Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Racist Tactics in Sri Lankan Politics

Mahinda Rajapakse who has created himself a cult-like image especially among the Sinhala Buddhist majority in the aftermath of the war victory of 2009 still commands a significant influence within the aforementioned vote base. Six years on after the defeat of the LTTE, Rajapaksa who was the only incumbent president to lose a presidential election in the history of SL when he was defeated by president Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015 elections is back in the limelight, this time running for the post of Prime Minister from the UPFA in the upcoming elections which is to be held in August 2015.

The UPFA are yet to put together a manifesto for the upcoming election, and the only salient message that we can derive from 'Rajapaksa For PM' campaign is that people should reinstate MR in power to solidify the war victory. Their propaganda machine seems to rely heavily on the personality of Rajapaksa than attempting to address the issue which led to their downfall in the January elections. The main accusation against the Rajapaksa government was the wide-spread corruptions that were being carried out under the pretext of infrastructure development. MR went to the extent of making a public statement that he protected certain corrupt MPs during his tenure as president but most of the members who are accused of corruption are back in the fray running for parliamentary seats from their respective districts.

Interestingly literally nothing is being spoken by the UPFA camp on the racial reconciliation front, while they continue to harp on an imminent awakening of the Tamil diaspora and Sri Lankan Muslim extremists. It is blatantly obvious that UPFA is employing racist tactics to win this election with hook or crook. Racial reconciliation is the need of the hour, it is quite sad the way they are trying to appease the Sinhala majority by spreading racist sentiments while inciting fear and distrust against the minority communities,threatening the ethnic harmony of the country. Political leaders should be more careful of the consequences of fueling racial tensions in a country like  Sri Lanka who has enough and more lessons to learn from such instigations like the Black July of 1983. It is no secret that Sri Lanka got a massive advantage by the events that unfolded post 2001 which resulted with LTTE being banned in many western countries and SL being able to get recognized as a nation engaged in a war against terrorism. With all these instigations by UPFA propagandists, Will Sri Lanka get a second chance should there be another incident akin to 1983?

If you are to solidify the war victory this country needs a lasting solution to the ethnic problem, rather than stoking the dying flames of racism. Sri Lankan voter, especially the Sinhalese voter will have to decide wisely in the upcoming election, now that the war is over we need leaders who can pave the way for a free and fair society and create lasting ethnic harmony. Sri Lankan citizenry wouldn't want to be embroiled in another civil war for a few more decades and squander this golden opportunity to put our country back on the right track.

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