The Rajapaksa clan and their boot lickers are used to one thing only; hero worship by a gullible public who dubbed one brother, Mahinda, father of the nation. The other, the once “fire and brimstone breathing, tough as nails, Hitler” was the ‘weda karana wiruwa’.
And when he declared his intention to run for the Presidency, soon after the Easter Sunday bombings, they were ecstatic. Their adored family would soon be back in power.
And so they voted in droves, happily ignoring the questionable history of the Rajapaksa history and their years in government; plundering the nation’s wealth, stopping at nothing to silence their opponents. Instead, they lapped up with fervour the anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Sinhala-Buddhist supremist ideology, the conspiracy theories and all other myths that the Rajapaksas’ excel at promoting.
A blinded nation refused to see that the Easter attack of 2019 was politically motivated.
Dual citizens and migrant workers flew home to Sri Lanka to elect their saviour who promised ‘vistas of prosperity’ and a secure nation for future generations.
Now, less than three years after they so joyously welcomed their heroes, the people have risen up.
The Gotabaya government bungled from the start, and right royally too; they made income tax voluntary and abolished value added taxes. A taxation regime that benefited the rich and left the government’s coffers empty. Muslims and Christians who succumbed to Covid were cremated for no scientific reason. Overnight, farmers were forced to switch to organic fertilizer resulting in large scale crop failure.
Poor economic policies further eroded foreign reserves, and basic essentials have become scarce commodities. International buyers are taking their orders elsewhere. Economists warn the situation is dire. Their concerns voiced to powers that be as early as last year fell on deaf ears, they claim. Now the country faces bankruptcy. Even with international bail outs, it will take years to regain normalcy.
Indeed, the deprivations faced during the Sirima Bandaranaike era of food rationing and limited access to other necessities fades into insignificance.
As the people lined the streets to purchase their bare essentials, the powerful continued to party. Gotabaya even had the gall to lay his mess at the feet of the people. His Ministers, he said were not carrying out his bidding on any of the issues.
Now the adoring public has turned against the Rajapaksas and their minions and Gotabaya the ‘hero’ is shivering in his boots. He is yet to appear in public to appease the people, to admit his failure, to plead forgiveness; instead he changes cabinet portfolios and cobbles together economic experts to fix his mess. At a recent forum, businessman Dilith Jayaweera who played a vital role in bringing the Rajapaksas’ back to power says the country’s economic ills were caused by PB Jayasundara. But he conveniently forgets that Mahinda Rajapaksa was instrumental in Jayasundara returning to public office in violation of a court order.
As dissatisfaction with the government grows, the regimes lap-dancers began their performance; Wimal, Gammanpila, Vasudeva et al moved away, blaming Basil for the financial troubles. Why did they not raise their objections when he was appointed Finance Minister? Why did they vote for the 20th Amendment?
Cabinet resignations and MPs distancing themselves from the SLPP are just tactics to fool the people. It’s all stagecraft and self-preservation by those fearful of facing their electorate.
Gotabaya and his government is clutching at straws to remain relevant, yet fail to realise they have lost the people.
Gotabaya must go, and so must his entire government; to jail! Public servants and members of the Tri Forces who protect the corrupt instead of civilians must also be charged.
Corrupt politicians, their family members and public servants who do the bidding of their political masters should be barred from leaving the country, just as Nivard Cabraal has been.
Gotabaya must step aside and allow those who have the knowledge and ability to repair the mess, he got the country into.
Most of all, Sri Lanka needs a leader who has the backbone to arrest and prosecute the Rajapaksas and everyone else who brought Sri Lanka to this sorry state.
No deal makers, please!