For the first time Gotabaya must be feeling lonely at the top. Having been accustomed to fawning public hailing him as a national hero for over a decade, it must be a rude shock to see ‘Go back Gota’ as the unifying cry of the people protesting all over the island.

By

Col. R.Hariharan

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidency probably reached the point of no return, after 41 members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition partners withdrew their support to the government on 5 April. Two days earlier, the President had disbanded his cabinet, in a bid to form an all-party government to tide over the financial crisis. His call had no takers because the Opposition parties see Gotabaya as a loser and want him out of office.

The main opposition, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the 10-party alliance as well as the JVP-led National Peoples Power (NPP) are in no mood to help him out at least for the time being. So, a temporary government led by his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, assisted by four essential ministers, is in place now.

The 31 March night public protest near the President’s residence in Colombo suburb has now snowballed into a nationwide protest movement against the Rajapaksas. It reflected the people’s total loss of faith in their handling of continuing shortages of food, fuel and essential goods including medicines.
For the first time, Gotabaya must be feeling lonely at the top. Having been accustomed to fawning public hailing him as a national hero for over a decade, it must be a rude shock to see ‘Go back Gota’ as the unifying cry of the people protesting all over the island. He now appears to be groping in the dark to find answers to the economic crisis, he does not seem to understand.

Continue reading ‘For the first time Gotabaya must be feeling lonely at the top. Having been accustomed to fawning public hailing him as a national hero for over a decade, it must be a rude shock to see ‘Go back Gota’ as the unifying cry of the people protesting all over the island.’ »Filed under Guest blogger

The Democratic Moment Today: A Call for Action and Reflection.

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A group consisting of academics,Professionals, researchers,activists and creative artistes has in a statement issued said that the origins of the present crisis are political, having been brought about by authoritarian policies of successive governments.

Such authoritarian rule has been consolidated for decades through Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian mobilisations, one of the most recent one being mandatory cremations, after a COVID death. It is built upon the notion that powerful, rich, professional and militaristic men must lead the way through mechanisms, isolated from the needs of the larger community.

The following is the text of the statement titled ‘The democratic moment today: A call for action and reflection’:

“ We are witness today to events that are unprecedented in our postcolonial history. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets, spontaneously, in protest in an extraordinary demonstration of democratic fervor. The calls for change are loud, and spectacular.

They are driven by anger at a small elite group—the Rajapaksas, who have built a dynastic political empire with their cronies and allies in and out of Parliament and a supportive business elite. One of the worst spells of economic hardship that the country has experienced in the past few decades has driven people to the streets, demanding that the President of the country “go home”.

But these calls for change are not just of the government in power, but of the forms of governance as well. Hard questions are being asked by the protesters: questions about economic policies, the functioning of the judiciary, relations between communities, and related concerns.

People want prices reduced and essential items, like food, medicine, milk powder, electricity, gas and stationery, available in adequate amounts for their families; communities want the country’s stolen wealth returned and re-distributed; many want the divisive ethnic and religion-based politics to end and past violations acknowledged and accounted for; the people are united in their cry for a country free of totalitarianism. The polyphony of slogans demanding economic, political social and gender justice must be heard and addressed.

Continue reading ‘The Democratic Moment Today: A Call for Action and Reflection.’ »

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