13 November 2019, Dubai- Sri Lanka’s executive presidency is the most lucrative in the constitutional context in the island nation simply because of its formulation, a fact that is widely attributed to its creator, the late JR Jayawardene. The country so far has experienced the dynamics of six executive presidents and the seventh will emerge after the elections on November 16th this year.
Sri Lanka’s executive presidency is the most lucrative in the constitutional context in the island nation simply because of its formulation, a fact that is widely attributed to its creator, the late JR Jayawardene. The country so far has experienced the dynamics of six executive presidents and the seventh will emerge after the elections on November 16th this year.
The country is abuzz with election campaigning activities, and the potential candidates take up considerable airtime on the TV and radio bulletins. Despite the anticipation to witness the longest ballet paper, given the length of the list of candidates, a few are bound to stand ahead in the race and prominent among them according to media polls is Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Leadership theories dictate that circumstances build leaders as opposed to individuals being born leaders. This befits Mr. Rajapaksa’s announcement of presidential candidacy and the prevalent circumstances of Sri Lanka, be they economic, socio-political or even environmental.
Sri Lankan citizens, predominantly the youth are cynical about leaving the mandate of rule in the hands of the current regime and demand change and have found a breath of fresh air in the announcement of Mr. Rajapaksa’s candidacy.
As opposed to typical election propaganda doled out by other candidates and parties, Mr. Rajapaksa does not feel the need to put his face on every billboard of a construction or renovation site. Nor does he have to boast of his achievements for the country.
From playing the most vital administrative role as Defence Secretary during the country’s most trying times which resulted in the end of three-decade old war against terrorism to bringing in orderliness and discipline in the beautification of Colombo, his record speaks for itself.
Mr. Rajapaksa has proven beyond doubt that one does not need to be a parliamentarian or a minister to deliver results. By remaining in an administrative role, he continued to set an example that through a clear-cut vision and by utilizing the available resources, one could deliver results. This characteristic of his, instilled in people a certain sense of confidence and reliance so much so that, even the followers of the political opponents of the Rajapaksas’ respected him despite their party ideologies.
The current situation in Sri Lanka is grave and has been further aggravated in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday tragedy. Bad enough the government did not have a spokesperson to appear in front of the public and assure people the safety of their lives; the deeper cracks that it left behind, instilled in people a plausible fear of the re-emergence of the separatist agendas.
The reason why it is not only the Sinhala majority, but also the minority communities rallying around Mr. Rajapaksa, is that he has proven himself enough to shed away separatist agendas and bring together all communities. A feat he first achieved in 2009.
Mr. Rajapaksa’s vision of holistic development does not boast impossibilities such as artificial intelligence. What he advocates is a multi-pillar mechanism for development on the base of strong, clear-cut achievable targets. This strategic approach only credits his leadership and lack of ambiguity and makes it more believable.