Friday, 8 January 2016

In Defence of Mahinda Rajapakse.

The government formed by Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickramasinghe and Chandrika Kumaratung , which they call yahapalanaya, is the worst government in Sri Lanka since Independence in 1948.

It is far from being a democratic government. Democracy is where the view of the majority is respected. Today in Sri Lanka the majority view is swept under the carpet and minority view is presented as the view of the majority by banding together  a set of self seeking ambitious bought over ragtag of politicians from different political parties and calling that a National Government.
 Sri Lanka Presidential election of the 8 January,2015 areas in red  show the votes for Sirisena, and  blue votes for Rajapakse one sees  very well who voted  for Sirisena to defeat Rajapaksa.  The red block in the centre is mostly estate Tamils and Muslims-in Kandy town, Madawala, Akurana etc.

Who voted this government into power ?  The UNP has its block vote which blindly vote for the elephant.  There were school teachers led by a strange Joseph Stalin who voted for the Rs.10,000 to the basic salary which they did not get. Yahapalanayta voters were mainly from  Badulla(54.76 %), Colombo (53%), Kandy (55.57%), Matale (49.84%), Nuwara Eliya(59%), Polonnaruw(50.26%) and Puttalama(50.40%),  where there are a  concentration of Muslims, Tamils, and Catholics. TNA got  69 percent of the Tamil votes in the North.  The difference between the votes of UNP and other parties,  and that of the UPFA votes is 3.28%  Hence the UNP and its allies cannot say that they have a majority of Sinhala votes.  Yahapalanaya won because of the Tamil and Muslim votes.
Map showing Sri Lanka Parliamentary elections  August,2015 ( Green UNP and others), (Blue UPFA) (yellow TNAand Muslim votes) The Yellow-TNA and Muslim votes went to Ranil -Siriseana.
 See who has made Sirisena and Ranil win the elections ?

In fairness to Tamils it should be mentioned that in Jaffna there were a 6% of votes to UPFA at the general election and 21.85 % of votes to Mahinda Rajapakse at the  Presidential election.

Despite all the accusations  against the previous government of Mahinda Rajapakse we hear in TV political debates in Sri Lanka, and at press conferences of Yahupalanaya ministers of the UNP, Tamils, Muslims and the JVP,  the majority of the Sinhala Buddhists have not lost their faith in Mahinda Rajapakse and welcomes a return of a Rajapakse Government.   JVP was rejected by the people- it got only 4.87% votes. The highest percentage they got was in Hambantota  9.98%.  JVP should have been a subject of a Commission of Investigations for their criminal past,

I was in Sri Lanka for one year and travelled the length and beadth of her meeting people from all stations of life, they all praised Mahinda Rajapakse while some who had voted against him for  a change regretted doing so.

I  did not know or have even met the former President Mahinda Rajapakse, but I knew his father when I was working in Galle. He was a very popular political figure in the south. A friendly man  known not only in  Hanbantota but also in Matara and Galle. He was generous  and accessible to all.  Rajapakses were not known as a family that made  money from its political popularity.  They did not force their way into politics but politics came naturally to them through their popularity amoung the people.

Mahinda Rajapakse did not follow his father  into politics, but  he was more or less forced into it. In fact it was as a result of a request made by his mother to  Sirimavo Bandaranayake that he had to enter politics. Mahinda Rajapakse was an  assistant librarian at the  Vidyodaya University when his father died.  After the death of his father Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranayake wanted Chamal Rajapakse  to be the SLFP Organiser for Beliatta.  But Chamal’s mother did not want him as the eldest son of the family to take to politics and requested Sirismavo Bandaranayake to instead appoint Mahinda Rajapakse as the Beliatta Organser of SLFP.
It was then that Mahinda had to give up a probable carrier as a film star to take up politics;  He entered the Law College, contested the elections and  at 24 years of age was elected to Parliament in 1970.

Therefore those who accuse Mahinda Rajapaksa as a corrupt politician should take note that he was not a man who came with a  blown ambition to become a politicians to enrich himself and his family.

However, once he took to politics he gave all his  strength and time to make the best of it to make ancient heritage of Sri Lanka reappear and make it a better place for all its people.  From the beginning Mahinda Rajapakse the young politician faced impossible challenges.  He was involved in a Mulkirigala murder case.  He was imprisoned.  He attended his mothers funeral under police escort.  Later he was released. He lost in the 1977 Parliamentary elections, and in 1984 by-elections of the Beliatta seat.

He organised and participated in a protest march against the UNP Government in 1987. He became a human rights activist taking the subject of disappearances of  youth in the south between 1988 and 89.  Sri Lanka was  a  dictatorship under UNP leader JR Jayawardhane.  Mahinda fearlessly volunteered to take the case of Sri Lanka’s violation of human rights by JR Jayawardhne’s UNP rule to Human Rights Council in Geneva. He was recognised for his human rights activities in India and was recompensated by Vishva Bharathi University of Culcutta . 

Mahinda Rajapakse came back to Parliament in 1989.

Though Mahinda Rajapakse and his Armed Forces are being accused for violation of human rights by, international criminality fostering USA , and the West now, Mahind championed human rights in Sri Lanka way back in nineteen eightees.

Without his Parliamentary responsibilities Mahinda Rajapaksa  became an active SLFP political figure. He Organised the “pada yatra” from Colombo to Kataragama from 16 March to 2 April, 1992. Even then Mahinda Rajapakse was fighting against then UNP Governments privatisation policies, calling for a Commission of Inquiry on disappearance in the South and payment of compensation, against cost of living and asking for a settlement of   the terrorism in the North and east.  That won him the reddish brown ( kurakkan coloured )shawl he wears even to day.

That marked him as a remarkable political leader of the SLFP.  It also became the reason for the  political rivalry between  him and Chandrika Kumaratunga.  Chandrika Kumaratunga saw her assumed importance by being a “Bandaranaike”, and her political manoeuvres, being overshadowed by Mahinda Rajapakse. 

Mahinda Rajapakse was infact pioneering the  implementation of  the much needed reforms to make Sri Lanka  continue the  changes that were initiated by SWRD Bandaranayake to which his late father  too had contributed. 

That was the beginning of what he later proposed and implemented as the Mahinda Chintanaya- a remarkable development programme never thought of by a previous political leader, except perhaps by Dr.N.M.Perera as a Ten Year Plan.

Chandrika did not have that vision to develop Sri Lanka, and the progressive ideas of Mahinda Rajapakse became the reason of her intense  jealousy, which has made her a traitor to her father’s positive political moves, to join with impossible political partners like Ranil Wickramasinghe to  sell Sri Lanka to the west, having put as President a gullible Sirisena.

The People’s alliance government was set up by Chandrika in 1994.  Mahinda Rajapakse became its Minister of Labour and Vocational Training.  Mahinda did not stay satisfied by Ministerial power, but he began implementing his pet ideas for the development of Sri Lanka.  As the Minister of Labour he proposed a Workers’ Charter seeking to establish trade union rights, a wages commission, social security, training institute for trade unions , and adjudication of industrial disputes. Chandrika as the President opposed it.  However, Mahinda Rajapakse instituted the Vocational Training Authority in 1995 to recognise the needs of unemployed youth.

Mahinda Rajapakse went further  with his positive ideas proposing a Hospital for Worker unfortunately  President Chandrika Kumaratunga did not see the positive aspect of Mahinda’s proposals.  Thereafter he was made the Minister of Fisheries in 1997.  There he planned to help the fishermen  by proposing a housing scheme for them, and he strengthened the industrial base of fisheries.  Mahind the Minister of Industries also set up a University of Oceanography-Sagara Vishva Vidyalaya,  a Coastal Guard Unit, and gazetted the construction of the Hambantota Harbour.  That was in 2001.

In 2002 When Ranil Wickramasinghe became the Prime Minister,  Rajapakse became the leader of the Opposition. 

In 2004 United People’s Freedom Alliance formed a Government.  Mahinda Rajapakse was appointed the Prime Minister,  though Chandrika and JVP favoured Lakshman Kadirgamar as the Prime Minister.

Then Mahinda Rajapakse’s political carrier needed taking another hurdle.  It came about when he was elected at the Presidential Election of 2005.  The terrorist played a decisive role in previous Presidential elections of Sri Lanka, mainly because the Sinhala votes were (and continue to be) unfortunately divided.  If the Sinhala Buddhists one day stand together then there is every reason for a  progressive government  to come into power,  over UNP block votes and Tamil and Muslim votes. The bane of Sri Lanka is that the Sinhala Buddhists have failed to come together to support a progressive patriotic government.

Everything said and done Sinhala Buddhists are an example of a people able to integrate with other communities and live amicably with them.  It had always been the Tamils and Muslims who came only part of the way with the Sinhala Buddhists, but did not go a distance further  to integrate with the Sinhala Community. They have a complex short of being patriots and hence opt for separation from the Sinhala Buddhists. 

Therefore on National issues one does not know which way these two Communities will turn.  Even during terrorism except for a handful of Muslims,  the Muslim Community kept respectfully  away from military operations against terrorism. The worst is that they can be destructive forces, such as terrorism by Tamils, and  clearing up land reserves by bulldozing  or clear forest areas  without respect to ancient Buddhist ruins to make settlements for Muslims.  There should be a minimum of respect for those that are held sacred by the Buddhist Communities.

Therefore,  the Tamils and Muslims unable to do as they wish under a strong Sinhala Buddhist leader would vote against him, in preference to a weak leader who is  prepared to give in for the sake of maintaining his  political power.

If Mahinda Rajapakse had not been elected as the President in 2005, we would still be fighting terrorism and hundreds no, but thousands may have been massacred.  Perhaps the International Community may have intervened to set up a separate Tamil State in the North.

Mahinda Rajapakse is a great political leader of Sri Lanka even better than SWRD Bandaranaike-who  brought Sri Lanka on to the real path of Independence in 1956, while  UNP wished to remain with  the umbilical cord of Independence attached to UK and the West ( as Ranil’s UNP still craves for the lost umbilical cord ).

Mahinda Rajapakse will  remain in the memory of the Nation not only for the elimination of terrorism, but also keeping the SLFP alive when JR Jayawardhana disabled SLFP as a political force. 

Mahinda Rajapakse organised pada yatra and  took letters of violation of human rights by JR Jayawardhane’s UNP government to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.  Mahinda Rajapakse was also an active Minister of Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government, and brought very important proposals for the workers, unemployed youth, protection of human rights etc. which have been already discussed above.

Mahinda Rajapakse did not enter politics planned to make his living out of it.  His family had enough  for him to live his life even with out an employment.  But when he came to politics he wanted to give of his best for the country. His determination when he was elected as the President was to eliminate terrorism and continued to develop the country  rid it of fear of  the underworld mafia, give the people full employment and a respectable standard of living, peace and security.

He wanted to extend non-alignment with diplomatic ties with different countries of the world. In the ambition he had for his country to make it rise above underdevelopment, he never wanted his name connected with any form of  corruption, because he knew that his opponents will await such opportunities to make him unpopular amoung the people as it happened to Anagaraika Dhammapala.  The enemies could be so strong that they could make any innocent person seem guilty of corruption.  He did not want to fall into that trap and kept his eyes open, therefore, to-day  his opponents have a hard time to prove him guilty of any offence.

Despite all the work he did to keep the SLFP as an important political party, sacrificing his time and risking his life, he did not believe that the ordinary members of SLFP, other than Chandrika Kumaratunga who came later to join SLFP from elsewhere, would turn out to be traitors to him later.

Mahinda Rajapakse was accused for all types of corruption, such as opening a special account to develop Hambantota.  But there had been open Bank accounts which could have been checked and examined by any one.  There are also accusations made by the worst war criminals of the world against Sri Lanka for the way the terrorism was ended.

Mahinda Rajapakse was an experienced , astute politician.  He after elimination of terrorism and developed the country to a great extent saw that remaining structural , economic, and social development  he had envisioned for Sri Lanka could be completed by him by keeping the same development spirit and speed alive without allowing it to sag.

Mahinda Rajapakse foresaw that if the administration of the country were to change hands that would be the end of the progressive development of the country, and that new ideas and new methods of handling development would be disastrous. From what is taking place today  with the  Change of governments it is proof of Mahainda Rajapakse’s fears, and therefore no body would  blame him for seeking a third term in office to complete what he had started.

Ranil Wickramasinghe after returning from Massachusetts University  in USA told the press that he learnt to topple governments. That exactly is what he did and carried out the instructions of his learned American lecturers to the letter, some of them perhaps ancient members of CIA.  Soon after “ change of Regime” Ranil Wickramasinghe set up his CID, where a politician or any one connected with Mahinda Rajapakse was taken for questioning but does not return back but is put straight into the remand jail.

Ranil Wickramasinghe  re established the Bribery Commission and set up  the Presidents Crimes Investigation Commission. Since Srirsena –Ranil came into power after removal of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, there had been nothing new happening in the country, other than  taking those claimed  corrupt by UNP and JVP,  to the FCID and the Commissions. This is not what the people wanted from a change of Regime, but  that is what Ranil and UNP, Chandrika and Sirisena consider  important as they are the means to make the names of Rajapakse’s   bitter as poison to people.

UNP Parliamentarians when they have no valid arguments blame Rajapakses and call them names. The other day at a political debate “Balaya” in TV Derana, two representative from UNP (Harin Fernando and Ajith Manamperuma) had no answers for questions raised by the opposing participants, compared Mahinda Rajapakse to Sadam Husain, and  Idi Amin.  This is the low standard of TV debates in Sri Lanka TV.

Mahinda Rajapakse  should be held in respect even by his political opponents, as he is the man- the political leader, who brought peace and security to Sri Lanka and united the country under one flag.

They even exhumed a body of a Rugger player to involve a member of the Rajapakse family in his death.  The FCID so upset that it has  not been able  for one whole year to accuse  a single person for one thing or another, it may soon begin “cooking evidence” to loose face, and avoid anger of Ranil Wickramasinghe who came so well educated for toppling government by an American University.

Another accusation against the President Mahinda Rajapakse was that his was a one family regime, meaning that he had all his brother , nieces and son in Parliament holding key posts.
This he could not have avoided as some of them were elected to Parliament by popular vote. 
His younger brother who was a retired Colonel who had experience fighting against the terrorists was made his Defence Secretary.  That was a question of trust. 

Mahinda Rajapakse could not have the same trust with most of the members of the SLFP with whom he worked.  Maithripala Sirisena  the Secretary General of SLFP  turnd a traitor by joining the political party UNP he opposed all his life to become the rival Presidential candidate.  There were others like Siripala de Silva, Rajitha Senaratne, Duminda Siva, Sarath Amunugama, S.B.Dissanayake, Mahind Samarasinghe and several other that turned their backs to Mahinda Rajapakse at the first opportunity that came their way.

Therefore as a President Mahinda Rajapakse had to have around him  persons he could trust. He was therefore lucky to have had with him brothers who were qualified and some elected into Parliament by the people. Not even the CIA Agents in the USA University where Ranil Wickramasinghe studied could find any fault in that, because even John Kennedy had his brother Robert as his Attorney General.

No President in a country is free from blame. He cannot look into every thing and , his powers are delegated, and the failure on the part of those to whom power has been delegated should not be put to the President. Persons like Mervyn Silva should have been sent out some say while others say that the Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne should have been asked to retire, and yet others ask why Ananda Sarath Kumara a North Western Province Counciller who forced a teacher to kneel before the pupils was not sacked from the party. But can these be taken as serious offences committed by  the President ?

The Avant Guard case is the failure of the media to understand what the issue was all about.  There was no offence committed, and Gotabhaya Rajapakse explained it very well at the outset and nobody of those who accused him had not even listened to him.  

The fact remains that Mahind Rajapakse or his family members have not committed any offence, and the effort of Ranil’s police force is to accuse them at any cost to give  a bad name to Rajapakse family and see them out of politics,  even if the accusations cannot be  proved against them.

However number of accusations are made and no matter how many times any one of the Rajapakse’s are taken to FCID, Bribery Commission or the Presidential Crime Investigation Commission (with new powers) , and even if they are arrested on “ cooked evidence’ , Mahinda Rajapakse and his  family will remain  loved and respected by the ordinary Sinhala Buddhist people of Sri Lanka for ever and for generations to come.

No comments: