Friday, January 9, 2015

Mahinda Rajapaksa departs

He came and was sworn into power with a promise. That was 10 years ago. He kept that promise. He ended war. He ensured peace. He gave leadership to perhaps the biggest hostage rescue operation in recent memory. I am glad he won power in 2005. We are and always will be grateful to him.

He had a family, however. That family got involved with what he was doing. They got so involved that corruption and nepotism became inevitable byproducts wherever they were.

There were good things he did. Like development. Infastructure. The highway. At the end of the day, they were built. Whether commissions were given and figures and budgets overstated to pocket more money, though not peripheral, is another story, for another time.

There were also bad things. He will be remembered for them. Like nepotism. The 18th Amendment. The impeachment of the Chief Justice. And of course all those commissions, bribes, and allegations thereof aimed at certain ministers who surrounded him. At the end of the day, though, he can take a bow.

I never voted for him. I didn't need to. He won in 2005 and he won in 2010. After his second term, he may have become a megalomaniac. Power hungry. That's natural, but hardly allowable. The truth is, he will be remembered, and the fact that he lost means he will be remembered for what he did well. A third term, I must admit, might have tarnished him.

The results were a foregone conclusion. I knew he would lose. And I am glad that he did. But I can't help thinking back. I can't help shedding a few tears.

He will be a hero to many, untarnished by whatever that could have happened during a third term. He will remain an icon, etched across the pages of our history books and remembered for that one thing. The end of the war.

Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, you can take a bow. As you always have.