Highlights

  • Mahinda: At 76 he is the patriarch of the family
  • Gotabaya: Dubbed as 'The Terminator' he is credited as the one who led the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers

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Rajapaksas: the rulers and wreckers of Sri Lanka

Meet the most brazenly nepotisitic political dynasty

Sri Lanka is bankrupt and burning. The global fuel and food shortage may have exasperated the crisis but the ruins of the economy were homegrown and nurtured by dynasty politics. Meet the Rajapaksa's the rulers and wreckers of the island nation.

Mahinda Rajapaksa: At 76 he is the patriarch of the family, favoured by the Sinhala-Buddhist majority on the island nation who served as President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015, and then briefly even as Prime Minister from 2004-2005. During his rule, Sri Lanka moved closer to China, borrowing almost $7bn for infrastructure projects, many of which turned into white elephants mired in corruption But his most recent reign as PM was 'gifted' to him by his elder Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had become president.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: A man from the forces, this Lieutenant Colonel was not just the President for the last 3 years but also the defence minister. Dubbed as 'The Terminator' he is credited as the one who led the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers, which ended the Sri Lankan Civil War. Gotabaya was managed day to day ops of the army as Secretary to the Ministry of Defence for a decade (2005 to 2015) when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President. This senior Rajpaksa member had many corruption charges which vanished as he became President.

Basil Rajapaksa: Called “Mr Ten Percent” in a BBC interview in reference to commissions he allegedly took from government contracts, Basil, a seasoned strategist, controlled the money as the finance minister for the island nation. All cases against him were dropped once Gotabaya became president. Basil, who also holds a US citizenship was the second among the influential lot to resign from government.

Chamal Rajapaksa: Formerly a police officer and personal bodyguard to Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the world’s first woman prime minister, Chamal had held the reins of the irrigation department as well as a significant standing in defence under brother Gotabaya. This 79 year old has previously been speaker of the house as well as shipping and aviation minister controlling all the traffic in and out of the bankrupt nation.

Shasheendra Kumara Rajapaksa: Beyond the big brothers the new age Rajpaksas had also started to make their mark. The eldest son of Chamal Rajapaksa was given responsibility under the law for agriculture as Minister of State which was facing acute pressure with the unthought/hasty decision of banning fertilizers which pushed the agri economy into complete bankruptcy.

Namal Rajapaksa: The eldest son of Mahinda, the scion of the Rajapaksa clan is the only one that stands out, a lawyer by education, Namal resigned early from the cabinet, days after publicly slamming his father and uncles' decision to ban social media.

Also watch: What next in Sri Lanka? Constitution's rules explained; acting President named; all-party govt announced

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