“I know my capacities and leadership qualities. Therefore, I can prove that military persons can also become good leaders.” says the former secretary to the ministry of defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
“I left the military some years back and then I became an official. I have now been in civilian life for a long time. There is no difficulty for a military person to become a politician. There are enough and more examples in international politics where military persons have turned to be good politicians. But in Sri Lanka most of them proved to be failures. I know my capacities and leadership qualities. Therefore, I can prove that military persons can also become good leaders.” Gotabaya said in an interview with Financial Times today.
Responding to the question; “One Minister recently said you entering into politics would be as a ‘dictator in the making'”, Rajapaksa said; “You see these people make remarks for their political advantages. I have heard this same Minister was promoting Sarath Fonseka to be in Parliament to fill the vacant seat of former MP Gunawardana. Just compare the two statements. On one hand he promotes Fonseka and on the other hand he accuses me of becoming a dictator if I enter into politics. For me, these people just talk with no basis. I also heard him saying I know only to say left and right. It is true because I know what is left and what is right well. But this person has mixed up left, right, north and south and everything.”
When asked about the ongoing discussions to form a new political party by the Rajapaksas and its leadership, Gotabaya said; “Yes, discussions are going on these days to form a new political party but it is not exactly by the Rajapaksas. The idea purely came from the original and true SLFPers, who are thoroughly disappointed and also in the wilderness now that their much-loved party is now in disarray. The SLFPers at grass-roots level have urged us to form a new party for them. However this will be the real SLFP.
“All the original and true SLFPers will rally around this party. The country had the general elections and those who won at the election won because of the hard work of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Those politicians made use of his image to win the elections and get high preferential votes. Remember, those SLFPers who voted for them didn’t want them to join the UNP to form a UNP-led government. They voted for them to form a SLFP government and if not they wanted the SLFP to be the main Opposition. They lost both opportunities and now these SLFPers claim they are lost in politics and they do not have a political party. Once formed, this party will have the cream of the SLFP.
“We have had few rounds of discussions and need to discuss more. When the right time comes, he will take a decision to join the party or guide the party. It is up to him to decide his future with the new party.
“I will be assisting to groom the party. I am not an experienced politician; I hope the party leader will be an experienced politician. As a citizen of this country I have a right to support the political party which I like. Therefore, I am ready to provide any support to build up this new political party, which will lead the true SLFPers in this country.
I believe that the most important factor of a political party is its policies. Today, we see polices of the SLFP are not implemented under this Government. The SLFPers always stood for the country, its unitary status and the country’s war heroes but these policies are challenged under this Government. The SLFP was formed with the support of other communities and represented all communities. They worked together to build the party. The new party is also for the SLFPers from all ethnic groups.”
For the first time he agreed that Fonseka played an important role in the war against the LTTE. He said; “I agree that he played an important role in this mission as the then Army Commander. But the task of ending terrorism was much more than his task as the Army Chief. Without the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the Commander-in-Chief of all forces, no one could move an inch to defeat terrorism. Lots of coordination was done by me. Yes, it was a collective effort that helped the Government end the war in a short period of time.” (By Kavinda Serasinghe © CT)