17 July, 2019

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Mahinda’s Electoral Failure: An Outcome Of Ignorance

By Salithamby Abdul Rauff

Dr. Salithamby Abdul Rauff

Dr. Salithamby Abdul Rauff

Speaking to a crowd of supporters standing in the premise of his ancestral home in Medamulana at the time of having arrived immediately after his electoral failure, ex president Mahinda Rajapaksa said that even though people of the country voted for him, he lost in the election because those in the north, east, Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya voted against him. His findings were clear that it was country’s minority communities to unseat him. Rajapaksa who clearly as well as simply understood the stakeholders of his electoral defeat unreasonably failed to discover beforehand the reality that influenced these stakeholders to dethrone him.

Demolished LTTE outfit’s chief Veluppillai Prabhakaran placed his faith strongly in military establishment itself to achieve his Tamil nationalistic objective. The Tamil Tigers’ military capability even in conventional confrontation with government armed forces and a popular support they earned from majority Tamils were one reason for his steadfast faith of this. Leader Prabhakaran therefore irrationally downplayed any negotiation or political overtures to find a settlement for Tamil cause even though these practices still remained the reality and integral part of a peaceful solution to Sri Lanka’s prolonged national question. Tigers’ leader, whenever peace talks took place, employed them as an offer to cement his organization’s military might even further instead of terminating conflict. In 2002, while Prabhakaran was engaged in peace talks with Sri Lankan government of Ranil Wickramasinghe, regional situation, geo-politics and contemporary global trend such as war against terrorism were decisively impacting Sri Lanka’s local politics and its decade-old civil war.

MahindaThese realities whether directly or indirectly required the LTTE as a party of the conflict to adopt some constructive changes and flexibilities in solving ethnic problem. Former LTTE ideologue ‘Annan’ Anton Balasingham who rightly understood this fact consistently demonstrated these realities to ‘Thambi’ Prabhakaan as a need and strategy of the time in addressing their people’s grievances and aspirations. Annan also pleaded Thambi to present LTTE’s position at peace talks in line with these realities. Thambi adamantly dismissed what came from Annan. His latest summarily responses unequivocally showed that Thambi was not ready even to tolerate what Annan said to be realities. Leader Prabhakaran removed Balasingham from very LTTE peace talk delegation and appointed S. P. Thamilchelvan as chief negotiator to pursue talks on LTTE behave. He also effectively inhibited Tamil masses from voting in the presidential election of 2005, which was seen as a strategic blunder that resulted in Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming president.

Probhakaran’s simple ignorance of these realities and politically strategic mistake cost him his life. They destroyed the very existence of his well-equipped armed organization. They produced unintended repercussions in Tamil cause. They also sparked a political climate in which the opportunities to hear Tamil grievances were thin.

Mahinda Rajapaksa who became president as a result of a forced boycott of presidential election on Tamils by LTTE in 2005 emerged as a popular leader of the country in 2010 in post-conflict Sri Lanka. His powerful political leadership was built truly on a complete demolition of LTTE, an absolute war success and a subsequent unwavering support from majority people. Sri Lanka which still experienced a vulnerable ethnic divide and deep-seated mutual mistrust among its ethnic groups required a rebuilding of already deeply damaged ethnic relations in its post-conflict context. This was the reality of post-war Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa adamantly disregarded this post-war reality. Instead of pursuing meaningful initiatives to build an inter-ethnic amity, he invested his time, power and political assets to exacerbate the existing communal disharmony even further.

Mahinda Rajapaksa allowed a rise of radical Buddhist nationalist movements, such as BBS, to effectively advance violent campaigns against Muslims a second largest ethnic minority of the country. Muslims’ economy was destroyed and their lives targeted in the daylight in Aluthgama and Beruwala. Their mosques were desecrated with pork head and blood in Mahiyangana and the decade-old Muslim shrine burnt in Anuradhapura. Muslims were blocked from praying in their mosques by shutting down them in many places. When the victimised Muslim community came to Rajapaksa with legitimate concerns over the unabated attacks on them and sought a prevention of their recurrence, the leader of the country was tacitly blessing such anti-Muslim practices to happen over a couple of hundred times. Rather than bringing culprits before justice to redress victims, he was offering perpetrators a full-fledged immunity unchecked. Instead of halting these events from perennial occurrence, he was portraying them as minor incidents that did not need to be heeded. Instead of doing justice to the victims, Rajapaksa was claiming that it was his regime to have protected Muslims relatively in the history. There were also reports that it was Mahinda Rajapaksa regime to settle people from south in former conflict north in order to redefine the demography of Tamil majority in the areas, which was also another absolute development by Rajapaksa to exacerbate the already sabotaged inter-ethnic relations further.

Today, Rajapaksa lamented that he was defeated by minorities. It was not the case. Rather, he has been backfired by what he did against his people. People who were not given justice for their victimisation have given their verdict rightly to their leader. In the east, Muslims and Tamils rejected Rajapaksa with a margin of 360,000 votes. The margin from Tamils and Muslims in the north stood at 280,000 votes against Rajapaks. In Galle district of his home province, even though Mahinda won all electorates, he could not secure victory in Galle electorate of the district, where Muslims were concentrated in significant number. Rajapaksa enjoyed an absolute victory in all electorates of Kegalle district, but the Muslim-majority Mawanella electorate of the district defeated him. All electorates of Puttalam district chose Mahinda Rajapaksa, although Puttalam electorate of the district in which Muslims lived in sizeable number clearly rejected him. In 2010 presidential election, Rajapaksa won with a margin of around 1.9 million votes against his rival Sarath Fonseka. This time, he lost to Sirisena by a margin of virtually 450,000 votes. In 2015 election, his support has declined by more than 2.3 million votes compared to previous 2010 presidential poll.

Like Prabhakaran, Mahinda Rajapaksa adamantly ignored the realities of post-conflict Sri Lanka. His ignorance cost him his electoral defeat and dashed his dream of remaining life-long president. It was Muslim and Tamil communities to unseat Mahinda Rajapaksa. In his farewell with Presidential secretariat staffs, he himself said this fact twisting his low lip that “Muslims and Tamils (Muslims much) voted against me” and compromised my victory.

*Dr. Salithamby Abdul Rauff, Assistant Professor, teaches at Dhofar University of Sultanate of Oman

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  • 7
    1

    At this point in his life I would not say it was ignorance. The reason was his racist mindset which he was unwilling to give up.

    • 1
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      Salithamby Abdul Rauff –

      RE:Mahinda’s Electoral Failure: An Outcome Of Ignorance

      Thanks for your analysis and write up. Please listen to Anura Kumara Video below.

      “His findings were clear that it was country’s minority communities to unseat him. Rajapaksa who clearly as well as simply understood the stakeholders of his electoral defeat unreasonably failed to discover beforehand the reality that influenced these stakeholders to dethrone him.”

      Remember, 3. 7 Million Sinhala Buddhists Voted for Mr. Maitripala Sirisena.

      “Demolished LTTE outfit’s chief Veluppillai Prabhakaran placed his faith strongly in military establishment itself to achieve his Tamil nationalistic objective. The Tamil Tigers’ military capability even in conventional confrontation with government armed forces and a popular support they earned from majority Tamils were one reason for his steadfast faith of this. Leader Prabhakaran therefore irrationally downplayed any negotiation or political overtures to find a settlement for Tamil cause even though these practices still remained the reality and integral part of a peaceful solution to Sri Lanka’s prolonged national question”

      Yes. Both forgot what gave them strength and the strength of the opposition.

      So both VP and MR can be classified as

      Mutaals( முட்டாள்), Madus, Modayas and fools,
      [Edited out]

  • 3
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    By the way, where is Dayan?. Must be really busy looking for a way to worm himself into the new admin. Beware!

    • 1
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      Didn’t you know? The Rajapaksa [Edited out] has taken voluntary retirement from writing in English.

  • 3
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    An interesting article. It clearly shows why MR lost, and how foolish he has been, supporting lost causes, that cost him the elections. Dividing a country, so that you can get the backing of the majority, was not very smart, so whoever advised the man, did him the worst favor by giving him the wrong advice. At one point when the Muslims were being attacked, he was supposed to have said he did not need the Muslim vote, using a derogatory word to describe them, well it seems he needed it after all. With most Muslim leader crossing over, and a hurt Muslim minority against him, Percy certainly deserved to be voted out, the Tamils and Muslims making sure they backed the Sinhala voters to also did, to boost MS’s margin so that he won.

    I hope that future leaders realize you need both hands to clap, and that all Sri Lankans, of every ethnicity and religion are important to succeed, as a people, and as a country.

  • 2
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    it does not matter does it. amajority of sri lankans voted for change. whether it the minorities or the elite makes an iota of differences. the fact is it was the sri lankans who voted.

    • 2
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      “perera”:
      Fully agree. It was Sri Lankans who voted for the change.

  • 1
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    If you are a cricket fan, you would have probably not missed watching the 2nd ODI between SL/NZ on 15th Jan: I watched it from the word “begin” till the last “let’s finish”. When S/L was balling, our “Hero” Kumar Sangakkara was behind the wickets. A very notable advice went from Kumar to Schithra Senanayake when he was balling. The ADVICE was:

    “KEDERA VENNA EPA”. Kumar gave this advice in Sinhala and was heard over the audio system. Mr. Russel Arnold translated that into English and said: ” DON’T BE GREEDY”. This went right round the Globe of cricket and a friend of mine from England gave me a telephone call and paid his tribute to Kumar.

    I wish our Ex President and the Present President, as a matter fact all our political LEADERS would have WATCHED this cricket match and got our Kumar’s “ADVICE” to heart.

    That is what happened to our “Ex President” and his “TEAM”. Let that ADVICE go loud and clear to the present Leader and his Team.

  • 0
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    In another analysis it has been stated that MR faced a loss due to over-confidence. He
    advanced the PE by 2 years similar to two incidents in India, where elections were
    called before the end of Term and lost.

    Self-confessing as the known devil in enemy territory whilst pleading for their votes
    at the same time is over-confidence.

  • 0
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    ”Mahinda Rajapaksa allowed a rise of radical Buddhist nationalist movements, such as BBS”?

    Ifyou look at all what he did in the last nine years of his rule you can see very well that he created BBS.

    When did he ever condemn such atrocious crimes as done by BBS?

  • 0
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    ”His ignorance” ??????

    His hatred(racism) against the ethic minorities!!

    Sri Lanka was granted GSP+ by the EU in June 2005 but had the benefits withdrawn in August 2010 after an investigation panel(2008/2009) found out that Sri Lanka had been failing to meet the eligibility criteria of implementing three UN human rights Conventions: ICCPR, CAT and CR not only at the time of applications but also during the period under investigation: 2005-2009. In June 2010 the EU offered Sri Lanka an extension of the concessions for six months from August 2010 in return for some progress in outstanding issues. But SriLanka declined the offer(h).

    After the report of the investigation panel was released in October 2009, Sri Lanka sent Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith with representatives from other religions in November 2009 to the Vatican to ask the Pope to press the EU to grant GSP+ to SriLanka.

    Improving the human rights mean granting justice to the Tamils which he was not willling to do. But he would leave no other stones unturned to get GSP+ that benefits the South(=Sinhalese)

  • 0
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    dear friend,i expect more from you about “fresh challenges for new government effects on minority aspirations”.

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