By Kumar David –
I don’t know if I am overreacting, but to me this is the most significant political interview of the last 6 months – I will explain in a moment why it is a stunner. I rubbed my eyes and had some difficulty, so I made it a point to meet Jayasuriyan and ask him: “Even if hamuduruwo did say all this, did he agree to have it published? Is he OK about going public?” Young J assured me that Sobitha had no problem in publicising his views.
Sobitha hamuduruwo said two things, one a significant and timely intervention, but the other was a volcano. The significant intervention was when he asserted: ‘Yes I am ready to stand as a Single-Issue (SI) presidential candidate, but if a former Chief Justice or a former President is interested, no problem, I am happy to step aside. I will serve for six months only within which time I will abolish the Executive Presidency (EP) and institute a parliamentary system by constitutional methods. The roots of bribery, corruption, nepotism and bad governance lie in EP”.
Now this is what many have been suggesting, but I for one had given up hope since his recent remarks suggested he was not interested. He has now taken a position from which he cannot and I am sure he will not retreat, so what does this mean?
Throwing the challenge to CBK
First and foremost this is a challenge to CBK. Shirani Bandaranayake is a non-starter, so forget the reference to her. The challenge is out in the open and CBK must move now or forever hold her peace. If she shrinks like a mouse and hides under the bed, the campaign to elect hamuduruwo will move on and gain momentum. Once it gains endorsement from many sides and picks up strength there can be no going back. Sobitha hamuduruwo’s offer to step aside is time-limited by practicalities. No way can CBK think she can wait till the last minute and then come sailing in to declare her candidacy. Hamuduruwo’s offer to stand aside is absolutely sincere, I am sure of that, but that does not mean she can breeze in like a queen and screw up a campaign after is up and running on a winning swing. So CBK, if you are interested say so now or shut-up forever! If “no”, no problem, just throw your weight behind Sobitha hamuduruwo to be president and to carry the SI programme over a six month period.
Not only CBK and her catchers, but the Rajapakse regime and its hangers-on, are surely having fits. It is now out in the open: (a) a SI candidate has declared himself and clarified what the SI task means (unswerving dedication to abolishing EP), (b) the candidate has clarified that he wishes to be a common opposition nominee (that’s the thrust of offering to step down if another suitable person presents him/her self). This not only puts CBK on the spot it, also puts the other opposition parties on the spot. What do the UNP, JVP and the TNA have to say? Will they step forward and say that they are prepared to support Sobitha hamuduruwo on as a common-opposition SI-ticket candidate?
Let’s not waste time pussyfooting; Rains, Fonseka, Anura Kumara, Karu, Sajith, Shirani (in order of credibility), they are all non-starters. I will bet a 12-bottle case of scotch against any of them; even as a common-opposition SI candidate, Mahinda will win with a hefty majority. There are just two people who can, and will defeat him, hamuduruwo and CBK as common-opposition-SI. So now it’s up to the UNP, JVP, TNA and General Fonseka to speak up and voice an opinion. More important perhaps is for the anti-EP components of the UPFA – LSSP, CP and SLFP stalwarts – to declare their stand if Rajapakse refuses to abolish EP before presidential elections. The possibility that Rajapakse may panic and make the necessary constitutional amendments himself cannot be ruled out – that’s ok).
Then came what I think was the real sensation; I think it will go viral when gets to the Sinhala public and this is why the Sinhala and English media are still hiding it. He candidly declared:
“Sri Lanka is a part of the international community, we have to abide by international norms, and if there is a call for an international investigation, I have no problem in agreeing. If we have done nothing wrong we can go before an international investigation and vindicate ourselves”.
As far as I am concerned this is all that any democrat can ask for. We may each have our opinion about war-crimes and human rights, and these will differ from person to person, but the sole common ground is a demand for a credible, independent investigation. Since this regime has shown itself to be incapable of independent investigations and since presidential commissions are held in ridicule, the exercise has to have a powerful independent international component.
This puts the regime and Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinists on the defensive; are they going to be insane and the call Sobitha a LTTE agent? This is the powerful Sinhala-Buddhist voice of a respected monk, so what slander are they going to think up? It’s not only the regime but also CBK, the UNP, Anura Kumara and JVP, and General Fonseka who now have to come back down to plant earth. Any who cannot accept this stand will be shown-up as naked on the issue of accountability. If Sobitha stands firm the naysayers will all collapse like a house of cards as they have no logical ground to stand on.