9 December, 2021

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Buyer’s Remorse – Is The ‘Rajapaksa Brand’ Suffering?

By Vishwamithra1984 –

“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.” ~Simon Mainwaring

As was shown in the Uva Provincial Council election results, there is no denying that the ‘Rajapaksa brand’ did suffer quite badly. To lose in a multi-ethnic district like Badulla and dropping 25% from the earlier poll in an almost 100% Sinhalese Buddhist district such as Moneragala, despite the fact that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which was expected to score heavily managed to secure only less than 7%, in the context of current measurements, is close to dismal for the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). This poor performance at an election held on the brink of the Presidential Elections may have been due to multiple reasons. But the very fact that the voters of these two districts, Badulla and Moneragala, showed some semblance of ‘guts’ to teach the governing circles a lesson or two may have gone too far for the liking of the so-called strategists of the Government. The next follow-up question is: “Has the Rajapaksa brand suffered?”

rajapaksa-family-colombo-telegraph1In the writer’s considered view it is yes, it has. Whether that setback is a temporary one or a one that would have long-term implications is another matter altogether. Before venturing out to say how and why the Rajapaksa brand has suffered, I must define what the Rajapaksa brand is from two points of view. How does the Government project the Rajapaksa brand and how is it perceived by the Opposition and the people at large?

Defined in terms of the Rajapaksas themselves, the Rajapaksa brand in a nutshell is as follows:

1. Defeating the LTTE and making way for peace in the land on the long haul

2. Development of the economy by way of increasing the growth rate up to 7+% and maintaining that rate of growth

3. Massive infrastructure development through building of roads, bridges and introducing new ventures such as Mattala Airport, Hambantota Harbor and Colombo Port City et 

4. This trio of achievements, the Rajapaksas may think, would be accepted without any debate or arguments whatsoever by a greater majority of Sinhalese Buddhist masses. Sinhalese Buddhists constitute nearly 70% of the voting bloc in the country and for them the war-victory was more than a military exploit but an inspirational feat that appealed to their emotional core. The centuries-old enmity and suspicion between Tamils and Sinhalese Buddhists which later exploded into the LTTE/Security Forces war in the latter part of the last century that resulted in a crushing defeat for the Tamil militants in the first decade of the this Century, was most craftily exploited by the Rajapaksa-led Government. Although the war was fought on the battlefield by the foot soldiers, airmen in air and seamen in high seas, the political leadership of the country at the time, rightly or wrongly, claimed full ownership to the credit of the war-victory lock, stock and barrel. No one can deny the timely leadership lent to the war effort by the Rajapaksas. Any such attempt would be delusional. Yet, at the same time, no one can ascribe the whole credit to that political leadership. What remains as agitational politics in the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) is mainly due to the negligence in the least and deliberate action at worst, by the political leadership. Declaring an all-out military warfare as a humanitarian operation and victory with no civilian causalities is a figment of some imagination of some leaders.

It’s more than five long years since the cessation of hostilities between the two warring factions. The glory of victory and sheer triumphalism that was indulged in by the general Sinhalese Buddhists masses are waning by the hour. More important issues are at play. With that disappearance of the glories of military superiority and in the absence of any other equivalent socio-cultural issues, the Governing clique finds it hard to persuade a voting public to side with them. The results were shown in the Uva PC elections.

5. Economic Development and growth-rate-jumps that are boasted about, more by the Central Bank Governor himself than any political leaders of the regime, have come for severe suspicion by economic experts. Some even go to the extent of accusing the Central Bank of interpreting (or misinterpreting) statistics to suit the Government’s political and electioneering agenda. If there is any iota of truth in that, then the country’s economic situation is much more volatile than one would like to presume.

6. Two big ‘white elephants’ that the Government created during the last five years are the Mattala International Airport at which no international flight lands and the Hambantota Harbor in whose watery bosom no noteworthy ships find solace. Both these projects have been built and left to the fancies of daydreamers and they in no small measure boost up the egos of the powers that be.

When the voting public realizes that the notion of war-victory has outlived its usefulness as a justifiable reason for them to vote for Government-backed candidates with the evident futility of regime’s much publicized empty economic vessels, it’s nothing but natural that the voter looks elsewhere for an alternative. Like a product in the marketplace, which has not lived up to the promise of promotions and advertising that has preceded its launch, with propaganda it scores in the short run but suffers severe setbacks in the long haul due firstly to buyer’s remorse and secondly, because the product itself is poor in quality although they appear very attractive thanks to eye-catching wrapping on the outside. Political promises too invariably meet with the same rejection by the customer – voter.

But how does the Government program appear to the voter? Under any and all circumstances, other than by the diehard party supporters, no government is viewed in any positive light by the general public. The nature of politics is such that those who hold power are always held in contempt, envy and suspicion by the majority of any population. One might contend, then how come each incumbent is not always out of power in the next election? That is where electioneering, campaigning, the presence of extraordinary leaders and personalities and unforeseen events such as assassinations and their eventual effects on a given campaign etc. come into play.

How does the average man who is reasonable and is having a sense of balance and fairness judge the ‘Rajapaksa brand’?To him the Rajapaksas are a set of corrupt politicians whose only political ambition is to cling onto power and consume  the country’s assets and resources; a set of rulers whose advancement in socio-political field is augmented only through their nepotistic extensions; a set of politicians whose core is identified with the absence of accountability and transparency and whose condoning of wild and barbaric conduct of their henchmen and goons is taken for granted. In other words, the totality of the Rajapaksa brand is covered with blatantly misleading wrappings yet the reasonable men and women see through the veneer of a gift-wrapped product. The ‘Rajapaksa brand’ has still not suffered irretrievably but it is definitely showing signs of getting there slowly. The need of the hour is an Opposition that can accelerate the process.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    “The ground reality” that the old left refers to in the statment to the media suggesting that the Presedential elections not to be held till 2016 clearly indicates the unfavourable political trend.The Govt will be worse off if elections are postponed as the white elephants that have been created in the form to mega development will be further exposed if national elections are delayed.

    • 4
      1

      Good one, Vishwa!

      1. “Sinhala Buddhist military business” model that is corrupting the mission and mandate of the military (mission creep), and destroying and corrupting Buddhism and ALL democratic institutions (Judiciary, Central Bank, MEA) is the name of the Rajapaksa brand!

      2. FINANCIAL TERRORISM is the name of the Rajapaksa brand.

      The opposition must educate the people on the fact that the regime is involved in massive rent seeking and it is the people who are paying for the economic crimes of the Jarapassa regime – that benefit the Rajapaksa brothers and their cronies as the expense of the majority of Lankans!

      Interestingly, it seems that the UNP benefited from the JVP’s excellent campaign to educate Sinhala Modyas on the Economic Crimes of the regiem because Uva was one of the areas most affected by JVP violence in the Bad old days?

      • 0
        0

        every body is busy talking about the invertible defeat of MR but not much about how and who is going to deliver the goods ? as the way it turning out , there may be a few number of opposition candidates

        1)UNP (Double agents Ranil and Sajith )
        2)Ven Sobitha Thero led coalition .
        3)Peratugami party ( Comrade Kumara Gunarathnam )
        4)BBS ( May be that Thug Gnasara )
        5) JVP- boycotting the election

        has any body wondered why the hell that double agent Ranil kept on insisting running himself for the election ? only last week his right hand man (chief opposition whip ) long John A successfully completed his tour of duty for the second time for the year 2014 ( first one being Jerusalem with MR) , how could any one take Ranil seriously as the opposition leader ? Harin F has earned tremendous popularity after the UVA election but he also needs to be conscious of the fact that Sajith is a fraud and another MR in the making , division within the the opposition parties and contesting separately is the ultimate victory for MR , sadly though many people think that MR’s defeat is a certain one and started campaigning for their own personnel agendas ……..

      • 0
        0

        S. Moday is actually write exactly like Antony Peter from New Zealand. Antony is a well known LTTE sympathizer.

    • 3
      0

      The hardship that people face today, reflected in the Uva elections, is due to politicization of the Central Bank and FINANCIAL TERRORISM at the Central Bank. i.e. the manner in which the people of the country are forced to pay for the huge DEBT and economic mess that Nivard Cabraal is making and the culture of living on borrowed monies which is endangering the banking sector in the country.

      The Central Bank is lying about inflation rates to drive down interest rates so the Nivard Cabraal can borrow more money from local banks at low rates for the Mahinda Jarapassa re-election campaign, and to pay debt, but it is the people who live on fixed deposits and the poor who are suffering due to inflation and CB speculation in currencies as well…
      Nivard Cabraal is involved in short term manipulation and speculation and playing with savings of average people at this time. We do not know the real inflation rate because Nivard Cabraal wants to embark on a borrowing spree from local banks and is now trying to drive interest rates into the ground – single digits – so he can borrow at low rates from local banks. The interest rates on fixed deposites which is what the elderly live on has dived within six months from 13 percent to 6 percent. Now Cabraal is forcing people to take out their monies and spend on consumption! The CB has lied about inflation rates in order to cut down interest rates. Nivard Cabraal must be held accountable and the politicization of CB explained to Sinhala Modayas who are suffering as a result of policy instability and political circus of premature elections – hence the phenomenon of NO Credit and No jobs growth figures – and indicator that growth is highly skewed to benefit the new rich Rajapaksa family and cronies and also manipulated!

    • 4
      0

      17 out of a cabinet of 22 members of Narendra Modi’s cabinet have declared their assets. Has Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members who are in the politics family business declared their assets.

      If Jarpassa wants to contest another Presidential election he and his family MUST be required to declare all their assets. So too the corrupt cabinet of clowns, particularly the corrupt Minister of Health who is paid by multinational Pharmaceuticals to NOT pass the national drugs policy bill.

      India with a billion people has 22 cabinet members but Lanka with a mere 21 million has more than 50 clowns in a cabinet of corrupt morons. This is a Miracle of Modyas indeed!
      Where is the opposition and who should educate the Sinhala Modayas and tell them to ask Mahinda Jarpassa and his corrupt family to declare their assets before he runs for the Presidency again?

      • 4
        0

        “17 out of a cabinet of 22 members of Narendra Modi’s cabinet have declared their assets. Has Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members who are in the politics family business declared their assets”.

        Sorry DoDo,
        I can’t help you on this one as I keep loosing count. There is someone from the ‘Passa’ ( Passa=Contact in Pali) family gets added every week or so.

    • 2
      0

      Bandula Gunewardene the clown in the Ministry of education has said that he is going to appoint 50,000 graduates to be trained as teachers.s

      This is nothing but another vote buying exercise for the Jarapassa Presidential election – that violates all rules in the Education sector!

      All educationists and students and TUs should protest this and the Elections Commissioner should ensure that this is not done at election time.

      Bandualla the clown should be taken to court for violating Education Ministry rules and institutions to win elections for Mahinda Jarapassa.

  • 2
    3

    Did UNP win UVA?..

    Can throwing mud alone win elections?.

    What are the UNP CC’s Economic program for the next 6 years?.

    What improvements He? She will oferfr if not already done so on the following?.

    How much increase in Tourist Arrivals which is already 1.1 Mil to date this year Because most of them now are from Mainland China.

    Will Vellala Prema and Sivajilingam allow the Chinese to continue building the Northern Expressway to Jaffna?.

    How much increase in the Per Capita from the current USD 4000 to Eite and how much for the Dalits?.

    Will the Vellalas get the East as well as the Homeland with Police Powers and full Land Rights?.

    Will the Mono Rail be re nogotiated to give UNP supporters some dosh too?.

    Will the 1000 Mega Schools in the Villages be scrapped?.

    Will the CC promise to pay the Chinese debt as the UNP seniors are are on record refusing to do so?.

    Will the Magampura and Mattala become Museum pieces. which the UNP elders again have again promised to on to do?.

    Will the Army Camps from Vauniya onwards be scrapped or relocated .

    And which new locations

    Or will it be mass scale retrenchments for our Army boys?.

    Will Alimankada be re named as Pamankada and Kilinochchi as Madavchchi , to avoid the UNP elders getting confused, when they take the levers to drive our inhabitant Dalits to prosperity.

    Or one more thing Will the CWE , and the CTB, be safe from Investment bankers who now have set up shop in Colombo?…

    And finally, will the CC grant a blanket amnesty and eliminate probity checks when granting Duals to Diaspora?.

  • 5
    0

    The school I attended had as its motto..country before self.

    If 50% of the voters in Sri Lanka can follow this simple motto at the next elections, we will see the dawn of a new era in Sri Lanka.

    If the majority stay home thinking it is a done deal, or it is not their problem to solve…then the status quo will continue and sites like CT will publish a daily dosage of vitriol and innuendo laced hyperbole we all appear to treat as entertainment.

    In the meantime, our people are dying of illnesses that are cured easily but misdiagnosed in the first instance. Our children are suffering from malnutrition and mal-education. Not a semblance of law and order, except for the gullible and vulnerable, and that too as victims.

    Until and unless we realize that our laziness and stupidity is contributing to our plight and do something about it, people like the Rajapakses and their ilk will steal all they can. They do it because they can. And, we are allowing them go scot-free!

    • 1
      0

      “The school I attended had as its motto..’Country before Self’.”
      Wrong Motto. Both are egoistic.
      Country=Nama-Rupa, Self= Avijja.
      My schools motto was and still is Sathara Brahma Viharas, ‘Metta, Karuna, Muditha & Upekkha’ Can anyone guess the name of this wonderful institution?

  • 2
    0

    One of the best analysis of the post Uva situation I have read.It is not biased and is without expectations takes as facts of life.

  • 1
    5

    Granted that the war was fought by the foot soldiers, led by officers, under varied political leadership. The last had little political courage till the Rajapakses took over, and in the face of total discouragement from the ‘international community’ took on the task of defeating the terrorists who had run riot in Sri Lanka over the previous thirty years. This time it was different. The political will was seen in abundance. The officers and the men who had been let down on previous occasions quickly realised that things were coming to a head and responded eagerly, and we saw the victory achieved on the 19th of May. A certain amount of the credit is due to the Rajapakse brothers for not bending to the political demands of the West that was all too evident towards the end of the conflict. Today the Rajapakse name is being tarnished by the political opponents, though sadly, not without cause.

    It is for the Sri Lankan electorate to decide whether to forget the hard fought gains and hand over the country to a traitor (whoever that may be) who would deliver it to the TNA, the LTTE proxy. Already the TNA is sounding out such people and have made known it’s demands which are NO different from those of the LTTE terrorists.

    • 0
      1

      Ramu

      “The last had little political courage till the Rajapakses took over”,

      This another myth keep recycling.

      “total discouragement from the ‘international community’ took on the task of defeating the terrorists who had run riot in Sri Lanka over the previous thirty years.”

      It was the Hindians who were determined to finish off LTTE when they found themselves out of patience. Everything that was needed to fight and win the war was provided by Hindians and Yankee Dicks. It was Hindia which persuaded Chandrika to commit the country to a all out war against the LTTE. Chandrika obliged and war preparation commenced in early 2005.

      MR obliged Hindia and the war was won for MR by Hindia and VP.

      In this great stupid game poor people from both Sinahalese and Tamils lost many who were dear and near to them.

      MR was a minor player in this stupid great game.

  • 4
    1

    And from where does the writer suggest we get a viable opposition? The Rajapaksa’s have made sure it is weak, some members are already in bed with them, and we should not be surprised if the Rajapaksa’s won the election by devious means. Nothing will keep them from continuing this dictatorship. The over 200 family members who run this country have too much to lose.

  • 4
    2

    The Rajapaksha claim that they single-handedly ended war, saved the country and have almost developed it is a myth and a lie calculatedly propagated to remain in and retain political power thereby making way for the plunder of the resources and wealth of the country by the Rajapaksha family and a minute percentage of the country who are closed to the family.

    The fact is it is the Rajapakshas who are preventing people from achieving their rightful dues, demands, birth rights, wealth and happiness. Rajapakshas have blocked the entire nation from achieving their due rights and channeled all opportunities and streams of income into their familial monopoly.

    The first duty of a future government of this country is the punishment of Rajapakshas and their criminal accomplices in the most extreme and ominous manner so that any future criminals like Rajapaksha would learn a lesson and discouraged.

  • 2
    0

    Excellent analysis and the true picture of current state of affairs. There are two sides to a coin, in my mind it’s up-side and down-side. Even humans can be divided into two, ‘Mind & Body’. The downhill trend of the ‘Rajapassa Brand’ began immediately after SF’s imprisonment accelerated by Shirani’s (CJ’s) impeachment. No turning back now. It’s peoples turn to toss it up! Long suffering sorry Lankan voters, ‘May you all be well, Happy and most of all free from suffering’!

  • 1
    1

    This how a losing party which suffered the most humiliating defeat in the history of warfare describes the total annihilation:
    “It’s more than five long years since the cessation of hostilities between the two warring factions.”
    Come on Mr Vishvamitra you deserve the Nobel prize for literature.

  • 1
    0

    The Rajapaksa brand may be jaded and the wrapping old and threadbare but, truth to tell, the people have little or no alternative. The opposition is in disarray and divided and there is no outstanding leader with credibility waiting to take over. 25% of the electorate are looking for a hero. If the Sinhala-Buddhist vote is fractured, that 25% could well clinch the prize. Alas, the political firmament has an excess of crooks and thugs that makes Sri Lankan politics a shitty quagmire that is ripe for cleaning. A strong leader is needed to clear out the stables and bring in the honest, competent and capable. Good men and women will think twice now before stepping into government – ask Dr Nonis what it is like to mix with feral scum. Change may come, but before that we will see Gotabaya’s plan B.

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