28 October, 2021

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Namal Rajapaksa! There Is So Much To See Botswana, Than A Beauty Queen

By Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Prof. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa has congratulated the young lady with a Sri Lankan background on winning a beauty pageant in Botswana. Our politicians often rush to congratulate beauty queens. Some politicians allegedly have accompanied some beauty queens in their nocturnal and illegal visits to Sri Lankan prisons. Recently, some tele- actresses had told the press, that ‘politicians are harassing them.’

The beauty queen to whom Mr. Rajapaksa hurried to send his warm wishes, is in Botswana- a country that has so much the Sri Lankan parliamentarian learn from.

Our Rajapaksas are known to have looted the country to have become exponential rich in the process. These stories of corruption have been written over and over. Lasantha Ruhunage, a senior investigative journalist, who was formerly at Ravaya and now at Anidda, has published book-length accounts of legendary corruption of the current ruling family. In addition to those stories in print, the incidents of plunder by the infamous family are part of Sri Lankan folklore by now.

Gordon Weiss’s The Cage (2011) is perhaps the first book to openly speak of the corruption by Rajapakasa family. Weiss was UN officer worked in Sri Lanka during the last days of the war. The book is, among other things, about his first hand experience of what happened during the final weeks of the war in the North.

This is what Weiss says of the family’s affairs around 2010 or so:

“In the absence of an overly inquisitive press, a vital civil society, an effective investigative police force, an independent judiciary or the meaningful scrutiny of parliament, the war and its aftermath provided an ideal opportunity to loot the country’s coffers. It was a time when a victory-obsessed parliament was enthusiastically voting increases to the defense budget while the defense ministry was publicly warning journalists not to report on defense purchases. Large percentages could be scooped off billion-dollar defense contracts, as well as programs for the reconstruction of the war-torn east and north. There were huge development projects funded by the Asian Development Bank and other bilateral donors, and major infrastructure improvements such as the billion dollar Chinese-built port complex in the president’s hometown of Hambantota. By 2007, with Mahinda holding the finance portfolio, Gotabaya in charge of defense, another Rajapaksa brother, Chamal, responsible for ports and airports, and a fourth, Basil (known as “Mr. Ten Percent”), tasked with redeveloping the dilapidated east, which had just been wrested from the Tamil Tigers, financial reporters estimated that the Rajapaksa clan directly controlled ninety-four government departments and approximately 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s finances. Any big investment decision now required what the Reuters bureau chief called a “Rajapaksa blessing.”

Just as the decision-making process of the war effort was micromanaged by the defense secretary and his brother Basil, so too were decisions over who would make money in the renewed Sri Lanka. One businessman, a gem merchant who ran a high street shop and also traded some of Sri Lanka’s beautiful stones throughout the world, described the situation thus: “You cannot imagine that these people who are running a country could concern themselves with the tiniest matters of business, but their fingers are in everything: timber, the garment trade, construction, banking. You name it, and they are taking a cut. And it is a model for the entire country now, where everybody is on the take, and the remaining honest police and judges can’t fight the tide. There are too many Rajapaksas to feed”(Pp-170-1).

The Cage is full of such dealings, in addition to the accounts of abduction and murder in which the Family has had a role or another. The Family has not sued Weiss for tarnishing its name! And much worse things happened after The Cage was published. After some six years being the opposition Rajapaksa’s are back. Nearly all top posts of power are held by Rajapaksa brothers and their sons. Those who came to power in 2015 promising, in part, to investigate Rajapaksa crimes did not keep the promise and did not fail to be equally corrupt before they were defeated by the former thieves. The rest is history now.

A story from Botswana

Anyway, let’s switch on to something pleasant. If young Rajapaksa wants to move onto a different political path without entering history as a member of one of the most corrupt political families, there is an interesting movie to watch. Yes. A movie that sets in Botswana. Since I am not a film critic I will refrain from touching on cinematic aspects of the film. Its theme is what I want to discuss here. I regularly use this film in my classes in Postcolonial Theory and Comparative Literature at the University of Peradeniya.

The film is A United Kingdom, and it is about Seretse Khama(1921-80) the founding leader of modern Botswana. In addition to capturing a part of the nation-building story, the movie beautifully narrates Khama’s courtship and marriage to a kind-hearted British woman, Ruth Williams. By birth, Khama is the crown prince of Bechuanaland, – a British protectorate in the early 20th century. He is brought up by his uncle to be the future king of his people. As a young man he is sent to England for education. While studying at the university, he meets progressive-minded a young clerk, Ruth, and falls in love with her. This inter-racial relationship meets with opposition from both sides. Seretse even runs the risk of losing his crown.

It was an unchanging love. In the middle of complex geo-politics of British colonialism and political rivalries among African ethnic groups, Seretse and Ruth’s love grows stronger, and they get married in England. Ruth gives up her comfortable life in London and goes to live with her husband’s homeland. Though a prince, he is not of the kind one finds in the Buckingham Palace. Seretse’ ancestral home is no bigger than a typical middle class house of a Sri Lankan rural middle class family. It is very much like the house Rajapakasas lived before they entered politics.

After living some time with Ruth in his homeland, Seretse visits England but is not allowed to come back. The British manipulates the political situation in Africa to keep Seretse away from the throne. While he is in exile, Ruth gives birth to their first child, a daughter. Seretse continues to fight for his rights: to gain the kingship back home and to be united with his family. Progressive British press and liberal politicians in Britain support him.

Eventually the family is united; Seretse becomes the king; the first-ever democratic election is held in Bechuanaland. After winning the election, Seretse Khama becomes the first prime minister of the country and his homeland is named ‘Botswana.’

During the following decades, Seretse and Ruth become the beloved-ruling family of the country. He fights with imperial forces to get the rights of the natural resources found in his home country, especially diamond and oil to his people. By the time he became the prime minister, Botswana was the third poorest country in entire Africa, and, within a few decades, he turns Botswana into a middle-income country. When died of cancer in 1980, he was still the most beloved leader of the country.

Ruth continued to live in Botswana with her children until she died in 2002.

It is good that Namal Rajapaksa congratulates the beauty queen in Botswana. But young Rajapaksa has better things to learn from that country. Perhaps, Namal alone cannot decide whether he should die as a member family looted a country or as a beloved leader who saved a country.

Seretse Khama is very different from all members of Rajapaksa family. He was truly educated, and a real intellectual. He was a man who could speak elegant English in a manner that could shake the conscience of the world. At familial level, he truly loved the woman who attracted his heart.

Some weaknesses that are quite typical to find in a postcolonial political family might be found in Khama family as well. One of his sons became the president of Botswana too. In a way Khama dynasty continues. But Khama’s legacy is more than admirable, and such a political family is no where to be seen in our country.

Let’s leave Namal at that. Perhaps, for us people, the challenge is to create a Seretse-like leader, someone who can even surpass him, outside of typical political families that are full of thieves. No Seretse is seen within any big political families in the country. Rajapaksa family is the one least likely to produce such leaders.

And again, I do not hesitate to join Namal Rajapaksa in congratulating that young lady, Gimhani Perera’s achievement in Botswana.

*Liyanage Amarakeerthi – Professor of Sinhala, University of Peradeniya

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Latest comments

  • 25
    1

    Dear Prof. Thanks very much for the article. U have articulated it as no others. Looting and high crime nature of Rajapakshes was public secret to even remote villagers that voted for their comeback. Majority of this nation love high criminal s be their leaders. Basta. This Namal jumped to greet Botwana’s beauty queen in the same time he has nt uttered a single word yet in public about the young female singer – Yohani de Silva whose cover song go viral to 120 millions or more across india and further????This indicates that these men born medamulana cave are tasteless buggers. 😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉

    • 7
      15

      Thanks Dr. Amarakeerti,
      Yes lets congratulate and celebrate the achievements of the Sri Lankan Diaspora, but also lets remember that the Sinhala Buddhist Diaspora has been WEAPONIZED against the interest of Sri Lankans at this time.
      USA is the biggest rogue state in the world and the Rajapakse brothers are its agents.
      This is why the Kerawelapitiya power plant has been sold to the US New Fortress so that Lanka can provide LNG to the US war machine in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka’s national and energy security is being japodised with sale of Trinco tanks to another QUAD member.
      Sri Lanka’s first Family are US citizens and they work for the US military business industrial complex, a.k.a. Deep State
      Today US citizens run Sri Lanka’s foriegn policy tooform Moragoda married to a US citizen to the Ambassador in Japan!
      Kamala Harris whose mother is Indian Tamil is used to loot India and turn it into a US colony. The South Asian Diaspora in the US has been weaponized against the interests of Asia, to divide, rule and loot and stage a war on China and sink the rise of Asia as the Growth Hub of the world at this time of Covid-masked Cyber-Maritime-hybrid trade war on Asia by the crashing US empire to make itself great again!

      • 6
        12

        The ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhist Diaspora has been WEAPONIZED against Sri Lanka by the US Deepstate.
        USA is the biggest rogue state in the world and the US citizen Rajapakse brothers are its agents.
        This is why the Kerawelapitiya power plant has been sold to the New Fortress so that Lanka can provide enegy to the US war machine in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka’s national and energy security is being japodized with sale of Trinco tanks to another QUAD member. The Colombo port west terminal to Adani which is really owned by US hedge fund Black Rock. Much of this is done with a Covid-19 mask and lock downs to stop protests and meeting and to destroy education. This is the real purpose of the Covid-19 numbers game – Biopolitics and control of society and populations. Please read Michel Foucault’s lectures “Society Must be Defended” and also use them in your classes at Pera to deconstruct the Covid hoax, Dr. Amarakeerti. Thanks

        • 4
          0

          Curiously enough, the girl on the right, though she looks Sri Lankan, is of Indian origin. The more African-looking girl is Sri Lankan Gimhani.

          • 4
            0

            Ye are a keen obsever of young gals, OC! :))

            • 1
              0

              Nimal,
              One has one’s little foibles, you see! I wonder what Native’s and Eagle’s are?

    • 0
      0

      That MEDAMULANA Namal Rajapakshe is doing it like his father.
      .
      Please listen to the gentleman Lawyer, Namal Rajapakshe reveals it as no others. That is what I always believed in abou tso called ECONOMY GROWTH … during MR regime number 01.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwQvNuYyM10
      .
      Not even JVP stood against what NIVARD CABRAL added, that is why I then thought, JVP dont seem to have senior men to bring constructive arguments.
      :
      This Gentleman Namal Rajapakshe is telling the mere TRUTH. Please let that be discussed on CT.
      .

  • 14
    2

    Liyanage Amarakeerthi is bold, but the revelation is old!
    .
    Here is the gist of his proof: The Family has not sued Weiss for tarnishing its name!

  • 23
    2

    Singhalese people are great philosophers. They philosophize thus loudly: he is a thief and he is a thief but our thief is the best. The Rajapakshes are the jewels of the Singhalese Crown. Their excrement is aromatic to these peanut brains.

    • 6
      1

      HP,

      why is that ?

      Are people stupidier than appeared to be ?

      Why are the Cheevaradhariyas silent yet today ?

      Ghansara has come forward again, but his arguments are not powerful this time.
      :

  • 19
    1

    I was delighted to read this article. It brought back many happy memories of the times I visited there on assignments I carried out for WHO. And had the good fortune to work with those great people in in Serowe and several other villages. I too have tremendous affection for Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth.
    As for Namal Rajapakse he does not have the right to mention the word Botswana and sully the good name of that corruption-free and beautiful country. Botswana the country with a pristine environment protecting all its wild life. The environment which the he and his family are successfully destroying in our own precious land. His family which takes infant baby elephants away from their mothers while still breastfeeding and keeping them in their own homes for their amusement as pets.

  • 22
    0

    Interesting article and the excerpt from “The Cage” which rings true even a decade later. One thing I notice about Sri Lankan dynasties and its political class in general is that they all have similarities, in that none genuinely love their country’s welfare as opposed to their own grand visions of personal or familial enrichment. All pretenders to the throne are egotistic and self-centred. None have the virtues of statesmanship the article mentions about Botswana’s former king. Crown princes in SL are rampant philanderers and celebrity women are part of the conquests they parade as privilege of royal descent, for the gaping hoi-polloi to fantasize about while eating humble pie with even basic food staples becoming out of reach. After all, slaves feel privileged to witness sprawling high rise buildings, wide super highways and other gross objects like grotesque towers.

  • 26
    0

    Forbes Releases Top 10 Richest Politicians In Sri Lanka In 2018.
    10. A. L. M. Athaullah – $810,000
    9. Ranil Wickremesinghe – $830,000
    8. A. H. M. Fowzie – $1.1million
    7. Anura Kumara Dissanayaka – $1.3 million
    6. Chandrika Kumaratunga – $1.4 Million
    5. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan – $1.7million
    4. Arumugam Thondaman – $1.9million
    3. Maithripala Sirisena – $14million
    2. Arjuna Ranatunga – $68 million
    1. Mahinda Rajapaksa – $18 Billion

    Mara’s loot is mainly held in cryptocurrency. Namal is in charge. Note his trips to Dubai and Tokyo. Vaule has increased substantially since 2018.

    • 0
      0

      I think this is not correct ……… surely, nos 4 to 10 are much richer than these figures.

  • 22
    0

    Prof, what Gordon Weiss said then has come true (much worse ) word to word even after 12 years. It is not just him New York times, Panama files , Pandora papers, honest local journalist (Lasantha) and many more said it. It,s a tragicomedy when people the victims give excuses for the accused for their corruptive behaviors there by enabling and worse keep re-electing due to their own immorality.

  • 27
    0

    Namal is not just immature but a fool,who wants to stand apart from rest of the clan, coming into his own .Amidst self publicity in social media, ends up making stupid laughable statements.

    • 22
      0

      Prof, in my opinion Lanka has hit the bottom where there is no hope or recovery ,as in Botswana. Corruption, crime, immorality and dishonesty, are now witnessed extensively in every sphere of society. Starting from the top including President, P.M, ministers, most parliamentarians, judiciary, police, civil servants, religious heads, prelates, businessman, sports, lawyers, doctors, health officials, the list goes on. To make things worse, if anyone from India, Pakistan, or even China, is asked about prevailing corruption, they will readily admit. Where as typical egoistic Lankan will say, ” yes but not as bad as India / Pakistan/ Botswana. When a person has no insight or judgment into their own illness ,what is the chance of a recovery ???. Today clown Bandula admitted to recent “Garlic scam” and said in parliament this was the first ??? under his watch (when get caught red hand , doesn’t every thief say the same) but there were mega ones during RW/MS time, which are being investigated by CID”. This is corrupt Lanka for you.

    • 7
      0

      Lankan tragicomedy, Nadesan claimed he and his wife are absolutely innocent, Mahinda claimed all Rajapaksa politicians are innocent and unaware of the central bank heist. He further alleged, Nirupama (poor thing) is unaware any of Nadesan’s business activities. Sir. Gotha on his part called for immediate investigation by Bribery Commission. Nadesan requested a commission lead by a retired senior judge ASAP who can clear their names. (funny isn’t it , when accused nominates his own commission). But young Namal went a step ahead trying to outsmart those senior Rajapaksas by disowning Nirupama altogether saying, ” family sentiment and family politics should not be confused as one, Nirupama is not here (politics) and she not one among us, we are not accountable for any wealth brought in by Nadesan”. Didn’t I say he is desperate to standout of the rest and be identified, but end up making silly laughable statements.

    • 0
      5

      There’s hope for Namal yet, as long as he distances himself from The Family. He must join up the JVP and people to get a wider experience.

  • 11
    0

    Profesuri
    People like you should get into politics to change the fate of the country

    • 1
      0

      Dilshan,
      Why do you want to hurt Prof. Liyanage Amarakeerthi. His intelligence is that which keeps him away from politics.

  • 15
    0

    My old man used to say , ” how little things , please little minds ” !

    • 0
      0

      ????,
      So the ‘old man’ is the Pundit; Not you.
      What is your name?

  • 13
    0

    Wow, Dr.Amarakeerthi, what a nice advice to Namal? Looking at what he does he will never adopt the way you described. The first thing he did as a minister, appoint his father & mother in laws to top posts in the govt. And don’t forget the Krish deal. I think Rajapaksas’ will be done after the next election and you probably find them in the USA. What they are not aware is that every action has a reaction.

  • 1
    2

    Botswana is not as bad as Sri lanka in many regards, but it has its own dirty laundry also.
    Look up the atrocities and ongoing genocide of the first nations khoisan people there.

  • 2
    2

    Prof. Liyanage Amarakeerthi: I know you are very close to Anurakumara Dissanayake of JVP/NPP. In fact, I saw you speaking at his meetings during the Presidential Elections.

    Could you please direct your attention to the comment made by “Sarath P” wherein he refers to a “Forbes Research” and say that Anurakumara Dissanayake ranks No. 7 among “10” richest politicians in Srilanka with a net worth of “$ 1.3 million”.

    Do you have any information on this “Forbes Research”? Please respond. Thank you.

  • 10
    0

    Why do we have remorse when a person of greatness passes away? It is not atomic science. There is a secret feeling in our hearts that makes us sense that we have lost something. It is not the money we have been receiving from his/her bank account. The loss of the pride, which we all enjoyed by his service for humanity makes all of us feel lost. We applaud a sportsman, we are greeting an actor, we are greeting a beauty queen…… Because we all feel a victory of ours in those instances. The Lankawe Crown Prince deprived him of his feeling of pride by passing the law exam. He never can feel the pride of a sincere victory in a competition because he is only the symbol of theft & burglary. The same way the crown prince stole a law degree, his Thathi King and Uncle King imprisoned Ponny to claim that they won the war, after all it was 32 nations who won the war.
    The student who brought to light how the Crown Prince passed the exam was forced into a depressed person and chased out of the country. Lankawe’s feeling of proudness is bogus because it is the nation installed standardization to legally steal other man/woman’s credits.

  • 10
    0

    During the start of LTTE time, when a Tamil (Jaffna) girl was trying to compete from Ceylon for the world title, she was forced to leave for the UK. When she returned, Anura, then Crown Prince & CBK’s brother, started to visit Jaffna frequently by bribing Duraiappa. Tigers ended Anura’s trips by ending Duraiappa’s job. Proud is not something you rush in front to steal others victory. Stolen pride using racism doesn’t fill one’s heart with happiness. It is only hypocrisy acting! If this young woman had completed in Lankawe, she would have been a Susanthika.
    Gimhani Perera’s might deserve double congratulation because she even had beaten any possible rejection that might have been there in Botswana because of her not being that land’s daughter. Thanks, Botswana, for your broad heart for honoring another mother’s daughter like your own child!

  • 2
    0

    My understanding was that, the government failed to recognise or make a comment of popularity of SL young singer Yohini in a timely manner, but lately with the opposition pressure government is making plans to recognise her talent and instant popularity. No doubt our politicians have a very soft corner for beauty queens and in general for beauties

  • 4
    0

    Has Narmal Baby and co have already gone to Botswana to greet the winning beauty. This idiot has a long way to go still I doubt he will grow.

  • 3
    0

    Heartening to see that a lovely Lankan girl has got appreciated in a noble, dignified, and gracious land like Botswana. And our miserable Lankans are in shock and awe. Where is the Miss Teen contest Sri Lanka? No, our Lankans are too perverse for that. And they can’t even appreciate the beauty, innocence, and creativity of Yohani.

  • 4
    0

    Is the Beauty Queen getting an Invitation to Sri Lanka for a Special Visit or is the Crown Prince going to Botswana on an Official Visit?

    • 0
      0

      Muhandiram,
      Seeni Bole is in semi-retirement now, so no hope!!

  • 0
    1

    Namal seems to be viewing things with a wider spectrum. That augurs well for the future.
    Hope he does this to political matters too in addition to Beauty pageants?

  • 2
    0

    The beauty pagent of Sri Lanka is
    Gota Rajapaksa
    Mahinda Rajapaksa
    Basil Rajapaksa
    Namal Rajapaksa
    Ranil Wicrkemasinghe
    Sajit Premadasa

    First They will do there cat walk in Sri Lankan National Dress
    Followed by cat walks as follows;
    Muslim ethnic dress
    Tamil ethnic dress
    Catholic ethnic Dress
    after impressing the hand selected judges across the above ethnic rainbow
    they will do their catwalk in Bikinis (perish the thought)

    will the day come when they will be chased away naked!

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