Former army chief vows to topple Lankan govt

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s former army chief Sarath Fonseka on Thursday vowed to topple the government, at his first press conference after his release from jail three weeks ago.

By Qadijah Irshad

Published: Fri 15 Jun 2012, 10:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:44 AM

“If we want to benefit from a new non-corrupt political culture, we have to topple the current government,” said the former general whose release came after a presidential pardon.

“We have to educate the people to enjoy the benefits of the new political culture. We have to throw the current government out,” he said.

Fonseka, who was taken into custody two weeks after losing presidential elections to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2010, was charged with a variety of serious crimes including treason.

The toppling of the government would be achieved through a coalition of opposition parties and winning the confidence and votes of the people, said the former commander who was instrumental in ending the three-decade war against the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

“There’s no short cut. There will be no coup or anything.”

Fonseka also accused President Rajapaksa and the government of corruption and squashed speculations that he would join the government. “The country is immersed in corruption. The presidential chair is corrupt. I have absolutely no intention of working with a corrupt government,” said the former general.

“I have worked very closely with the president for four years (executing the LTTE’s defeat). I don’t have enough confidence or trust in him to work with him again. I know his weaknesses and strengths, what he is capable and incapable of doing, what promises he will keep and break. Corruption runs in his veins. I am ready to go to prison again. I am willing to sacrifice my life and freedom if it will eliminate corruption in this country,” Fonseka said.

He also vowed to continue his political agenda of “eradicating corruption and dictatorial powers” despite any obstacles placed before him. —

More news from WORLD