Gota wins first battle
Posted on August 12th, 2019

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The SLPP is cock-a-hoop, having picked former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its presidential candidate while the UNP is still struggling to name its. The SLFP/UPFA, which tried to coalesce with the SLPP to field President Maithripala Sirisena at the next presidential election, has been left with egg on its face.

The SLPP, in a state of euphoria, seems to think everything is now copacetic, and the upcoming presidential race is going to be a walk in the park. But, an early start does not necessarily lead to victory in any contest. The outcome of the last presidential race is a case in point. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign had been on for years by the time that election was announced. Maithripala Sirisena was not even in the picture, at that time, but turned out to be a dark horse within a matter of a few weeks after being nominated.

An early start can also prove disadvantageous if the contestant concerned fails to pace himself/herself properly in the race. For election campaigns tend to slacken with the passage of time. The first challenge, before the SLPP, will be maintaining the momentum of its presidential election campaign for over three months.

Having won his first battle on the political front, Gotabaya, on Sunday, said, inter alia, that the mistakes of the former administration had to be rectified. He said, “We must work towards achieving our long-term objectives whilst undertaking necessary course corrections swiftly and correcting the mistakes that have been made in the past.” This, in our book, is a textbook example of understatement or litotes. What characterised the last government were not just mistakes, but colossal blunders and serious wrongdoings, which were legion.

The fact that the present dispensation has failed to make good on its election promise to throw some of the former rulers behind bars for corruption, abuse of power, etc. does not mean that all the allegations it levelled against them were baseless. They are lucky that their successors, upon savouring power, started making up for lost time and got exposed for the bond scams, among other things, which allowed them to secure a bridgehead and launch a devastating counterattack. The UNP and the SLFP/UPFA have not recovered both politically and electorally.

The former rulers have been able to bounce back not so much because they have become very popular but because the UNF government has ruined things for itself and failed to live up the expectations of the people. Good governance has become just pie in the sky; national security was neglected to the point of government leaders and top bureaucrats ignoring a warning of terror attacks, which happened on 21 April; the government expected funds to pour in from the countries that had thrown their weight behind it at the last presidential election, only to be disappointed; there has been no discernible development and the much-touted election promise to provide one million jobs to the youth has remained unfulfilled. The government has been in overdrive, making state sector appointments, for the last several months, but whether the method will yield the desired results in term of votes in sufficient numbers is in doubt.

The UNP’s strategy worked last time; it succeeded in bringing together the TNA, the JVP, the SLMC and the ACMC and harnessing their collective power to defeat President Rajapaksa. It may not be able to secure the JVP’s support this time around, but the alliance it is planning to cobble together will be a force to reckon with in a nip and tuck. The SLPP will have its work cut out to win over the minority voters.

Gotabaya will be put through the paces in debates, etc. in time to come and he will have to convince the public that he is equal to the task of hoisting the country out of the politico-economic mire it finds itself in. Defeating his foes is not the biggest challenge he will have to overcome; instead, it will be saving himself from the unsavoury elements who were responsible for Mahinda’s downfall. On Sunday, some of them were seen crawling out of the woodwork. It was a disgusting sight!

3 Responses to “Gota wins first battle”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    All patriotic Sri Lankans congratulate Gotabhaya for being nominated as the Presidential Candidate of Pohuttuwa the newly formed patriotic political party. It is no doubt the effort of many patriots who wish for an end to Jadapalanaya of Sirisena and Ranil. We salute the patriots – Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Dinesh Gunawardena and Vasudewa Nanayakkara for their painstaking efforts to bring about the Mahinda Sulanga and through that Gotabhaya to the forefront as the best option for the Presidency 2020 of Sri Lanka.

    The nation is confident that Gotabhaya will deliver as promised yesterday at his nomination. He is a man of his words and knows that he has to perform a historic duty to put right many things done and not done during the last few years. He is a patriot who loves his country and has a sense of history to boot. Most of all he has a vision for the country and the nation. He has well-meaning targets and goals. He has produced results in the past and we know he will deliver as intended in the future – not just free promises!

    He has the unenviable task of becoming the 7th President of Sri Lanka. This is a historic opportunity that is presented to a few and so far in our recent history misused, misdirected and squandered. This goldern opportunity needs to be taken with much dignity, responsibility and with the burden of history in mind. If done well he will be able to make an indelible mark on the glorious history of our nation and be one who can ink his name among the history’s greats.

    All that is required is patience, dedication and honesty of purpose to go into history as a great leader and a statesman to be remembered with love and respect for generations to come. This is what escaped Mahinda Rajapakse due to his many weaknesses; single headedness, cronyism and inability to prioritise the nation’s needs.

    With his experience and knowledge in the military and then in modern technology and backed by genuine and well-meaning qualified and experienced advisors Gotabhaya can reach all the goals mentioned above.

    We, Sri Lankans, are a grateful nation who believes in the following:

    “Asevanacha Balanam, Pandithanamcha Sevana, Pujacha Pujaneeyanam Etam Mangala Muttamam”
    “Do not associate with the lowly and degenerates, associate with the wise. Give due respect to the those that deserve respect. These are Blessed Deeds!

    So said Lord Buddha the Blameless One!

    I join the nation in wishing him the very best and our unstinted support for all his future endeavours.

    May the Triple Gem Bless him and May All Gods look on him favourably!

  2. Vaisrawana Says:

    “Little Tommy Tucker – Sings for his supper!”

    But Gotabhaya is intelligent and experienced enough not to be suckered by the Little Tommy Tuckers of this world.

  3. Charles Says:

    Sahabandu thinks that he is a great journalist who forsees the future. Shaminder Fernandez is not second to him who criticises every one and sees no good in any one. He citicises Yahapalanaya and also The Previous Government without speaking a word of any thing good the previous government had done. These are not reliable critics.

    Mahinda Rajapakase’s government may have done mistakes but not monumentql ones like the Yahapalanaya. MahindaR is a far better political leaders than any other we had since 1948, MR was able to change the horizons of the country than any one had been able to do before. He came at a time when Sri Lanka was faced with the most critical of political, social and economic situations. Therefore no one can separate that period from the period Mahinda Rajapakse was in power in evaluating his political success as the President of Sri Lanka..

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