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More Questions than Answers

Sarath Fonseka was finally freed on Monday, scenes of celebrations were seen as supporters of the Former Army Commander surrounded Nawaloka, Welikada Prison and the High Court. However, his release has now left more questions than answers available.

The two biggest questions that is on most people’s minds is why did Mahinda Rajapaksa suddenly agree to release Fonseka, after stalling for several months, and why did Fonseka agree to what is now clearly a conditional release?

In a previous blog I touched on the potential reasons behind the release of Fonseka (refer to https://din88.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/who-is-calling-the-shots-in-sri-lanka/). I am still going to stick by my original theory that the US has a fair share of responsibility regarding the release of Fonseka, but even so there must be other reasons behind the President’s sudden change of heart.

Rumors have emerged that the President’s decision was based on the advice given to him by his personal astrologer, those who have followed the gossip surrounding the first family will know this is not the first time such a story has emerged. Another potential theory is that the government did this simply to buy the support of the people (refer to https://din88.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/buying-support/).

Of course that second theory seems to hold up, the attention of the media has been solely on the release of Fonseka and what his immediate plans are. Political parties have taken to inviting him to join them, and only Harsha de Silva (UNP MP) has chosen to keep the attention on the government and take them up on the alleged mismanagement of the EPF funds. The people have forgotten, at least temporarily, the rising cost of living and are focusing on the release of “the General”.

Government Ministers have spun the release to lay credit at the feet of the President, Wimal Weerawansa told media on Monday that it was out of the goodness of the President’s heart that he released Fonseka. He went even further to say that because of Mahinda Rajapaksa pursuing the war despite international criticism Fonseka was given the opportunity to end it. A lightly disguised ploy of laying the credit of ending the war at the feet of the President. Weerawansa’s comments are indication of the government’s plan of winning over support with what they claims is a gesture of forgiveness and goodwill.

With all these theories, however, there is no clear answer on why Fonseka has been released. In fact the international community has been surprisingly silent on the issue, foreign media had a field day but the diplomatic circles have chosen to remain mum. The US, who followed his case closely and campaigned for his release,have not indicated in any way their feelings for this turn of events.

While that question remains unanswered another has emerged with the apparent news that Fonseka’s release was indeed conditional. Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has explained to The Island that Fonseka has lost his civic rights for seven years (refer to http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=52557).

So why did the man, who had early refused to seek a Presidential pardon, agree to this which has conditions. Fonseka will be unable to exercise his right to vote or contest an election. In fact on the surface it would seem his personal political career has come to an end. But then again the UNP has made it clear they want the man to join them. Do they see him as having a role to play as an iconic figure? The nationalist vote could be divided now that Fonseka is out, of course his inability to contest an election will play a out against him.

With the UNP now canvassing to have his civic rights returned, perhaps the question of why Fonseka was released will be answered. Certainly if international pressure was applied, further pressure could be exerted to ensure that his civic rights are returned. If the ploy was to win over support, then perhaps Mahinda Rajapaksa will choose to delay his decision.

Either way, it looks like another spanner has been thrown in the works for a society which is trying to make heads or tails of a political system which makes no sense.

  1. DD
    May 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    leave the bugger be in peace and quiet

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