26 September, 2020

Blog

Following In The Footsteps Of Mandela Is What We Need Sri Lanka Today

By Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil WickremesingheI join my Colleague, the Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, in expressing the condolence of our House and of this country on the passing away of Nelson Mandela. The prisoner from Robben Island became a beacon of hope to the whole world. As my Colleague pointed out, it was the imposition of the apartheid state which led to Nelson Mandela getting involved in the struggle to regain full rights of the African people and thereafter, to take leadership of the movement. But, Mandela together with other colleagues, all had to suffer imprisonment. Nelson Mandela represented the ANC whose objectives were not limited to non-violent struggle. They also had to launch a liberation struggle in which they wanted the rights of the majority. They had to suffer many hardships. Nelson Mandela, at once, remarked that his was the least. He was kept in a prison and beaten up. He had to  suffer much more than the others had to suffer. As we listened to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it certainly shows the extent to which the apartheid system worked to try and hold its power. That is a characteristic of many authoritarian States which seeks to control thinking, which seeks to control the media – that is one sign, which seeks to control the judiciary and put those who are very favour to them, which seeks to control civil society and which seeks, in fact, to keep an eye on anyone who they think is a dissident and then take action against him legally or indirectly. So, it is not kept only to countries which go on white supremacy. It is an unfortunately sign that we see in many parts of the world.

What I see in Nelson Mandela is that once he took over, he dismantled that apparatus. He kept the states structure very much like Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and the Right Hon. D.S. Senanayake did in India and Sri Lanka. But, he dismantled that apparatus. Finally, we have to remember that the victory of Africans in South Africa was due, firstly because the struggle launched by the African National Congress, and secondly the international pressure that came in. Without that international pressure which finally forced even the USA to agree, it would not have been possible. They made it difficult for the apartheid regime inside and the others; the international pressure made it difficult them from outside.

Sri Lanka too played its own path in this. So, we cannot, at all times, say that international efforts and mediation is a bad thing. International pressure there came from outside because the Government of South Africa certainly at that time were not going to allow international pressure. But, of course, the system today of which South Africa joined, allows countries to voluntarily sign the international instruments safeguarding liberties and human rights. Then, a duty is cast upon us to observe the obligations under that. Once you come under those, you cannot move out. The South Africa had to leave the United Nations and the Commonwealth because they did not adhere to those basic principles.

Once Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa, he did not take revenge on the other communities. He did not try to build an Africa for Africans only. You had the ‘whites’; you had the Indians; you had the mixed or the coloureds and you had the Africans. He did not allow the Africans to be divided into tribes. He evolved the concept of South African identity which is enshrined in the South African Constitution. It is one of the most progressive Constitutions that you can find today in the world.

So, there is a lot to be learnt from it and a lot that we can learn. I know the Government has also been consulting the Government of South Africa. It is the time I think the Sri Lankan Government took some definite steps where having evolved a consensus in this Parliament they could build and take it forward based on the document, which the Government has put forward as our solution to reconciliation, the LLRC Report recommendations, many of which, the political items have not been implemented during the last few years.  He also built up a democratic structure. That is what is important. He built up a structure which was differing to neither the Westminster System of the UK nor the Executive Presidencies of either the USA or France. They studied our Executive Presidency. Their Executive is a unique model that is, a President elected by Parliament, responsible to Parliament and who could be moved out of Parliament. I think that is unique for South Africa because below that were the provinces which have also been given substantial power. Then you had the President who presided over the whole federation and the constitution itself drew the balance between the different provinces and the powers of the Government. The role of the President vis-à-vis Parliament. That is a very clear system and the democratic system that Mandela brought in is a gained one on which we have a lot to learn.

We in Sri Lanka had a Constitutional Court and then in 1978 Constitution did away with it. But, today we are wondering whether we should not have an independent constitutional court to be the arbitrator of all the disputes that are like to rise in the process of implementing a new constitution. Mr. Mandela himself set a two-term limit. He thought two terms are more than sufficient. At the end of the second term, he could have changed the constitution and gone for a third term or he could have gone for a life time. He did not do that. At the end of the second term he went home. This is an example I hope that we will also keep following in Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, we did not do so in bringing in the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. But, it showed and then he retired. There were disputes inside his own party, Mbeki and the others. He did not intervene. He said what he had to say in a few words, but allowed the party to take its course. That is why he became the symbol of hope to many. Nelson Mandela is by no means a Gandhi because he did not confine himself to nonviolence means. He did not give up his struggle or suspend his struggle because violence was used. Violence was used extensively by the ANC. But, having attained his objectives, he implemented the Gandhian ideals in his own country and that is what he will finally be remembered for. Mr. Nelson Mandela showed that the prisoner in an island could think big and that is the ability. Can you in politics think big? Can you in politics give a vision? Can you in politics unite people? Can you in politics give hope to the poor, to the oppressed and those who think they are the disadvantageous groups of the country? If you can do that, then you certainly would be following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and that is what we need Sri Lanka today.

Thank you.

*Parliament Speech – December 07, 2013

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 1
    1

    The funeral will be meeting place for many world leaders who will certainly reflect on similar situations now prevailing in the rest of the world. Sanctions against South Africa was sponsored by Canada and the Canadian Prime Minister Mr Brian Mulroney had to face questions such as ” why do you want to support communists”- referring to Nelson Mandela who was then in prison from none other than Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Regan.But Canada prevailed through the Commonwealth and G7 and sanctions were imposed on the then Apartheid South Africa resulting in the release of Mandela and thus the rest of his legacy. Stephen Harper the Canadian Prime Minister is going there for the funeral and has invited all former Canadian Prime Ministers to join him. Sri Lanka certainly will be in the minds of these world leaders who co-operated and helped the Sri Lankan government to tame the LTTE. We have already had the British PM fixing deadlines for Sri Lanka when he was in Colombo. Is Sri Lanka going to be a discussion point among the the leaders at the funeral? I will certainly not rule it out. We have a long list of human rights violations. The latest one being the Army personnel owning each and every road side Tea boutique from Vavunia to Jaffna and The Army personnel cultivating and selling Vegetables from the land they occupy in the north supplementing their government pay cheques without allowing the local population any chance at this form of economic activity.

    • 4
      0

      Sajith Premadasa has told a news conference that all political parties in the country need to form a process to face and defeat any resolution against the country at the UNHRC.. Sajith as usual has got things upside down and inside out! 1. UNHRC resolution is NOT against the people of Lanka, but against the corrupt and criminal Rajapakse regime. 2. A UNHRC resolution against the Rajapassa military dictatorship is essential to prevent Gota the Goon further destroying democratic institutions and the JUDICIARY which is headed by an ILLEGAL and criminal de facto Chief Justice today. 3. Sajith Premadasa lied about getting a degree from the London School of Economics and is intellectually and morally unfit to lead any party, and is covertly supporting the Rajapakse regime. 4. Although I detest Ranil Wickramasinghe, I detest Sajtih More!

      • 1
        0

        Quite right Don!
        The fact is that if Ranil Wickramasinghe was not a shameless, power-hungry dictator in the UNP and had groomed a decent leadership in the party – NOT the moron Sajith – the UNP would not need to ask the international Community to do its dirt work and hold Rajapassa ACCOUNTABLE! It is the job of the democratic opposition to hold the regime accountable, but Ranil has failed miserably at this and is now asking the IC to do his dirty work!
        Ranil has destroyed the OPPOSITION and democracy in Sri Lanka IN COLLABORATION with Rajapakse who has supported his dictatorship within the UNP!
        In the context CBK is the only viable opposition but she must come out of retirement FAST and FURIOUS and save Lanka from the Rajapakse DEEP STATE and MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. We are in desperate situations at this time!

        • 1
          0

          Dodo,

          It is not Ranil who destroyed the UNP. It is MH Mohamed. As the Speaker of the Parliament he rejected the No Confidence Motion and that resulted in Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayaka being expelled from the UNP.

      • 0
        0

        Sajith is following the line of the government.He will be a worse leader in case the UNP allows to be the leader. If he comes to power he will be the worse President.He has no vision. So he will lead the country to a precipice.

  • 4
    5

    so it might be a good time Ranil you quit and let someone who is capable to take over your position.

    • 2
      0

      who you think is capable than Ranil? Please give us a construtive response to this.

      • 1
        0

        “Capable” ? for what ?? to lose for 20 years ??, for that matter, any 03 wheel driver would replace Ranil………
        He should resign forthwith from all politics of UNP & better leave the country to see UNP in governance in no time.

        • 0
          0

          Oh man, alone the fact his perseverence to stay stand sofar with all the obstacles he faced and is facing TO THIS DATE are enough to see that he
          is the best – besides,election losses cant be justified in this way without focusing on the circumstances that the party destined. Lanken situation is unique to lanka.

    • 2
      1

      Tamil from the north [Edited out],

      Why the hell do you waste our time by writing nonsense? Ranil has delivered an excellent and practical speech and CT has done its duty by posting it here. Here comes the shit eating pig Tamil from the north and vomit some filth he stores lot all over his body. After all pigs like you do not see the value of gems like Ranil. Get lost stupid [Edited out].

      • 0
        0

        Silva, “”gem like Ranil” ? are you in correct senses ?? I doubt.

        • 0
          0

          John [Edited out] , I didn’t offer beetles to you. Hence get lost into the drain of MARA where you came from.

      • 2
        0

        We dont have any other candidate similar to Ranil to lead the nation. He has shown his uncorrupted behaviour through out his carrier. Through all kind of blatant lies they rulers and others in the same party are trying to destroy him. But looking at the manner how he resists all these, gives me a feeling that he is the great person. People will realize this better in the months to come.

  • 3
    0

    The latest one being the Army personnel owning each and every road side Tea boutique from Vavuniya to Jaffna and The Army personnel cultivating and selling Vegetables from the land they occupy in the north supplementing their government pay cheques without allowing the local population any chance at this form of economic activity.

    This is not a human rights violation. Simple solution is do not buy vegetables from them.

    You did not appreciate the Ranil’s speech. you should support him to make the country free for everybody. I do agree there are human right violations at every level in Sri Lanka.

  • 4
    8

    Nelson Mendala spent twenty three years in a Jail cell which was hardly a “room” by any standards. Yet, when he was released HE never entered into a ‘CEASE FIRE AGREEMENT” with the “WHITE RULERS” of South Affrica akin to what you did with the “World’s Deadliest Terrorists” – the LTTE. Therefore, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe you have no moral right to speak of Mr. Medala’s struggle in South Affrica. Better keep you mouth SHUT.

    • 0
      0

      You are aware the ANC that Mandela founded carried out many bombings and was classified as a Terrorist group by Western powers? Most of the world rightly sees Mandela as a Freedom Fighter.

    • 2
      0

      Douglas,
      I Believe Mandela did more than the cease fire agreement making white former president as his deputy. You dont know what your are talking.

      You hate Ranil for signing the ceasefire agreement, Can you explain to me why 37 lakhs people(MR got only 38) voted him in 2005( He almost won if Tamils were allowed to vote) inspite of signing CF in 2002.
      I feel everybody like the CF including you until Praba broke the agreement. Now everybody hates him.

  • 1
    6

    Read the first sentence for a laugh.. You are full of shit Ranil, and you will have to answer question together with your your Rajapaksa buddys one day…. That day we will see who you really are you cockroach!!

    • 0
      0

      The penetrator [Edited out],

      Let alone penetration, can you urinate to fill a half of coconut shell?

      • 1
        0

        Silva, I can fill your coconut mouth no doubt.. Can also do some penetration as it seems like you enjoy sucking on bananas…

        • 1
          0

          This proved your standards.. good luck to Srilanka.

        • 0
          0

          The Penetrator, [Edited out]

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    3

    do you have to wait untill he is dead to realise that

  • 0
    0

    While the entire world is against the government and minorities harassed there is only one person keeping them stable – YOU. The great lesson of Mandela is that he did what is good for his people in doing so he transcended trashy politics – of the feudal self centered kind, practiced by you. Yes you can take a lesson from him – RESIGN NOW.

    • 0
      0

      This govt. is wholly dependent on Ranil the useless guy, every UNP er says him to go, except perhaps his boy friends………. What a disaster to a country ???……. If there is a good opposition, either govt. would behave or be toppled .

  • 0
    3

    Although our Opposition leader trying to put a twist to make the White fella look good, Mandela didn’t kill anyone before or after he was put in the slammer….White lands which sent White fellas to take the best part of the African continent ,and make it a White Africa didn’t do much to prevent thousands of Freedom Fighters , and their families getting massacred, shot, bombed , tortured and locked up like animals….Even after the end of Apartheid , Economic version is well entrenched….Mandela’s birth place where his body will be put to rest hasn’t got even running water…And it is a problem for the dignitaries who want to fly there to pay respect….This is the main news on BBC…One thing for sure is if these ” dignitaries have to come to Srilanka , there wouldn’t have to face this running water problem even in Mulivaikal…..Got a bit side tracked…. Back to the main game….Did the architects and enforces of this Truth Commission threaten the War Crime accused any time in the Hague?…Suck up to Cameron and Harper and bend over and everything will be hunk dory…BTW, Did the Opposition Leader get permission from his New Leadership Council to issue this statement??…..

    • 0
      0

      K.A. Sumanasekera,

      [Edited out] ‘cos I didn’t have time to take a shower during past days! They are full of nutrients for you! Of course for Tamil from the north, Douglas, The Penetrator, Sarath Sathkumara, ram et al as well!

  • 1
    0

    Mr. Rail Wichkramasinghe,………………………………..

    Yes. Sri Lanka needs many Nelson Mandela’s………………….
    Unfortunately, Sri Lanka had an excess of political and religious opportunists who wanted their own and Family Dynasty values to be perpetuated…………………………………………………

    One solution is term limits for politicians, even for the Govigama Mahanayaka Monks wants to perpetuate their hegemony like the popes.

  • 0
    2

    This is a joke!
    Mandela did not hang on to power, which he could have easily done, but went home when his term expired. Ranil lost numerous elections yet hang on to power for years hoping to be the Executive President of Sri Lanka. This is such an ill conceived idea of JR that is being misused by every president after him. Sri Lankans presidents behave like they live for ever and not learnt any lessons from history.

  • 7
    1

    Ranil Wickremesinghe,

    You are the only hope Sri Lanka has “To Follow in the Footsteps of Mandela”

    • 0
      0

      Yeas, since you are “Mahadana Muththa (Jnr)”

  • 0
    0

    Good title, but what are the chances for you to go ahead and do something to bring about reconciliation. Could you get the TNA to forget and forgive the wounds of the war and all previous atrocities done by successive governments. As a good leader living through the whole episode of Sri Lankan history from 1948 please do the needful to get the UPA and TNA to forget and forgive and think of the Country as a whole. If you decide and come out and confront UPA with the support of your former supporters who are also instrumental in changing the Constitutions you mention, you can be even greater than Nelson Mandela’s parallel in Sri Lanka because you will be avoiding a lot of future problems for UPA and make friends with all the rest of the countries confronting Sri Lanka today.

  • 0
    0

    s this author blind or has he suffered from the Rip van Winkle disease ? —–
    Sri Lanka has followed the footsteps of Nelson Mandela for rather a long time. He, it was who fought the evils of apartheid as practised in South Africa by newcomers (Dutch & British) who had dispossessed the bhoomiputra, and created tiny Bantustans for them and brought in Indian labour to run the huge farms they’d thus acquired. ——————————–
    Sri Lanka DID exactly the same in PREVENTING the creation of an apartheid mono ethnic Tamil ONLY enclave in Sri Lanka after rampant Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims and Sinhala. We should be JUBILANT that we had the foresight to prevent something that happened in South Africa from happening here.

    • 0
      0

      ram ……. Would you like to celebrate Mahinda as Mandela Mark II?

  • 2
    0

    This is an excellent tribute to Nelson Mandela and good advice to President Rajapaksa and his Cabinet. I agree with his conclusion ” Mr. Nelson Mandela showed that the prisoner in an island could think big and that is the ability. Can you in politics think big? Can you in politics give a vision? Can you in politics unite people? Can you in politics give hope to the poor, to the oppressed and those who think they are the disadvantageous groups of the country? If you can do that, then you certainly would be following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and that is what we need Sri Lanka today.”

    President Rajapaksa is popular and his physical infrastructure development is commendable. He does not need the obnoxious 18th amendment to remain in power. If he does not follow the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, that may be the beginning of the end for him and his vision to make Sri Lanka the Hub of South Asia.

  • 0
    0

    The only thing Mandela managed successfully is preventing a civil war after the end of the racist apartheid regime. Economically speaking Mandela was a disaster. So no, what we need is a Mahathir Mohamad.

    • 0
      0

      Liberal One ……….. Mandela was disaster? Are you sure illiberal one?

      • 0
        0

        Economically speaking. Sri Lankas problem is an economical one. We should encourage leaders who are capable of addressing that.

        • 0
          0

          ———————— “Economically speaking. Sri Lankas problem is an economical one.”————————-

          Huh , this is the joke of the day , Liberal one you must be one of those direct beneficiaries or a full time worshiper of the siblings , how dare to say such a stupid sweeping statement !
          in case you have not figured out the root cause of the cancer in SL , read between lines ” it’s the highly authoritarian executive presidency system ” nothing else !

          • 0
            0

            It is only one problem, a problem exaggerated by marxists/leftists. For ex take Iraq, americans established democracy there in 2004. Is Iraq better off now? You should take some problem in this country and explain how abolishing executive presidency going to solve them automatically.

            • 0
              0

              Liberal One ,

              ————–“For ex take Iraq, americans established democracy there in 2004. Is Iraq better off now?”———-

              are you out of your mind ? why on earth you try to compare Iraq’s democracy with SL , Iraq was under a brutal dictatorship nearly 4 decades and US only got rid of that mad man saddam , don’t expect miracles , Iraq will go through it’s transition period and eventually iraqi people will embrace the best possible governance style for them .

              ————You should take some problem in this country and explain how abolishing executive presidency going to solve them automatically. “——————

              no one is above the law , but only in SL , president is above the law , this clause itself is root cause , go figure it out.

        • 0
          0

          Liberal One … “Economically speaking. Sri Lankas problem is an economical one.” ……….. It is one of Sinhala/Buddhist problem. ……. If you care to look at the past all problems in this island have been self inflicted by self destructive stupid rulers.

  • 1
    0

    Sri Lanka will not,in the foreseeable future, follow Nelson Mandela who united his country, after coming to power, by giving equal rights to the black, the white and the other communities there.I believe Mandela who led the path of non violence after coming into power was a true follower of the Lord Buddha who preached non violence.There the blacks suffered under the whites immensely for a long time yet ANC under Great Mandela, once in power, forgave the whites who shed blood of thousands of black people there. Here in Sri Lanka after the triumph in 2009, we are laughing and singing while the Tamils are suffering there.There Mandela was in power for five years and went home though he could have been in power until his death. Here we want to be in power for as as long as one can.For that you have to please the majority community.The leaders who kept the country divided by not winning the hearts of Tamils and Muslims would be forgotten by future generations .Sri Lankans will achieve real peace, unity and brotherhood the day a Sri Lankan Mandela comes to power.

  • 0
    1

    Oh Liberal One – we need a Bumhi Putra ? is that not what we have ?.

    Ranil Mahathya – you are at the opposite end of the spectrum to Mandela. It is funny that you are thinking of following his footsteps. Please don’t. Just get out of the way.

    • 0
      0

      Mahathir minus the Bhumi puthra laws :)

  • 2
    0

    Well said Hon Ranil. You are the only hope.

  • 0
    2

    RW, for once, please shut up !

  • 0
    0

    I feel sorry for Ram if you got dispossessed by Dutch and British. Does that mean that you should get rid of those capable of doing good work for the Country during the Dutch and British time when you got the chance? This is just the opposite view of responsible leaders like Nelson Mandela. I feel bad you are letting out your bad thoughts in this forum. Please think good for the Country as a whole to go forward from here and avoid mishaps.

  • 1
    0

    Looking at the above pro MR and anti Ranil supporters comments against Ranil, is very clear that they have failed to grasp what Ranil has said about this great man Mandela. As a result they are berating Ranil that he should step down completely irrelevant to the issue. Some try to compare Mandela stepping down after two terms to that Ranil should also step down. Why? Ranil has not had any term of Power for him to step down. These intelligent fools cannot even understand that. How many years did Mandela strive to achieve power? Similarly Ranil too is at it like Mandela, till the Moda Sinhalese realize their folly, led by these Corrupt self serving Murderous Bastards. Be assured it is not far away the inevitable change that will take place. That day all these anti-Ranil critics will have to shut up and eat Humble Pie. Ranil is the only man who has patience and does not resort to violence and rhetoric to come to Political Power to serve this country, whereas all his adversaries have resorted to violence and hate speech to secure Political Power. Hence this Nation if is wise should understand why it is necessary for all the violence to secure political power just to serve the masses and the country?

    • 1
      0

      Quite right Gamini, Ranil is the Mandela of Sri Lanka! Just like Mandela he has tested his inborn annealed temper and tension of his character against the treacherous, errant and trivial collective and individual political consciousness of Sri Lankans. The mounting challenges wave after wave have been deftly and masterfully confronted and artistically fashioned against the honing stone of life and death politics of Sri Lanka. He has stood the tests of time, prejudice, injustice and ignorance of masses. He has emerged the incomparable and unconquerable master of mind-politics as against today’s mundane and carnal body politics. The future historians of Sri Lanka if they are at all still alive though silent, would write the name of Ranil as the great leader of modern Sri Lanka who single-handedly with a handful of faithful party people saved the party against total disintegration in the face of relentless attacks of a tin pot dictator ably connived by traitors within and without, and went on to save the country from the clutches of the 2nd Pirabaharan and his family and cronies and ushered the country to a free and prosperous future while Rajapakshas will go down the history as a much of notorious thieves who plundered everything standing and buried in the country and finally ended up in fails and gallows.

  • 1
    0

    I agree with Silva. Can anybody in our Parliament make a visionary speech as Ranil Wickremasinge has done? No, as they are all dim wits and egocentric, greedy men and women. Ranil has gone through the crucible or fire, namely political attack both from inside and outside. Yet, he showed enormous emotional intelligence and the Buddhist discipline of upekka in dealing with all his jokers within his party. What a contrast to that fool Sajith who is under the illusion he can replace Ranil. Not to know one’s limitations is a sign of stupidity. If we follow the Mandela model we can save our nation from split. Only Ranil can do that

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.