By Shiranee Dissanayake –
Yes, the people have spoken loud and clear. And it is amply evident that the current government did not have the foggiest idea about how the Sri Lankan population felt about their three year rule. It was after the 10th of February that they were rudely awakened to the reality that people are no longer ready to tolerate governments that do not fulfill their promises. It is a matter of regret that it took three years and an election defeat for the “Yahapalana” (good governance) government to realize where they stood with the people of this country.
It was with great expectations that the professionals, the educated elite and those who cared for their motherland banded together under the leadership of the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero to spearhead the campaign against bribery, corruption, calculated murder and family rule that the previous regime was accused of. However, the recently concluded local government polls indicate that the people have lost faith in the regime that they empowered to rid the country of this menace that pervaded almost every sphere of activity in one form or another. Now the people have given their verdict which we hope has jolted the present regime out of their slumber bringing about the realization that their brand of “Yahapalanaya” has no appeal among the masses. It is an undisputed fact that the UNP, the SLFP and the SLPP are all blemished with accusations of bribery and corruption.
In the circumstances the third force, the JVP who claims to be unblemished in terms of bribery and corruption should have been the obvious alternate choice. But that too has been rejected to the extent that they have not been able to secure even one provincial council. Although they played a prominent role in exposing the wrong doers, and are not accused so far of corruption they have got blood on their hands for calculated murder, harassment of the people and damage to public property during the insurrection in the 1980s. This could well have gone against them. Still it is baffling that the people opted to back a party composed of the same corrupt individuals whom they rejected not so long ago on grounds of bribery, corruption, murder and big time robbery of the wealth and resources of this country.
The recent voting in the local government polls, points to the fact that the people’s priority was not to elect a member from their area with the leadership qualities, honesty and commitment to uplift and develop the village. Rather it was a show of solidarity towards former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. This resulted in a state of uncertainty and instability in the government for over a week as there was a bid to take over power by the SLPP on account of their local government victory.
However, after much quibbling, nit-picking and wrangling among the UNP, SLFP and the SLPP the President has finally realized that the only option open, is for the existing government to continue as all other options put forward by the different parties have been invalidated legally and constitutionally. So Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe continues as Prime Minister and the “Yahapalana” government continues to rule.
The SLPP’s dream of chasing the PM out and installing Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister has fallen flat on its face. The over-confidence of the “Yahapalana” government that they have the support of the people even though they have not kept their promises has fallen by the wayside. The people themselves who believed that Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe will be overthrown and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa will be installed in his place have now realized that they have achieved nothing for themselves by this exercise and literally fallen into the ditch. Therefore, considering the current state of play in the political and public arenas, it is clear that this is a classic case of “missing the bus” by all relevant parties concerned.
Meanwhile if one analyzes the current state of politics, the welfare of the people who are currently undergoing immense hardships seems to be the last thing on their minds. The energies of the SLPP are concentrated on furthering their selfish agendas of capturing power before the term of the current regime is over. It is evident that failed party politics still reigns supreme in their minds and salvaging the country from the abyss it is currently in, is nowhere on their agenda.
By the looks of it, the current parliament is composed of four clubs. The Angling Club comprising of the SLFP turned SLPP who is angling to capture power at any cost for reasons best known to themselves. The Wrangling Club comprising of the JVP whose main occupation is wrangling with no constructive input to improve the lot of the people. The Dangling Club composed of the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna and the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya who are clinging on to the SLPP with the fervent hope of preserving their shaky political futures. And finally, the Bungling Club made up of the UNP and the Maithri faction of the SLFP which constitutes the “Yahapalana” government. Regrettably the turn of events following the local government polls have left the general public with no other option but to join the ranks of the Fumbling Club.
The main reason for the UNP and the SLFP to join together to form a national government was to ensure political stability so that economic progress can be achieved. Regrettably their performance during the past three years has failed to meet the expectations of the people. From the results of the recent local government polls, it is clear that the people’s thinking is no longer party based but performance-based. Unfortunately, the politicians have failed to realize the reality of the situation. At a time when statesmanship should take centre stage to salvage the country and put it back on track, it is regrettable that their own political ambitions are highest on their agendas with no consideration for the welfare of the country or its people.
What the people want is performance irrespective of whether it is UNP, SLFP or JVP. It is time that the “Yahapalana” government that is holding the reins got their act together and did what has to be done, to pull the country out of this economic and political mess. It is the duty of the joint opposition while keeping track of the misdeeds of the government to support any endeavor which will benefit the people at large without opposing every move with the hope of bringing down the government. It is the people’s wellbeing that matters and not whether the powers that be are from this party or that. If the opposition doesn’t realize this and insists on stalling every initiative to develop the country and creating instability in order to serve their own political ends and the “Yahapalana” government does not deliver within the next two years, they can rest assured that their days in politics are numbered.