The Leader of the 43 Brigade Champika Ranawaka has said he w is working optimistically with the President's position regarding bringing back the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, but wants suppression of activist to be stopped.
Mr Ranawaka met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday where he also said that there is a strong need to do away with the political party system and appoint professionals as Heads of State Institutions.
The MP said that a country cannot be developed by political reforms alone, and added that the contribution of professionals should be a key factor. He also said that in education reforms, syllabuses should be formulated by looking at the future world.
Hours prior to the meeting, the Parliamentarian answered questions on the current political situation and their future plans.
Q: Is there any comparison between the current and previous presidents’ use of presidential powers?
A: No, the previous president banned the use of chemical fertilizer, imprisoned political opponents, and used his powers to the maximum. It is a lie that he did not order to shoot protesters. People were shot at and injured. The previous president acted without compassion or sympathy.
However, the current president and his Police force must stop the repression of the people, otherwise they will not gain the public’s support. In the past it has been proven time and again that repressing the public does not work.
Q: It is said that a protest will be held on the 9th. Will you be planning something then?
A: We support any protest against the people’s repression. The president did not give a detailed view of an all-party government in his speech. It remains to be seen how this will work in practice.
Q: Does that mean you will be taking a position in the all-party government?
A: It remains to be seen how it will work in practice. We will not work with the same people who put this country into this grave place. In order to gain public support, the subjugation of social activists and trade union leaders who created awareness about the problems of the country must be stopped. Also, legal action must be taken against the people responsible for bankrupting the nation, including the Minister of Finance and other officials controlling the Central Bank.
Q: Do you think the policies outlined by the current president are good and practical?
A: We think the policies presented are good on paper. Especially, establishing a council of party leaders to make policy decisions, creating a People’s Assembly of professionals including social activists and maintain dialogues in a way that all parliamentarians can contribute.
However, it remains to see whether these policies will be implemented. Already the Chief of Police is suppressing social activists. This directly contradicts the policies presented.
Q: If the policies are implemented, what will happen?
A: It remains to be seen. We are observing the situation closely. However, we give our complete support for the struggle against the people’s suppression. No ruler has the right to punish those who raised their voices and created awareness about the thieves who bankrupted the nation and hid their wealth here and abroad.
Q: Did the President invite you separately because he is organizing something with you?
A: No, nothing like that. We were elected through the SJB party, so we are loyal to them and are not against them. However, we also work independently. Since we were invited independently, we go accordingly.
Q: Does that mean you will act separately from the SJB?
A: No, we will support the SJB when we can. We have had no difficulties with them. In the meantime, we continue independently with our agenda.
Q: Will that mean you won’t participate with the SJB in the discussion?
A: I am not the only one participating, other people who were elected through the SJB including Mr. Mano Ganeshan and Mr. Rauf Hakeem will also be there. Other parties have also been invited. I think its good everyone can contribute to the discussion.
Q: Will you be receiving a Ministerial position after the discussions?
A: No, we don’t think so. We must make it clear that we don’t work for ministerial positions. We put forward ideas to improve the country and we are ready to take responsibility if any situation arises. However, the suppression of the people must stop. The Police Chief has no right to repress people through fines.