The candidate who can assure Sri Lanka’s unitary status
Posted on November 1st, 2019

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy  Asian Tribune

Both presidential candidates Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa had pledged to protect the unitary status of the country. With both making the same promise, the challenge is before the voter as to which candidate to vote for, when both are pledging the same.Gotabaya Rajapaksa – had actually taken the initiative, worked hard, even at personal risk, to ensure that the country remains as a whole than a fragmented uni

As it is easy to make any promise, the voter must turn his attention to the course of action and stance the candidate has taken to fulfill his pledge. The voter must also take a closer look at the candidate’s team to understand whether the candidate may rely on his team to support him to fulfill his pledge.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the first to understand the implications of the Geneva Resolution 30/1, which was co-sponsored by the Yahapalana Government. He was able to do so because by that time he had already formed Sri Lanka’s very first think tank, Viyathmaga. As an organization Viyathmaga in 2015 was in its infancy. Yet, because of the caliber of professionals that gathered at this forum from the beginning, the contents of the Geneva Resolution 30/1 was well analyzed.

The very next year, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera was appointed as an envoy of the Sri Lankan people. He went to Geneva armed with facts and figures that easily refutes the absurd allegations made in the Resolution. It was a very odd experience indeed for a single citizen was doing the work that ought to have been done by the Sri Lankan Government. This lone individual’s only support was GR.

As is evident from the documented interpretations of Sri Lanka’s events from persons such as former American ambassador Teresita C Schaffer and Ryan Goodman, GR had been identified as a political threat even before the ahapalana Government was formed. Even as early as January 2015, GR was considered a serious obstacle in reaping the return of America’s investment from toppling a strong nationalistic Government to installing a weak government.

The solution envisaged was to remove GR from the political arena by implicating him of various crimes. Right on cue, the Yahapalana Government tried their level best to implicate him into various crimes. Even after four years however, the Yahapalana Government has not been able to achieve their objective.

In fact, the more the Yahapalana Government tried to persecute GR, he more strengthened he became politically. However, the fact that theYahapalana Government’s plan to neutralize GR backfired on the Yahapalana Government is visible now, it is very much news on hindsight. At the time, the pressure exerted especially via the newly and illegally formed FCID was immense. Entire military units were taken in for questioning. Even their families were pressurized to name GR as the point of command over various allegations.

A lessor man would have tried to stay invisible from the Government’s radar. He certainly would not have challenged the Government’s decisions. GR however grabbed the Geneva Resolution by the horns and spearheaded the challenge.

The Yahapalana Government scurried to establish the Office of Missing Persons when the then UNHRC High Commissioner Zeid Hussein threw a tantrum. Yet, the OMP still could not unleash its maximum power because GR’s team worked tirelessly to educate the clergy and the masses. By this time, GR had also founded Eliya – an awareness creating body that addresses these issues, simplifying technical details so that it is comprehensible to the ordinary man.

As the ordinary man became familiarized with the facts, its implications and the interest of those who are pushing to enact these highly detrimental agreements, the YahapalanaGovernment stood exposed. A favorite trick of the Yahapalana Government is to create a distraction and to use that moment of confusion to push through unpopular or unacceptable bills.

Yet, as Eliya locked its focus on the issue, the Yahapalana Government was unable to utilize their trick to the fullest extent. As a result, this Government’s efforts to create nine semi-autonomous governments with a very weak central government was negated. Therefore, no one can dispute that GR played a pivotal role to safeguard the unitary status of our country. He did so while being out of power and while being persecuted by the Government that was intent on neutralizing him by putting him behind bars.

During this entire episode, Premadasa was (and still is) a powerful cabinet minister. He is also the deputy leader of the ruling political party UNP. Yet, he silently allowed legitimacy to the Geneva Resolution 30/1 despite,

– Resolution was brought against Sri Lanka

– it was co sponsored without the knowledge or sanction of the cabinet

– if the conditions of the Resolution is completely fulfilled, it will push Sri Lanka to having a weak government and a weak security force

– the Resolution cannot be co-sponsored as it is unconstitutional

– Mangala Samaraweera who signed the co-sponsorship in effect gives a commitment to the UN on behalf of the Parliament. However, Samaraweera placed his signature to the co-sponsorship as the minister for foreign affairs. He was thus acting in the capacity of the executive. Yet, he gave a commitment on behalf of the Parliament, which is the legislature. This is not possible because the Executive and the Legislature are independent bodies

– as a member of the cabinet, Premadasa cannot escape from the sins of the Resolution and is also liable for collective responsibility.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa comes forward as the presidential candidate backed by an entire team that had stood and worked against the Geneva Resolution 30/1.

Sajith Premadasa on the other hand is backed by the very team that allowed and justified the Resolution. Both candidates may pledge to safeguard the unitary status of our country.

However, only one – Gotabaya Rajapaksa – had actually taken the initiative, worked hard, even at personal risk, to ensure that the country remains as a whole than a fragmented unit.

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