Reliability and secret agreements
The New Democratic Party
candidate and the leaders of political parties, groups and
individuals supporting him are going all out these days to say
that there is no agreement between them. Fonseka says he was
invited to contest the Presidential poll. He does not divulge,
however, when it was done and who invited him first.
The JVP is on record as saying that they were the first to
pick Fonseka. The UNP, on the other hand says the decision to
field one candidate against the incumbent President was taken a
year before the proclamation of the Presidential Election. The
contestant says it did not take much time, just four hours or so
for them to agree.
Let us analyze all these sayings and see what they amount to.
Given the benefit of doubt to them let us presume that all of
them agreed to field the retired General without any conditions
what so ever. That means there is no agreement, written or
verbal. It implies that the contender has managed to get the
support of all these parties and individuals by giving his word
of honour. How much that word of honour is worth is another
point, however relevant it may be.
Would experienced political parties like the UNP and the JVP
agree for anything without a minimum agreement? It would be
naive to conclude so. It would also be unfair by the leaders of
both parties to say that they have mortgaged their parties to a
complete stranger to politics.
Some time ago, there was talk about a common minimum program
to be agreed upon the parties that support Fonseka. Now no word
is expressed about it. It is normal for political parties to
arrive at such common minimum programs when entering into
electoral alliances. Why has this practice been ignored? Either
they cannot agree on anything or the contender would not like to
be bound by any such conditions.
Looking back on the history of the UNP and the JVP we could
see that this was not their behaviour on earlier occasions. The
UNP and the PA had a series of discussions during the time of
the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga presidency in the early
years of this century.
They even went as far as to propose the formation of a
national government. The talks went on and on but failed at
last. The party was not giving in. Today, it has given in like a
meek lamb before a wolf. The JVP, likewise wrangled over for
several weeks before agreeing to the formation of the parivaasa
anduwa. They are not the type to give in.
There are only two possibilities here. Either all of them
have lost their senses and propriety of their parties or they
have come into a secret agreement. The greater probability is
that the latter possibility may be true.
There is nothing politically or ethically wrong for political
parties, individuals and groups to arrive at common programs,
temporary or otherwise. Therefore, there could be nothing
secret. Political deals for coming into power too should be
transparent and open just as deals made by political parties or
governments in power.
If these politicians start their election campaign in a
non-transparent way what transparency could anyone expect in the
event of them coming to power?
To make matters worse the TNA has also expressed their
solidarity to Fonseka. Have they also done so without any
agreement or understanding? Were they also so naive to trust a
former Army Commander who had openly proclaimed his racist
intentions? At the rate he has retracted his earlier sayings
could anyone trust what he says now? It is almost impossible to
believe that the TNA would fall for the word of honour of such a
In such a context how reliable is the promise of his reliable
Even the so-called manifesto of Fonseka is presented as an
individual essay. The UNP and JVP among others have not owned
it. Either they could not agree or they agreed but want to keep
it a secret. Secret from whom?