Gotabaya Rajapaksa is easily one of the most controversial persons in Srilanka. With the convincing victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential election, the new premier has
alot of challenges before him. Since, there is a large fear over him since he was Defence Secretary under his brother, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Besides,
Muslims were worried about being targeted by majoritarian elements backed by him.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa were two main candidates in the presidential election. But the spirited campaign of Premadasa was not enough. As a result, he
was defeated by more than 13 lakh votes, according to the official results. Gotabaya succeeded President Maithripala Sirisena for a five-year term. He secured 52.25
per cent votes (6,924,255) while Premadasa received 41.99 per cent of the total votes polled (5,564,239). Other candidates got 5.76 per cent votes.
His Past life
He was educated at Ananda College, Colombo and he had passion for armed forces and joined the Ceylon Army in April 1971. After receiving basic training at the Army
Training Centre, Diyatalawa, he was commissioned as signals officer and later transferred to many infantry regiments. He received good experience during the early
stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War with the elite Gajaba Regiment. He took part in several major offensives such as the Vadamarachi Operation. He also had rich
experience and counter-insurgency operations during the 1987–1989 JVP insurrection. Later, he moved away from the army and decided to take active interest in
information technology, before immigrating to the United States in 1998 and there was long gap in his administrative years. But he returned to Sri Lanka in 2005, to
assist his brother in his presidential campaign and was appointed Defence Secretary in his brother's administration. During his tenure the Sri Lankan Armed Forces
successfully concluded the Sri Lankan Civil War defeating the Tamil Tigers and killing its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2009.
Why moderates are afraid of Gotabaya ?
The moderates are fearful of his activities, due to his army background. It is widely claimed that Gotabaya hated peace at any cost. During the LTTE War, General
Sarath Fonseka who lead the war against LTTE had accused Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of ordering killing any one who comes in with peace. He also claimed
that Gotabhaya alleged to have threatened to execute Mr. Fonseka if he had spilled any war secrets related to LTTE. In another case, Rajapaksa has been accused of
threatening journalists on several occasions, including telling two journalists attached to the state-owned Lake House Publications that unless they stop criticising
the armed forces. In April 2007, media reports widely claimed that Gotabaya allegedly calling the Editor of the Daily Mirror Champika Liyanaarachchi and threatening
her, saying that she would escape reprisals only if she resigned. He was also accused for threatening to kill a journalist reporting the plight of civilian war
casualties. Furthermore, Rajapaksa was severely critical of the United Nations (UN) and of western governments. He accused the top peacekeeping body that having been
infiltrated by informers and terrorists. The people are fed with wrong information. He also alleged that Britain and the EU were bullying Sri Lanka, and concluded that
Sri Lankan government does not need them and their aid. Finally, a bundle of human rights violation cases are listed on Gotabaya during his charge as war secretary.
He was accused for corruption by Deceased MP Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, assassinated journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and others since 2006.In 2015 Interpol provided
further evidence to the Sri Lankan government on corrupt military procurements. In March 2015 a Sri Lankan court imposed a travel ban on Rajapaksa over allegations he
used a commercial plane. The travel ban was lifted by the court on December 2016. Furthermore, his son is also accused of illegally occupying a house rented for a
consulate in Los Angeles and caused millions of rupees in losses to the state. Rajapaksa rejected the allegations regarding occupying a house rented for a consulate in
A lot of cleaning work
Sri Lanka has alot of problems to be solved. The public mind is filled with anxieties arising from the state of the economy, unabated corruption in the government sector and fears set off by the Easter Sunday bombings. Constitution and political crisis are bothering the island nation too much. The latest example is series of events since President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October 2018, which has led to a constitutional crisis. Since both leaders came together and formed a unique alliance of rival parties to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa must resolve the ethnic issues and fears of Tamil and Muslim people in Srilanka. Besides, the island nation is severely trouble with human rights
violation in the backdrop of corruption allegations and poor economic performance.