Sri Lankan presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa renounces US citizenship
Posted on August 8th, 2019

Courtesy London South East

COLOMBO, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a key politician in Sri Lanka’s civil war, has renounced U.S. citizenship, paving the way for him to make a bid on his country’s presidency.

Sri Lanka does not allow dual citizenship and foreign nationals cannot contest elections.

Gotabaya, a defence chief during the civil war that ended in 2009 and the younger brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, announced late April that he would run in the presidential election due later this year.

He is very popular among Sri Lanka’s politically powerful Sinhala Buddhist majority, which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s 21 million population.

“I can say Gotabaya Rajapaksa has renounced his U.S. citizenship,” Basil Rajapaksa, former economy minister and Gotabaya’s brother, told a news conference on Thursday.

Gotabaya, along with his then-president brother Mahinda, is credited with having crushed the Tamil Tiger insurgent group in 2009 but he has also been accused of human rights violations, especially in the closing stages of the 26-year war.

He is facing war-related lawsuits in the United States and the claims had earlier been expected to delay the process of him dropping U.S. citizenship.

Gotabaya has rejected the allegations of human rights abuse.

Basil Rajapaksa’s party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, is widely expected to nominate Gotabaya as its candidate for the presidential election on August 11.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current opposition leader, will be named as party chief the same day, Basil said. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sankalp Phartiyal and Stephen Powell)

3 Responses to “Sri Lankan presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa renounces US citizenship”

  1. Mario Perera Says:

    Dear Ananda,

    I am still waiting to know what your sources told you about the close relationship between Gota and Deshamanya Duminda Silva who was sentenced to death and is now serving his time in jail.

    As a reminder I wrote that:

    Duminda was awarded the title ‘Deshamanya’, the second highest honour accorded by the Government.
    Duminda was known to each and everyone in Kolonnawa as ‘Kudu Dumina’
    He crossed over to Mahinda’s side from the UNP to escape a rape case against him.
    He was Gota’s man, and received appointment as the monitoring authority of Gota’s defense Ministry.
    When he was injured in the shoot out that killed Premachandra, Gota intervened massively to have him sent to Singapore.
    He spent a very long time in Singapore (certainly more than a year) in a highly secretive location, and was visited multiple times by Gota and by Mahinda himself.

    In reply you wrote that you would come back to me after having consulted your sources.

    Thank you.

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dear Mario,

    I was waiting for a response from my sources in Sri Lanka, but I will not wait any longer and will answer you now.

    I was aware of Bharatha Premachandra’s killing and the conviction of Duminda Silva for it by the courts.

    What I wanted to verify was not Duminda Silva’s situation and character but whether there was any hard evidence, or even a believable allegation, that Gota was involved in it. I find it hard to believe that he was involved criminally, or that he knowingly associated with drug peddling criminal types.

    I am well aware of the UNSUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS by POLITICAL OPPONENTS against the Rajapaksas in general, and Gota in particular, who are still trying to sling all kinds of mud at them ((eg. see, for example, Lanka e News articles).

    Ever since MR was ousted, and the Yamapalanaya came into being, the the Yamapalanaya has STRENUOUSLY TRIED but FAILED TOTALLY to PROVE ANY of those ALLEGATIONS they had broadcast in their successful effort to TOPPLE MR’s government.

    In this connection, you may recall the running battle I had with the former LankaWeb blogger Lorenzo, who was in the forefront of that effort at LankaWeb, after pretending under deep-cover for many years to be a patriot!

    I fear that I now see a similar effort by a number of people at LankaWeb trying to mimic Lorenzo in order to prevent Gota from becoming the next President of Sri Lanka!

    In CONTRAST to MR’s war winning Govt that had reunified Sri Lanka and developed Sri Lanka economically and infrastructurally at an astonishing pace, the Yamapalanaya has developed NOTHING, has COLLECTIVELY RIPPED OFF the Nation of its RESOURCES lining their own pockets, and allowed all types of CRIMINALS including DRUG DEALERS, Tamil proxies of the DEFEATED SEPARATIST LTTE TERRORISTS, and NEWLY EMERGING Muslim TERRORISTS, to run AMOK in the country.

    We Sinhala patriots are NOT AMUSED by their CRIMINALITY. Somewhere, sometime, the Yamapalanaya leaders will pay a HEAVY PRICE for that.

    To put it BRIEFLY, despite 4 years of TRYING VERY HARD to the exclusion of their other responsibilities to govern efficiently anf fairly, CREATING special tribunals to grease the skids, stacking the Supreme Court with their golayas, and even amending and bastardizing the Nation’s Constitution destabilizing the country in the process to PREVENT ousting of their Yamapalanaya government, they have FAILED to PROVE ANYTHING against the leaders of MR’s government. That specifically INCLUDES Gota who they FEAR the most!

    Therefore, I humbly ask: what provable evidence do you Mario have to repeat these allegations against Gota with such certainty where the mighty Yamapalanaya with all of its resources, even to corrupt, bribe and bend the legal system to do its bidding, failed abysmally?

    Finally, I would like to direct your attention to the following interview of Gota by Shalika Wimalasena dated 23 March, 2015. It was published at dbsjeyaraj_dot_com and was entitled “Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says he prefers to be in Sri Lankan Prison than to be jailed in the USA”.

    I think in that interview Gota answers ALL of the ALLEGATIONS reiterated by you above.

    I believe Gota to be an able, courageous, decent, just and above all patriotic man, whose patritism was demonstrated in his years in the Army and in MR’s Govt. In the ABSENCE of ANY NEW COMPELLING PROOF of any wrong doing by Gota, I will CONTINUE to SUPPORT his CANDIDACY to be the NEXT PRESIDENT of Sri Lanka.

    Gotabhaya Rajapaksa hitapu aarakshaka lekam thumaneni, obathumata Theruwan Pihitai!

    Apey maathru bhumiyey sathuran abhibawa janadhipathi mathiwaranaya jayagena, apey rata nawathath aaraksha kireemata Uthum Thrividaratnayey saha magey subha pathum obatathumata labewai mama prathnakaranawa!

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says he Prefers to be in a Sri Lankan Prison than to be Jailed in the USA.

    DBSJeyaraj.com
    Posted by Administrator on 23 March 2015, 12:05 am

    By Shalika Wimalasena

    In this wide ranging and incisively probing no-holds-barred interview, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa admits intentions of entering national politics; says he first heard of Prageeth Ekneligoda only after his disappearance, adding that the Rajapaksa government had no issues with him. He said the Police could not find any clues to Ekneligoda’s disappearance and urges the present government to continue with the investigation. Gota denies any connection to, or prior knowledge of, the Welikada, Katunayaka, Rathupaswala killings…and affirms ‘ we never targeted journalists or political activists”. He affirms he “would have not visited Duminda Silva in hospital if I had known the real facts”.

    Excerpts:

    Q:
    How would you define freedom?

    A: What do you mean? Freedom of the nation, or freedom of the individual?

    Q:
    There was a distinction between the two in the past. How would you define freedom of the individual?

    A: Freedom can be defined as the ability to lead one’s life without undue hindrances. Our parents and we too, as kids, enjoyed that freedom. No one was subject to any inordinate hindrance/influence, even from the government of the time.

    Q:
    Are you saying in effect that it is wrong for the government to unduly impinge on the personal lives of the people?

    A: I think it is the responsibility of the government to protect this freedom. Those in power are under an obligation to create an environment that’s conducive to unhindered living and working.

    Q:
    Do you think the government in which you were Secretary to the Ministry of Defence provided the people with such an environment?

    A: We really did try to accomplish that. We did concentrate more on facilitating this in the north and east. But I wonder whether we went about it too fast. We ushered in freedom only four years after the 30-year war.

    Q:
    Are you implying that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidential election because of that?

    A: Yes. One of the major reasons that contributed to the ex-President’s defeat was the broad freedom granted to the north and east. Do you think we would have got the result we did in the Northern Provincial Council election too without having granted freedom to those areas?

    Q:
    Even five years after the end of war the ratio of military personnel to civilians in the north was one to five. Is that your perception of what freedom is?

    A: Military personnel were in their barracks. We conducted no military operations or even roadblocks during that period.

    Q:
    But they searched houses unofficially in the night?

    A: No. We actually wanted to grant them freedom. We wanted to win their hearts.

    Q:
    These beautiful words were not what the people tangibly experienced….

    A: True. We failed to win their hearts. But we had plans for that. We got closer to the people.

    Q:
    Do you mean you were right but the Army was wrong?

    A: I don’t mean that. The Army did its work but we failed to win the people politically. None of the major political parties, including the government and the opposition, tried to do this. They allowed the TNA to dominate.

    Q:

    Have you confused material development with freedom?

    A: No. But we cannot enjoy freedom without material development.

    Q:
    Why did you retain land belonging to the people of the North as military high security zones?

    A: We released 90% of their lands. I have always asked you to compare the situation with that which existed during the war. The negatives of 30 years of war cannot be done away with within four years.

    Q:
    Was that why the people who criticized the government were abducted and disappeared?

    A: These are lies created for political advantages. No one disappeared during that time.

    Q:
    No one disappeared ?

    A: No.

    Q:
    As former Defence Secretary, don’t you know anything about any of those who disappeared?

    A. Who disappeared?

    Q:
    Journalists. Political activists.

    A: Those things happened during the war when the LTTE was active but not after the war. I know it very well. We never targeted such people.

    Q:
    Haven’t you heard of a poet and journalist named Nimalarajan and political activists Lalith and Kugan who disappeared

    A: I did not know who Lalith and Kugan were until politicians began asking questions about them being abducted.

    Q:
    Were people abducted with your knowledge?

    A: That’s not what I meant. There are things we can do openly. Consider former LTTE leader Gopi’s case for example. There was a shootout when we tried to arrest him. We said it openly to the country. Why should we abduct and kill people?

    Q:
    Weren’t you told about the abductions of Lalith and Kugan?

    A: Why were they arrested? There were many other people who had threats. I don’t know them.

    Q:
    Didn’t you at least read about these two incidents, which I have mentioned, in the media?

    A: Those incidents came into prominence because of political reasons. I have no idea how those abductions happened. Did they pose such a big threat to the Army or to the intelligence wings ?

    Q:
    But they were a threat to the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government?

    A: They were fabrications.

    Q:
    People were abducted for political advantage also and you don’t know anything about them?

    A: I know. It was written on the wall.

    Q:
    Why did you say that you did not know about it?

    A: I said that the disappearances had not taken place with the knowledge of the intelligence wings. That was what you asked me.

    Q:
    Can a military force as large as the one in the north be unaware of these things?

    A: Disappearances and killings took place according to the needs of various people. But all of them were attributed to us. The intelligence wings got knowledge of these persons only after the incidents were reported. People try to generalize individual incidents. That is why I asked you to compare the nature of freedom during the war and after the war.

    Q:
    The security forces could have proved their innocence?

    A: Sections like intelligence wings have no way of proving their innocence. They cannot have press conference like accused politicians. Disciplinary action is taken against anyone in the Police or Army who speaks about these incidents.

    Q:
    Why were such incidents not investigated properly? Were the files undermined?

    A: No. Intelligence wings were not connected to these incidents. There were many others who deserved to be spirited away, if that was what we wanted to do. What we did was that we tailed them and gathered information.

    Q:
    Who were they? Were they MPs and Ministers?

    A: No. I meant persons like Gopi. We did openly.

    Q:
    Are you saying that the intelligence wings are not capable of carrying out such investigations?

    A: No. The media must correct them. But we did not want to go before the media. Intelligence wings are not permitted to do so.

    Q:
    I want you to focus on the investigations.

    A: Investigations are conducted. Tell me how many incidents committed by the LTTE were probed before 2005. Were Kadirgamar’s killers arrested? I led all the investigations properly during my period. Those who did such things did not leave evidence.

    Q:
    Was Lasantha Wickramatunge killed because of the freedom you mentioned early? What became of Prageeth Ekneligoda? Why were the investigations into these incidents stopped?

    A:The investigations have not been stopped. If we had stopped them, the present government can reopen them.

    Q:
    Who shot Lasantha Wickramatunge close to the Ratmalana Air Force camp?

    A: It could not be traced.

    Q:
    What happened to Prageeth Ekneligoda?

    A: If we have not done these investigations properly the present government can reopen them.

    Q:
    Are you not trivialising matters when you, as the former Defence Secretary, admit that investigations were not conducted in your time?

    A: That’s not what I said. I received information from the intelligence people. If an officer tells me that they cannot move further there’s nothing that can be done. Those incidents took place during the war.

    Q:
    Everything cannot be attributed to the war. Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared after the war ended.

    A: Was it after the war? I didn’t know this. I always asked the CID and special units to resolve these issues. Mysteries like the assassination of Janaka Perera were later resolved.

    Q:
    But Lasantha Wickramatunge had no LTTE threats. He had political threats only.

    A: I did not speak about that. I was talking about the difficulty in solving these issues.

    Q:
    Former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and MP Arundika Fernando said Prageeth Ekneligoda was in France. Why didn’t you investigate those statements?

    A: We probed but failed to get information. It is difficult to make investigations in foreign countries. In fact, I knew about Prageeth Ekneligoda only after this incident. He was not famous and I don’t think the government had any problem with him.

    Q:
    Are you sure?

    A: As far as I know.

    Q:
    But you have to admit that the probes were not done properly.

    A: I always instructed them to conduct investigations thoroughly.

    Q:
    Didn’t the officials follow your instructions?

    A: They had reasons. There were instances in which they were stuck with no ability to move. I think the present government must carry out investigations properly if they are of the opinion that former investigations, carried out under my influence were influenced by the former President.

    Q:
    Are you speaking honestly?

    A: Yes. I speak according to my conscience. You can imagine what you want. I am not involved in such killings.

    Q:
    You were a Secretary of a Ministry. As a senior public official, how did you appear on the MP Duminda Silva’s political platforms?

    A: I only attended a seminar and did not engage in politics deeply.

    Q:
    Was it right?

    A: I thought at that time that it was my duty. I attended many other events in addition to Duminda Silva’s.

    Q:
    Are you a good friend of Duminda Silva?

    A: I didn’t have a very close friendship. I always spoke about ending the war and the future of the country.

    Q:

    While senior public servants are legally prohibited from any involvement in politics you engaged in politics openly and arrogantly.

    A: You may make such an argument but I thought it was my duty to make people aware. I acted accordingly.

    Q:
    Were you immune to the law because you were the brother of the President?

    A: There are many who do it openly while others do it secretly.

    Q:
    Just after the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, you visited MP Duminda Silva in hospital. That showed your relationship with him.

    A: You are wrong. I was at a funeral in Mount Lavinia by that time. I was informed only about Duminda Silva being shot. I was not told anything about Bharatha Lakshman. I visited MP Duninda Silva because I knew him. I understood the whole incident after that.

    Q:
    Why did the Defence Secretary take so long to come to know about an incident that the entire country knew within minutes?

    A: That was how it happened.

    Q:
    Did you regret that you had made that visit after you came to know about what had happened?

    A: No. But I would have not visited him in hospital if I had known the real facts.

    Q:You could have explained it to Hirunika Premachandra.

    A: It would have served no real purpose.

    Q:
    Did you threaten Wanathe Sunil of Borella regarding eviction of the squatters?

    A: No. It was fabricated for political advantage.

    Q:
    But an unknown gang abducted him after you threatened him.

    A: We did not want to abduct him.

    Q:
    Don’t you know about that abduction also?

    A: No.

    Q:
    What do you think about killing of the prisoners in Welikada?

    A: I don’t think anything. They are ordinary operations. I didn’t get involved in them. I was not a police or military officer.

    Q:
    But you were a Secretary who wielded more powers than other Ministry Secretaries.

    A: Those allegations are for political mileage. I only made inquiries about what had happened. Those responsible for that operation are answerable. It is wrong to politicize this.

    Q:
    Don’t you know that the prisoners were identified and shot in the head in prison?

    A: Outsiders don’t understand the seriousness of that incident. People now believe a statement of a convicted prisoner.

    Q:
    But you cannot ignore eyewitnesses merely because he was a convict?

    A: That is why I asked them to probe this.

    Q:
    Prisoners were killed during your time without any concern for humanitarian law or prison regulations. How can you trivialize such things?

    A: Your assumption is absolutely wrong.

    Q:
    How can you say that it is wrong without being there?

    A: I always take the side of the officials. And that will continue to be my policy even if I am hanged for it. I never take the side of the thief.

    Q:
    Are you also supportive of the officials although they were wrong in the incidents in Welikada, Katunayaka, Rathupaswala etc.?

    A: I take their side until they are proved guilty.

    Q:
    But are you also not responsible for those incidents.

    A: No. Why should I take upon myself any responsibility for officials who do wrong? We have not ordered the killing of people but only that situations be taken control of.

    Q:
    But the Brigadier who ordered the killings at Rathupaswala was subsequently given a diplomatic posting….?

    A: That officer rendered a great service in the war. He was subjected to a severe injustice here. In fact, a military officer considers it a greater honour to be a commander than to be a diplomat.

    Q:
    Do you mean there is no problem in killing people wearing an uniform?

    A: I’m not referring to incidents concerning personal reasons. I’m talking of urgent decisions taken in connection with normal occurrences. Outsiders cannot understand this.

    Q:
    Although you are supportive of these officers you did not have the backbone to be critical of the manner in which former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was arrested.

    A: As a matter of fact I opposed it. But it was too late by that time. The Cabinet wanted him to be arrested.

    Q:
    But you could have spoken to your elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa and stopped it.

    A: He had to take political decisions at that moment due to pressures from the Cabinet.

    Q:
    What do you think about the allegations pertaining to heroin against Duminda Silva?

    A: I was not aware of it. If I was aware, I would not have associated with him.

    Q:
    What is the close relationship between you and Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera?

    A: I will answer that before you come to your next question… I had no connection with the formation or funding of the Bodu Bala Sena. All those who helped them have now distanced themselves from the BBS and have put all the blame on me.

    Q:
    Who are those elements?

    A: You have to ask Gnanasara Thera.

    Q:
    Why were you the chief guest at a function of the Bodu Bala Sena in Galle?

    A: I was invited by Kirama Vimalajothi Thera and Milinda Moragoda. I told Vimalajothi Thera that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would lose Muslim votes because of that function.

    Q:
    But the Bodu Bala Sena moved ahead and took the law into their hands.

    A: It could have been worse if we arrested the monks.

    Q:
    Why was KP arrested but not charged?

    A: We could have hung him but that would have made him a hero.

    Q:
    Why wasn’t he produced in court while ordinary members of the LTTE were brought to book?

    A: Many were not produced in court but rehabilitated and re-integrated with society.

    Q:
    Is it true that KP was afforded every comfort as a means of getting his assets transferred?

    A: No. We handed him over to the intelligence people.

    Q:
    Was he held under detention orders?

    A: Yes.

    Q:
    The Defence Secretary can only issue detention of three months’ duration no more than six times. But KP was not produced in court after 18 months.

    A: The Intelligence authorities might have done so, if necessary.

    Q:
    Were you not aware of it?

    A: No.

    Q:
    Were you and the Chairman of Avant Garde Nissanka Senadhipathi good friends?

    A: No. He was a junior officer. I once banned his security company because they did not wear uniforms.

    Q:
    To which account is Rakna Lanka profits transferred?

    A: Treasury.

    Q:
    Have they been credited properly? These facts will be necessary in future cases.

    A: Yes.

    Q:
    As the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, is it not unethical for you to be a director on the Rakna Lanka board?

    A: That is why I quit.

    Q:
    Then what about the Board of Lanka Hospitals?

    A: No problem. It does not come directly under the Defence Ministry.

    Q:
    Did you draw a salary from Lanka Hospitals?

    A: Yes.

    Q:
    I won’t ask questions about Avant Garde since the case is before court right now. But I have one question to ask. Are there any other such marine security services in Sri Lanka?

    A: Many more.

    Q:
    Can you prove your innocence concerning the allegations brought against you over Avant Garde?

    A: I could, if a fair investigation is held.

    Q:
    What do you think about Basil Rajapaksa going to the US just after the presidential election?

    A: It is his personal affair.

    Q:
    Have you spoken to him since he left?

    A: He did not tell me he would go, and has not spoken to me since then.

    Q:
    has he spoken to Mahinda Rajapaksa?

    A: I don’t know.

    Q:
    You too are a US citizen. Do you intend going back there?

    A: I have US citizenship but I will have to find a job if I go back there. I have to start a new life. On the other hand pro-LTTE elements are waiting for my return to sue me. It is better to be in a prison here than to be jailed there.

    Q:
    You speak of people too much. Are you planning to enter politics?

    A: I have entertained that prospect but have made no decision as yet.

    Courtesy:Ceylon Today

  3. Mario Perera Says:

    Dear Ananda,

    I thank you for finding the time to reply to my queries.

    I do not wish to pursue this matter knowing well that ‘que sera sera’, but I will always read your contributions with much attention.

    There are other matters I would like to discuss with you, but lankaweb is surely not the forum for that. I am living in the expectancy of my green card. I would like to know the benefits that accrue to senior green card holders. But for that I will have to bump into you somewhere in Sri Lanka.

    Kind wishes

    Mario

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2019 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress