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I looked last week at Nalaka Godahewa’s account of why Mahinda Rajapaksa lost, which he attributed to the excessive influence of eight people who ‘were not listening to the voices of the grassroots anymore’. Though an intelligent analysis of some aspects of the last years of the Rajapaksa administration, the article failed to distinguish between positive influences and those who contributed heavily to the defeat.

I was happy though that Godahewa was complimentary about Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and I wished he had also noted how effectively P B Jayasundara and Nivard Cabraal had contributed to the economic wellbeing of the country, certainly in comparison with the current mess. And I felt too that there was more to be said for Lalith Weeratunge, though he failed to exercise his undoubted influence productively.

With regard to the four others Godahewa identifies, I feel he is generally right, though there again the analysis could have been less perfunctory. And I was sorry he left out two characters who I felt did more than anyone else to destroy the President, though again neither has been accused of financial misdemeanours.

One was G L Peiris, whose influence Godahewa belittles in asserting that ‘Sajin Vas Gunawardena was a huge influence in the External Affairs Ministry, though officially … Peiris was in charge’. That does not reduce Peiris’ culpability for disastrous foreign relations, and his failure for instance to go to America to meet Hillary Clinton when she invited him, to reply to Man Mohan Singh’s letter when the Indians were debating which way to vote at the Human Rights Council in March 2014, to move on matters which were agreed with the TNA when we were negotiating with them and the President told us to proceed. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

August 2018
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