23 October, 2017

Does Gotabaya Drag Military Into Politics?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

It appears that the Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is openly taking inspiration from ‘terrorism.’ He at least defends his actions on the basis of terrorists. According to the lead story of ‘The Island’ newspaper yesterday (15 December 2014), reported by Shamindra Fernando, he has said, “If terrorists can enter politics, why not forces personnel?”  

This is a dangerous trend. If the same logic is extended to human rights violations or war crimes, he can argue, ‘If terrorists can do such and such things, why not forces personnel?” The citizens of Sri Lanka (including myself) would like to know whether this is just an argument or whether this is the way he has been acting and intends to act.

He has used the terrorist title for the LTTE (rightly so), and for the JVP (correct for the past), and claimed the same entitlements for the armed forces personnel. I do hope that the professional soldiers and their officers/commanders completely disengage and distance themselves from this kind of thinking and stick to their ‘code of discipline’ free from partisan politics.

It was like cat out of the bag. The occasion for this revelation, as reported by ‘The Island,’ was as follows.

The Maithripa la Sirisena’s Camp yesterday told the media that Defence Secretary Rajapaksa was using Urban Development Authority (UDA) in President Rajapaksa’s campaign. Addressing the media, Opposition spokesman attorney-at-law Shiral Lakthilaka alleged that the UDA was operating digital screens in Colombo 24 hours a day to promote President Rajapaksa. Lakthilaka said that the Opposition had a list of serving military personnel campaigning for the incumbent president.”

Not Denied

Let me take the most serious matter first, with my emphasis in the above quote. Defence Secretary has not denied the accusation that “serving military personnel campaigning for the incumbent president.” What he has said is the following.

The vast majority of military would support the government because whatever the allegations, no one could deprive President Rajapaksa of giving political leadership to the successful war effort.”

Of course he has not admitted the accusation directly either. What he has clearly admitted is the use of “retired military personnel in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign,” according to the report. He has defended that ‘use,’ citing the example of Sarath Fonseka.

Gotabaya RajapaksaHowever he has gone some distance to prove that Fonseka entered politics while he was in office which clearly gives the indication that he most probably using serving officers or the military for the election campaign. Two examples that he has given are the resignation letter of Fonseka as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to the President, and his consultation with the JVP in late 2009 when he was in the US, still holding the CDS position.

I was one (among others) who criticised Sarath Fonseka’s entry into politics at that juncture as a wrong precedence and also as a major military danger. That was one reason why I supported Mahinda Rajapaksa at that election. However, one wrong does not make another wrong (in this case a bigger one) excusable. Similarly, I have also criticised the retired judges entering into politics, whatever the reasons. There is no doubt that those who supported or promoted Fonseka at that election was imprudent whatever the discrimination or harassment that he had undergone under Rajapaksas. It is not personal hatred or judgements that should govern our positions, but good governance and democratic principles.

Present Dangers

It is on record that many retired military and police officers have entered active politics. If it is just one or two, that may be ignored. However, when there is a trend or a horde, then that is alarming. If people enter into politics from sectors where independence is required, then those persons’ independence during the service become questionable.

I remember an ASP’s name allegedly implicated in repression in Jaffna in early 1981 when I visited there on a fact finding mission. Then he became a DIG and later entered politics.

Politicization of the armed forces (or police) is one of the major dangers of any society. That cannot be excused by referring to terrorism or taking the example of terrorism. Civilized world expect different norms and behaviour from security forces to that of terrorists. The argument that “If terrorists can enter politics, why not forces personnel?” is undoubtedly a strange and an abhorrent argument. All professional soldiers and the officers should reject the equation of the armed forces to terrorists.

It is very clear that the Defence Secretary is utilizing (some) forces personnel for his brother’s election campaign. He is also doing this as a ‘civil servant’ and as a Secretary of a Ministry. This is a very clear violation of election laws and ‘free and fair elections.’ One proof of this violation is his utterances themselves and the press interview that he has given to ‘The Island.’ He has already admitted the violation.

For the opposition accusation that “Defence Secretary Rajapaksa was using Urban Development Authority (UDA) in President Rajapaksa’s campaign” and “operating digital screens in Colombo 24 hours a day to promote President Rajapaksa,” he has admitted the use of the screens but has said “those advertisements didn’t carry pictures of him or the President.”

The problem in Sri Lanka under the Executive Presidential Constitution is that not only the President is immune (with impunity) of any wrong doing, but his brothers also believe and claim that they have immunity with impunity.

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Latest comments

  • 16
    6

    Professor

    Gotabaya is just another coward. After the elections, when the results are out he will just fold. Do you think the armed forces rank and file will desert Sarath Fonseka?

    Don’t you remember the time when Sarath Fonseka saved his life – when he foolish undertook a mission in the North. And subsequently how he ran away to the USA to live a sheltered life.

    Gotabaya is just a coward. He can do nothing after Rajapaksa’s humiliation at the forthcoming polls. Probably 323’s are already standby for takeoff from Mattala airport.

    • 6
      10

      ‘Gotabaya is just another coward’

      So why was he decorated for bravery by three UNP presidents JR, Premadasa and Wijetunge?

      Criticize by all means but be fair.

      • 4
        7

        For bootlicking. What else.

        • 2
          5

          ‘For bootlicking. What else.’

          When you post crap like this that everybody knows is false, all you do is behave like MR. You guys are so sick that you cannot give credit where it is due. For you people every single thing about Gota is bad. That is how MR treats his enemies, everything about them is evil. That’s not possible is it? Even Gordon Weiss who is no friend of the Sinhala Buddhists or the Government, has praised Gota. I suppose you fools think you know better.

      • 1
        2

        JR and Premadasa were born murderers. Gotabaya killed for them. That is why they decorated Gotabaya. It does not take much to kill GCE O and A level students. That is what Gotabaya did.

        But when he had to face the Tigers he urinated in his pants and folded. Fonseka had to rescue him when he was surrounded and subjugated in the North by the Tigers. And what did the coward do? He resigned from the Army and ran away to America to save his wretched his life. And the bugger returns to Sri Lanka like a hero after his brother is elected to Office.

        If you want to know more search Google and read what Gen Fonseka had to say about how he rescued Gotabaya and his battalion.

    • 7
      4

      “Gotabaya is just another coward.”

      Hallelujah! Look who is talking.

      You are calling a man who designed the war strategy to defeat the most dreaded terrorist group in the world a coward? How many bullets have you dodged facing the LTTE you [Edited out]

    • 4
      3

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando

      “Gotabaya is just another coward.’

      Yes.

      Now where is the Common Sense Phamplet/ Did you contact JVP and the Common Sense Candidate?

      Medamulana MaRa is a liar..He Bought Tissa for money.. Not everybody is for sale

      Story of the modern Hitler… Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Sinhala?

      View this highly creative and widely viewed video clip that has been released to the internet! It is going Viral. [Edited out]

  • 10
    5

    Dear Laksiri

    Gotabaya is just another coward. After the elections, when the results are out he will just fold. Do you think the armed forces rank and file will desert Sarath Fonseka?

    Don’t you remember the time when Sarath Fonseka saved his life – when he foolish undertook a mission in the North. And subsequently how he ran away to the USA to live a sheltered life.

    Gotabaya is just a coward. He can do nothing after Rajapaksa’s humiliation at the forthcoming polls. Probably 323’s are already standby for takeoff from Mattala airport.

  • 7
    2

    Since SF*s imprisonments were made clear, they way GOTA and the current regime handled the issues have already proved that SF*s case was based on Paliganeema – PERSONAL REVENGE being against to Rajapakshes. Today I happened to read on the ISLAND that Hakeem and his close men are under Rajapakshe eye not allowing anyof them leaving the country for any new destinations. This will surely be the case for other ministers that MR would leave him soon. So I believe, being in the coalition, they will support the opposition canddiate for sure.

    • 4
      2

      Right and dignity respecting people of the country will support the opposition for many reasons incl. SF giving full rights as a srilanken citizen. He deserves is if KP and all other world famous terrorists and killers earn the sympathy from the MR regime. In there, people have to agree with that.
      Sarath Fonseka deserves to get almost everything for all what he did for the nation. His legacy shold be made clear to the villagers across the country so that he will get back his resect – and live and die in the country he loved much. In the same time, abusers like Rajapakshes should be convicted by going through lanken laws. The day all these will be a reality – the day of peace begins in this country. We are all srilankens – we all have one country to share one another. Nobody will agree with anyone to partition the country even if Rajapakshes ahve agreed with chinese to take their shares telling something else to the nation.

    • 2
      1

      Aney Bando. What do you think SF would have done with Gota if SF had become President? Just the same ney?

  • 6
    3

    As we all know Gotabaya was absent for many years and lived in USA.
    Fortunately his brother Mahinda president for their own sake and unfortunately both Gotabaya and Basil returned to Sri Lanka to make themselves very rich and powerful.

    Our War Hero General Sarath Fonseka indefatigably took part the cause to end the terrible war. Ultimately Gotabaya and Mahinda took the credit. The true factors of the War are in our soldiers heart but they are now very afraid to reveal it.

    Very unfortunate fact specially in our Sinhala society is UNGRATEFULNESS and ingratitude nature. Most sinhalese people have forgotten War Hero General Sarath Fonseka.

    Before he eliminated and uprooted terrorism from our country General Sarath Fonseka was a Incomparable and peerless war hero. It is ashamed to say that most Sinhala people destructively criticise him when he, as a presidential candidate challenged Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Ungrateful Leaders and people.
    Shame! Shame! Shame!

    • 2
      2

      Saman,
      those who feel that real CREDIT is stolen by Rajaakshes not allowing the least respect to SF – who is the real hero -not even uttering enough his sacrifices today, just even making every efforts to have a permit to go abroad for few days -should all support this time sending the buggers go home for ever.
      Then only newly build body will be able to invesitgate and punish these crooks and bring before the nation. Jaya niyathai… we have enough educated guys in oppostion (consist of all parties got together for a common goal) that would by their lives fight against abuses of current day.
      They will no means allow Rajapakshe and his goons to abuse them further. Time is up for a new change. We cant compare today JVPs with those of late 80ties. Today UNPers with those of late 80ties. Today s young politicians like Senananayaka; Nalin and Harin are the like with those we knew in 80ties. People please wake up

    • 5
      3

      ‘Sarath Fonseka was a Incomparable and peerless war hero’

      Utter rubbish. Don’t you remember what he said he would do to his rivals if he won the Presidency? SF was an ambitious and impatient man. Gota kept the peace between him and the Navy and Airforce commanders. If not for Gota’s tact and diplomacy they would all have been back stabbing each other to the LTTE’s benefit. However Gota’s tact and diplomacy have taken a battering over recent years.

      • 2
        3

        Taraki

        “However Gota’s tact and diplomacy have taken a battering over recent years.”

        Gota’s only tact and diplomacy was to take orders from Hindians and their field commanders who were based in Vanni.

        • 2
          4

          Native, and your proof or at least evidence is?

      • 1
        2

        Shut up!!!!!!!
        Do not Utter Rubbish.

      • 1
        3

        You are one those ungrateful vagabonds. Shuts his big trap when VP was in power,now that people like SF have eliminated the scum the big trap opens up. Idiot!

      • 1
        2

        Man – if you are honest to you – dont you think tha the is the only person with high disipline to what he ever promised ? This nature of him eleminated the terror -not just the political will of the state did it. But Meeharaka Rajaakshe with his talent making everyone a fool atleast for some time – was able to grab the entire credit of the war victory- like ate the full cake by him.

  • 8
    3

    Yes…Mr. Samuel Bandara I completely agree with you.
    Mahinda Rajapaksa always says on his election platform that he does not take revenge from anyone.

    The classic example is the General sarath Fonseka’s imprisonment.

    Mahinda and Gotabaya are absolutely snakes and wild animals.

    Specially Sinhala people are blind and deaf.
    Most of them are very unwise. That is why Rajapaksa Family is in power and are blindly praised by fools.

    • 0
      0

      Saman,
      I think it is the media make them so indifferent and stupid -. I have no idea about you – 4 decades ago in the country ( I lived in abroad for the last 30 years) our people had a greater respect each other. Today most seem cant see the wrongful one from the rightful one. Be it a small talk or on a matter of highly concerned, most behave like ignorants. Most lack of general knoweldge. But we are accesed to global network today – in our days to the mentioned period, people did not have this kind of resources but their knowledge was comparably to the presence very high. Even just a basic degree holder hada greater knoweldge focusing on many aspects.

  • 3
    6

    Thank god the brave Soldiers are standing by to protect the freedom and peace the great majority of the inhabitant population enjoy now.

    UNP Website, run by Mangala Samaraweera , has published t every name and phone number of the whole Government Intelligence Unit, which has been been protecting the inhabitants for the last five years since Nanthikdal.

    Inhabitants haven’t forgotten what the shadow Exec PM of of CC Sira’s alliance did to the Military Intelligence unit, when he held fort last time.

    With the names and even phone numbers in public domain what would be the position of these brave men, if Ranil becomes the Exe PM. ?..

    Thank god again and again that we are blessed with a brave bunch of Soldiers this time, who care about the country and its inhabitants…….

    • 1
      3

      Dear K.A Sumanasekera, you are such a hypocrite. In the same breadth as you are grateful for our brave soldiers, you are conspicously quiet about the denial of salaries to the soldiers who were injured and incapacitated, in the line of duty. While the war was going on I had the opportunity to speak with a few soldiers, young as 17 and with lost limbs and still prepared to go to the frontline if fitted with artificial limbs. The reward for their bravery is a denial of their salaries, by the likes of cardboard heroes Gotabaya and his siblings.

    • 2
      3

      KASumanasekera,

      Military intelligence functions mainly in the north to terrorise the citizens who complain about their lands which were, and still are, being taken over by the military.
      Also to kidnap perceived anti-government activists after labelling them as former LTTErs.
      Also to arrest activists for human rights and those who demand the return of family members who demand for them to be produced.
      Also to intimidate and assault university students who dare to mourn their relatives and friends who disappeared or were killed.
      They also run secret prison camps for ‘dissidents’.
      Occasionally they “resurrect” the LTTE to arrest all such people.

  • 4
    2

    So professor, you want to deny retired army people the right to participate in politics?

    I always wondered what planet you could be from!

  • 0
    1

    Long gone are the days when WE the PEOPLE could rely on an impartial civil administration, an impartial judiciary, impartial armed forces, and an impartial police force. The fact is that everyone these days is taking sides and piling in to help.

    The King is fighting for his life and he will leave no stone unturned in his quest to keep the crown. Of course, if things do not go as planned, Big G will have to step in to safeguard our ‘national security’. How can you let go when so much is at stake. Then the fun starts. Impasse!

    Wait and see. Or, should it be ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’

  • 0
    0

    Hey guys, just let that go through your head what is being spread by the govt these days ” meetings being held by CBK, MS, RW, SF and the few in S pore are supicious to them”.
    Who called an election – if the rulers believe that there is an international conspiracy against the prevailing regime. We can consider this if it came only from Buruwanse whose knowledge is limited to southern filthy sinhala language, but senior guys such NSS – as one who once won UN awards to go on spreading all these just fo rtheir narrow expectations is more than pathetic I feel.
    These men when they open their mouth pieces dont make them any constructive manner. That alone show the low levels of their adminstration.

  • 3
    1

    KASumanasekera,

    Please see:- Tamil Net
    The provincial land commissioner instructed the divisional secretaries of Mullaiththeevu district to submit reports stating that land issues in the districts have been resolved according to the recommendations of the so-called Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

    The latest move has sent shockwaves among the original inhabitants of the village, said Tamil National Alliance provincial councillor Thurairasa Ravikaran.

    While there are around 3,000 complaints pending resolution, the land commissioner has instructed the divisional secretaries to submit reports claiming that the majority of land disputes have been resolved, he said.

    SL military personnel were present at the meeting.

    The 1,500 acres of lands are situated in Munthirikaik-ku’lam (Sinhalicised into Janakapura) and Padu-kaaddang-karaik-ku’lam.

    These lands have been ‘legally’ transferred to the Sinhala families under the so-called Mahaweli Development Scheme, Tamil officials who were present at the closed-door meeting told TamilNet.

    The land commissioner was acting on the instructions by the SL military Governor of Northern Province Major General (retd) Chandrasiri in tranferring the lands to Sinhala colonisers, the informed sources further said.

    While Tamil people have been allowed to settle along Mullaiththeevu to Mukaththuvaaram Road, the interior agricultural lands and jungle tracts are under the complete control of the Sinhala settlers with SL military protection.

    The Tamil people blame global powers for providing funds, time and space to the SL State to continue the demographic genocide, permanently wedging the North and East of the country of Eezham Tamils.

  • 3
    1

    Dear Dr.Fernando:

    Does Gotabaya Drag Military Into Politics?

    The answer is definitely a YES. I am sure the Nation remembers( especially the Citizen SF) how Gotha the Politician dragged SF the Military along the ground in his Underpants. If SF becomes the Defence Secretary under MS history will repeat itself and the role will be reversed and I cant wait for this mouth watering prospect.

    I will also like you comment on the following.

    No Maithri solution for Tamils
    Dec 10 (CG) Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena says his election manifesto will not include proposals for a political solution for the Tamils. His main focus is the 100 day plan which will look at abolishing the Executive Presidency & making urgent constitutional changes. Once his 100 day plan is implemented a Parliament election will be held and the new govt will then need to look at the Tamil issue.

    My question is if it is not in the Manifesto and MS didn’t seek the mandate from the Electorate how is he then going to look at the Tamil issue and if he decides to devolve power it will be a recipe for disaster. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

  • 3
    2

    Some idiot bugger said the other day “We were better off under the British”. This fellow thought that we had democracy from 1815 to 1948. That was a dictatorship machan. Now we are just going back to British times again. God Save the King!

  • 1
    1

    This man who writes this, thinks that Terrorism and Politics are the same.

  • 2
    0

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando:

    CBK has claimed again yesterday (12/15) that she finished 75% of the war! If my memory is correct the last time she claimed she finished more than 90% of it. I guess her troops have since lost their ground!

    Do you still believe she has learnt from her past mistakes? I don’t know about you, but I think quite a few must be turning in their graves because of this woman’s mouth and Common Opposition Candidate just lost couple of hundred thousand votes if you ask me….

  • 1
    1

    Retired military personnal has all the rights to join politics. There are many former military soldiers and officers in the United States Senate, including Senator John McCain and Current United State Secrearty John Kerry. I do not see aqny reaon why the retired military or Sri Lanka Administrative Service people could not join politics. I think the writer miss the point “retired”. They have the love for the country, leadership skills, education as well as the discipline. We should not deprive them from this basic civic right of becoming a public servant.

  • 1
    0

    “It is very clear that the Defence Secretary is utilizing (some) forces personnel for his brother’s election campaign. He is also doing this as a ‘civil servant’ and as a Secretary of a Ministry. This is a very clear violation of election laws and ‘free and fair elections.’ One proof of this violation is his utterances themselves and the press interview that he has given to ‘The Island.’ He has already admitted the violation.”

    All violations of law and order should be investigated and perpetrators punished to full extend of law.

    Will MY3 do the right thing if he wins the election or say that since GR and MR provided Leadership to win the war against LTTE they should be pardoned?

    Will JHU articulate their position on this as well?

  • 0
    1

    .
    All, whether LTTE or SL Military are Terrorists anyway….who cares.

    :-)

  • 1
    0

    With the attack on the opposition platform and equipment in Galle, it is clear that Gotabaya has failed in his duty and he has to resign his position. If the Secretary of Defence who is so power full cannot defend a platform from the attackers how can he defend the country. Its better he resigns his position.

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