A Corrupt System

Sri Lanka Faces A Downfall As President Gotabaya Refuses To Step Down

By: Kylie Hapuarachchi

Financial Times | Sri Lankan man protesting outside of government buildings.

Once a country of beauty has now fallen to the hands of their own president. President Gotabaya has stolen from the people leading to dismay in the public.

As of April 3rd, a majority of Sri Lanka’s cabinet has resigned after many protests among the economic distress that the country has been in. 

The only people of the cabinet that have remained are current president, President Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa who is the prime minister. Mahinda has also held the presidency from 2005 to 2015. 

Within the cabinet stands multiple family members of the family, including Basil Rajapaksa who is one of the brothers enacted as the finance minister and Namal Rajapaksa the son of the current prime minister. 

The demand for the resignations was due to the economic crisis that has overturned the lives of the country. 

This includes shortages in food and resources due to the supply and demand issues occurring. These shortages included timed power outages in all areas except the places in which those politicians lived.

There have also been social media and internet restrictions. Apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, and Facebook have been blocked in an attempt to prevent citizens from posting on media to alert the rest of the world of Sri Lanka’s crisis.

Protests have started to occur in parts of Sri Lanka’s main city Colombo. In this time people have created signs stating “Go Home Gota” as a taunting way in order to ensure that the President leaves. 

Sri Lanka has faced decades of poor judgment calls made by the government now affecting the people of the country in ways that one would not expect. According to The Guardian, 50 year old Upul lives in a poor city in which has been forced to try to survive with zero resources. 

The hardships this country has faced in the past couple of years is immense, including its Easter bombings that occured in 2019, which were then followed by the covid pandemic. 

The bombings of 2019, had the eventual pitfalls of an economic crisis considering that tourism had been the thing most affected. The same happened in 2020 to 2021 when the pandemic destroyed the hospitality business worldwide.

Now, there are the millions of dollars that have been stolen from the people and the government that was instilled to protect the people have now faltered on their agreements.

This is not the first time this family has taken money from the people, the ex president Mahinda Rajapaksa is claimed to have stolen 83 million rupees from the tsunami relief fund. This fund was instilled after the 2004 tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka’s eastern coast. 

This very president has been claimed to have stolen billions of US dollars from the government as well, which had been stated during his defeat.

President Gotabaya is another politician along the string of them that have taken advantage of the system and have used their power to better themselves with personal gains. Personal gains that have made them wealthy over the years of their family “dynasty’s” rulings. 

On April 14th 2022, there began the Sri Lankan New Year, in which is usually a time of celebrations and family is now a time in which people will continue to protest to keep the understanding that there will be no backing down from this fight.  

Some protestors have brought their own kids to the protests to show them what is truly happening in their country rather than continuing to celebrate the New Year. 

The fight is not over and it will continue until President Gotabaya sees the injustices that are being done and gets the punishment he deserves for the devastating conditions he has left his people in.

Categories: International, Politics

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