Ranil: Blowing Hot and  Cold

Ranil Wickremasinghe

73 year old Ranil Wickremasinghe after serving as a prime minister for five years achieved his ambition of becoming the President of Sri Lanka on 21 of July  2022 as an appointed member of parliament not elected by the people in an election but through the national list thanks to he people’s uprising  and fleeing of Gotabayas;’family on 9th of July in 2022,The Presidentship to Ranil was like a fruit slipping and falling into a pot of milk as a Tamil proverb says.

He also created a rare precedent to become the President without his party or peoples’ mandate even after being defeated in the elections. The electoral system of national list provided the golden opening for him to be sworn as a member of Parliament enabling him to achieve his lifetime ambition to claim the coveted Presidential chair of Sri Lanka. The peoples’ fury and uprising [Aragsaaya] resurrected Ranil with the blessings of Rajapakshas. Obviously Gotabayas’ family crowned Ranil as the President, levying  a heavy price for him which has to be paid by him sooner or later. Firstly it could be Gotabayas’ alleged commissions of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. which are hanging as a sword of damocles over his head would not be pursued. Secondly the mounting pressure and hold of,Human Rights Council and United Nations on them as alleged war criminals There could be a deal. bettween Ranil and Gota to shield Gota from any prosecution in Sri Lanka and elsewhere while Ranil holds the reins of power.

Now Ranil has successfully secured the backing of Podhu Jana Peremuna and SLFP headed by Maithiripala Sirisena he hopes to survive as president for, the next two years until the next elections in 2024.

As aptly commented by Rajeeva Wijeyasinghe a former MP and state minister of Higher Education who said “ Ranl has been desperate for the presidentship for centuries. He would do anything to get it to become a tool of the Rajapakshas through his own  manoeuvering.”

In his throne speech, he promised to form a National Assembly of all political leaders.He also said  that “It is essential to provide a political solution to the issues faced by the Tamil community for a long time as they are suffering with many social and economic issues due to hardships of war. He also pleaded “ Let us plant the seeds of truth and freedom”.

The President  has conspicuously and ominously omitted to mention the political hardships being suffered by the Tamil community since 1948 all of which are due to the short-sighted policies and actions of  Sri Lankan Governments ruling the country since 1948.

His call “To plant the seeds of truth and freedom is simply nothing but superficial and farcical as truth and freedom will not survive or take  a hold unless embedded in Tamils and until accountability and justice are dispensed to them with adequate reparations for the plethora of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan security forces and government officials during the genocidal killings which commenced from 1956.

It is simply alarming to note his “Inviting the people to put aside the past and come together”. His call is simply an endorsement and cover up of impunity discarding accountability and justice and offering impunity for the past offenders who allegedly committed war crimes etc. as comprehensively detailed and tabled in various UN High Commissioners and UN Special Rapporteurs Reports.

The President has also completely omitted to mention the importance and necessity to implement the UN and UNHRC Resolutions passed so far and ironically including the Resolution 30 of October 2015 co-sponsored by Ranil ostensibly to thwart the direct UN, UNHRC and International involvement and intervention in Sri Lanka.

It is history that all the UN and UNHRC Resolutions passed since 2012 are rested, ignored, discarded and are lying in cold storage. There is not an iota of doubt that Ranil or any other President will never or ever implement the Recommendations of all those Resolutions.

[1] In short he President has omitted and deliberately ignored to deal and solve  the ongoing accumulated grievances of Tamils and offer suitable remedies.

[2] The President has also failed to mention the proposed political proposals to deal with the ethnic problem but obviously employing his usual dilly-dallying tactics.

[3] He has ignored the basic human rights principles of accountability and justice which have to be delivered to the thousands of innocent victims of genocidal offenses allegedly committed by the security forces since 1948.

[4] He is also actively pursuing the genocidal tools of Sinhalization, Buddhisization and Militarization like the buildings of Buddhist Viharas and erection of Buddha statues like the current encroachment of Buddhist priests in Kuruntoor Malai and erection of Buddha statue and the construction of a Buddhist Vihara.defying the Court Order of anyone to construct any new buildings in this place.; Ranil’s promise to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and set up an internal independent investigative mechanism also remains forgotten while on the contrary the PTA is being vigorously enforced by the Ranil’s government.

{5] Ranil’s latest threatening statement to employ security forces to crush demonstrations and agitations to topple his government is a foreboding of a dictatorial rule and attitude taking shape while striking at the democratic ideals of freedom of assembly, speech and expression.

For a nation building as called by Ranil, it is a prerequisite to win the hearts and minds of all citizens particularly the victimized Tamils, but this appears to be a distant dream.

In the proposed all party talks to be held on 13th December 2022  as fixed by Ranil, TNA has stated that they will talk about a federal system of government which has already been rejected by Ranil during a telephonic discussion with Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.

In the meantime, Sampanthan in an interview with ‘Frontline’ commented  “We cannot go on like this. We are not prepared to trust the government anymore”.

Furthermore on November 30th 2022, Ranil as reported by Daily Mirror stated that he is ready to reintroduce District Development Councils in place of Provincial Councils. The idea of the District Development Council is nothing but a sinister ploy to get rid of Provincial Councils and snatch the limited powers of Provincial Councils controlled by the Tamil Councillors and Chief Ministers.

All in all Ranil’s move simply confirms his deceptive sincerity and lack of deep political commitment and dedication to solve the 60 years old ethnic problem and the grievances of Tamils. His focus on economic hardships and issues of North and East while avoiding the nagging deep seated political issues has amply demonstrated his eye washing of Tamils’ ‘problems and a whitewashing of past promises. However, it is still hoped that the proposed all party talks will yield constructive results unlike the earlier all party conferences in order to keep the unity and a united Sri Lanka.

Thambu Kanagasabai, LLM (Lond), Former Lecturer in Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka


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