The Opposition Leader’s call for Democracy and Good Governance

(21.07.2014 – Email)

According to a news paper report the opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has told Organisation for Good Governance, another NGO, that it was high time for all political parties and other civil society organisations to get together from grassroots level to overthrow the government through a well- organised struggle since the lawlessness in this country can no longer be overcome through democratic means.

“One cannot expect good governance from this regime and therefore it is high time for all forces to get together and overthrow this undemocratic and dictatorial regime,” he said and added that democracy practiced by this Government only a word which had long lost its meaning. “With an increasing number of political parties and civil society organisations meeting the UNP and expressing solidarity for its call to abolish or dilute the powers of the Executive Presidency and restoring good governance, it was obvious that they had enough of the untold sufferings that continued to be heaped on them, even over five years after the war had ended”, the opposition leader said.

Since the opposition leader has called the support of the political parties and NGOs, several times, to ‘topple’ the government after his failure to win elections repeatedly while asking the so-called international community even to intervene on several occasions, it could be a interesting subject to address the current leader’s call for democracy, dictatorship, suffering, peace and good governance etc.

From the above statements, the opposition leader is concerned about the powers of the executive presidency and the suffering of the people, forgetting the fact that it is the UNP which introduced the executive presidency and it is the UNP which opposed the war against LTTE while the people were suffering for three daces of terrorism.

Organization for Good Governance

As per a news item appeared in the Asian Tribune dated 08. 07. 2008 under heading ‘OPA Chief ousted but remains in office’, the founder of the Organization for Good Governance continued to hold the Organization of Professional Association’s president role even after a no-confidence motion against him was passed by a large majority at an OPA special general meeting held in July 4, 2008.

The news item alleged that the Supreme Court has suspended the person concerned from practicing as a lawyer on a charge of contempt of court and consequently the General Forum of the OPA has declared him unfit to hold office as OPA President.
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Incidentally, considering the past records, the above news item indicates the perfect matching between the opposition leader and the said organisation who preached Democracy and Good Governance while doing the opposite in practice. There is no need to elaborate the duplicity of NGOs who appear before the public with various decorative names since there are news reports (similar to above), articles and books written on the subject are available in ample.

Democracy and Dictatorship

UNP, as a political party, had a good record of change of leadership to suit the political requirement of the party until the LTTE eliminated all the possible leaders from the party. Dudley Senannayake who took over the leadership of the party and elected PM in 1952 resigned after eight unarmed protesters were gun downed by the police on the 12th of August 1953, during a mass protest launched by the left parties over the increase of price of rice ration from 25cents to 72cents per measure.

Sir John Kothalawala who took over from Dudley resigned after the 1956 election defeat.

Dudley Senannayake who came back to politics again in late 1950s handed over the opposition leadership to JR Jayewardene after the party’s defeat in 1970.

JR who became the leader after the death of Dudley, and later elected President, left the party leadership in late 1980’s amidst JVP insurrection paving the way for R. Premadasa.

D. B. Wijethunga who became the party leader and the President after the assignation of R. Premadasa, retired soon after his term of office was over.

Ranil Wickramasinghe who took over the leadership of the UNP after the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake by the LTTE, unlike the record kept by UNP’s previous leaders, is continuing to remain in the leadership after the loss of several presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections under his party leadership. It is alleged that over 60 UNP MPs left the party since he assumed office and many have accused that within the party constitution, Ranil is not a democratic leader but a dictator.


Those who remember the days of JR-Premadasa Regimes know how they suffer during the infamous ‘Bheesana Samaya’ where around 65,000 lives were lost after the proscription of JVP and the signing of JR-Rajiv pact. Youths either were beheaded or burnt live with tyres around their necks almost daily during that time.

As per the report released on 12 April 1998 by the ‘Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry Act’ (a fact-finding mission and had no judicial powers) to investigate activities of Batalanda, recommended to the government to “bring the guilty to book”. One of its findings was that “Wickremesinghe and the SSP Nalin Delgoda, are indirectly responsible for the maintenance of places of unlawful detention and torture chambers in houses at the Batalanda Housing Scheme”. It further stated that Wickremesinghe held “unauthorised meetings of police officers involved in counter-insurgency operations in the housing complex, and that as such, he had abused his authority”. However, no criminal proceedings took pace thereafter for some unknown reason.

Peace and Good Governance (2001-2004)

Although there are enough materials to write a book on this subject for the period under review, let us summarise by quoting from an article written by ‘Pro-Lanka’ and appeared in The Island during that period, what the current UNP leader and his clan have done to qualify for the good governance.

• The decimation of our intelligence gathering network in 2002 . This ghastly episode can have no parallel in the annals of Treachery to date. Neither Don Juan Dharmapala’s nor the Pilimatalauwe-Ehelepola combine’s treachery in favour of the Portuguese and the British respectively, can equal the UNP’s diabolic of the cream of our intelligence unit, LRRO (Millennium City), to the LTTE.

• Signing an illegal agreement with the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, the so-called CFA, loaded heavily in favour of the LTTE bypassing the country’s President.

• Having given the LTTE a claim over a large extent of territory, the Ranil and his clang thereafter wilfully and deliberately turned a blind eye to almost every LTTE violation of the CFA, genuflecting to almost every LTTE demand, ignoring the smuggling of 11arms shipments and helping the LTTE to bring in through the Customs, several items of military use, which reportedly included aeroplane parts.

Apart from the above, the Prime Minister of the UNP government (who proposed to celebrate the 500th year of the arrival o Portuguese), virtually handed over the sovereignty of the country to a Western bandwagon called ‘Co-Chairs’ under the guise of ‘Peace’. Had that so-called ‘Peace’ process continued, unopposed, the country would have been divided long ago with a formation of a country called Eelam under the rule of Prbhakaran and Sri Lanka under the rule of a puppet regime of the West.

It was during this tenure of office as the Country’s PM (2001-2004), a mob of supporters of the regime attacked the government printing press and damaged the printing machineries in order to prevent the printing of a gazette notification issued by the country’s President.

Actions and Reactions

For those who can remember the days around May 18th 2009 know where the opposition leader was hiding in Europe while all those who love the country were jubilant. The opposition leader had to find an alternative route to reach home from the Katunayake Airport , via Minuwangoda, due to obvious reasons. TNA parliamentarians and the UNP leader’s clan of members had failed to appear in the parliament, when the President delivered his historical address to the nation after winning the war against terrorism, since the environment was certainly not supportive for them to appear before the general public due to their own past acts. (or Pera Karma).

After contesting and losing two presidential elections, one in 1999 and the other in 2005, the opposition leader avoided another obvious defeat in 2010 due to his party’s opposition to the war against terrorism process, by supporting a so-called common candidate, while he was holding the leadership of the main opposition party.

The latest ‘ploy’

Soon after the return from a one month visit to USA, probably with the necessary advise, moral and other supports he received from the interested parties to have a regime change, the opposition leader announced his determination to contest the next presidential election. There is no doubt that those interested parties are working overtime to achieve their determination by hook or crook. Apart from dividing the ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ votes, another ploy set by them is the ‘gonibilla’ of ‘Executive Presidency Powers’. The invisible plotters are expecting the necessary support, apart from all those who oppose the war against terrorism including remaining politicos of the old left parties, even from the prominent political figures representing nationalist movement for their latest ploy of ‘abolishing powers of the executive presidency’.

Thus political parties and organisations representing nationalist movements who were in the fore front of the driving force of 2009 need to think twice before making visits to ‘Sirikotha’ to discuss the subject of the Executive Presidency as such visits, quite unknowingly, could provide weapons to reverse whatever the country achieved since 18th May 2009.

S. Akurugoda

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