The blocks on Gota’s road to the Lankan Presidency

Just ten days before the newly set up speedy High Court’s judges begin to hear on a daily basis to its final finish the charges levelled against him of misusing public finances for personal use, Gotabaya Rajapaksa put the nation on notice when he announced for the first time his solid intention to run for the Presidency of Sri Lanka.

Presidential Hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his sights set on the presidency: ‘Dual citizenship is a personal matter. I can renounce it anytime I choose. America cannot tie me down. They can’t block me’

In a speech delivered last Sunday at the Viyathmaga meeting, in Colombo, he declared — in the manner Seventh Day Adventist and others denominations of the Christian faith are given to quote Luke’s 12:35 and paraphrase its meaning and herald the coming of Christ “Jesus is coming, are you ready? — that he would come forth as Lanka’s saviour and present himself  as a presidential candidate if the people were ready to embrace his advent.

No doubt, he would have known even before the words drooled out from his mouth, the immense odds stacked against him in his elusive quest to bear Lanka’s Sword of Excalibur, which in the Rajapaksa family mentality only a Rajapaksa is entitled and destined to bear. The Triumvirate in Lanka’s Pantheon of its Political Gods: With Mahinda taking the place of Brahma as its creator, with Chamal as Vishnu the Preserver and Gotabaya as Shiva the Destroyer. With Basil perhaps following them as the Holy Ghost in the Christian Trinity found at the Devil’s Altar as the imperceptible Unholy Apparition.

So what made Gota go for the kill on an all-or-nothing basis to seek the nation’s highest office, knowing full well that the odds are against him? Undoubtedly, he is the most intelligent of the Rajapaksa brothers, the most savvy of them all. No doubt, too, that, next to his elder brother Mahinda, he commands a high level of popularity amongst the people. But is that enough to clinch the Holy Grail and assume the Excalibur when his past shadows his present and casts a sinister dark glow from which he is unable to flee?

So what drove him to announce unbidden his intention to vie for the presidency? Was it to impress upon the speedy High Court Judges that he is presidential material who may become president of Lanka this year and wield all the powers a president is entitled to wield and even beyond? Was it to put on notice the legislature and especially the SLFP and the SLPP that they both have in him a candidate who can deliver the mass vote carte blanche, en masse?  Was it to convey to the masses his intention to appear before them as their messiah, savant and saviour well in advance and thus condition them to receive with welcome his imminent advent?

Only Gotabaya will know the answers as to what propelled him to make last Sunday’s boisterous, bellicose call even before he had received the backing of any single political party. Even as he will surely know why it is an impossible dream for him to become the President of Lanka without possessing a political base?

But now that he has made his intentions clear to go for gold, perhaps he should ask himself what qualifies him for the nations’ top job? True, that once upon a time, in Sinhala folklore, it has been said that when the country was kingless, an elephant was sent to roam the country side and the first person the elephant knelt before on all fours and worshipped was declared king of the land. But much water has flowed down the Mahaweli since those days of yore.

And not all the waters of the Rivers Mahaweli, Kelani, Walawe and Kalu that descend from the sacred Samanala Mount can wash away the hurdles that confront Gotabaya in his ambitious bid to seek the throne, the sceptre and the crown of Lanka.

The following are the major obstacles he faces on the road to the presidency:

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Daily Mirror18 Jan 2019
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