Give responsibility to the upcoming youth with talent and good character – Sarath Fonseka | Sunday Observer

Give responsibility to the upcoming youth with talent and good character – Sarath Fonseka

Why did the UNP lose? We lost at the last Presidential election becuase we had not served our country, our people, our electorates, as we should, in providing education; finding schools; and education facilities to our children with all our strength. We did not serve our country; our electorates, with a very strong backbone and dedication. Hence, the country and people rejected us.

We did not care to listen to the problems, the woes of our party supporters. We did not bother; we did not show any interest in providing jobs to our party supporters, except for just a handful of Ministers who tried their best to give employment. But the majority of Ministers and MPs felt frustrated and strongly dejected. We lost because we were not in a position to help children find suitable schools for their education.

I do not feel ashamed to say this in public. Not once, but several times I pleaded with our UNP leader. I asked him to help the Gampaha district. It is a district with a massive vote-base. A district with well over 1.8 million vote strength. The vote base of the Gampaha district has great value. Hence I said; let us focus our attention and work for this district. He did not do five cents worth work for this district. But that leader allocated Rs.850 million for Deegawapiya. But not even five cents allocated to other Buddhist temples.

Why such a large amount of money; Rs. 850 million allocated to Deegawapiya? Is it to feed the monkeys roaming about? It would have been sufficient if he had allocated Rs.250 million if he was so keen to develop Deegawapiya. He would have put to use, the allocated money to develop and assist the most deserving 600 other temples in the country.

Our leader allocated Rs.6,300 million to develop the North and Eastern Provinces. Such a large amount of money, 63 billion rupees, imagine, can one put all that money to use just within one year?

If one knows what is real management, if one is as brilliant as one claims then one should have understood it all. One must be very practical. The allocated money was returned to the Treasury unused.

We told our leader that we were not keen, we did not fall in line with the much advertised and heavily campaigned Gamperaliya project, to implement the development plan in our districts. It is a useless project, a useless exercise. In our areas just to clean grassy land, we are compelled to spend a colossal sum of money. We cannot clean up our land areas merely by cutting off grass spending just Rs.1 million.

The Provincial Development Ministry under my care had to spend, to the tune of Rs.30 million, Rs.16 million and Rs.17 million to cut grass in three grounds. The leader did not work fully understanding them. He did not bother to understand them either.

One can boast saying we have allocated funds for development; money allocated for this project ….. for that project. But one must be sensible; one must understand and one must be fully aware where do the people stand? Where lay the valuable vote for the Party. Can an electorate such as Kolonnawa implement the Gamperaliya concept; its aspired objectives following attached guidelines? Would it be able to fulfill its objectives? If money is used in the most deserving areas, we could have more votes.

Although our leader did not allocate a cent to our deserving districts, he spent lavishly to satisfy Hitan; to the district, he represented: the Polonnaruwa district, on an yearly basis with Rs.16 million, 13 million and 12 million during the past three years. And the UNP got washed off, in the strict sense of the word at the last Presidential Election.

Our Leader spent a period of madusamaya - honey-moon with Hitan; going behind Hitan, our leader wanted to gain the victory ; to cross the lubricant. And what happened? A very pathetic, and sordid experience; it gained; a shameful defeat. The UNP completely lost its ground; a radical loss. It was a sort of eradication of the very roots; The Political Party millions of people loved in their lifetime. The UNP lost; a very humiliating defeat, a party never dreamt to suffer – it fits very well the Sinhala colloquial saying in reference to such a horrible defeat, the UNP suffered: “Kam-bas-vunaa”. We must very well understand the pit-poll the UNP is in… and we should never/ever leave room to repeat such a foolhardy mistake. Never-ever again. But this we can hardly expect from a bourgeoisie leader who is very unconcerned about the wellbeing of the people supporting him at grass-root level including his own close associates, yet outside of the ring. Hence, we come with a new leader and he must learn the bitter lessons dearly, otherwise his fate will also be the same.

One of the heinous crimes the UNP committed; the Treasury Bond Scam scandal. We lost our prestigious position for eternity; ‘ Naththatama nathivela giyaa’. The Camps opposed to us manipulated very well I and in such a startling way cutting the grass from under our own feet. We experienced a very humiliating defeat for an inexperienced person, a newcomer who played his game very successfully, in the political arena.

“We did steal and that is a fact we must admit Pointing our finger at others for committing the same crime; would not remove/ pardon our fault. True, even if others may have stolen vast amounts, that does not mean, our stealing is forgiven and taken for granted, so to say. Or shouting from rooftops saying that others also have stolen tenfold, hundredfold, does not mean, our stealing, goes under a cloak, hiding from the public eye; lessen the gravity of our fault. We must accept our guilt.

You now intend leading us as our Leader, Samagi Jana Balavegaya our humble yet very strong request to you is to drop everyone come under the label Hora, stealer of public money in one way or the other. Do not take those who have tarnished their names.; do not allow them to step into the fold; do not entertain them even for a moment. Do not take them to this fold. We have nothing to do with them. If you do not listen to us, your end will be very much similar to the leader of the Party we have given up.

Dear Leader, make that promise and resolve strongly never to move forward with rogues hand in glove; a disgraceful act if one does; an honest grouping; a sound political party never ever can imagine such a scenario even in a dream, for that matter. Be prepared to go forward with clean-hands - to the winning post with honour; without a single rogue! We cannot go once again on a safe journey surrounded by thieves- rogues. If we fail, our fate would be worse.

Then some of our colleagues in the Party we have lost touch with by now destroyed the face of the Party we cherished very much and the Party very dear and near to us, when they went around the country damaging the image and wellbeing of the Party which has done so much; with the statement: “Sri Lanka is not a Sinhala- Buddhist Country.” We have no journey with such people.

We must always remember that our country is a Sinhala Buddhist country. I recall the statement made by the top brass of the Muslim League or the Alliance before leaving the shores of Sri Lanka said in a clear – loud voice: “Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist Country.” There were our Party Ministers. But they seem to have not understood the deeper meaning of that bold statement, although some claim to be in active politics for more than four decades!

Definitely, we respect all religions practised in this country. We respect all ethnic groups living here as our countrymen. The political leadership in this land of ours must be conscious of the fact that this is a Buddhist country. Without showing true closeness; loving care; without adhering and living in a culture based on Buddhist teaching and its philosophy and acting in a careless way and showing no respect and forget prime importance to the Buddhist way of life, the fate of such politics and politicians are doomed. Such politicians will be wiped out from Sri Lankan soil, for good! Athugewilama yanvaa aka sahathikai!

Hence, it is very important to keep this in mind. We should cultivate and show much closeness and love for the nation. The political face of our Party has to change drastically.

We must get rid of those who are dealing with the Rajapaksas and those who go on honeymoons with them, should be removed from this Party.

Those who deal with Rajapaksas when they steal have no action taken against them, but when others do, they punish. Our stealing may be very small, we get hammered but nothing is done whatever the amount stolen if they are dealing with the Rajapaksas. While in power we did not punish the Rajapaksas. instead we protected them. Those taken into custody were to be Rajapaksa loyalists they get released even at midnight. But those opposed to them have to get into the dog-cage in chains I was imprisoned for two years.


From a speech by Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka