6 August, 2020

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WikiLeaks – JVP robbed General Fonseka’s election money

By Colombo Telgraph

“Indeed Post local political staff are finding that local political organizers, in particular those from the JVP, are squirreling away presidential campaign funds to use for their own parliamentary campaigns,” US diplomatic cables on Wikileaks allege.

Somawansa – squirrelled away presidential campaign funds

The cable written on 1st January 2010 under the title “Sri Lanka – Elections update no 6” classified as “confidential”. Under the subheading “If Fonseka, what next?” it analysed the election scenarios.

US embassy Charge Valerie C. Flower wrote “Some local political analysts have begun to entertain scenarios of what might happen in the Sri Lankan government if Fonseka did win. Early opinions say that wide-spread UNF coalition he has assembled had no intention of staying together for parliamentary elections. Indeed Post local political staff are finding that local political organizers, in particular those from the JVP, are squirreling away presidential campaign funds to use for their own parliamentary campaigns. The JVP is showing its organizational strength on the ground and likely to benefit in general elections.”

“Some are saying that if Rajapaksa loses, his family’s fortunes in SLFP will end, and it will revert back to its more historic from. Rumors have cropped up in the past week that former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga may announce her support for Fonseka, with her son Vimukthi Kumarathuna at her side. This then would serve Vimukthi’s entrance into the political world, and a passing of the torch to next generation of the Bandaranaike family, which has been deeply involved in Sri Lankan politics for some 300 years. Interestingly, Mangala Smaraweera, seen by many as the brains behind the Fonseka campaign strategy, also ran Chndrika’s presidential campaign and was known as one of her close confidantes. He is thought by some to be a possible candidate for Prime Mister in a Fonseka administration.” Flower further wrote in the cable.

Cable also discussed the Fonseka’s election manifesto and his key promises, Rajapaksa’s corruption, Rajapkas’s visit to Jaffna and Rajapaksa’s illegal use of state resources.

Read the full cable below;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000021

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

RELEASABLE TO: UK, CANADA, AUSTRALIA AND SWITZERLAND

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA - ELECTIONS UPDATE NO. 6

REF: A. COLOMBO 11
     B. COLOMBO 7
     C. COLOMBO 2
     D. 09 COLOMBO 1152
     E. 09 COLOMBO 1145
     F. 09 COLOMBO 1139

COLOMBO 00000021  001.8 OF 003

Classified By: CHARGE VALERIE C. FOWLER.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

Fonseka's Manifesto
-------------------

1. (C)  Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka released his
campaign "manifesto" on January 7, a full-color 22-page
brochure, which contained a strong condemnation of President
Rajapaksa, largely on grounds of corruption and family
patronage.  Post contacts have said the manifesto would be
published in all three local languages and widely
distributed.  The manifesto talks about "believable change"
and contains promises on economic reform, government reform
and social welfare improvements.  As detailed below,
Fonseka's publication is rather thin on explanations of how
he intends to pay for many of the economic and social-welfare
initiatives he promises.  There are a number of other
governmental reforms, however, which could be implemented
with little or no financial burden on the government.
Whether or not a victorious President Fonseka would have the
political capital needed to achieve these reforms remains to
be seen and would be dependent on a compliant parliament.
With parliamentary elections due within several months, the
exact shape of any future Fonseka-era parliament is far from
clear at present.

KEY PROMISES
------------

2. (C) The Fonseka manifesto promises a number of
governmental reforms, which if carried out would appear to at
least begin addressing many of the major concerns held by the
international community and human rights groups.
Specifically Fonseka promises to (a) abolish the Executive
Presidency, (b) reactivate the 17th amendment to the
constitution, (c) end the culture of "white van"
disappearances and extra-judicial killings, (d) eliminate the
press council and establish an environment of free media, (e)
return all remaining IDPs and double the resettlement
allowance they receive to 100,000 rupees ) about USD$880 )
per family, (f) amend the emergency regulations, and (g) deal
with all war-related detainees by either prosecuting them,
releasing them or placing them in rehabilitation programs.

FONSEKA THE ECONOMIST?
----------------------

3. (C) The economic portion of Fonseka's manifesto contains
positive points on corruption and GSP plus, but more populist
positions on salaries, product prices and taxes.  Fonseka
promises to appoint a powerful agency to combat fraud and
corruption, create an independent commission to audit public
finances, and pass a new Parliamentary ethics code.  Fonseka
also promises to ensure that the European Union would not
revoke their GSP plus trade benefits, but without disclosing
how he would achieve this.  Fonseka makes populist appeals by
promising to increase government salaries by 10,000 Rs ($88
USD) per month.  Rajapaksa countered with a promise of a
2,500 Rs ($22 USD) raise.  Fonseka promises to provide
pensions for agriculture and fishery workers.   Fonseka plans
to reduce the fixed prices of certain items and to bring down
the price of food, diesel and kerosene and other essentials
by reducing taxes.

COLOMBO 00000021  002.8 OF 003

COST OF CORRUPTION ) THANKS TO USAID
------------------------------------

4. (C) One portion of Fonseka's argument on corruption cites
statistics from a study partially funded by a USAID grant,
entitled "Impact of Corruption on Poverty and Economic
Growth, 2007".  The manifesto does not mention the role of
USAID in that study, and it is unknown whether Fonseka
himself is aware of that connection.  The report states that
loss to corruption in 2006 amounted to about 9 percent of the
2006 GDP of Sri Lanka.

HOW WILL HE PAY FOR IT?
-----------------------

5. (C )  Candidate Fonseka's economic manifesto coincides
with the economic strategy described in reftel C.  Fonseka
does not mention any real reforms except on corruption and
transparency.  His promises to increase salaries, lower the
cost of living and cut taxes sound good, but he does not
provide any credible plan to accomplish these goals.  In such
a heated campaign environment, it is not surprising that
Fonseka's economic manifesto reveals more of his campaign
strategy than an economic program following the election.

WHAT ISSUES WILL DRIVE THE VOTERS?
----------------------------------

6. (C) It is unclear how many votes this manifesto will
garner.  The language used in it is very professional and
nuanced, and  the arguments on corruption appear convincing,
especially when coupled with other documents floating around
Sri Lanka's e-mail network which detail the corrupt financial
dealings of the Rajapaksa family.  Post is sending local
staff into the field to get a sense of the political mood
outside of Colombo and will draw from that reporting in
upcoming elections-related cables.  So far voters seem
largely interested in economic matters and care much less
about security-related issues than they may have some six
months ago when the war was still fresh on everyone's minds.
While Fonseka may be short on specific s for his economic
plan, it nonetheless is more detailed than the Rajapaksa plan
thus far, and his attacks on the cost of the Rajapaksas'
corruption may well resonate.

RAJAPAKSA IN JAFFNA
"END TO HIGH-SECURITY ZONES"
----------------------------

7. (C) President Rajapaksa visited Jaffna on January 10, his
first visit there following the end of the war.  While there
he made several announcements, including that the
high-security zones in the Jaffna peninsula would be
dismantled, leaving only what was described as a "defence
front line".  Approximately 42 square kilometers in the
Jaffna peninsula have been closed off as high security zones
for a number of years, with some 80,000 persons displaced as
a result from their homes and agricultural lands.  It was
unclear when this would take effect, and one media outlet had
reported some IDPs had already attempted to enter one zone,
only to be turned back because the formal authorization
removing the high-security zones had not yet been received.
Sarath Fonseka had promised he would eliminate all
high-security zones if elected when he was in Jaffna
campaigning on January 2.

RAJAPAKSA PROMISES RELEASE
OF SOME DETAINEES
--------------------------

8. (C) While in Jaffna, Rajapaksa told the local Catholic

COLOMBO 00000021  003.6 OF 003

Bishop that all LTTE suspects held on minor charges would be
released, pending a review of their case by the Attorney
General's office.  Local media had been reporting over the
weekend that some 700 of the ex-LTTE combatants held in
Vavuniya since the end of the war had been released.  Post
contacts said by January 11 they were still waiting for a
formal court order allowing their release.

RAJAPAKSA MANIFESTO
-------------------

9. (C) President Rajapaksa released his own manifesto
document on January 11.  Post will report in more detail in
the next elections update cable once a full english
translation is obtained, but early reports are that the
document is less specific in its promises when compared with
Fonseka's manifesto.

COMMENT:  WHO WILL WIN?
-----------------------

10. (C) This election is still very much up in the air.
Polls here are very scattered and likely to be statistically
unreliable, but anecdotal evidence shows a growth in support
for Fonseka.  Rajapaksa still has an enormous advantage in
his illegal use of state resources, but the idea of "change"
is becoming the issue of the day, even if Fonseka has not yet
provided specifics on how to achieve all his promises of
change.  Initial contact with voters in rural areas shows a
focus on economic issues rather than security.

COMMENT: IF FONSEKA, WHAT NEXT?
------------------------------

11. (C) Some local political analysts have begun to entertain
scenarios of what might happen in the Sri Lankan government
if Fonseka did win.  Early opinions say that the wide-spread
UNF coalition he has assembled had no intention of staying
together for parliamentary elections.  Indeed Post local
political staff are finding that local political organizers,
in particular those from the JVP, are squirreling away
presidential campaign funds to use for their own
parliamentary campaigns.  The JVP is showing its
organizational strength on the ground and is likely to
benefit in general elections.  Some are saying that if
Rajapaksa loses, his family's fortunes in the SLFP will end,
and it will revert back to its more historic form.  Rumors
have cropped up in the past week that former President
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga may announce her support
for Fonseka, with her son Vimukthi Kumaratunga at her side.
This then would serve as Vimukthi's entrance into the
political world, and a passing of the torch to the next
generation of the Bandaranaike family, which has  been deeply
involved in Sri Lankan politics for some 300 years.
Interestingly, Mangala Samaraweera, seen by many as the
brains behind Fonseka's campaign strategy, also ran
Chandrika's presidential campaign and was known as one of her
close confidantes.  He is thought by some to be a possible
candidate for Prime Minister in a Fonseka administration.
End Comment.
FOWLER
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Ali Baba and forty thieves!

    • 0
      0

      yes, they all are not loving to the motherland that is all

  • 0
    1

    This is a classic example of US arrogance and ignorance. It shows the preferred election outcome of US Embassy/State Dept. It shows how ready Flowers and his ilk are ready to be taken up the garden path. It shows utter inability to make sense of the political. The ‘some say’ gives it away totally. Chandrika is actually considered a politically relevant factor here! They should have used a font size of 24 on the ‘IF’ of ‘if fonseka, what next’. As for the JVP’s pickpocketing habits, that’s old hat here in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      0

      Yea old hat is pickpockets new hat is mega thieving. Had to move with the time.

  • 0
    0

    yes, JVP’s pickpocketing habits are old. but the cables were revealing things that were in some sense known.which we doubtless knew little. that’s why I follow colombotelegraph. Comment is free, but facts are sacred.

  • 0
    0

    No 1 thieves in Sri Lanka. crocodile tears for Fonseka.

  • 0
    0

    Great revelation Colombo Telegraph. keep it up!

  • 0
    0

    Horungeth horu = Kamba horu. I read a story some time ago; one JVP guy in Boralasgamuwa robbed Gold and Somawansa robbed that Gold from him. cheeee.

  • 0
    0

    Can we have degree of quality politics in Sri Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    lol: it is not true, can you provide the link ???

  • 0
    0

    SF, we trust Colombo Telegraph. congratulations CT!

  • 0
    0

    Chuckle Chuckle Pathetic typically American post based over paid government servant misreading the local scene. I bet this overpaid overly important white woman never really made efforts to directly talk to voters.. So typical of those who get cushy postings in the third world where they tend to make far more money that they would ever dream of making inside the USA..

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