Lessons Learnt from the Rajapaksa Capitulation (LLRC)
Average people learn from their own mistakes while the wise learn from the others’ but the stupid never do. Rajapaksa Capitulation offers us many lessons . Here are my top 7.
Almighty Rajapaksa, Formidable Rajapaksa, Omnipresent Rajapaksa..to an average mind like me, until a few weeks ago, his defeat was unfathomable. He was, in all sense of the word, the chief executive of the island. He was the legislature in the island. He was the judiciary and media in the island. It appeared as if all corner stones were laid for an unending construction of his empire.
But proving Lord Buddha’s one of the three marks of existence, impermanence (anikka in sanskrit) buoyed to sink down what appeared to be one of the most durable leaderships of Asia.
2. It is the Greed, not Need that Breed the Defeat
There was a logical argument by the supporters of Rajapaksa; if the leaders like JR and CBK who failed in the war operations were elected twice to enjoy full two terms in the office, doesn’t Rajapaksa deserve the third term as a reward for defeating the terrorism? Well, it sounded logical for a moment.
The man who supposedly deserved a third term eventually had to lose a good third of his 2nd term. Doesn’t it remind us the Aesop’s fable that taught us about The Goose that laid the golden eggs?
3. Home and office ….nah.. not a cute couple
It is almost a cliché to keep your personal and professional lives apart for many valid reasons. But Rajapaksa just made a mockery of his governance by bringing his family into office and office into family. Brothers, sons, nieces & nephews, in-laws.. oh my oh my, what a mess it was.
Although all of them were born before Rajapaksa was elected as the president in 2005, hardly any of them were known except Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa, his elder brother. When he left the Temple Trees upon his defeat, I did not see any of his family to show solidarity in his unexpected loss.
He came alone, he left alone, in between, the family sang along !
4. Cannot be friends of all ideologies
It was once said that He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies. The statement makes sense to a man of principles, not to Mr. Rajapaksa.
Before the election was declared, Ven. Gnanasara Thera was with Rajapaksa so were Hakeem and Badurdeen. LTTE terrorist leader K.P. was with Rajapaksa, so was the Sinhala Buddhist leader Ranawaka. 13+ Dr. Jayatilleka was with Rajapaksa so was the 13- Mr. Weerawansa. Plaintiff Hirunika was with Rajapaksa so was the defendant Duminda. The ironies were aplenty.
One might argue that it epitomized the power of this man to unite different ideologies. Well, it was proven otherwise at the dawn of the election results. Mr. Rajapaksa tried to please everyone including opposite end extremists but he did not get the same courtesy in return.
Losing based on principles is more honorable than winning based on popular choices. Eventually he proved have no principles nor popularity.
5. Answer the present questions
For the 2015 AL exam, if a candidate submits the answer sheet from 2010 past exam, no matter how good it has been answered, will the candidate go through? Mr. Rajapaksa submitted the wrong answer sheet in his campaign.
Ending the fierce war against the terrorists was remarkable, a feat that has not been achieved by many world leaders. But that was an old answer, an answer nobody questioned in 2015. In accordance to the Maslow’s Hierarchy, during the post-war period, people climbed up the requirement hierarchy from physiological and safety needs to question the sense of respect and belongingness for which Mr. Rajapaksa failed to provide answers.
The closest we can get in the world politics is Winston Churchill who suffered heavy defeat in the general elections immediately after the victorious world war. At least the Sri Lankans were bit more grateful than the English, weren’t they?
6. Cheap stuff has a hole (Ulundu wade is an exception to the rule)
Since a decade or so, patriotism/nationalism is the winning card in Sri Lankan Politics. Mr. Rajapaksa had the ‘look and feel’ of a more national leader while the opposition leader, Mr. Wickramasinghe appeared to the public anything but patriotic.
Meanwhile there are mainly two parties who make nationalism their bread and butter; Mr. Ranawaka (JHU) and Mr. Weerawansa (NFF). Mr. Ranawaka was an erudite, sharp speaker who is known to talk substance. Mr. Weerawansa, too was sharp in his blunt logic, calculative in his miscalculations, creates a broader picture in his narrow mind. Nevertheless, both appeared to be winning horses for Rajapaksa at the first instances.
At the wake of the election heat, JHU made their demands in order to support Mr. Rajapaksa. So did Mr. Weerawansa. Both set of demands would hurt Rajapaksa’s personal agendas but he badly needed at least one of them to blow his patriotism/nationalism/racism trumpet. Rajapaksa opted for the cheaper option, the one he could bargain for corruption charges instead. (Watch from the 20th minute).
Cheap stuff having a hole is a good old Sinhalese saying, but this cheap choice itself was hole, a pit hole for Rajapaksa Regime. Had he sacrificed a bit to retain JHU, I doubt the UNP lead opposition candidate would have ever won the ‘race‘.
Cheap stuff proved costly at the end.
7. Never let the vice to lead the wise
Having said all the above lessons, I find the last point decisive in his surrender at the election. In person to person comparison, Mr. Rajapaksa might have been rated touch above Mr. Sirisena by the public in terms of leadership and trust even after disregarding the effect of election bribery and media mismanagement.
Being he himself the centre of charisma in his leadership and his camp, I find it a massive blunder to let some of the less attractive people to run key positions in his regime, and specially in the campaign. As a direct example, it was highly imprudent to let his ludicrous son run a big portion of the election campaign which I am sure, brought only negative votes.
Join with me in saying….”Shah Rukh Khan ta ………..”
Well, it is much easier to criticize the leaders while sitting on an armchair. Lives of the world-famous leaders in the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela exemplify the fact that no leader is perceived perfect.
As the watchfull citizens of today and potential leaders of tomorrow, we should learn the lessons from our past leaders and continue to nag the present leaders to deliver goods. Mr. Rajapaksa left a nostalgic legacy behind him in which, the victory over LTTE terrorists was the most pronounce. My only fear is that did he also give birth to the Muslim Prabhakaran before his exit.
May the country be healed with love and peace !