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I was astonished recently to find a strong conviction in Colombo that General Sarath Fonseka’s Presidential candidacy had been encouraged, or even initiated, by foreign forces. But perhaps my surprise was misplaced. Apart from a general tendency to see foreign interference everywhere, we have to remember the built in need of his principal supporters to convince their basic vote bank to go along with the current stratagem.
To put it more simply, many diehard UNP supporters are flummoxed at the decision to field a candidate who was assiduously mocked by their more Westernized leadership in the previous three years. Some still hope that this is a brilliant stratagem of their leader to engineer a three cornered contest, but others will not even consider the possibility that this is an even more brilliant stratagem to preserve for himself the party leadership. So as to suspend their disbelief therefore, it is necessary for those pushing the General’s candidacy to suggest that the plan was prepared in those unnamed Western capitals that inspire devotion in certain Colombo hearts and minds.
It was vastly entertaining to read on March 14th an article by former Chief Justice Sarath Silva which claimed to provide ‘A Legal Perspective’ on the Arrest and Detention of General Sarath Fonseka. It concludes with a masterly peroration that is symptomatic of the brilliant but it seems deeply flawed mind which dominated our legal system for so long.
The first sentence of that last paragraph characterizes General Fonseka as ‘a candidate nominated for the Parliamentary Elections’. The implication is that this is somehow relevant to the legal action taken against him, whereas surely a former Chief Justice must be aware that contesting elections should not be a shield against justice.