Last year Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa banned the usage of agrochemicals by local farmers in an attempt to become the first country with 100% organic agriculture. On the surface, the move seems like a perfect example of visionary leadership. Just over a year later, it is being declared a failed experiment. The “catastrophically wrong” initiative resulted in lower farming yields, barren farmland usage and widespread farmer protests. What went wrong?
This story is a sadly recognizable case study in political chaos. It starts with an insecure male politician wanting to make his mark by doing something bold. Easily manipulated by his advisors, he takes unilateral action without truly understanding any of the implications or speaking with any actual experts. When warned by early setbacks, he doubles down on his previous choice because his ego prevents him from changing course or admitting he was wrong.
Eventually, when the backlash becomes too great, he resigns and escapes to the Maldives (which just happened this week). His next move in this story, based on past examples, will probably be to take no responsibility, declare he was right all along, and try to blame the entire debacle on someone else. Does this story sound familiar?