Sarath Fonseka, once the Chief of Defence Staff of the Sri Lanka Army. Photo by foto.rajith.
Honestly, there was nothing shocking about Fonseka's loss in the 2010 presidential elections. Ask a nationalist if Sarath Fonseka was any more instrumental in the defeat of the Tigers than Brigadier Shavendra Silva, and the answer is more than likely going to be "no".
The Commander of the 58th division (formerly Task Force 1), Shavendra Silva, was instrumental in taking on the Tigers deep in their heartland. Troops under his command ran through Tamil Tiger strongholds, taking town after town, progressing quicker than most experts thought possible. The voter base Fonseka hoped to garner support from knew all too well the most minutest detail of how the war was won.
Ask anyone who followed the end of the war closely and they are likely to tell you Fonseka's role was nothing more than passing on orders. The Sinhalese nationalist voter, that Fonseka hoped to win over, knew that the Rajapaksas transformed a military which had struggled to defeat the Tigers to a professional fighting force. Fonseka, nor the Sri Lanka Army could defeat the Tigers before. We know it was only possible post 2005 due to the will of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It appears the voters knew that too.
In his resignation letter, upon stepping down as Chief of Defence Staff to run for president, Fonseka said he was unhappy with the treatment he received after the end of the war. He was convinced that he was instrumental in winning the war.
As far as the average man was concerned it was Rajapaksa who made it all possible.
Sarath Fonseka seen here complaining to the media after his loss to Mahinda Rajapaksa. Photo by indi.ca.
So who voted for Fonseka? Opposition supporters, Tamils who supported the Tamil Tigers and wanted Rajapaksa defeated as a means of getting even, and those who down right hate Mahinda Rajapaksa for reasons best known only to them.
Some didn't care what would become of Sri Lanka had Fonseka won, they just wanted to see Mahinda fail at something, anything.
The Tamil Tigers and their funding source (the 1million strong Tamil diaspora spread across parts of Europe, Canada, and Australia) were praying that Rajapaksa would be defeated. David Poo'pillai the national spokesman for the pro-Tamil Tiger Canadian Tamil Congress told AFP weeks ahead of the poll that the "Tamil diaspora wants Mahinda to be defeated."
Poopalapillai is seen on this video here supporting the Tamil Tigers on Canadian national television. Canada has listed the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organisation.
So it was no surprise then that Poo'pillai's British counterparts calling themselves "Global Tamil Forum" these days, led by the Tamil Tiger propagandist Suren Surinendran, were devastated this morning at the news that Mahinda had won.
Suren like Poo'pillai had backed the pro-Tiger Tamil National Alliance which had thrown it's weight behind Fonseka in hopes of avenging the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.
The only thing Fonseka had in common with all these groups who backed him is their personal gripe with Rajapaksa. So the next time you hear Fonseka talk about representing the aspirations of the people, ask him to go f*ck himself. We know better.
With that said, we get a better understanding of the 6,015,934 voters who turned up in support of Rajapaksa. 57.88% of 14,088,500 voters placed their faith in Mahinda Rajapaksa with no ulterior motives, or with revenge in mind, or sinister agendas up their sleeves. They voted for him because they have firm faith in him to take Sri Lanka forward after war.
Photo by indi.ca.
In the end the Sinhalese majority vote was not split as the foreign media had hoped. The minority vote did not decide the election. The results from the Western Province, namely Colombo- a multi ethnic city where Burghers, Tamils and Muslims make up over 50% of the population, if looked at closely enough, will reveal that even the non-Sinhalese backed Rajapaksa to some extent. Rajapaksa took Colombo by 52.93% (614,740 votes).
If you are Sri Lankan then you know what's next. There will be claims from the opposition of a rigged election. Fonseka has already written to the Elections Commission crying foul. The following is an excerpt from the BBC,
Dear commissioner of elections. Before and after handing over the nomination papers, President Rajapaksa's election campaign has made great use of state resources.
Further, there have been threats, intimidation and accusations levelled against me. Many of my supporters were intimidated.
The government engaged in a campaign abusing state media and state resources to accuse me of being a foreign agent and a traitor.
Eventually it will sink in. Fonseka will realise that the sheer margin of defeat cannot be attributed to abuse of state media. That's a feeble excuse.
In the letter, Fonseka also tells the Commissioner of Elections that he fears for his safety,
I humbly request you to order the inspector general of police and other appropriate authorities to take appropriate security measures to protect my life and to protect my freedom of movement.
Ironic isn't it? Fonseka, once in charge of the quarter million strong Sri Lanka Army now fears for his own safety and is holed up at his residence. Moments after the election results were announced Fonseka had summoned the media and informed them that he feared leaving the hotel. Several hours later he departed with no incident.
The government appears to be bemused by all this. Another quote from the BBC,
Late at night, Gen Fonseka finally left the hotel in a BMW and was not arrested. "Why should we persecute him?" asked Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
But the president's brother said the authorities were concerned about allegations against them made by Gen Fonseka during the campaign.
Fonseka betrayed the very administration that was responsible for making him a war hero. Those close to him backed him and lulled him into a false sense of security where he felt he was popular enough to be voted in as the next president. He failed. He stepped down from his post as Chief of Defence Staff and now he is nothing. What was he thinking? Did he really think that an opposition which the people have no faith in could win him an election?
Poor Sarath Fonseka.