20 September, 2020

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Common Presidential Candidate & Ethnic Conflict

By S. V. Kirubaharan

S. V. Kirubaharan

S. V. Kirubaharan

Now-a-days when you tune into the radio, turn on the TV, read Sri Lankan newspapers and electronic media or listen to discussions in streets and social gatherings, the talk is about the “Common presidential candidate in Sri Lanka”.

People are tired of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tyranny. The opposition feels that he is a strong Presidential candidate who can only be defeated by a common candidate.

Whether Rajapaksa can contest the Presidential election for the 3rd time is another question. Anyhow, the opposition feels that all the strong forces should co-ordinate and chase away Rajapaksa. Well and good!

I am not a politician, but by following and researching happenings in Sri Lanka, what I have predicted in the past has never been wrong. See below what I wrote about the last Presidential election in Sri Lanka.

On 10 January 2010, I wrote an article in the Sunday Leader, under the headline, “After the Election: What will happen To the President’s Promises?

Before I continue, I would like to salute the courageous Journalist Frederica Jansz, then Editor of the Sunday Leader for publishing the article and then publishing a few more of my articles in the same paper. Now-a-days, are there any courageous journalists like Frederica Jansz highlighting truth, justice and reality, in any English print media in Colombo or Sri Lanka?

Last presidential election

In my article of 10 January 2010, I compared the two leading Presidential candidates Mahinda Rajapaksa and General Sarath Fonseka and I wrote the following:

“Now the question is how would the people benefit from either candidate?  It is well known that these two candidates were good friends at one time. There is no guarantee that they will not unite again – otherwise they could not be good politicians and democrats. If now General Sarath Fonseka says that he is a politician, after winning the election he could say that as Commander in chief of all the forces, he is a politician-cum-Commander. Being the President of the country, he is unlikely to make any statements against the former President and his family.

If the people want to benefit, General Sarath Fonseka should lose this election, which is unlikely. If he wins the election, there is a greater chance that old friends will be united. In the unlikely scenario of Rajapaksa winning the elections, Sarath Fonseka would probably spill more beans and he may be encouraged by his advisors to contest parliamentary elections. In the meantime the Rajapaksas may be preparing their law suit against him with false allegations and evidence.”

In the same article I rejected Mangala Samaraweera’s newest slogan of the time, that Sri Lanka is the “longest democracy in South Asia”. In fact, these days Mangala himself contradicts his slogan. At least now, has he learned what “Democracy” is? It is not only having elections. It also means treating all citizens as equals.

Common Presidential candidate

Now let us discuss the matter of the common Presidential candidate. To be frank, my analysis will be based on information available in English and Tamil media. Being a Tamil, there is no need to explain why I give priority to the ethnic conflict and the question of reconciliation when discussing the common presidential candidate. Everyone knows Mahinda Rajapaksa’s policy on ethnic conflict and reconciliation. He openly says that the 13th amendment is already fully implemented and yet India asks them to implement it. Since J.R. Jeyewardena’s time, Sri Lankan leaders have continued to cheat Indians leaders.

With regard to the ethnic conflict and reconciliation, the names of potential common Presidential candidate already coming up, are neither capable of winning an election against Rajapaksa nor of finding a durable solution to the Ethnic conflict.

For a long time I have been saying in most of my articles that none other than ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga can win in the Presidential election, especially against Mahinda Rajapaksa. When I wrote in the Sunday Leader that, “only a lady will win against Rajapaksa” – an ex-diplomat made a sarcastic comment as to whether it was Frederica Jansz! I hope Chandrika can accommodate him and in years to come give him a Diplomatic post in the UN in New York.

If anyone other than Chandrika contests the future election, then it will be a “walk over” and Mahinda Rajapaksa will remain the Executive President for the 3rd time. No-one can deny the support that Mahinda Rajapaksa enjoys among the people in the South. They see Rajapaksa as a saviour of their mother Lanka.

Chandrika’s victory

Therefore, those who are thinking of a victorious common candidate should think of Chandrika. Considering various factors, she could certainly win and become the Executive President for the third time.

If she is the common candidate in the next presidential election, firstly, there will be a split in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party- SLFP. There is already media coverage on this and we have a list of Ministers who meet Chandrika on a regular basis. Surprisingly, though it has not yet reached the media, one of Rajapksa’s most trusted Cabinet ministers also meets Chandrika!

Secondly, many ministers and some holding important positions are defectors from the United National Party – UNP. Some of them joined Rajapaksa to avoid a corruption investigation by Rajapaksa’s government. Therefore the day Chandrika announces her candidacy, all these defectors of the UNP will jump to support her.

Thirdly, many expect a regime change in Sri Lanka so they can “enjoy democracy again”. But what is democracy? The democracy they describe is about freedom of movement, expression, corruption and nepotism. This is where the definition of democracy fails in Sri Lanka.

Change in thoughts, hearts and minds

It would be an utter mistake for any Tamil to think that a regime change will settle the ethnic conflict. Look at the history of not only Chandrika, but also of both her parents who had formerly held the office of Prime Ministers in Sri Lanka – S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike. What did they do about the ethnic question? Look too at all UNP leaders – Dudley Senanayake, J. R. Jeyewardena, R. Premadasa, and leftist leaders – N.M.Perera, Colvin R de Silva, Peter Keuneman and others.

Therefore change in thoughts, hearts and minds of the rulers in Sri Lanka are more important than thinking of regime change, Presidents change, personalities change. Democracy can be achieved in Sri Lanka only when the bloody ethnic conflict which has existed since independence in 1948, is settled. The hide-and-seek games of Sinhala rulers are not going to work anymore!

Political change in Sri Lanka every four or five years is like “Musical chairs”. It has not brought any change for the people of the North and East. The “development” that Rajapaksa is talking about, is all for the benefit of the Singhalese. This has been mentioned in many articles in length, so I do not have to go into detail here.

Ethnic conflict and reconciliation

Therefore what the common candidate, probably Chandrika, should do first is to announce his or her policy on the ethnic conflict and reconciliation. Secondly their policy on the UN Investigation. This has to be done before her candidacy or the presidential election itself.

If this happens then the people in the South will decide whether to support her position or not. Otherwise it is preferable for Mahinda Rajapaksa to win the President election for the 3rd time and let the international community continue its scrutiny on Sri Lanka. This should be the way forward on the ethnic conflict, reconciliation and the UN investigation.

Chandrika and Ranil should not forget that the UN investigation starts from events in 2002 and so it covers their period in power as well. Also we can’t forget Ranil Wickremesighe’s statement that they did the needful for the war to end in the way it did. Further we can’t forget the behaviour and activities during the war of the present livewire and lieutenant of the UNP, Mangala Samaraweera.

The forthcoming presidential election should not be missed by any Tamils who understand diplomacy and the suffering of innocent people. They should vote for the candidate who is open, frank and transparent. Now the question is how will Tamils benefit from the new President?

In my article published in February 2013, “Mr President, you also will be Impeached”, I said the following : “There are many obstacles for Ranil Wickremesinghe or Sarath Fonseka to stand in the President election. But they will support the Lady and she will also be supported by the majority of the members in the SLFP as well. Always the deciding vote is from the North and East and it will be cast in favour of the Lady. The people in the North and East have already voted for the Military General who ruined their life. This doesn’t mean that Rajapaksa or the Lady is a Saint. They too, have both done horrendous damage to the people in the North and East – politically, economically, socially and culturally.”

 

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Latest comments

  • 3
    5

    “People are tired of President Rajapaksa’s tyrany “

    This is a Dude who sent Prabakaran money….

    • 2
      0

      “People are tired of President Rajapaksa’s tyrany ”

      This is wrong, Rajapaksa’s family wants Mahinda to be in power for ever!

      K.A Suma……….. are you happy now!

    • 2
      2

      Sumanasekera you idiot:

      If Sam Chicken the Sinkalam can send mony to Gotha to Kill what is wrong with this and other dudes sending money to protect Tamil Lives.

  • 4
    4

    ” what I have predicted in the past has never been wrong. “

    That would make you a prophet, and we haven’t had one for quite a while.
    The first ‘common candidate’ suggested was ex-Justice Wigneswaran, who was seen as a decent law-abiding citizen till he went up North and started extolling the virtues of the mass murderer Prabhakaran and the LTTE. He became a dead duck.

    • 2
      4

      Pure nonsense,emotional reply!

    • 2
      4

      Ram the almighty Sinkala fortune teller:

      Have you predicted the future of the Mass Murderer and the THUG MR. He has no future.

  • 3
    3

    Kiruba seems more Democratic than Praba..

    Kiruba doesn’t believe in abstinence.

    He wants the Tamils even in the East to vote for Chandrika.

    Wonder whether this would lead to a conflict of interest between the new ITAK Chief and the Diaspora, which the ITAK chief has included as one his agenda items / resolutions for the campaign which start in earnest in January 2015…

  • 1
    0

    UNP has already declared Ranil as the presidential candidate.
    He is one of few non-corrupt politicians.
    He also believes in democracy.
    If he also declares that his intention is to abolish the Executive Presidency, he will get the votes of people who favour the abolition.

    Sobitha must cast his robes aside – then he may be a strong contender.

    But all depends on a free and fair election. This has not happened yet, since independence.

  • 2
    3

    LTTE rump talking about democracy, unitary Sri lanka and chinkala-govt.

    Tamil jokes.

    • 0
      2

      How was your world tour?

      Why did you travel and who sponsored your travel is the question in the town.

    • 3
      2

      Jim Sotty:

      When are you going to learn you idiot. It is no longer LTTE Rump. It is Mahintha RUMP. The small time Hambanthotta THUG has capitulated under pressure from much bigger Thug from Delhi and announced yesterday that he is ready to implement 13th Amendment including the merger of North & East. Medicine is working. Kingdom has gone up in flames.

  • 2
    0

    If Rajapaksa can’t contest a 3rd term,neither can Chandrika . Then what happens to the common candidate theory ?

    All this is garbage I wonder if this guy gets paid by the word, by the LTTE ? We ALL know who Chandrika’s parent were….you don’t have bring back nightmarish memories by mentioning those names again!

    • 0
      1

      If Rajapaksa can’t contest a 3rd term,neither can Chandrika .

      This shows your knowldge in politics!

      Who will debate with a person who has no basic knowldge of politics.

      Ask your father or grand father about happenings in Sri Lanka.

      • 1
        1

        Stanley

        “If Rajapaksa can’t contest a 3rd term,neither can Chandrika.”

        Good point.

        If neither of them can contest can I appeal to wathie, Banda, Mechanic, OTC, Abhaya, Thondamanar, Thamo, Nuisance, teresa, Nuwan, Kishore, Navin, Jimmy, David Blacker, Siva Shankaran Sarma Menon, Ravi Perera, sach, ……………….. and other Sinhala/Buddhists to field their own common candidate.

        Ela Kolla is willing to serve as the campaign manager cum director of communication.

        • 0
          0

          He, hee the Native One, enjoyed it. What a circus that would be. Just include I am no Muslim and Jay Chambers too for posterity sake. They can add real val for the mon, and could easily be judged most popular as ‘The laughing stock’.

  • 0
    1

    “I am not a politician, but by following and researching happenings in Sri Lanka, what I have predicted in the past has never been wrong.”

    Kiruba, I am a tamil as well, but you have basically stated all possible avenues in your article so obviously you are not wrong. I can also write an article and say in the next presidential election Rajapaksa will either win or lose the election and then claim I have never got a prediction wrong.

    However I completely agree with your views on CBK, I beleive she is the best candidate for Lanka.

  • 3
    0

    The so called “ethinic problem” Tamils are faced with can be solved by Tamils themselves. Change their communal mindset handed to them by Ponna, Chelva, Sunda and, extend their hands in frienship to the Sinhala populace. There is no previledges to be had to wealthy Vellahs under the guise of rights anymore. Discard casteism, racism and embrace modernism and everybody will move forward.

    • 1
      2

      lal loo

      “What is needed is restoration of the pre Dravidian,”

      Could you tell us when this pre Dravidian Anuradhapura period existed (time line would be helpful).

      “glorious achievements of hydraulic civilisation,”

      Could you elaborate on this civilisation.

      “magnificient cities and prosperous citizens”

      Give us some details about this prosperity.

      “All that can be established with current leadership.”

      So with this leadership you want to go back to a period where there was no electricity, motor vehicle, computers, Cinema, Whisky, beer, planes, mobile phones, ………… Its a good idea, I should be able to help you in your effort to rollback civilization and modernity.

      Native Vedda
      September 10, 2014 at 7:34 pm

  • 2
    2

    Author has given his genuine opinion. Sri Lanka is independent country. TNA and other Tamil parties want to internationalize ethnic issue and get more independent governance for Tamils. There are clusters of various ethnic groups living in developed countries like USA, England and Canada. Should’t they also have more independence in governing themselves. Ethnic Sinhalese are minority compared to millions of Tamils in Tamilnadu and support they get from India and other big nations who had violated basic human right of poor Asian and African countries during last century. So Sri Lanka have to be very careful not to allow another Tamil terrorist group uprising. Though President Rajapakse is autocratic ruler with rampant nepotism in the government, at the movement he seems to be only person who can move forward stable Sri Lanka. India should be sympathetic to Tamils who are not willing live in Sri Lanka as they can’t have there identity known. They should be given given citizenship in India and settle down in Tamilndu among their brethren so that they can live in peace and rest of the Sri Lanka can move forward as one nation.

    • 0
      1

      Silva,
      “There are clusters of various ethnic groups living in developed countries like USA, England and Canada”.

      Scots, Irish and Welsh live in their respective homelands in UK along with English in England. They have their parliament elected by respective communities and systems of administrations without appointed governors to control or impose impediments to govern. They do not have English soldiers in occupation harassing and intimidating the respective nationalities. Moreover each of these ethnic minorities has a right to self determination.

      In small Switzerland (7.5 million)there are FOUR ethnic groups speaking German, French, Italians and Romansh (only 0.5%). They all can communicate with government in their respective languages. Again there are no military occupation of any region. It is a very civilised country and richest in the world with a true Federal System of government in place.

      In 1950tees the Federal Party of Sri Lanka asked for a similar system for Tamil speaking (20% to 25%) population and Muslims CANTONS for themselves.

      “India should be sympathetic to Tamils who are not willing live in Sri Lanka as they can’t have there identity known. They should be given given citizenship in India and settle down in Tamilndu among their brethren so that they can live in peace and rest of the Sri Lanka can move forward as one nation”.

      India passed on satellite information of moving LTTE armed shipments in international waters to Sri Lankan Air Force and helped destroy the rebel group and watched more than 100,000 Tamils being killed. Just because French or any other group speaking a language same as those across the boarder of Switzerland other countries will not accept a mass emigration and speaking of it is pure racism and barbarism.

    • 0
      1

      silva

      “They should be given given citizenship in India and settle down in Tamilndu among their brethren so that they can live in peace and rest of the Sri Lanka can move forward as one nation.”

      Its a very good idea. I am right behind you. The descendants of Kallthonies should be sent back to whence their ancestors came.

      When the Kallthoni Tamils go back they should take their kallthoni Sinhala/Buddhists brethren with them. Sinhala/Buddhist brethren will be accepted by Tamilnadu.

      Then this island could move forward as one nation, the Nation of Veddahs.

      How soon can you leave? When you go please take your Tamil brethren with you, North or South India.

  • 0
    1

    Sinhala racism is real. So is caste. Lal should remove the beam in his eye before telling the Thamils to remove the speck in their eyes. The Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka is based on caste. The Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters continue to be the monopoly of Govigama caste. And Sinhalese do look to caste before arranging marriages. We are not telling that Sinhalese should discard Mahinda Rajapaksa because his rule is corrupt, wasteful, autocratic, self-centred and there is chronic cronyism. Leave the choice of leaders to Thamils and please don’t sermonise.

  • 0
    0

    Sinhalese are migrants from Bengal/Orissa If you ask Thamils to migrate to India/Thamilnadu then logically Sinhalese should go back to Bengal/Orissa the land of their forefathers. Before Vijaya set foot in Ceylon there were Nagas in the North, West and East, the Yakshas around Mahiyangana and the Veddas in the hills. As rightly pointed out by Native Vedda we must leave this country to Veddas the original people in Ceylon. For the first 10 centuries after the arrival of the mythical Vijaya this country was rules by Nagas as one can glean from their Naga affix to their names. Persons like Silva should not trivialise the ethnic conflict by drawing red herring and writing load of rubbish.

  • 0
    1

    Silva,
    Before 1600 we had a Tamil kingdom where the Tamil king ruled from POLLANARUWA.Pl.check history.Now Sinhalese are occupying Tamil land,damaging our culture,harassing our girls.Pl.leave and we know how to look after ourselves.We had our caste system according to the work one does.PLEASE LEAVE US WE KNOW WHAT TO DO.
    IF YOU LEAVE US WE WILL BRING MONEY AND DEVELOP OUR LAND.FULL STOP.

  • 1
    0

    Who cares where Sinhalaya’s come from and where Tamilians come from?! End of the day we are in the 21st century and we are all now Sri Lankan.

    If you goto Australia (a multicultural country), you think people are going around telling the white’s to go back to Europe & UK, the Indians & Sri Lankans to go back to their countries and the arabs to go back to the Middle East and then saying the aboriginals are the true Australians?! They all consider themselves Australians (at least majority of them).

    As a nation we first need to accept we are all Sri Lankans, whether we came before Christ or we caught the flight yesterday.

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