(The above link is to the article referred to below to commemorate in another sense the 67 Birthday of President Mahinda Rajapakse.)
There is an excellent unbiased summary of the President in today’s Sunday Times, Presidency Column. It is worth a read for those who admire and also those who despise his Presidency. It is just the reason why one should be wary of its continuation. It is clear from the article, that he has gone against the grain of thinking, and has overcome all hurdles due to political mastery of his electorate.
He has gone where others have feared to tread, and in the interests of getting what he wants, is willing to compromise on principles and popularity and willing to outmaneuver the media apparatus so that he could lock in with no outward dissent.
The article singularly fails to document the excesses that have been used both to destroy anyone who is considered a threat, and the callous treatment of those he considers expendable. However it does remind people of how he uses and disposes politicians at his whim, when they are no longer needed for his long term goals.
This latter threat has stifled his ministers from expressing independence and has resulted in buffoonery at its worst in the way the governance and government is managed. Only sycophants are tolerated or at best fools, as pointed out in the article when referring to Bandula Gunewardene and SB Dissanayake. This has resulted in a third rate set of ministers who are singularly unable to improve productivity and only contribute to more waste and corruption, something Rajapakse is willing to tolerate to build a second tier of politician who will forever be indebted to him, and deliver him votes, for his good fortune in fleecing the state.
The level of economic mismanagement has not been referred to, as the article has no place in it in that aspect. The apparent success of the regime, thanks to the dividend of US$8B from our remittances, is one the President claims credit for and no one has been able to explain to the people that if not for the mismanagement of the economy by the administration this would surely have yielded far more stellar results. The squandering of this dividend, along with the casting away of the peace dividend, is what history will eventually remember him for once the value of winning the internal war with the LTTE is forgotten in the mists of time.
In short only simple minded folk with no values, morality, principles and patriotism, never mind even the need for a show of democracy or governance will endorse his continuation. Until that moral degradation can be overcome, by education and values, we are left to ponder on what might have been!!