Presidentís leadership key to victory
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
It was in this scenario that
the leadership of President Rajapaksa had to be reviewed. He had
a clear vision, the necessary political experience and the
background to face the challenge and as usual he gave the
leadership to the armed forces and for the first time the
public, even the man on the street saw that he was leading the
three forces to victory
The humanitarian operations against the LTTE terrorists were not
against the Tamil people but to free them from the yoke of the
terrorists, President Mahinda Rajapaksa often said when the operations
started after the LTTE terrorists closed the Mavil Aru anicut to deprive
more than 30,000 people, of water.
In his mind there was not the slightest doubt that the LTTE were a
group of hypocrite terrorists who would use each opportunity given to
them for talks or ceasefires to buy time to strengthen their armoury and
cadres and to collect more funds for purchase of arms.
It was in this background that President Mahinda Rajapaksa appeared
in the countryís political horizon determined to end the long drawn-out
terrorist war that had plagued the nation for three decades with death,
destruction and sabotage while most of the previous leaders except
perhaps President D. B. Wijetunga attempted to resolve by trying to
reach a negotiated settlement with the group of terrorists who would
have been laughing their sides out whenever any national leader proposed
a political solution.
The President once he had decided to start the humanitarian
operations called the commanders of the three Armed Forces and the
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa directed the LTTE had to be defeated as he was
aware that would be counterproductive to start talks with them.
The commanders of the forces were given clear instructions that they
had the objective of defeating the LTTE and it was very clear in his
mind that the only way to achieve peace was by first completely
defeating the terrorists.
Once on a task President Rajapaksa was determined to fulfill it and
as an opposition parliamentarian, a minister or prime minister he always
was known to be a person who worked to reach each goal he wished to
At a time when a lot of leaders on both sides of the political
dichotomy thought they could appease the LTTE with various offers of
peace or devolution packages that the LTTE spurned with disdain as they
were not interested, as like the Shakespearean Shylock demanded their
pound of flesh the so-called separate state of the Tamils or Eelam - the
President was not ready to waste time, more and more lives and national
resources on comic exercises like carrying a white lotus or a brick to
build a library as he knew they would never yield any response from
Prabhakaran or the LTTE.
When he gave strong and clear leadership to the three armed forces he
also had another advantage that the public at large were with him though
they had been fed on myths that the LTTE could not be defeated, the war
could not be won, even if the war was being won India or some other
friend of the LTTE or the so-called international community would
pressure the government to stop the war at the last moment.
It was in this scenario that the leadership of President Rajapaksa
had to be reviewed.
He had a clear vision, the necessary political experience and the
background to face the challenge and as usual he gave the leadership to
the armed forces and for the first time the public, even the man on the
street saw that he was leading the three forces to victory.
When the humanitarian operations in the east was going on, one UNP
parliamentarian hailing from the Kandy district said in Parliament that
he had information that the LTTE cadres retreating from Thoppigala had
left behind 1000 or nearly that number of arms to be retrieved and used
And still later another parliamentarian of the same party said the
actual numbers of the soldiers who died in the humanitarian operation
were not being disclosed to the parliament by the Prime Minister.
Yet as the Commander in Chief President Rajapaksa did not seek to
give replies to these comments that were not meant to hearten the armed
forces nor help the country in any way.
Since he was convinced as the President and the Commander in Chief
that the three Armed Forces and their commanders were capable of
exploding many myths including the invincibility of the terrorist
outfit, he stood by his decision and gave his strong leadership to the
force as he had faith in the men and women in the Forces.
The clear sign of a true national leader in President Mahinda
Rajapaksa was that he was not prepared to compromise the freedom and
sovereignty of the country for any kind of pressure and in the present
case he had to fight not only the terrorist outfit but also the major
opposition party that could not be anything but anti-national and
When Winston Churchill giving leadership to his forces was asking the
British people to make sacrifices the main Opposition Labour Party gave
Churchill un-stinted cooperation but in the case of our country the
Opposition Leader and his party men were not seen extending any
cooperation to the war against terrorism, but trying to bring up other
extraneous political issues for their political advantage.
It was in this background that the strong leadership of President
Mahinda Rajapaksa as Commander in Chief had to be viewed.
He had faith in his Forces, he had faith in the people and he had
faith in himself that he could lead the troops and the Forces to
victory. And like all true leaders he proved himself as a person who
could be ranked among our heroic kings like Vijayabahu or Dutu Gemunu or
among leaders like Churchill who led their Forces to victory.