Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Parliamentarian Tiran Alles says he has offered his Parliamentary seat to the wife of General Sarath Fonseka.
Claiming that neither the DNA nor the people in this country accept the sentence and stripping the General of his seat, Alles stresses that a court martial sentence should not affect a Member of Parliament. Emphasising that the General is the only hope for this country and the only challenge to the present Government, the businessman turned politician asserts that his party will free the General with the support of the people. Following are excerpts:
Q: What do you think about the present political situation in the country?
A: The main point right now is the problem with General Fonseka’s sentence. All parties and civil society should join hands to fight this out and make sure that justice is done in his case. For that reason, Anoma Fonseka has formed this front, the People’s Movement for Democracy, and under this banner we have invited everyone to join us in this fight to free him.
Q: What do you have to say about General Fonseka being stripped of his MP post?
A: I think that is completely wrong. The simple reason is, from the very beginning our position and that of our lawyers clearly stated that a sentence given by a court martial cannot be effective to strip a Member of Parliament from his seat. The Constitution also says that the division should be made by a court. I am sure everyone will understand that a court martial cannot be compared to a court; the reason is that the people in a panel in a court martial don’t know anything about the law. They are three military officers sentencing a person; I don’t think that kind of sentence should affect an MP.
Q: As the DNA, what would be your next step?
A: We will do everything possible to prevent them taking away his seat. Our lawyers will be going to the Appeal Court and Supreme Court against this decision. Our position is that the Secretary General of Parliament should not have informed the Elections Commission on the decision of the court martial.
Q: The DNA as a party does not have a strong base. So how can you fight the Government?
A: Who says that? I don’t think the people say that. If you take all the demonstrations we have had, we have proved that all the people are rallying around the DNA. Our popularity has increased. It is no secret that General Fonseka was the only person who could have challenged the present regime. He is the only hope of people. This is why our base is getting stronger and more popular. I do not agree with the allegation that our party is weak or that it does not have a strong base.
Q: Will you apologise on behalf of General Fonseka?
A: Why should we apologise? We have clearly said that we will not apologise. The General has not done any wrong. So there isn’t a need to apologise. And I don’t think anybody should write letters or make requests on behalf of General Fonseka. If it’s in the hands of the President to pardon General Fonseka, let the President make that decision. Nobody should do it on behalf of the General, because he has not done any wrong.
Q: Can you or will you convince the General to apologise, as it seems to be the only way out of this matter?
A: It will be the decision of the General. We will work according to what he says. Like I said before, he has not done any wrong, so there is no need to apologise.
Q: Even if he gets a pardon from the present sentence, will the General be able to face the other allegations such as the white flag incident, the High Corp deal and the issue of Army deserters?
A: Our lawyers have proved that these allegations are baseless. People don’t believe in these accusations anymore, because they know that these were spread to tarnish the image of General Fonseka. These allegations were made because the General was popular and was the only person who could have challenged the present Government. Neither the General nor the DNA is threatened by these false allegations. So there is no issue of how he is going to face them.
Q: Will you bring Anoma Fonseka to Parliament? How will you do that?
A: We cannot just bring Anoma Fonseka to Parliament. If she is to come, she has to come through the National List. In fact, I have been telling General Fonseka and Anoma Fonseka that I am willing to resign and offer that vacancy to her. But both the General and his wife insist that it should not be done.
On the other hand, we do not accept the fact that the General has been removed from his Parliamentary seat. We will be rallying around the people against this injustice. That is our main task. We will continue to fight against the injustice taking place against General Fonseka. We will go to courts against the sentence.
Q: The General has been stripped of his MP post, he cannot contest for another seven years and he does not have a pension. How will you compensate this situation?
A: All the people in this country should realise that what the General had to go through just because he was popular and was a challenge to some people cannot be compensated by any means. But this I have to say; that we have people contacting us who are volunteering to forego their pension and offer it to the General. Recently at a ceremony we had 12 to 15 people urging us to offer their pension to General Fonseka. This is the reaction of the people. This is why I say the General is still popular among the people in this country.
On the other hand we don’t accept these sentences or allegations. We will continue to fight against these issues. We will go the courts and try every possible way to bring justice to General Fonseka.
Q: It is said that whoever criticises the present Government is weakened, divided or taken over to their side. The DNA was the prime victim of such situation. Your comments?
A: As everyone can clearly see, it is a sad situation. But my belief is that if the people in this country get together and rally to fight corruption and misconduct taking place in this country, it is more than sufficient for hope for a better future for this country. People will also have to realise this is not something that matters only in the case of an individual; this is a situation where every single person in this country is affected. It is not a fight for an individual but for the future of our country.
Q: Do you think Anoma Fonseka can replace the General? Will she receive the same recognition?
A: Anoma Fonseka is very, very popular among the people in this country. People love her as much as they love General Fonseka. The Fonseka family is admired by the people. This is why the Government has started to attack her. They are trying to do the same to Anoma Fonseka simply because she is popular and the people like her.
On the other hand, we have still not decided whether we should replace General Fonseka, because we believe that he will be freed. We believe we can get him out. We will free him. We will do that!