by A Concerned Citizen-
There has been a gossip between some people that Sri Lanka would descend into a military coup scenario after this election. It has been argued that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not concede his defeat even if he is defeated. People predicted that Gotabya Rajapaksa, an US citizen and a brother of the President, who is holding defence portfolio, may have a greater influence on three forces of Sri Lanka to use military in their favour. It is argued that Mahinda Rajapaksa may use military to cling to power if he is defeated.
We need to gauge the pros and cons of this argument.
Of course today the Rajapaksa family has got great influence over military. Why is this? Since the defeat of LTTE, the relation between military and ruling family got stronger. As thanks giving for defeating of LTTE some high ranking military personals have been rewarded and promoted. Some of them even posted to some high level diplomatic posts in some European countries at the expanse of our senior diplomatic services. These are just political appointments with the discretion of MR. These appointments do not bring any material or diplomatic benefits for Sri Lanka. It is done as a favour for some of higher ranking army officials who made some sacrifice for the country. No doubt some section of high level military officials have benefited from this government. Yet will they support this MR and family to stay in power? It would be unconstitutional and unethical as well.
I dispel such argument for many reasons. Firstly we did not have military coup in our history since the independence. We have had many elections in Sri Lanka and defeated people conceded the defeat and handed over power without any trouble making. Once a political party has been defeated power has been transferred smoothly without any grudge in winning party. This is our democratic tradition we have maintained for the last 60 years. It would be great danger to create instability in this country through any military interference. Moreover, Sri Lanka is not like Pakistan or any other African countries People are literate and we have a strong opposition parties. Rajapaksa would not be able to play around them for a long time. Already some of his crafty stratagems are known to many. Some of his own party members deserted him because of his cunning trick to stay on power.
Moreover Sarath Fonseka still has greater influence on army and he is still with opposition. Any attempt to fix military coup will make some division among army. That would be disaster for our nation. If such steps are taken JVP will come to the streets once again and country would go back to a chaotic situation as it was in late 1980’s.
However, Rajapaksa is dreaming for the victory of this election by any means. For that it is reported He has planned to do a lots of forgeries in bullet boxes and voting. It was reported that more 200000 ID cards are made in the name of some migrant workers to cast their votes. It is widely expected a huge amount of frauds in this election.
I do not think that army or forces would support Rajapaksa this election. Most of ordinary army members are not happy with Rajapaksa. He promised them a lots after army had won the war and yet, a little has been done for Army to improve their quality of life. Disable armed forces have not been looked after well. Some of them are promised houses and other facilities yet, they have not got anything. Only handfuls of high ranking members are supported by Rajapaksa. I do not think that the majority of armed force will support Rajapaksa in any coup attempt if he is defeated.
Moreover, He will risk his life he attempted to fix any coup in Sri Lanka. Of course he has got his extended family support and yet, he would not date to fix any coup in case if it is failed it would backfire on him and on his family as well. I do not think that he would take such unwise steps. Yet, it can be said that he will use his hooligans and thugs to intimidate voters and sabotage opposition election victory.
[This article first appeared in the SriLanka Guardian; Original Caption: Military Coup in Sri Lanka?]