    To illustrate my point , Smart P …DJ used to praise Sajith Premadasa on many times and likewise Sajith also gives sincere views when it comes to issues like his encounter with Ramith Rambukwelain an Aeroplane.

    When it comes to national issues DJ condemns the Tamils and the Tamil parties. HLDM condemns the Tamil parties and the Tamil Vellalas ( equivalent of Sinhala Goigama ).

    Smart patriot DJ & Aussie HLDM fully supoort Raja & their family enterprises.
    But look at the Sinhalese or English media pictures on Ramitha Rambukwella.You don’t see DJ or HLDM because they are not part of the former ruling class.

    Mr.Kumarathasan the reality has been, is and will be nothing else but “your message in the title to this article.”, unless and until Maha Sangha can find and nurture a Sinhalese Budhist person of the calibre of the founding leader of Singapore. Will it happen in this Yugaya ? Unlikely.
    At the wedding and encouagement parties goigama political big shots like MaRas, GoRas, Namals, Vitharanes, Vasudevas, Kohonas, and many others

  • 1

    “However it collapsed due to the skillful diplomacy of Sri Lankan Government who conducted a Genocidal war with the support of 22 foreign governments who labelled it as a ‘war on terror’ refusing to tackle and discarding the underlying causes for militancy.”

    There was no bloody ‘Genocidal War’. I can’t understand why these guys are not willing to accept that it was a military operation against LTTE Tamil Terrorists who massacred innocent Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim civilians. Where was Kumarathasan Rasingam when Tamil terrorists carried out heinous crimes against humanity and war crimes? As long as Tamils carry out propaganda war against Sinhalese, Sri Lankan armed forces and Sri Lankan Government, do not expect reconciliation from Sinhalese. Chandrika’s reconciliation program will not yield reconciliation. Only good thing will be her bank account will get stuffed with Green Backs. Sinhalese hate that old hag who says that Sinhalese should change the history books for the sake of reconciliation. Who the hell is she to tell Sinhalese to change history books? She should ask Tamils to learn true Sri Lankan history; not a distorted one.

    The underlying cause for militancy is the message put to their heads by Wellala politicians that they should fight for a separate state. Tamils smuggled arms from Tamil Nadu in 1930s to wage war against Sinhalese. There was no ethnic problem at that time.

  • 1

    The author obviously lives in the pre-2009 era. The “parting of the ways” option was tied violently for 30 years and non-violently before that, and that road led not only to the crushing debacle at Nandikadal but also the internecine barbarism that Jude Ratnam depicts in ” Demons in Paradise” (shown at Cannes). This sort of provocative rhetoric (originally SJV’s) resulted in the election of SWRD in 1956, MR in 2005 and will lead to the election of GR in 2019. Hope you enjoy it.

    • 2

      Dear Dr: Truth always hurts – not only for criminals but also for those who supports them:
      Whether Rama or Ravana rules Sri Lanka it makes no difference to the Tamils. Race, religion and language being the bread and butter of south politicians since 1956, who lives and thrives on communal politics, there is no hope for the Tamils unless “GOD ONLY CAN SAVE THE TAMILS’ As S.J.V. Chelvanayagam predicted in 1976 after he also fell victim to the duplicity of Sinhalese politicians. –

    • 2

      Old codger, Spring Koha

      The war monger types:

      “This sort of provocative rhetoric (originally SJV’s) resulted in the election of SWRD in 1956, MR in 2005 and will lead to the election of GR in 2019. Hope you enjoy it.”

      Can you both jog your memory and see if you can recollect what was SJV’s original rhetoric that this public racist believe provoked which resulted in the election of SWRD in 1956? …… This racist types without quoting the source. Down the line Champa, Shenali, sach, Nuisance …………. will quote this without any reference.

      Could you both contact Dayan’s Hindian handlers during his days in India doing clandestine work, to have him appointed as a diplomat without portfolio?

  • 2

    Thirty years of civil war and about seventy years old political negotiations form Tamil political leaders including Mr Prabaharan, Sri Lankan government rejected power to devolution to Tamil and Muslims in the aspects of their own constituted parliament hopefully with the consideration of maha sangha untill now. Tamil National Alliance is before 2009 together with LTTE but there after I thing so far a rulling confidentiality conversion together with the present government. They’re not yet implemented a objection of Tamil political teratery for our home land with their administration at their hands expect northern province cheff minister C V Wignesswaran. Because he is honestly speeches abouts a teratery of Tamil home land including north and east province’s, removing military occupation, police and land powers reforms. But oppasisan leader who plays a silenced role all ways and up to 2020 upcoming presidential election president Mithiripala Sirisena opposition TNA Sampanthan convergence nothing more going to do so by the C V Wignesswaran as far as his propaganda eastern province cheff minister need to be willing to come forward to eastern Tamil and Muslims people to understand what’s happening with in the country or in abroad. New constitution or changes in the constitutional rights of a democratic country likely not be able to make but this kind of governance leaking cracuption and malpractice as against its impact on LTTE administration people were used study and worked with some or more but they’re all lived normally.

  • 2

    I’m a layman and in my own way know or learnt the history of Sri Lanka since Independence.
    Smart patriot DJ was an academic, EPRLF Minister, SL Diplomat,
    Mervyn de Silva’s son, currently polytical analyst & fiction writer and many others.

    He ridicules Mr.Kumarathasan and reminds him of how DJ’s Demi God , Hambantota Goigama MaRa won the war in 2009.DJ is telling he is still living in pre 2009 era.

    But DJ himself talk about 1956 and 2004 how SWRD and MaRa won with overwhelming majority and the US citizen GoRa going to win in 2019.

    DJ also claims because of the political stands of SJVC and Prabhaharan the Sinhalese overwhelmingly gave their votes.
    As an academic what are the evidences or references DJ is giving based on Parliament proceedings to justify or support his claim that SJVC & Prabaharan made SWRD and MaRa to win the majority of the Sinhala Buddhist votes.
    What were the views expressed by the parliament and upper house members brought up and debated with regard to national minorities’ issues. DJ never quotes any.

  • 1

    Dr.DJ is it true that SWRD and SJVC were political friends and had plans for the country as a whole.?

    SWRD took a short cut to come to power by using the pancha bala.
    But having got the power he did a very noble thing for the country. Called SJVC and signed the BC pact.

    How can you put MaRa in the league of SWRD.?

    MaRa bribed the LTTE and came to power . Then won the war with international help and allowed h8s team members to rob the country.

    If you do not agrre with my facts ask
    MaRa’s one time boss Chandrika.

  • 1

    Dear Daya: You pray GR and MR back to power to plunder the left overs of his and present govts; Sell more assets to China and make fast money to build palaces in every village for him. and his family & co. Sri Lanka is already a rogue state;
    Sri Lanka cannot prosper like Singapore;
    Sri Lanka Racism, communalism, hated, envy, lack of patriotism, corruption, etc. etc.
    Singapore: All are equal, no racism, ho hated, no corruption, people love the country & leaders are honest and sincere to make Singapore great.
    Sri Lankan politicians bent of making fast money, bribery and corruption, selling the country, no respect for rule of law: Extremism and racial dis harmony ruin the country;

  • 1

    We the Tamils keeping harping at the Sinhalese. I gave up the quest for Tamil determination after 2009. What we must understand is politicians are good at causing troubles and seldom good at solving problems. I was born in Jaffna to Tamil parents, that makes me a Tamil.Since 1965 I have involved my self in this struggle. STOP ASKING THE SINHALESE for any of your rights. It does not work that way. You have to take it by hook or by crooks. We laid a plan in 1995 to harness the power of all Tamils, we made some inroads but we gave up since LTTE was doing fine.We did not want to divide the focus and attention.
    But we succeeded in sending 5000 students to various universities around the world and started 5000 businesses in Canada alone.
    What we Tamils must understand is that political power arises either through the barrel of gun or through wallet of the people. It is the wallet that gives guns and political power.The governments are just puppets but the money managers are where the power is. But money cannot be harnessed without trust and verification.We Tamil must focus on how we can help the Sinhalese to come out of their financial doldrums. It is in helping the Sinhalese masses that we can cause any sea change. Let all of us pool our financial means to help Sri Lanka to come out of its quagmire.

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