Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part IX – NEPOTISM

Nanda Wanninayaka   

Jokers (and jerks – including Mr. Anura Dissanayaka) apart, there are two mainstream candidates in the run-up to the presidential election on November 16, 2019. Well, whether you like it or not, it is Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (GR) and Mr. Sajith Premadasa (SP) who are the frontrunners for the contest and the others are just vote spoilers.

In these few articles, I am comparing and contrasting the two persons in question in 10 areas of concerns in alphabetical order. This penultimate post deals with how NEPOTISM would affect the rest of the country with one of these two ascending into power. Read Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part VIII – NATIONAL SECURITY for the previous post.  The next and the final post would be dealt with the ORATORY SKILLS of the two candidates. You can read it in the post Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part X – ORATORY SKILLS.


The origin of the term nepotism dates back to the 17th century. (From French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nipote ‘nephew’ (with reference to privileges bestowed on the “nephews” of popes, who were in many cases their illegitimate sons. – Well, contrary to the popular belief, the nepotism these days also means favoring both family and friends, not only the family anymore.


Gota has the disadvantage of being at the receiving end as far as nepotism is concerned due to the long line of Rajapaksas that held high offices between 2005 and 2015, both as elected politicians and recruited officials in various government institutions. I don’t think the public complains much for Gota holding the post of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense & Urban Development because he has accomplished the unimaginable in that capacity. But it is the other Rajapaksas – maybe except for Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa, the moderate member of the Rajapaksa dynasty – get most of the blame, not to mention the three sons of the former president Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa (jokingly referred as the Three Idiots.) People have reasonable fears that the same will keep happening if Gota becomes the president and you can’t rule out such a possibility given Rajapaksas’ past behavior, can you? This doesn’t mean that fear of nepotism should deny Gota a presidential term with his past achievements as a strict disciplinarian and successful execution of precise work. There is a big portion of the population that believes the country should run under a dictatorship to make things right and they think Gota is the one.


Well, the Premadasa clan does not have a lengthy political dynasty that runs for several generations but the previous United National Party (UNP) regimes have repeatedly shown the other form of nepotism, giving undue and unfair advantage for the friends of the leader. This was proved right with the late presidents J. R. Jayawardene and R. Premadasa and the present Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremesighe went berserk by favoring his friends whenever he became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. So, with this type of past of the UNP, there are reasons to believe that Sajith also would give in to nepotism. I personally don’t believe who Sajith is trying to show he is as I can very well remember how humble his father R. Premadasa showed he was during his presidential campaign. Immediately after rising to power, his true color was shown by becoming the most ruthless leader of the country since Independence. So, there is a big possibility of history repeating itself.