Mahinda remains the most charismatic leader in the country at present
- If MR is still in politics today, that is largely due to popular demand
- Without Gotabhaya, the war against the LTTE would never have been won
- Four and a half years after …how is it that the allegations are still so vague?
The piece written by columnist Vishwamithra on Wednesday, July 31 titled Mahinda Rajapaksa: Sculptor of a Brutal Political Architecture reminded us all that we are now on the threshold of yet another presidential election and that open season on the Rajapaksa’s has begun.
Vishwamithra’s assertion that Mahinda’s desire for power ‘seems to have overrun all plausible limits’ is a reference to the fact that he is still in politics even after the defeat of 2015. I would like to state with utmost satisfaction that it’s thousands of people like myself who did not allow Mahinda Rajapaksa to go into retirement after 2015. Some of my colleagues and I were among those who went to see MR in Tangalle after January 09, 2015.
I went to every single Mahinda Sulanga meeting with a group of friends.
Mahinda Sulanga was an event where political parties from the right, centre and left of the political spectrum all demanded with one voice that MR returned to active politics. If MR is still in politics today, that is largely due to popular demand. Can the same thing be said about the UNP leader?
Vishwamithra has adopted the strategy of praising one SLFP figure to put down other SLFP figures. He praises Felix Dias Bandaranaike and says that neither Basil nor Gotabhaya is a patch on him.
Why bring Felix Dias Bandaranaike into this? He lived in a different era and never had to face what Gota and Basil had to face.
Without Gotabhaya, the war against the LTTE would never have been won. In 2008, the LTTE was officially designated by the FBI as the deadliest in the world, outranking even Al Qaeda. Obliterating an outfit like that is an achievement that would suffice for a lifetime. Both Gota and Basil have proved their mettle and have not gained prominence due to nepotism. Apart from finishing the war, Gota has proved himself in urban development as well.
Basil’s achievement is as an administrator and a political manager.
Some said that Basil was able to wield power because his brother was the President. However, BR’s greatest achievement was the building of the SLPP into Sri Lanka’s main political party within less than two years after its formation.
There is no precedent anywhere in the world, in any democratic country with a mature two-party political system, where a third political force was able to push aside the two established political parties and come out on top as we saw happen at the local government elections in February 2018.
The closest approximation to this was seen in Britain during the Brexit Referendum when the people of Britain disregarded the stance taken by the three main political parties and voted to leave the EU. But that was only a referendum, which did not change the political party system in the country. Basil’s achievement with the formation of the SLPP was in upending the entire political party system in Sri Lanka
Vishwamithra has not attacked Chamal Rajapaksa, so I will not say anything about the latter except to state that although they are siblings, all four Rajapaksa brothers should continue to be in politics and to give leadership to our camp.
"Was never a one-man or one family show. People unrelated like Dr P. B. Jayasundera and Ajith Nivaard Cabraal played a pivotal roles"
Please note that it’s not just the most prominent three but all four. Those of us who are not directly involved in politics would like to see a proper job of work done and the fact that three or four prominent persons are related to one another is irrelevant to people like me.
The Rajapaksa Government was never a one-man or one family show. People completely unrelated to the Rajapaksas like Dr P. B. Jayasundera and Ajith Nivaard Cabraal played a pivotal roles in that government in economic management.
Vishwamithra makes oblique references to corruption under the Rajapaksas without however mentioning any specifics.
Four and a half years after the Rajapaksas were ejected from power, how is it that the allegations are still so vague?
Vishwamithra’s readers should ask themselves how it is that nothing as specific and clear cut as the great Central Bank bond scam, the great coal scam, and the Sri Lankan Airlines order cancellation deal, has come to light concerning the Rajapaksas? Also, Vishwamitra should be very much aware that allegations of large scale financial corruption were made a few decades ago regarding the accelerated Mahaweli Development scheme and the key players involved in it. There were even rumours of allegations regarding money being siphoned off the banana saplings distributed among the poor farmers at that time.
The writer is attached to the Department of Microbiology, University of Kelaniya