21 August, 2019

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The “Terminator” Was Chosen For A Different Reason

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera | Finance Minister

Earlier today, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the presidential candidate for his family’s new political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). For weeks he refused to confirm the circulating rumours about who the candidate would be. I have known Mahinda Rajapaksa for many years. We worked together side-by-side in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) under President Kumaratunga. We fought campaigns together and we won elections together. I have served in his Cabinet.

When I left Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government in 2006, he was a different man than I had once known. As President, his priority had become enriching, protecting and empowering his own family, not his country. Once upon a time, he was a true son of the soil, and a man whose heart beat as one with the ordinary citizens of Sri Lanka.

I wondered, after he was defeated in January 2015 by over 400,000 votes, and retreated to Medamulane, whether he had reflected and learnt a lesson from the error of his ways. I wondered if he regretted putting his family in charge of the state machinery and standing idly by as the nation’s coffers were robbed dry, and our journalists were bundled into white vans never to be seen again. I wondered if he regretted buttressing his political position by inciting racial hatred across Sri Lanka, first against Tamils, and later against Muslims.

In October 2018, when he conspired to orchestrate a coup d’état and illegally seize power, I realized that these were not the lessons he learned. The rule of law meant nothing to him. Democracy was only a buzzword to thunder from a stage. When Parliament stood against him, he had his minions try to destroy Parliament. It was only when the courts had the courage to stand up to him that Mahinda Rajapaksa finally aborted his coup and backed down.

Today I realized the terrible truth about what Mahinda Rajapaksa has really learned during his time in opposition. He does not feel that he gave his family too much power. He clearly believes that he did not give his family enough power. He does not feel that his merry men pilfered one too many million rupees or public money. He believes there is more left to milk dry. He does not feel that he terrorized this country too much. He clearly believes that he did not terrorize this country enough. He is not worried that he overly threatened the independence of the judiciary. He believes he should not have allowed any independence in the judiciary at all.

He does not regret the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda, the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge or the abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr and countless other journalists. He wants any remaining independent journalists to know that if they cross the man who committed those crimes, they will be next.

These are the lessons that Mahinda Rajapaksa has learnt. If not, he would not have announced today as his presidential candidate, a man who is on trial in two courts, one for corruption of over Rs 11 billion, and another for stealing over Rs 33 million in our taxpayer rupees to build a statue of his parents. He would not have announced as his chosen successor the man who has gloated about the murders of journalists, who has jailed real war heroes like Sarath Fonseka, and who has tried to bend the judiciary to his will.

After nearly five years in opposition, if Mahinda Rajapaksa’s message to the people is that one of his brothers should be president, he himself should be prime minister, another brother should be Speaker, a fourth brother put in charge of the economy and his son put in place as his chosen successor, that tells us all we need to know: in the mind of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka, its land and its people are destined to be the private property of the Rajapaksa family.

Sadly, there are many Sri Lankans, whose hatred for certain segments of our country, in particular religious and ethnic minorities, lead them to gravitate towards the vision of the Rajapaksa family. They will gladly be second class citizens in a Rajapaksa family dynasty, so long as Tamils, Muslims, Christians and others are forced to live as third-class citizens. Others will support the Rajapaksas out of greed, or to escape prosecution for the sins of their part.

From an electoral standpoint, it never mattered who the Rajapaksa candidate for president was. That is my feeling about the announcement of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. I am personally ashamed on behalf of my country to have to concede that for the first time in our history, a serious frontrunner for president is an alleged criminal whose very citizenship of this country is in question. But the question never was “will it be a Rajapsaksa?”. No. It was always “which Rajapaksa will it be?”.

Truth be told, the entire family represents thuggery, corruption, deception and a flagrant disdain for democratic values and independent institutions. The candidate is a figurehead. The choice of Gotabaya had nothing to do with trying to win more votes. If at all, such a choice would diminish their electoral prospects among liberal voters and minorities. The “terminator” was chosen for a different reason: to terrify the media, police officers, judges and public servants with a simple message: cross us at your peril.

It is a desperate tactic. It will fail. Politics is a distance runner’s race, not a sprint. The person at the front of the pack in a marathon rarely wins the race. Only amateurs jump up in front. What Mahinda Rajapaksa has done is shown the entire country, many months before an election, what his priorities are, what his assets are, and where his loyalties lie. The answers? Rajapaksas, Rajapaksas and Rajapaksas.

The next president of Sri Lanka will not be Gotabaya Rajapaksa or any Rajapaksa. The next president of this country will not be an alleged criminal who has the blood of countless journalists and innocents on their hands. Our next president will be a Sri Lankan citizen, born in Sri Lanka who never fled this country or swore allegiance to another land. The next president of Sri Lanka will be the person democratically selected by the United National Party and its allies to stand on a platform of democracy, safeguarding the judiciary, public service and other independent institutions and putting ordinary citizens before any family. Our candidate will be the next president of Sri Lanka. Who is our candidate?

He is the man who will unite the forces of transparent, secular, liberal democracy across our country, who will go toe-to-toe with any number of Rajapaksas and their white vans, will rally the people of Sri Lanka against tyranny and oppression, and will win.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    0

    Hey Magala,
    People of this country chased out MR and his gang of thieves and elected Sirisena-Ranil government to make this country a better place to live. But what did you do? instead of punishing the crooks and murderers, you collided with them & robbed us in “wholesale”, leaving us in destitute. Now Sri Lankans two choices, either to elect a dictator and his gang of thieves or good for nothing you fellows who are even bigger crooks.

  • 10
    19

    Gota is million times better than this Mon’gala. Gota can reunite the country and even minority groups will soon realise that person like him can develop the country which in turn will all living in it so they also will support him.
    Mongala and Ranil tried there best to sell the country to their US masters but luckily MS had some guts to control that. People are realising that for the country to develop it needs real leaders who has a backbone and not rainbow boy chasers who only think about themselves ways to loot the country.

  • 7
    0

    UNP has either forgotten their list of promises made at the last Presidential Election or subsequent General Elections which followed same in 2015. They have proved their ambiguity and clearly demonstrated their corrupt and dishonest tendencies in governance even surpassing the MR and his cohorts. Starting from Central Bank heist followed by collecting commissions and striking various financial deals in Govt. business not second to MR. by the very Ministers in RW government. Some Ministers publicly announced that criminals, crooks and fraudsters will not be brought before the law, besides people have observed the family members and friends were making it the best of times and for the rest of the
    poor majority had in fact the worst of times which they never bargained when voting them to power. Now the Electorate is earnestly waiting to see what the two Parties are going to promise at the coming Presidential Election. Of course Law enforcement against the criminals and fraudsters will not be even a passing comment in their manifestos. In this back drop can these two parties promise to
    reinstate Law and order and justice to all citizens. You can still fool some of the people some of the while, for your credit you have fool all the people for some of the while, but I think you will not be able to fool even the ‘ some ‘ you have been fooling
    all this while. Like MR you all can reiterate that country gets first, second and even the third preference in all matters and you may add the religion too.

  • 6
    2

    The UNP suffers from a Curse. That curse is the reason Mahinda learnt the lessons outlined in this article. The other day Ranil came before the PSC. He was asked over and over again about what Sirisena did to him regarding the security council meetings etc. leading up to the Easter Sunday attacks. He had the perfect stage to finally come out swinging and teach that nasty scoundrel the president a good lesson. But what did he do hem and haw and refuse to be drawn into any type of condemnation of the president. Now let me try to figure out why he was so reluctant to give up the president who so clearly bears the blame of the killing of over 250 innocent people. Is it because he needs to cooperate with the president out of fear he will dissolve parliament. He displayed on that occasion the very reason people do not like him as a leader. Too much devious scheming too little bold leader ship and your own party wont back you. That is the sad state he has left the UNP in. He is however the only leader capable of fulfilling Sobitha thero’s vision of abolishing the presidency but he will bungle it up due to his own actions. We will instead end up a vassal state of China ruled by an iron fisted dictator.

  • 5
    2

    Gotler, the terminator and his near and extended family and their gang would terminate the people and the country for good.

  • 10
    1

    Mr Samaraweera,
    You were spotted enjoying yourself at Rocket Rohitha’s wedding?
    EXPLAIN YOURSELF FIRST!

    • 0
      0

      he went for the cake and to eat it too.Also rocket rohitha is cute unlike the rest.

  • 1
    5

    Great words from a very good man. There is only one person I can think of ,that is the current Speaker. Definitely not RW. Sri Lankan should encourage televised debate among the candidate as what they stand for and what policies they will bring etc ,etc.

    • 1
      0

      soam:
      Let me drop a few drops of rain on your parade: who took 18 members of the UNP across the floor to Mahinda Rajapaksa, giving that worthy the majority necessary to establish the most draconian government in post-independence Sri Lankan history, then returning alone to be treated by a servile right-wing media as some kind of “Hero?” Since you need reminding it was Karu Jayasuriya, the current Speaker. Among those who participated in all of that was his son-in-law Who is now the National Organizer for the UNP? That man at least can claim he has the generational credentials as a turn-coat, going back to his grandfather, “Silverdale mudalali” who was the first “jumper” in that lot!
      What past sin did this country commit to be faced with these Hobson’s Choices?!!

      • 0
        0

        emil

        you are right and the stupid people are talking of him as the presidential candidate.

  • 1
    0

    However, people don’t like Sri Lanka goes to one family, we don’t need Saudi tradition in our Motherland that country is ruled by one family for decades.

    I show the stage is fully occupied with MR family members.

  • 2
    0

    Mangala calls ‘A Spade A Spade’.
    He is the only politician of note who called the sacking of Ranil on 26 October 2018 a coup d’état.
    Here he is calling a family ‘Terminators’. Some may call the family much worse unparliamentary names. There will be some who worship the family as ‘Heroic Angels’.
    Mangala has called ‘A Mamoty A Mamoty’.
    .
    Please Mangala, tell us your assessment of Gnanasara Thera and his BBS_Buddhism.
    PS: Gnanasara is venerated by the ‘Terminators’.

  • 2
    0

    very good article by mangala.he sums it up well.A man who knows the inner working machinery in politics after being in it for 30 years.Always a lucky man.Whoever he supports wins.

  • 1
    0

    Excellent article, very well written and the facts exposed and the truth reiterated. SL has never learnt from it’s past and whilst other nations and it’s leaders envision progress and growth our leaders only focus on amassing wealth and prosperity for their kith & kin

  • 0
    0

    Looks like there are still some people who like to believe this fellow. They still don’t get how they were duped by the fake “yahapalanaya” sloganeering and rhetoric orchestrated by Mangala. The statement Mangy made in parliament saying MR has robbed US$ 18 billion and stashed it in Dubai banks would be good enough for even any child to discard this bugger’s tall tales to the list of fairy tales that his/her mother tells during bed time. If anyone wants a second opinion ask Sarath Fonseka who has first hand experience of Mangy’s BS as the “common” candidate during 2010 presidential campaign.

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