US Congressman David Price said ‘we drafted a Constitution for Sri Lanka’ – Keheliya Rambukwella
(Courtesy of Ceylon Today)
By Prageeth Sampath
United People’s Freedom Alliance, Kandy District, Member of Parliament Keheliya Rambukwella said that the masses are displeased with this Government that is already very unpopular, and that ‘such a government will fall soon’.
Excerpts of the interview:
? How are you these days? When are you joining the Government?
A: What nonsense, I will not join the Government.
? There are rumours that you will be joining the Government?
A: This story has been doing the rounds for the last two years.
? Is it true?
A: No. I will remain with Mahinda Rajapaksa and do politics.
? You said the same thing, when you were in the UNP and then joined the Alliance Government?
A: No. No. I informed them, it was only me who informed the Party and joined the Alliance.
? At the time you told the media that you will not crossover, however, you did the opposite?
A: I called Ranil Wickremesinghe and told him I was leaving. Then a group including Gamini Jayawickrema Perera came to my home and told me not to make that decision. It is a lie that I left without informing.
? The JO is trying various ploys to topple the Government and what is the latest tactic?
A: There is no need to engage in any new tactics. This Government is already unpopular with the people and will collapse soon.
? While the JO is dreaming, the Government on the other hand is getting stronger?
A: These people are violating every Parliamentary tradition one by one, even changing Supreme Court verdicts on Bills and Acts.
This has become a trend now. When you consider this as a whole or as a problem, these people talk about democracy and a Lichchavi system of governance, it appears to be a huge fraud.
? Any political party will violate policies in order to be in power. During your time in power, too, laws and acts were modifiedin one day?
A: The problem here is not whether the Party colours, blue, green or red is seen or not, but when demarcating powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, making Parliament lead and in so doing contravening the Constitution.
? You directly accuse the Prime Minister?
A: Very clearly!
? With each Party trying to achieve their own agendas, finally will there be a country left for the people?
A: There have been countries like this all over the world where there were Governments opposed to democracy. What happened finally to the leaders of those countries, what happened to those countries? We all have experiences on this political journey. This Government is trying to hide behind the democracy sign post and go on a different journey.
? Are you saying the elections being postponed is also one of those?
A: Yes. This is the very first time the LG elections have been postponed. It is two and a half years, five months and 15 days, since the LG elections were postponed. They give baseless excuses and keep postponing the elections. This clearly shows the fear of going before the people. Two Provincial Councils completed their tenure on 24 September, at midnight. Then what will these people do?
? The 20A was adopted as they wanted to hold the elections on the same day. Is it not better to hold the elections on the same day?
A: It is good and it is the right of the people. It is Article three of the Constitution, which states the right to appoint one’s leader or leaders? These people are coming round to that – to fold up that right. They are attempting to fold up the elections chart. That is what good governance is trying to do, step by step. Does the Government remember only now, that the Provincial Council elections have to be held? It is two and a half years since this Government came into power. They kept saying the Preferential Votes system is not suitable for this era, while saying this and knowing that Provincial Councils will be dissolved in the near future they went to Court. As there was no response to that, the Government took another course of action.
? Is the 20A being adopted disadvantageous to the JO?
A: There is no disadvantage to the JO. Under cover of 20A, the Government is getting rid of the right to vote of the people.
? Why is the Government doing that?
A: Fear of the JO coming to power.
? 20A was passed. Now will things happen in accordance?
A: Even though 20A was adopted, there is a condition in it that requires a referendum be held. In the month of June they brought in an Act to increase women’s representation. What these people want is to somehow take over the administration of the Provincial Councils.
? As the election will be held in January how can what you say happen?
A: We can see to that in the future. Even Amaraweera said there will be enough and more elections in the month of December and January. But we can see this is to mislead the country. Had they done the proper thing without talking nonsense for two and half years, it would be complete.
? You said that our Constitution is being prepared according to how America wants. You say this with experience, actually what happened?
A: I attended an American Congress meeting. There is a representative who inquires into Sri Lankan Affairs. He is David Price. We held several meetings with all of them. Even the UNP can vouch for that. However, David Price did not know which side I was representing. These people continued with discussions. “Sri Lanka is now taking on responsibility. It is good to some extent. We have now presented them with a Constitution. Almost everyone is in agreement with that Constitution. We will be able to implement it in the near future. There is only one problem, the former President and his gang are opposed to it. Everyone else is in agreement.” This just shows where these people are heading.
? Why did you not state your objections to that?
A: I not only expressed objection, I explained to them and also said that I was also a member of that gang that they were speaking about. According to them we had not done anything for the Tamil people. I explained all what we had done for the Tamil people.
? What proposals had they included in the Constitution?
A: The Constitution has been drafted. The unitary status of the country is being abolished through this Constitution. It will happen either by word or action. Buddhism will lose its priority status. North and East merger will again take place. These are what these people promised. At the same time, the Secretary of State at that time, John Kerry, said that they were shareholders in the defeat of the Rajapaksa Government. That is why we are telling the people of this country, that this is not a journey of green, red or blue flags but a journey with the National Flag.
? Is this your new political rhetoric?
A: No. What we are asking the people of this country is only one thing. We need a country to live in. If the ‘pot and lamp’ game (referendum) comes, defeat this wretched draft. If not as a country we will be defeated.
? Are you a member of the SLFP?
? The President is from your Party. Will he allow this?
A: We have discussions from time to time. At times, the President has listened to us. Sometimes he pretends that he is listening. He declares in public that he will not let it happen but we say that it will happen.
? Only the proposals to the new Constitution were presented to the Chief Prelates. It was not a Draft Constitution or was it?
A: This Government is cheating the Maha Sangha. Intelligent, cultured Chief Prelates are against this Constitution.
? There are accusations that you all are deceiving the Sangha taking them on ’Pindapatha’ and deceiving them?
A: No. Every monk who went on ‘Pindapatha’ knows what happened there. That is why the Maha Sangha took to the streets.
? What you did was in contempt of the Court verdict?
A: It is not the final Court. There are two higher Courts. If we have that right, is there any fault in saying that? What is the fault in standing up on behalf of that? It was at the time of the verdict that we decided to Appeal.
? Don’t you also have a case in Court?
? If there is a sudden election what would you do?
A: We can see to that at that time. The reason is with the ‘hoppers agenda’, politics also changed. President Maithripala came out and became the Common Candidate in 45 days. That is a lesson learned from politics. So we will see to it at the proper time.
? Will others leave the Government and join you?
A: There is a big crowd; the reason is the actions of this Government are different. This Government chastised the Sangha. They got rid of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. They use Ranjan to attack the Sangha. What will happen is that finally we will not have a country.