Diana Gamage’s speech, body language and behaviour in parliament often outdid unruly behaviour usually associated with bullies and thugs.


Kshama Ranawana

It’s high time Diana Gamage took a hard look at herself in the mirror!

When the Supreme Court ruled in favour of petitioner Oshala Herath, that Diana Gamage is not a citizen of Sri Lanka, she told a media conference that she does not accept the ruling. She also went on to say that the ruling wronged all Sri Lankan women.

Now that is rich, coming from her.

Her foray into parliament was through the Samagi Jana Balawegaya as one of their national list candidates. But she lost no time in switching loyalities, when she broke ranks to vote in favour of then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s 20th amendment to the Constitution.

Since then she has been at logger heads with the SJB, never losing an opportunity to browbeat their members during parliamentary debates. Despite switching party loyalties, Gotabaya did not return the favour, but current president Ranil Wikcremasinghe did, when he appointed her State Minister for Tourism.

From facts presented to the courts, and now discussed openly in the public arena, it seems that Diana employed devious methods to enter politics and parliament.

Oshala Herath, the man who led a lone battle against Diana claims she had altered her name on the birth certificate to obtain a new national ID Card, even as she continued to be a British citizen. Such fraudulent acts helpd her get a Sri Lankan passport and later even a diplomatic one.

Her speech, body language and behaviour in parliament often outdid unruly behaviour usually associated with bullies and thugs. In December 2023 she was caught on video in a verbal spat with a male parliamentarian within the parliament complex. She was heard threatnening to undress him and using foul language and later attempting to hit another who intervened. The video showed Diana being pushed to the ground too.

In 2022 when a ruling party member Tissa Kuttiaracchi was accused by SJB MP Rohini Wijeratne of making sexist remarks, the women’s caucus closed ranks and called for action against the former. No such action has been taken by the women’s caucus on behalf of Diana.

That says a lot!

In a statement following the December 2023 incident to The Morning, the Chairperson of the women’s caucus, Dr Sudharshini Fernandopulle stated,” Being an MP, she has the opportunity to speak about whatever harassment that takes place. However, the recent incident involving her (the incident involving Gamage and MPs K. Sujith Sanjaya Perera and Rohana Bandara) was not an incident which violated the rights of females. She was not harassed because she was a female. It was a fight between three MPs. So, we cannot get involved in all the fights between MPs just because one of them is a female.”

Diana has, from facts presented to the courts lived illegally in Sri Lanka and used fraudulent means to obtain a national ID card, passport and indeed enter parliament. Her actions and speeches in parliament has been less than savoury to say the least.

The first Sri Lankan woman to enter the then State Council of Ceylon was Lady Adeline Molamure, who was elected in 1931 to the seat held by her father, after he passed away.
Yet, women continue to hold less than 6 per cent of the seats in parliament. And that too has remained amongst the privileged political families, with most following Adeline’s footsteps of filling a void left by a deceased male family member.

The situation is no better in the private and public sector; women in decision making levels are few indeed. For most it is an uphill battle. Even the appointment of Bimshani Jasin Arachchi as the country’s first female Deputy Inspector General was hotly contested by her male colleagues.

So, if anyone has undermined Sri Lankan women and their aspirations to be in decision making postions, it is Diana herself!