Treating any politician as a near-deity, and giving him or her absolute power, is a dangerous course, says Savi Hensman. In concentrating power in his own hands, President Mahinda Rajapaksa resembles the ruthless Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
As Sri Lanka's recently re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced he is dissolving parliament and calling early elections, church leaders issued a strong statement against abuses during and after the last poll.
Concerns are rising that Sri Lanka's presidential election will be undermined after the deaths of four people in a spate of campaign-related violence in the past week, say election monitors. The poll is due on 26 January 2010.
Behind the bravado and bold promises of the election contenders in Sri Lanka is the shadow of past violence, say Savi Hensman. Many are in denial about the effects, but unless the grim legacy is at least acknowledged, future unity and stability may be undermined.
Hundreds of civilians are being killed and seriously injured in artillery and gun attacks as the Sri Lankan Army attempts to eliminate the remaining LTTE rebels trapped in a shrinking "no fire" enclave.