22 September, 2018

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WikiLeaks: Muslim Congress Strategy To Defeat Rajapaksa – Tamil Future In The Hands Of The Diaspora

By Colombo Telegraph – 

“Segudawood discussed a strategy he believed might pull votes from the president’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). He hinted that perhaps two or more UPFA officials were already prepared to switch allegiance to the new coalition. According to Segudawood, there were UPFA members who were very displeased with the Rajapaksa regime and ready to pull the plug on it. If the opposition were able to win over at least two UPFA members, Segudawood believed others would be willing to do the same. The SLMC chairman remarked that the people were tired of hearing the president’s propaganda of ‘winning the war’ as his chief political accomplishment and centerpiece for the upcoming elections. Given the current government’s unpopularity with the Muslims and Tamils, in order for the president to win, Segudawood claimed that the president needed at least 75 percent of Sinhalese votes. He hoped with Fonseka as the coalition candidate, the coalition could cut substantially into the president’s Sinhalese base. At the same time, he claimed the Tamil and Muslim minorities together comprised 1.5 million votes and noted that the coalition’s success depended on them. “the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Basheer Segu Dawood

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “Confidential” and recounts a meeting the US Embassy had with the Chairman of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress,Basheer Segu Dawood.  The cable was written on November 06, 2009  by the US Ambassador to Colombo, Patricia A. Butenis.

The ambassador wrote; “The SLMC Chairman discussed the signing of the MOU creating the United National Front by the United National Party (UNP), SLMC, Mangala Samaraweera’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahajana (SLFP-M), and Mano Ganeshan’s Western People Front (WPF), as well as 19 other organizations and political parties. Segudawood pointed out that minority parties such as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), People Liberation Organization of Thamileelam (PlOTE), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), WPF, SLMC and the Upcountry People’s Front were now willing to work together with this grand coalition.”

“The SLMC chairman indicated there had been back channel talks by opposition party operatives with Fonseka about his role as a possible coalition leader. He remarked that while Fonseka’s Sinhalese nationalistic ideology might be similar to that of the Rajapaksas, Fonseka came from a family that was born-and-bred UNP and would be the only one capable of beating the current government. For Fonseka to be a viable candidate in the eyes of the minority and opposition, however, he first would have to sign an agreement to abolish the Executive Presidency within 90 days of the elections. Fonseka had yet to make a decision on whether he would run, or with which party or group of parties he might ally himself. According to Segudawood, Fonseka would want two issues clarified before considering the coalition offer: his future after the Presidency was dissolved, and concerns for his personal security, implying that the Rajapaksas might stop at nothing to prevent him running against them. Segudawood pointed out that UNP leader Ranil Wickramesinghe personally promised Fonseka that the people would protect him. Janatha Vimukhti Peramuna (JVP) was also putting forth a bill to Parliament that guaranteed former commanders and senior officers, personal security.”

“Segudawood claimed the Tamil Diaspora would be a key player in the upcoming elections. He noted that the Tamil Diaspora was hosting a conference on November 12-13 in London, which 20 Sri Lankan-based minority leaders were planning to attend. Among the possible attendees were Sivanesthurai Chandrakanthan a.k.a. Pilliyan (TMVP), Rauff Hakeem (SLMC), Sampanthan (TNA), and Mano Ganesan (TNA).” the ambassador further wrote.

 

We give below the relevant part of the cable;

VZCZCXRO1167
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #1019/01 3101237
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061237Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0738
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2024
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9060
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7298
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5207
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3453
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5159
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0032
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0694
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4270
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9623
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6917
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0006
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3817
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001019 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/07/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: MUSLIM CONGRESS LEADER ON ELECTIONS, FONSEKA, AND
TAMILS 

COLOMBO 00001019  001.2 OF 003 

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION VALERIE C. FOWLER.  REASONS: 1.4
 (B, D) 

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting with PolOff, Chairman of Sri
Lanka Muslim Council (SLMC) and Eastern Provincial opposition
leader Basheer Segudawood spoke of his party's strategy to
defeat President Rajapaksa at the upcoming elections.  The
strategy included forming a broad coalition with the UNP and
other smaller minority parties and abolishing the Executive
Presidency.  In order to win, the coalition would need the
support of Tamil diaspora representatives, both in working
with local Tamils and with the Tamil diaspora community
abroad.  Segudawood noted the Tamil diaspora was hosting a
conference in London November 12-13 to discuss the
post-Prabhakaran future of Tamils.  Many of the minority
leaders were invited and were planning to attend.  According
to the SLMC leader a broad coalition of opposition
politicians was planning to join the newly formed United
National Front (UNF) for the election.  Segudawood expressed
tentative support for General Fonseka as a possible candidate
of the coalition.  END SUMMARY. 

UNP-led Grand Coalition
----------------------- 

¶2. (C) The SLMC Chairman discussed the signing of the MOU
creating the United National Front by the United National
Party (UNP), SLMC, Mangala Samaraweera's Sri Lanka Freedom
Party Mahajana (SLFP-M), and Mano Ganeshan's Western People
Front (WPF), as well as 19 other organizations and political
parties.  Segudawood pointed out that minority parties such
as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), People Liberation
Organization of Thamileelam (PlOTE), Tamil United Liberation
Front (TULF), WPF, SLMC and the Upcountry People's Front were
now willing to work together with this grand coalition.  One
of the pledges of the coalition, developed in part to bring
these parties to common ground, would be to abolish the
Executive Presidency and return the country to a
parliamentary system of government.  UNP and SLFP (M) had
already made public statements on the issue.  While the SLMC
had been publicly silent on its support for the coalition,
Segudawood stressed that the SLMC would back the coalition to
defeat the president.  The chairman underscored UNP leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe's popularity with minorities but echoed
the sentiment, expressed privately by many political
observers in Colombo, of Wickremesinghe not being the ideal
candidate to beat the president.  Segudawood said he was
disappointed at some of the public actions, press releases,
and agendas of individual opposition and minority parties,
which he believed had been counterproductive to building an
anti-Rajapaksa coalition, and stressed the need for one voice
amongst the parties allied against the president. 

General Fonseka: Coalition Leader?
---------------------------------- 

¶3. (C) The SLMC chairman indicated there had been back
channel talks by opposition party operatives with Fonseka
about his role as a possible coalition leader.  He remarked
that while Fonseka's Sinhalese nationalistic ideology might
be similar to that of the Rajapaksas, Fonseka came from a
family that was born-and-bred UNP and would be the only one
capable of beating the current government.  For Fonseka to be
a viable candidate in the eyes of the minority and
opposition, however, he first would have to sign an agreement
to abolish the Executive Presidency within 90 days of the
elections.  Fonseka had yet to make a decision on whether he
would run, or with which party or group of parties he might
ally himself.  According to Segudawood, Fonseka would want
two issues clarified before considering the coalition offer: 

COLOMBO 00001019  002.2 OF 003 

his future after the Presidency was dissolved, and concerns
for his personal security, implying that the Rajapaksas might
stop at nothing to prevent him running against them.
Segudawood pointed out that UNP leader Ranil Wickramsinghe
personally promised Fonseka that the people would protect
him.  Janatha Vimukhti Peramuna (JVP) was also putting forth
a bill to Parliament that guaranteed former commanders and
senior officers, personal security.
Tamil Future in the Hands of the Diaspora
----------------------------------------- 

¶4.  (C) Segudawood claimed the Tamil Diaspora would be a key
player in the upcoming elections.  He noted that the Tamil
Diaspora was hosting a conference on November 12-13 in
London, which 20 Sri Lankan-based minority leaders were
planning to attend.  Among the possible attendees were
Sivanesthurai Chandrakanthan a.k.a. Pilliyan (TMVP), Rauff
Hakeem (SLMC), Sampanthan (TNA), and Mano Ganesan (TNA).
(NOTE: Embassy is seeking a meeting with TNA leader
Sampanthan before he travels to London.  END NOTE.)  The
chairman described the diaspora as being divided into three
to four groups but that it generally fell in two categories
similar to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka: those who
supported the LTTE and those who opposed it.  Segudawood
believed the challenge for the coalition lay in bringing the
Tamil diaspora, the resident Tamil community, and the other
minority leaders together to win the elections.  The
influence of the Tamil diaspora would have a critical impact
in this regard. 

Presidential Election Strategy
------------------------------ 

¶5. (C) Segudawood discussed a strategy he believed might pull
votes from the president's United People's Freedom Alliance
(UPFA).  He hinted that perhaps two or more UPFA officials
were already prepared to switch allegiance to the new
coalition.  According to Segudawood, there were UPFA members
who were very displeased with the Rajapaksa regime and ready
to pull the plug on it.  If the opposition were able to win
over at least two UPFA members, Segudawood believed others
would be willing to do the same.  The SLMC chairman remarked
that the people were tired of hearing the president's
propaganda of "winning the war" as his chief political
accomplishment and centerpiece for the upcoming elections.
Given the current government's unpopularity with the Muslims
and Tamils, in order for the president to win, Segudawood
claimed that the president needed at least 75 percent of
Sinhalese votes.  He hoped with Fonseka as the coalition
candidate, the coalition could cut substantially into the
president's Sinhalese base.  At the same time, he claimed the
Tamil and Muslim minorities together comprised 1.5 million
votes and noted that the coalition's success depended on them.
BUTENIS
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    When most of our Muslim brothers and sisters , both local and overseas consider American as an enemy of the Arabs , Sedgewood was planning strategy with the US ambassodor to roll Rajapaksa .

    Rajapaksa is not only a real freind of the Arab World but also an outspoken supporter.

    Do the card carrying members SLMC members and the poor rural Muslims who are manupilated by SLMC activists kow what is going on?.

  • 0
    0

    The people are even more tired of Ranil Wickramasinghe’s absolute incompetence and Knavery than Rajapassa’s war victory propaganda.. today in March 2013..

    As long as Ranil Wickramasinghe heads the UNP there is no hope in hell for anyone from the SLFP/ UPFA who dislikes the Rajapassa family dictatorship within the party to join the opposition..

    THe only hope is for all factious opposition parties to from a joint opposition with a brake away UNP group against Rajapassa military dictatorship – with Kumar Sangakkara as the common candidate to UNITE Lanka against the paranoid Rajapaksa family dictatorship..

  • 0
    0

    This Segudawood who was planning to make General Fonskea the President of Sri Lanka in 2009 is now a Minister in MR’s government. He is a typical Eastern Province Muslim who will join any party or coalition to advance his personal fortunes. He was with the Tamil armed group EROS and became a Member of Parliament and then switched to SLMC. Though he is now provisionally with the SLMC, he is reported to have gone behind the back of SLMC leader and accepted a full Ministerial portfolio offered by MR in the recent cabinet reshuffle. These are the type of people who are now with MR. He is certain to switch sides come the crunch time.

  • 0
    0

    The SLMC cheated the Muslim people by joining with Rajapksa for the perks and positions. The party also helped Rajapaksa to pass the 18th amendment that strengthened his dictatorial powers. Contrary to Segu Dawood’s intentions before the elections he supported the party’s move to join with Rajapaksa. All these politicians are the same – whenever there is an opportunity to benefit themselves they will be willing to sell even their mothers to acquire them. Once they are in there they will stay there come what may – the vile anti Muslim campaign supported by Gota’s Bodu Bala Sena is a case in point. The people’s and the nation’s interest take second place for these people.

    What keeps the SLMC in government despite the anti Muslim actions of the government and the worsening economic and quality of life situation in the country? Mahinda is riding on his achievement of winning the war but the country is in the doldrums four years after the war ended. Even China is refusing loans to Sri Lanka and the regime is in serious trouble internationally because of it’s HR issues and yet the suckers are clinging onto Rajapaksa’s coattails purely for self interest.

  • 0
    0

    Muslims faced a problem recently because of Halal issues, created by ACJU, somehow it was settled just yesterday, now this segudawood is trying to create another grave problem to the whole nation with the defunct Eelamists, this should be stopped, be it hakeem, segudawood or name any of these fellows, they are a bunch of useless rogues will only betray the muslims of Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      0

      Keep up to date man. The BBS and JHU have rejected the offer from the ACJU to remove the Halal logo.

      The halal issue is not settled and will never be allowed to settled by the opportunistic racists the JHU and the BBS under the guidance of Gota.

      A second prolonged and even more violent conflict with the muslims is in the making. The muslims, more than likely with the support of outside extremist muslim groups and countries, will teach the Rajapaksa regime a thing or two about how to respect the rights of the minorities.

  • 0
    0

    Segu Dawood has proved himself as an opportunist by crossing over, which MR is aware. The same applies to Rauff Hakim also. What were their position over the impeachment of the CJ Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake. Rauff Hakim was criticizing the Court of Appeal’s Order which appeared in the Parliamentary proceedings. Now they are of the view that they are frustrated over MR’s assertion. What is vital was the development projects that has been carried out in the country, has virtually overshadowed all his corrupt practices. Does anyone think that the Sinhalese people will easily forget about the Hambantota Harbour, International Cricket Stadium, the Highways, etc. It should be analyzed in the context of almost 70% of Sinhalese, who are a predominant population in Sri Lanka. Of this, about 60% will definitely support MR. However, recent incidents such as Law College Entrance Exam results, unwanted Halal issue, etc have created some fear psychosis in the minds of the Sinhalese. Moreover, Muslim Ministers and politicians associating with underworld criminals is another factor that the Sinhalese and Tamils will have a suspicious eye on the Muslims. In addition, the behaviour of Muslim politicians who have been regularly crossing over parties are also a factor that determines the suspicion of the average Sinhalese citizen. Above all, the actions of the BBS/JHU have recently built some illusions about the Muslims and are suspicious whether Muslims will eventually call for separation of the creation KATHANKUDISTAN or some other names ending with TAN. As such, the average Sinhalese may think that known devil is better than an unknown angel and might support MR.
    On the other hand, there are some factors which have posed a threat to MR. The Tamils are certain that they will oppose MR because of the developments that took place after the war. The demolishing of temples, Sinhala colonization in lands belonging to the Tamils, denying the facilities for re-settlement of Tamils in their own lands, lands that were snatched by Muslim Ministers from the Tamils, Tractors imported by NGOs that were meant for affected Tamils being snatched by Muslim politicians and handed over to Muslims and Sinhalese, etc, However, if the same category of Muslims join hands with UNP, Tamils might even abstain from supporting either. Sometimes MR may take undue advantage over such incidents and engage in activities that will affect the Muslim community. It will not be a surprise that the Tamil diaspora may even call for the support of MR if negotiations for a meaningful devolution of power for Tamils are arrived. It should not be forgotten that the Tamil diaspora are financially sound and have the indirect backing of some democratic countries. I call this a turn of event which at any time can happen.
    The impeachment of CJ is another factor which is likely to divide the Sinhalese population, of which more than 75 % will be against MR. The manner of appointing Mohan Peiris, the circumstances under which Justice Shiranee Thilakawardena, the non-compliance of the Orders of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, the uncultured behaviour of the PSC members towards the CJ, the election results of the Bar Association and now the witch hunt on the CJ are instances that will have impact on the Sinhalese population and the possibility of overshadowing the development projects in the South cannot be ruled out. Further, the inflation rate of Sri Lanka currency coupled with the import of formalin to the value of Rs.2,000 million and the Lamborigini cars are instances that will snub the average Sinhalese, when they are unable to have decent meal in their day to day life. At this juncture, the maintenance of silence by the Muslim Pariamentarians will be snubbed by the Sinhalese and Tamils. Moreover, MR cannot always beat the drum of the victory over the LTTE. After all, it was a war against a specific group, like JVP. At this juncture it is worth mentioning that Churchill too was defeated Lord Atlee became victorious. One should not under estimate the Sinhalese also.
    Sarath Fonseka may have led the army for the defeat of the LTTE. But now Sri Lankans are aware that if not for India, Pakistan & China the war would be still continuing. It won’t take time to realize that Sarath Fonseka is an opportunist to grab power, and do not have a proper vision and political knowledge. Mangala Samaraweera, on the other hand, is well versed with political knowledge and a matured politician. At times he is also emotional. Ranil Wickremasinghe has no quick wit to reply, but to some extent a matured politicians. Moreover, he accommodates Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. If he accommodates some educated and cultured Tamils he is likely to be the most suitable leader to challenge MR.
    The key support for the formation of the next government rests with the TNA. However it is time to realize that the TNA should look for new leaders such as C.Chandrahasan (S.J.V.Chelvanayagam’s son) or some retired Professors such as Balakrishnan who command the support of the Tamils and recognized at international level, and will be much appreciated by the Sinhalese educated elite. The TNA should consider this seriously. Tamils in foreign countries also have a role to play in the coming elections. They are in Politics (as national Parliamentarian, & Councillors) and also active in various fields of profession, Even the younger generation are likely to take part in leading roles in those countries. They are like Jews in their ideologies.
    The other key factor is Sports. Cricket is very popular in Sri Lanka with the incident of becoming the World Champions. As such, today two prominent cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and M.Muralitharan are considered as a bridge between the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. If these two prominent cricketers join hands with Ranil, it is going to be a difficult task for MR. Though Sanath Jayasooriya is popular, he does not have a clean life which will have great impact on the Sri Lankans. It is up to Ranil and his close associates to tackle this matter.
    Lastly, it is an accepted fact that university teachers and university students play a vital role in deciding the victorious party in the coming elections. These are the people who will take the messages to the people at grass root level. The manner in which the military has treated the university students at Jaffna and the manner in which S.B.Dissanayake meddled with the student’s education bear testimony that they are certain to oppose MR.
    Meanwhile the outcome of the tug of war at the UNHCR in Geneva and simultaneous the hosting of the Commonwealth at Hambantota has to be taken into account.
    In the premises, it is very difficult to make an early comment as to which faction really commands the support of the people.

  • 0
    0

    This is nothing but the OLUWIL TRAETY is still giving the breathe to MUSLIM CONGRESS.

  • 0
    0

    S.L.M.C IS DIVIDED INTO THREE, AND THEY REPRESENT NONE BUT THEMSELVES.

  • 0
    0

    RAUF HAKEEM WHILE BEING A MINISTER OF THE RAJAFAKSE GOVERNMENT,
    CAMPAIGNED AS SLMC AGAINST THE UPFA IN THE EASTERN PROV. ELECTIONS. IF MAHINDA IS THE ALL POWERFUL HE SHOULD HAVE “FIRED” HIM.
    NOTHING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN RAJAPAKSE AND RAUF.
    JUST A CASE OF OF “YOU SCRATCH MY ARSE AND I SCRATCH YOURS”
    IF NOT ANYTHING ELSE, THEY ARE BOTH DAMN HYPOCRITES.
    I CARE TWO FARTS FOR BOTH SINCE I WILL NOT VOTE FOR EITHER.
    I WILL JUST CAST A SPOILT BALLOT PAPER.PUT A CROSS AGAINST EVERYONE,
    SINCE ALL DESERVE TO BE CRUCIFIED; AT LEAST ON A PIECE OF PAPER.

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