Congratulations to the new Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The Seventh Executive President of Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka the presidential system is one of two separately elected organs of government and at the just concluded president election the people elected as the seventh executive president of Sri Lanka Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, born 20 June 1949 contested from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP); having earlier served as Secretary to the Ministry of Defense from 2005 to 2015 leading the Sri Lankan Armed Forces to end the civil war in 2009; expected to emphasis for a strong national security than expand democratic space. Sri Lankans know that Gotabaya has the ability to deliver and is capable getting things done is a positive aspect of his personality and respecting the judgment of the majority people in the country the people needs to adjust for loss of some recent democratic gains and prepare for a different political agenda that may take the country back to another era of authoritarianism.

Today the minorities, more so the Tamil speaking minorities living in Northeast in particular are left wondering what next in store for them. This is understandable for there is the reality that the country is still divided in to many religious and ethnic sections and there exist gaps in understanding the other. Many created by selfish politicians and irresponsible religious leaders. Gotabaya is the most capable person to sort this and provide the strong national security that is needed to bond this divided country; but he cannot succeed by force, only possible if communities understand each other. This is missing at present and politicians have the custom to exploit it at election times as seen even at the concluded presidential election. If the country is to return to prosperity all politicians must start to think out of the box and help the president to serve the people better.

Earlier the country had seen how Gotabaya played a key role in ending the civil-war and in the rehabilitation of those who were actively involved in the battle, later did beautify Colombo city and many other cities much needed for a country recovering from the set back of three decade of civil-war. Needless to say there were shortcoming which is a relative thing; not so for those at the receiving end of the effects of these limitations. But then the government machinery should have picked up this failings and rectified them; it was the failure to do this that caused all the agony to those directly affected by them. It is now possible to repair these damages under the president ship of Gotabaya, but it needs a change of mindset not from him, but all stakeholders that includes the rulers and the ruled.

Therefore an out of box thinking is needed from the political representatives in parliament the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) of the north-east Tamils as they express their willingness to pursue with the new president the stalled reform to dispel all apprehensions of these minority communities and with the understandings reached with the President should prepare for the parliamentary election due in 2020. Unlike the normal practice at election meetings where candidates promise the moon to their voters, politicians must explain the problems faced by their people to the voters in opposite camps. This means each political parties must send speakers who can communicate in the language of the audience, to enable listeners to understand the message. To this end selected TNA speakers should come out of Northeast and start meeting people in other provinces before the next general election and other political parties of the minorities should do the same. All to be done after consulting the President to explain their intentions and knowing Gotabaya, no doubt will welcome this move for it will lay the foundation to ensure national security.

While congratulating the new president on his sweeping victory, it must be stressed as President of all the people, there is the urgent need for Gotabaya to clear any fears developed over the past decade off the minds of the minorities, in particular the Tamil speaking people living in North and East provinces. To achieve this the President has to meet the representatives of the minorities to begin discussions with a view to open the political path for an all-inclusive holistic rule to provide strong national security to this divided country and take the multi-ethnic and multi-religious island nation to take it back to prosperity. Thereafter, like all other political parties, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) too should prepare to face the people before the General Elections due in 2020 to seek approval of their understandings with the President with a view to get a mandate from all people of this country and not just the Tamils living in North and East already in its vote bloc.