By Primus Salgado –
The recent outburst by Sri Lankan President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa came as no surprise to many including the International community. It was only a matter of time before he was going back to his hitherto concealed inner voice and persona. Nandasena Gotabaya is out of his depth in high office. He does not have what it takes to hold such a position bestowed upon him with humility, dignity, and benevolence. Political office is a trust placed upon a person for a brief period of time. The quicker it messes with the head the sooner the fall. The greater disappointment which brought forth was the lack of intelligence in the man. Who in his right mind other than a street thug (let alone a President of a democratic nation) would publicly threaten to kill someone?
It is moot to point out that Nandasena Gotabaya held the position of Secretary of Defence when the LTTE was vanquished. Prabakaran was killed in May of 2009. Gotabaya and Mahinda made ceratin that the plums of victory were not to be shared with anyone else. Sarath Fonseka would know best. Nandasena Gotabaya strode untrammelled through his term as Secretary (till Mahinda was defeated in 2015) with gusto trampling anyone and everyone along his path since he had the military might with him.
Recall the attempt by Mahinda and Gotabaya to cling on to power on the dreaded night they realised that defeat was facing them? It was through a very reliable source who was present at Temple Trees on that fateful day that I learnt of the shenanigans that went on to turn the tide from defeat to cling on to power. Perhaps Donald Trump took a leaf from that book. When the then-Attorney General refused to go along with Mahinda, the towel was thrown in but not before he refused to appeal to Maithripala Sirisena for enhanced security preferring to do such with Ranil Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe who came to Temple Trees in haste (quite like he did when President Premadasa was killed) conferred with Maithripala Sirisena on the telephone in allowing Mahinda to have his request granted for hundreds of additional security. All the while Nandasena Gotabaya was wringing his hands in a corner shaking like a leaf in fear. He too made a request to Ranil for hundreds of security which was allowed but at a reasonable level.
It is this same man who is now threatening parliamentarian Harin Fernando with death safely behind an armed military of over three hundred thousand. Probably the parliamentarian got under Nandasena Gotabaya’s self-inflated ego by saying “Sir has failed and five businessmen are running the country for him,” during his speech. One can now surmise what Nandasena Gotabaya would have done when he was out of office and did not have the military at his beck and call. Shaken like a leaf? Run to his big brother crying? More likely, than threatening to eliminate someone. We never heard such strong words from him during the period when Mahinda was out of his office. Therein lies the tale. A cardboard Tarzan who threatens people from behind an army of military men.
Remember Nandasena Gotabaya ranting at an interview with the BBC? “Who is Lasantha? Who is he? he is just one man”
Given his known conduct and the recent outburst at Harin Fernando, can one rule out if he had done some dastardly deeds by using the military when he was riding high as Secretary of Defence? His silly giggle was present once more when he threatened Harin Fernando. Please check when he giggled in this manner before. It was in early 2009.
Lasantha’s daughter Ahimsa has said quite clearly as to why her father was murdered. She says that Lasantha exposed the colossal commission (85%) made by Udayanga Weeratunga and his cohort from Singapore over the purchase of Bombers for the Sri Lankan Air Force. She quotes figures substantiating her assumption relying on sources from the Ukrainian government. Udayanga has turned from villain to hero once the Rajapaksas returned to power. He is also a relative of the current mob. Naturally, the senior politicians of the Pohottuwa are treated like the vassals of the castle and are piqued. But they dare not show dissent. Fear is the key.
The Buddhist monks who were at the forefront in bringing Nandasena Gotabaya into office are unhappy too. Is it because the economy is not doing too well? Is it because there is no overt development in plain sight? Nay, it is because the Sinhala-Buddhist hero has not completely decimated the Muslims, brought Arjuna Mahendren back and traced the bigwigs behind the Easter Sunday bombings. History is replete with stories of cardboard heroes being brought down by the same mob that foisted them into high office.
There is a greater danger facing Sri Lanka. When Nandasena Gotabaya shoots his mouth publicly that he can kill someone like a dog at the BEHEST OF BUDDHIST MONKS some misguided military men may wish to carry out such a task to satisfy their master’s wishes. The powers that be will cover up such deeds done in their name as they require continued armed might to instil fear amongst those who show dissent. That is what happened before but there was a so called “war” being won. The Muslims are not biting the bait to go to war despite being provoked. No guns can be used by the military if there is no retaliation. In fact the Muslims have through fear or cunning decided to support Gotabaya.
Gotabaya is on record that the Mig deal was one which was between the governments of Sri Lanka and Ukraine. He gave such evidence on oath in a court of law. Ali Sabry if he appeared for Gotabaya in that case would know of it. It has now been proved otherwise. Many are aware of it but cannot file action out of fear. Fear as Lasantha’s daughter says is not a proven way to govern. The Army cannot and do not have the training to handle the myriad of administrative requirements of a nation. The public service is trained for such. It is not rocket science. But Nandasena Gotabaya will not do so without the military involvement in every sphere of activity. He does so because the military is easily controlled through the senior officer corps. He does not trust himself in positions unfamiliar to him hence the need to stick within familiar territory. Let us grant him his wish on that score.
Now that his government has lost it’s lustre, his own ranks not singing hosannahs and the Buddhist monks who carried him to the throne showing displeasure with his performance, people who had high expectations are not as fearful to show their anger
It is near impossible to believe that Nandasena Gotabaya does not know who killed Lasantha and thereafter four innocents to cover up the killing nor who tortured Keith Noyahr. It is also impossible to believe that he does not know who assaulted Upali Tennekoon. Can the President of Sri Lanka start from there? Can he annoy his brothers friend Ranil Wickremesighe by bringing to book Arjuna Mahendren, Arjun Aloysius and Ravi K? Incarcerating officers who investigated and questioned him for Lasantha’s murder will not bode well to effectively run a civilian police service. Officers will not work unless orders and written orders at that are issued. Crooked officers will do the President’s bidding for promotions and filty lucre lowering the morale of the service further.
He has publicly admitted that he has two personalities like Jekyll and Hyde. His people must know which role he plays in public so that they can decide when to be free and when to hide.