Will Fonseka defect SJB nearing the presidential election?
State-owned media’s news fabrication!
The current Inspector General of Police Mr. C.D. Wickramaratne is considered to be the quietest IGP in the history of the police. Although some IGPs in the past had always appeared in front of the media and made statements to the media to become heroes through the media, C.D. Never held press conferences and issued statements to the media, never went to become a hero through the media. But as of last week, the main character not only in the media but also in the politics of this country had become none other than the Inspector General of Police C.D. Wickramaratnamaya.
Extension of service
The reason for that was the controversy that arose in political circles due to the President extending his service to for the third time and re-establishing him as the Inspector General of Police. Last April, after his retirement, many thought that the President would appoint a new Inspector General of Police. But there was already a cold war between the seniors in the police to get the post of Inspector General.
It was said by many that one among the three Senior Deputy Inspector Generals Deshbandu Tennakoon, Nilantha Jayawardene and Lalith Patinayake will be given the post of Inspector General of Police. But in the investigations conducted on the basis of the Easter attack, due to the fact that the names of these three were more or less mentioned in the commission reports, it was also seen that objections were raised from various parties regarding giving them the post of Inspector General of Police.
For this reason, to save both the beard and the porridge, the President gave a three-month extension to CD. Accordingly, after the President sent CD’s name to the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Assembly had taken steps to pass it in the first instance. After the 3 months passed, the topic of Inspector General once again surfaced. Even though the names of various people were suggested for the post of IGP, the president used his constitutional powers to extend the service of CD for another 03 months for the second time.
Extension period lapsed
That three-month period passed last week. Accordingly, by last week, there was a big disturbance in the political field regarding the new Inspector General of Police, and due to that, the appointment of the new Inspector General of Police was delayed by few days. In short, since the president did not recommend a new name after his three-month service extension, CD went home For 04 days the country was without an Inspector General of Police. Accordingly, many people thought that a new Inspector General of Police would be appointed, but the President extended his service as the Inspector General of Police to for the third time just before his visit to China.
The crisis begins
However, the crisis regarding the IGP arose for the third time when the President proposed the name of CD and sent it to the Constituent Assembly. The reason for this was that after proposing and sending CD’s name to the Legislative Council for the second time, although the Legislative Council passed it, a recommendation was given to the President that it would be better if this name was not recommended again. This is the third time the CD’s name was sent to the Legislative Council and the Legislative Council rejected the relevant proposal. The Speaker representing the Legislative Assembly, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Sagara Kariyawasam, and the three independent representatives unanimously rejected the name of CD. However, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, who was the President’s representative, did not participate in the Legislative Assembly that day.
Message to China
However, in no time, this situation was also reported to the president who was already in China. Accordingly, the President immediately disregarded the recommendation given by the Constituent Assembly from China and once again appointed CD as the Inspector General of Police using his powers.
It was seen that a similar type of news was published in the government newspapers as well as on the websites based on this incident. Each of those stories had a common word. That is the word ‘conspiracy’. Accordingly, everyone who saw the news was able to understand at once that this news had been ‘planted’ in one place as usual from China itself. Below is how the government media ‘Dinamina’ published the news.
The President re-appoints the Inspector General of Police who was removed by the Constitutional Council
Removed and reinstated within an hour
There is a strong suspicion that the sudden removal was to protect a drug dealer
18 October 2023
As the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe and the Minister of Public Security (in charge of Police) Mr. Tiran Alas are away from the island, the decision taken by the constitutional council to remove Mr C.D Wickramaratne from the position of Inspector General of Police Yesterday (17th), President Ranil Wickramasinghe reversed the Constitutional Council’s decision to remove Mr. Wickramaratne from office and reinstated the Inspector General of Police within an hour.
President Ranil Wickramasinghe has immediately given all the necessary orders from Beijing, China to implement the arrangements related to the re-appointment of the Inspector General of Police. A senior government minister said to ‘Dinamina’ that it was a serious mistake for the Constitutional Council to remove the IGP when the President as the Minister of Defense and Mr. Tiran Alas as the Minister in charge of Police are not in the island.
The minister further said that there is a strong suspicion that the removal of the Inspector General of Police is the result of a conspiracy in the background that President Ranil Wickramasinghe, who is away from the island at the moment, is expected to return in two days..
The senior minister also said that he would immediately find out if this step was taken to protect any drug trafficker before the President’s arrival to the island.
He further said that the removal of the Inspector General of Police at a time when the President and the Minister of Public Security in charge of the police are not in the country is equivalent to shutting down the entire police force in this country.
A few rulings
A special event that was reported through this news was that some of the heads of the government were named as conspirators by the media of the government. Although it is a common occurrence to criticize the opposition through the government media, many people were of the opinion that the Prime Minister and Pohottuwa Secretary General Sagara Kariyawasam represented the legislative committee and that they were also introduced as conspirators through this news.
In this way, with the decision of the Constituent Assembly to reject CD’s name, several Zoom discussions were immediately organized after several special phone calls between China and Sri Lanka. It was noted that the heads of the government as well as high-ranking officials participated. According to the information that we have, it is said that as soon as the President arrives in Sri Lanka, several other special events related to this incident will take place. It is also known that many positions are likely to be moved around.
Strong tips from CD too
In addition to this, with his appointment as the Inspector General of Police once again, CD had taken steps to hold an emergency zoom discussion with the heads of the police. Inside Politics, column learned CD has indicated some special hints about how the police should work in the future and about the many changes that are to happen in the police.
Dinesh is silent
After this incident, the topic of the Inspector General of Police was discussed in Parliament. The question was raised for the first time by TNA Member of Parliament Shanakyan Rasamanikkam. Shanakyan directly questioned Dinesh about the incident involving the Inspector General of Police. But Dinesh did not answer it. Later, when the ministers of the ruling party asked Dinesh to give an answer, Dinesh answered ‘yes’, but then it was seen that he remained silent. Later, government member Premanath Dolawatta was informed to give an answer, but Dolawatta did not get a proper answer. However, the speaker finally said that the refusal of the Constituent Assembly to extend the service to the Inspector General of Police was legal and the reappointment of the Inspector General of Police by the President was too legal.
Sajith is to litigate
However, the strongest attack on the news published by the two government newspapers, Dinamina and Daily News, came from none other than the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa. On Friday (20), Sajith, who expressed his strong views on this matter in the Parliament, said that SJB will definitely take legal action against Manoj Abedera, the editor of the Dinamina newspaper, and Jayantha Sri Nishanka, the editor of the Daily News newspaper, who published this news. Sajith pointed out that the Legislative Council is not the working committee of the UNP to approve everything sent by the President, and said that the Legislative Council is not ready to give positions to anyone’s pets.
A problem in two weeks
However, the appointment issue will resurface in another two weeks. That is because the President has to send the name of a new Inspector General of Police to the Legislative Assembly in another two weeks. According to the information we have come to know, Pohottuwa is adamant that Mr. Deshabandu Tennakoon should be appointed as the new Inspector General of Police. They have informed the President that Deshabandu is the most suitable person for that.
Accordingly, many are of the opinion that the Constituent Assembly for the selection of the new IGP, which will meet in three weeks, will be extremely decisive. Because the President has to propose the name of the new Inspector General and send it. So far, no information has been reported as to whether the President will send only one person’s name to the Legislative Assembly, or whether he will send the names of three. Accordingly, it should be mentioned here that the whole country is waiting for the decision of the Speaker, Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Sagara Kariyawasam, Kabir Hashim, Nimal Siripala and the three representatives representing civil organizations.
Postpone the election?
Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakse, who presented a cabinet paper to the cabinet meeting held a week ago, had suggested in his cabinet paper that the election system should be changed. According to the cabinet paper, the President has appointed a committee headed by former Chief Justice Priyasad Dep to formulate proposals for changing the election system. The other members of the committee were Sundaram Arumenayagam, Senanayake Alisanderalage, Ahmed Lebbe Mohamed Saleem, Sagarika Delgoda, Nimalka Fernando and Deepani Samantha Rodrigo.
However, right from the beginning, SJB leader, as well as opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa and JVP leader Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said that the Justice Minister and the government are bringing this electoral system change bill out of fear of holding elections and wanting to postpone elections. When Sajith continued to accuse the government in this regard in the Parliament, Prime Minister Dinesh replied that the government was doing this in good faith. In reply, Sajith reiterated that if it is done in good faith, arrangements should be made to hold the local government elections as scheduled. However, joining the conversation, Vijayadasa said that since the relevant committee was meeting, he should join it and give suggestions.
Accordingly, a special discussion was held within the society regarding whether to participate in the relevant committee or not. Everyone pointed out that SJB should boycott this committee. The JVP had already decided to boycott the committee making recommendations to change the electoral system. Accordingly, in the end, although SJB and JVP did not go before the committee, it was noted that Mano Ganesan and Palani Digambaram representing minor parties of the opposition decided to go before it. But they did not go to the committee to make proposals but to protest against it. Accordingly, it was seen how those who went before the committee expressed their opposition to these tricks used by the government to postpone the elections.
The government is shattered
Even though it was established with two-thirds power, the government is now disjointed. Also, although there is a majority of 118 Pohottu MPs in the government, they do not speak with one voice. There are different opinions about the work of the government among the MPs in Pohottuwa. There is no form of unity to be seen. This was also seen in the meeting of the ruling party MPs held last Monday. Since President Ranil Wickremesinghe was on a visit to China, this time the group of MPs met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. When the meeting started at 9 a.m., only 4 members of the 118-member Pohottu group were present.
However, around 9.30, around 40 members joined the ruling party group meeting which started with the four members. After the arrival of the MPs, discussions also arose about the income generation program proposed by the International Monetary Fund. There, the Minister of State for Finance Mr. Ranjith Siambalapitiya took steps to comment on the deficiencies in tax collection to the MPs. But Chamara Sampath Dasanayake, the state minister spoke in protest. He pointed out that due to the increase in taxes, the consumption of alcohol has decreased, thereby the state’s income.
Chamara for liquors
‘Oh, this minister, you only know numbers. You have increased the price of alcohol to increase revenue. Now people can’t drink. People in our areas drink Kasippu. So, on the one hand, the government has no income. On the other hand, people get sick and die. IMF I don’t know about this Kasippu. You tell IMF about Kasippu. If you can’t I tell them. I don’t know English So give me a translator. White people don’t know what’s going on here. I will go and make them understand this…’ When Chamara said, Pohottu MPs were seen holding their stomachs and laughing. However, Chamara did not stop there and spoke about this in Parliament and said that it costs 1,200 rupees to produce a bottle of alcohol, and currently its price in the market is 3,200 rupees.
There are no speakers
In addition to this, another wonderful event was witnessed in Parliament last week. It was due to the 100th anniversary of the Public Accounts Committee, an ancient committee of the Parliament. Based on this being a historic moment in the history of the Parliament, it was decided in the ruling party meeting to hold a debate on the adjournment of the Parliament. The group of councillors also decided to give the opportunity to several ministers of Pohottuwa to speak there.
But when the debate started, it was noted that the ministers or government, members who were proposed to speak were not present in the House. Also, due to the lack of a number of MPs from the opposition side, it was seen that the work of the parliament was completed without holding the adjournment debate at 4.30 p.m. as usual.
A story about Fonseka
Recently, Samagi Jana Balavega President Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka gave interviews to several social media channels and announced that he is ready to contest the upcoming presidential election. Also, on several occasions, Fonseka had taken steps to criticize SJB leader Sajith Premadasa and the program of SJB. Due to Fonseka’s statements being against the policies and decisions of the party, various objections were raised in this regard among the MPs, but as a party, there was no discussion or any action taken against it at any time. But by last week, this situation had taken a different shape, and in the SJB Management Committee meeting, it was seen that there was a long discussion regarding certain statements made by Fonseka to the media.
At the beginning of this management committee meeting held on Monday, Sajith was not seen to have participated in it. Sajith had informed the party seniors that due to essential work, there may be some delay when he attends, and therefore to start discussing the agenda of the next parliamentary week in the meeting. Accordingly, the discussions started without Sajith, and at the very beginning, many MPs talked about Fonseka’s statements and informed that any action should be taken against them and that the assembly organizers and party members would question them about this in the villages.
Fonseka is the president of our party. So if the chairman of the party goes outside the party’s decisions and talks, how can we do politics in the villages? As a party, we took a decision in the working committee that Sajith Premadasa Nayakuma will run as the party leader for the presidential election. But Mr. Fonseka goes and gives interviews on YouTube saying that he is running for the presidential election. When we go to the villages, the seat organizers question us about these. Party members ask us about this. They ask whether any action will be taken against this. So what do we tell them? How do we do politics in the villages? Action should be taken immediately on this…’ while one Sahab MP said, another senior MP said that Mr. Fonseka has not acted as the chairman of a party.
This MP’s story is definitely true. He is the president of our party. When you become a president of a party, you have to behave in a certain way. Now some media are saying that he went and met Dilith Jayaweera, the owner of the Derana channel who helped bring Gota to power, to talk about this. Then in another place, it is said that he speaks well of Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe. Can’t do this. When the senior MP said that a party should have some discipline, all those representing the management committee could be seen expressing their opinions in favour of it.
Opposition Leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa joined the management meeting in the background where MPs were speaking in this manner presenting various allegations about Fonseka. There the MPs took steps to inform Sajith about this. Accordingly, in the end, the management committee decided that a group of party seniors would meet Fonseka personally in the first round to discuss the situation. It was decided to discuss the situation and take further action based on the responses received.
The topic regarding Fonseka ended there, and then the party’s future course of action was discussed. As the next year is an election year and the budget is to be presented to the Parliament next month, it was seen that the decisions to be made as a party were discussed there. Also, the MPs had taken steps to comment on the government’s strategy to postpone the presidential election and even the general election.
Accordingly, it was finally decided to hold a series of meetings and political rallies at the constituency level and district level till the date of elections. It was also decided to finish the work of Samagi Jana Sandanha, which is to be built with SJB as the main focus. Apart from this, opinions were expressed about several districts where the series of political meetings should be restarted, but the final decision was postponed to a future date. However, a final decision was taken to start this series of meetings before presenting the budget.
Got the money
These days there are two main topics that are being discussed on the political stage as well as in Parliament. One of them is the date on which the delayed second instalment of the loan given to Sri Lanka by the International Monetary Fund will be returned. The other topic is about the gift bag brought to Sri Lanka by the President who is on a visit to China these days.
Talking about the second tranche of the International Monetary Fund, the government is optimistic that it can be included in the staff agreement within the next few days. State Ministers of Finance Mr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Mr. Shehan Semasinghe had mentioned on several occasions that they can expect a good response from the Financial Fund within the next few days.
However, all this is still under discussion. Very little has been fulfilled from the conditions given by the IMF by the government. Verity Research, which has been paying attention to the progress of fulfilling the conditions of the financial fund since its inception, points out that its percentage was at a very low level of 27 per cent last September.
On the other hand, the restructuring of foreign debt was presented as a major condition in granting loans by the financial fund. But still the government has not been able to reach a final agreement with the main creditors China, India, Japan, the Paris Club, the Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Earlier, we reported through the ‘Inside politics’ column that the President had met Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF, during her visit to the United States and requested her to intervene to get the position of the debt restructuring program of the Paris Community before her visit to China. We had reported. There she accepted the request saying ‘yes’ but nothing was done beyond that, and then we reported through this channel. Accordingly, the President had to join the China visit empty-handed without the debt restructuring program of the Paris Club.
Last week, we recorded another special decision regarding the Financial Fund through this column. It is about an incident that happened while participating in the annual session of the IMF and the World Bank held in Morocco. There we reported how China was playing a game and announced that it agreed to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring program, and Mr. Peter Brewer, who was the head of operations in Sri Lanka of the Monetary Fund, made an announcement about that and said that no one had informed him about it. Accordingly, we also pointed out how there is some disagreement between China and the IMF regarding Sri Lanka.
In this background, everyone’s attention was focused on the President’s visit to China. Many people thought that during this trip, China would give the government a large amount of money in the form of loans and aid. He also said that Sri Lanka will get a big relief from China in the debt restructuring program. But as far as we can tell, and the information we’re getting from China, China has yet to give any kind of word.
We reported this in this column about a month ago. From time to time, we highlighted that according to the information we receive from China, we will not get any tangible relief from China this time. In particular, we had reported that China has given a grace period of up to two years to Sri Lanka since the last Corona period, and that period will end on April 24, until then, China will not make decisions regarding Sri Lanka’s debt situation or granting new loans. Accordingly, we reported early that the government will not receive the large amount of money expected during this visit to China.
Crisis on board
On the other hand, the Chinese authorities were somewhat displeased with the request to postpone the voyage of the Chinese research ship Yuan Wang 6, which was initially allowed to come to Sri Lanka, and then due to external protests requested to postpone. This ship was supposed to enter Sri Lanka on October 28. Initially, some institutions in Sri Lanka had given approval for it, but later the government requested to postpone the ship’s journey to Sri Lanka until November.
It was not difficult for the Chinese authorities to understand that the underlying purpose was to delay the ship’s journey due to rough seas during that period. Chinese authorities were somewhat displeased with these developments. Accordingly, we said that we will not get the kind of big relief that the government is thinking about during the trip to China, the possibility of entering into huge agreements is very minimal, and only small-scale help will be received.
There is no relief for those ‘on the fence’
According to the information we have, it is said that China has taken steps to provide massive aid to the fraudsters who stood together with China at the China conference named ‘One Belt – One Road’, which the President was a partner of this year. Debt reduction has been done on a large scale. They have taken steps to divide the countries that were not standing straight like that and were in a position of not being there or not being here. At the time of writing this information, although the President had arranged to meet the Chinese Finance Minister, the Chinese Vice President and high-ranking representatives of China, it was not yet reported that a large amount of aid to Sri Lanka had been approved.
A call to Sajith
While the situation was like this, a senior member of Samagi Jana Balavega received a special phone call from a representative of the International Monetary Fund last week. It is none other than Dr. Harsha de Silva, who is a keynote speaker on the economy of SJB. Harsha was contacted by the financial fund and informed that its leaders wanted to speak with the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa. Accordingly, Harsha immediately informed Sajith about this and prepared a discussion between Sajith and the heads of the financial fund. The heads of the financial fund had asked Sajith about the appointment of members of the Bribery and Corruption Investigation Commission and the transparency of its activities.
Meanwhile, by Thursday evening, the International Monetary Fund’s country team had decided to reach a staff agreement regarding the second instalment. Even if a staff agreement is reached, in order to give the second instalment to Sri Lanka, the proposal must be approved by the Management Committee and the Executive Council of the International Monetary Fund.