Post-mortems are for losers, and I have had to listen to hundreds of pundits explaining to me what went wrong. I am sick of it. I am the guy that lost. I died. I should know better than any mother’s son or daughter what did me in. So here goes, once and for all, the whole A-Z of it.
It was not the end-result of some sophisticated conspiracy orchestrated by certain pernicious sections of the international community. I didn’t say any foreigners voting, and didn’t hear of such a thing either. But jokes aside (and forgetting all that I said during the campaign), this was as Sri Lankan as it can get. Oh, yes, I know that it thrilled people like Eric Soulham and that BBC fellow Charlie Havingland. I know there was moral support and maybe even some dollars and euros. That would never be enough to defeat me. I know this.
It was not because of the Tamils in the North, East and elsewhere or the Muslims in the East and other parts of the country, because if that was the case I would have won hands down. Only 15 percent of all the votes Maithripala got came from those two provinces. So, if this was a for-Eelam vote, then 85 percent of the Sinhalese would be separatists.
It was not my ‘inner circle’. I’ve heard people say ‘we love Mahinda, but he has surrounded himself with a bunch of self-serving idiots’. The implication is that I took bad advice from wrong people. Wrong. I took the right advice from the right people.
Let me say it once and for all. There was no conspiracy, this was not some sophisticated Eelamist design and I was not defeated because of the bad deeds, thoughts and advice of my friends. I defeated myself. Period.
Where I needed to be humble, I was arrogant. When I needed to show respect to Maithripala, I showered him with contempt. When I needed to say ‘I am not asking you to reward me for the good I’ve done because it’s my job and what I am expected to do, never mind that my predecessors did not do it,’ I said ‘I did it all and therefore gift me re-election.’ When I needed to say ‘if this is about democracy, well then I have created conditions for you to vote so go ahead and exercise your franchise as you will, even use it against me if you wish,’ I did not. Instead I gave 101 reasons why they should not vote for Maithripala. When I should have done exactly what brought me political success, namely heeding my gut feeling, I second-guessed myself and allowed others to think for me. I should have known that their frame of reference was self-interest and that they banked on me winning and therefore didn’t really think through things before advising me. They are not to be blamed for offering opinions, but I blame myself for taking their advice.
I lost my face during the campaign. I was not the Mahinda of 2005 and 2010. People could not recognize me as the person they voted for in 2005 and 2010. As Maithripala himself said, back in 2005 I was a ‘iqkaor ukqiaifhla’ (a pleasant person). In 2014/15 I was an angry man. Frustrated. Scared of being defeated. It probably showed on my face. I can’t blame anyone else for this. I blame myself.
No one surrounded me. I let them surround me. I played ‘look the other way’ when people did bad things. That was consent, I now realize. I forgot a cardinal principle about deceit and theft: ‘If a leader lies or robs, it amounts to license for all those below him to lie and steal; if anyone lies or robs it means that either the leader is a liar and a thief (or both) or is incompetent.’ I didn’t put my foot down.
Yes, my sons didn’t help. But they are MY sons and I indulged. I don’t blame them. I blame their father. The same goes for my brothers.
If I had to do it all again? Well, as a pragmatic politician, I don’t want to dwell on the could-have-been too much. But I must tell you, it’s good to get this off my chest. So, now you have it. If you want reasons for this defeat in a nutshell, this is it: Defeat by Mahinda Rajapaksa, for Mahinda Rajapaksa, with Mahinda Rajapaksa.
ඔබ සැමට තෙරුවන් සරණයි ! May you all be blessed by the Noble Triple Gem! – See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/lens/item/37424-mahinda-onmahinda.html#sthash.BZ2xXwPD.dpuf