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Third Term For Mahinda Rajapaksa

| by Vishvamitra
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable,
and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. - George Orwell
( November 12, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) No politician in the world would
ever relinquish power on his or her own volition, unless there is something drastically
imposed upon him or her by an outside force or an irreversible debilitating condition
has set in health-wise.
Such is the addictive quality of power. Political power is the most potent aphrodisiac
in the world, Henry Kissinger once said. It could lure a most unsuspecting damsel into
lust; it could sway the strongest of men into submission and it could also turn a most
vociferous opponent into the charmers vision.

When one gets accustomed to this sensuous workout of political power, life outside it
looks uninteresting and dull. The usual Blue Label whiskey, evening cocktail parties,
scrumptious banquets at Embassy-get-togethers ending up with an occasional visit to
the exclusive rooms and tables at the nearest casinos are a bit too much to say adieu to.

Caught up in the vicious cycle of power and glamour, politicians build an illusionary
universe; a universe whose realities are as impermanent as morning dew and as
fleeting as the wanton gusty winds across a barren desert.They mistake those who
crave friendships and acquaintances for life-long friends; they abandon those whose
financial and social standing couldnt keep up with the progressive rise which they
themselves had accomplished.
Entwined in a web of mythical superiority of power and enrapturing sense of comfort
and luxury, ruling classes, wherever they are, desperately cling on to power because
that very power is infusing oxygen into their daily existence. When one describes this
phenomenon of powers lustful dynamics, another may be driven to think that those
who are caught up in the web are acutely aware of this process. On the contrary, they
are hardly conscious of this intrinsic nature of the animalistic and sadistic shades of
power. Its not that they are refusing to see it as they are incapacitated and blinded by
the very luring nature of power; they simply dont see it.
Mahinda Rajapaksa is no exception to this rule. Enmeshed in corruption, nepotism,
phony patriotism and incompetence, the current regime, although it ran almost
unchallenged for nearly two decades, is finding it rather difficult to persuade the
moderates to come over to it while retaining the diehards in their ranks. Forget about
Mahinda Rajapaksa but any politician for that matter, does not deserve more than a
second chance. But when pitched against a cavalcade of idiotic policies, bellicose
misuse of political power and outright abuse of peoples trust, the present regime is the
last that could be trusted and faith reposed in. Many argue that the ruling clan would
not have life outside power. Well, that is not the problem for the people to worry about.
People, at large, cannot be held hostage to the idiosyncrasies of their leaders. What
happens to political leaders once they are out of it has been chronicled in our recent
history in various biographies and commentaries. For instance, political giants like I M
R A Iriyagolla, Phillip Gunawardene and Felix Dias Bandaranaike passed away after
they lost political power although they did not show any physical debilitation while in
Apparently they missed that element which had become part and parcel of their daily
life, yet such personalities like Dudley Senanayake, J R Jayewardene, N M Perera,
Colvin R de Silva and even Sirimavo Bandaranaike did last a long time while out of
power. Chandrika Bandaranaike is very much alive and kicking even now. They may
have been made of different stuff to do so. They apparently knew what to occupy
themselves with when they were no longer in control of events, political or otherwise.
Those who suffer a fall in their personal lives if the fall is not due to some
unforeseen event such as a medical or accident-related tragedy after being ousted

from the exalted positions they once held, may be of a different mental makeup, for
they are not equipped to wade through the peaks and valleys of life; they may be
possessors of a different DNA. Lets leave that to scientists and researchers. However,
one remarkable person, a political leader of global significance is Fidel Castro of Cuba
who handed over powers of running Cuba to his younger brother and is seeming to be
enjoying a well-earned rest and recreation. Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that
Castro can relax like that because he is comfortable in the thought that power now
resides with his own sibling!
The Rajapaksas can relate to that kind of political dynamic quite easily. But at the
same time they have to deal with an increasingly enlightened electorate that is
obviously looking for an alternative to family rule. Just because they are being elected
by people is no excuse for stabilizing a family rule on an exclusive basis. It is also true
that as time passes, this stabilisation becomes increasingly significant as the grip that
such a family rule holds on the subject people needs to get harder and more
strangulating for the rulers to keep that stability going.
The legal argument that Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot contest the third time is indeed
gaining new friends and supporters. Yet again, such an argument is really not valid for
the 80% of our voters. Constitutional nuances and legal justifications are the last thing
a voter who lives in a remote village would balance his options on. His immediate
concerns very much weigh on the day-to-day needs of his family, his childrens
schooling, his wifes pregnancy, his own measly income, the dilapidated road leading
to his shack of a home and all these foreboding surroundings envelop his rustic life. In
plain and simple words, the countrys economy and its effects or ill-effects matter
much more than nuances that occupy the minds and heads of Colombos educated
scholars and pundits.
While the attendant issues like corruption, nepotism, State-wastage, MPs thuggish
conduct in and outside the House of Parliament and family bandyism would all help
build a formidable opposition to the Rajapaksas, yet its economy and economy alone
that would ultimately make the voter switch his vote.
A story that could be told with caricatures and cartoons has not been told, to date. A
story of gruesome realities that reflect the megalomania of the power-holders and lying
about the economy and other socio-economic statistics has not been exposed, barring
Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP); a
story whose chapters and paragraphs could have enlightened and enlivened the dull
and inactive minds of millions of voters is left untold and that in itself is a mortal sin. A
sustained campaign against the sitting powers has been abandoned at the altar of daydreaming. But what has happened has happened and cannot be undone. It is up to the
emerging forces within the current Opposition in general and the United National

Party (UNP) in particular that this story be told in no uncertain manner. The monolith
that was the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), according to many political
scholars and writers, was founded on brittle grounds; its pillars are shaking, the roof
leaking and the outer paint is peeling off, layer by layer. Legal arguments aside,
whether Mahinda Rajapaksa is qualified to run a third time or not, somebody needs to
tell this story in the most vivid and dramatic fashion.
Posted by Thavam