I just read The Indian Express report by P.K. Balakrishnan dated 03rd July 2015, that President Maithri Sirisena has agreed to give SLFP/UPFA nomination to former President Mahintha Rajapaksa. I sensed things would turn out this way from Sirisena’s repeatedly telling us that he would not give Rajapaksa his party’s nomination, while keeping the subject open all the time until now. Uva Chief Minister Harin Fernando confirmed secret meetings between the President and Rajapaksa. Suspicions deepened when there were reports that Rajapaksa had been offered freedom from prosecution by the President if he agreed not to contest at the upcoming elections. Is that offer not the biggest betrayal of all those who voted for President Sirisena? Is this nomination by Sirisena not his asking us to vote for Rajapaksa? Is such asking not an endorsement of the murder and corruption under Rajapaksa? I am devastated.
Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne (who recently said this nomination would never happen) is reported by The Indian Express as giving the weak excuse that “The President has now agreed to allow Rajapaksa to contest the election as an ordinary candidate of the UPFA and not as its group leader or its Prime Ministerial candidate.” Enough of this nonsense. We have been lied to and continue to be lied to. At least grant us the intelligence to see through this, instead of adding insult to injury by taking us to be fools. If Rajapaksa wins from a safe seat with an SLFP majority in parliament, and his MPs elect him their leader, what will happen? Can Rajapaksa’s becoming Prime Minister be prevented in that confluence of horrible happenings? God forbid! We must guard against that in every way we can.
This nomination for Rajapaksa is a betrayal of those of us who worked for his ouster. Tamils and Muslims who voted for President Sirisena will feel most strongly this betrayal. They will now say with some justification, “See, never trust the Sinhalese.” And that will put back all efforts at national reconciliation. This will be the biggest negative fallout from this betrayal – that minorities already estranged from the Sri Lankan state will lose all hope. Tamil moderates like Mr. R. Sampanthan and Mr. M. A. Sumanthiran who endorsed Maithri Sirisena’s election as President will have this betrayal used by Tamil extremists to question their leadership. We all lose, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, by this effective endorsement of corruption, murder and mayhem.
The only thing we can hope for is a UNP victory at the upcoming elections and then further hope that he will do something to address the insecurity that all Sri Lankan minorities feel and restore Tamil and Muslim confidence in the Sinhalese and redeem the state.
For myself, in my enthusiasm for the 8 January 2015 verdict, I have told my office that I will leave for Sri Lanka once my two senior-most students defend their doctoral theses this Summer; for the others I have made suitable arrangements. It is too late for me to back off now. So go I will, back to Sri Lanka, come what may.
God save me. And God save all Sri Lankans.