16 November, 2018

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Can We Keep Our “Hopes Alive” Under Yahapālanaya?

By Gamini Jayaweera

Gamini Jayaweera

Gamini Jayaweera

The people of Sri Lanka have placed their trust and pinned their hopes when they voted in millions in favour of the new government, that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will fulfil their aspirations by laying a strong foundation to rebuild a democratic, compassionate, peaceful, law abiding, and sovereign society by the advancement of social, religious, cultural, economic, and technological developments in the country. After the appointment of the new cabinet by the President and the Prime Minister, the time is right for us who have risked their lives and livelihoods by publically supporting Mr. Maithripala Sirisena during the presidential election, to examine whether the “Yahapalanaya” government is on the right path to keep our “Hopes Alive”.

Setting Up a “Jumbo” Cabinet

It is true to say that the President and the Prime Minister have inflicted a serious blow to keep our “Hopes Alive” by appointing a Cabinet consist of 44 members including President and the Prime Minister. In addition there are13 State Ministers and 23 Deputy Ministers who are not members of the cabinet. During the pre-election period the leaders of the “Yahapalanaya” quite rightly criticised the size of the cabinet in the previous regime and promised us that they would not follow the same path of appointing a “Jumbo Cabinet” because it will cost the country a vast amount of money to maintain such a cabinet. The impression given to the nation was that the cabinet would be a maximum of thirty (30). Most importantly, we do not need such a large cabinet as Sri Lanka is a small country compared to large countries where the no. of cabinet ministerial posts is between 20 and 25. Assuming that the “Yahapalanaya” has appointed a “Jumbo” cabinet in the short-term to fulfil some election promises where the government needs two thirds majority in the parliament, can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the President and the Prime Minister will take action to reduce the “Jumbo” cabinet to an acceptable level at the appropriate time?

 

Appointment of Corrupt Politicians

The other blow that has been inflicted by the President and the Prime Minister to keep our “Hopes Alive” is to appoint some ministers, state ministers, and deputy ministers who have had a history of corrupt practices, engaged in drug dealings, and exhibited their thuggery and criminal elements during the presidential & general elections. In addition, the President and the Prime Minister have appointed some politicians who have been rejected by the people for their double standards during the general election. Can we reasonably expect from the “Yahapalanaya” government to keep our “Hopes Alive” that the President and the Prime Minister will take all reasonable actions to eradicate bribery and corruption which has become a cancer killing our society, bearing in mind the quality of some of the newly appointed ministers, state ministers, and deputy ministers?

Undisciplined MPs and Councillors

It has been reported in newspapers that several allegations have been made against some MPs and Provisional Council members for alleged illegal behaviours and threatening police officers who were trying to carry out their rightful duties to maintain the law and order in the country. This is totally unacceptable as we must run our country on the universally accepted principle of “no one is above the law of the land”. It has become the norm in Sri Lanka when politicians threaten the law enforcers for political gains, some media organisations highlight the illegal activities, and senior political leaders in the party “investigate” the incidents but no action is taken and nothing changes. If the President and the Prime Minister, as leaders of the two major parties cannot discipline their members irrespective of their positions in their parties, can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the “Yahapalanaya” can effectively tackle to remove the political interference in maintaining the law and order in the country?

Appointment of Leaders to State Institutions

It is a fact that government institutions and state corporations in Sri Lanka play a vital role in the country’s economy as well as providing a major contribution to the social and technological developments in the country. It is also a well-known fact that majority of these corporations’ performances are inefficient, uneconomic and very much below the generally acceptable level. As we are heading into a period of “economic revival” after more than two decades of terrorism and unacceptable level of corruptions, we expect that the “Yahapalanaya” government will appoint leaders and the senior managers to these government institutions based on their ability to run these organisations in a most economic and efficient manner to give the tax payers the value for their money.

But it is evident that some Ministers have appointed known corrupt officials who have served in previous governments, as their advisers at very high costs which are being funded by the tax payers. It is also known that some of these “old faces” left Sri Lanka as soon as CBK came to power in 1994 to avoid prosecution for their involvements in bribery and corruption. Some of these autocratic “old faces” have administered government institutions nearly three decades ago, inefficiently and uneconomically due to their inabilities to give adequate leadership to the workforce. They failed to hit targets, beat budgets, improve quality, and deliver outputs because these leaders could not find ways to engage the workforce and generate their excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment. We need leaders who can inspire, motivate, and influence the workforce to work efficiently and economically, recognising the environment in which they have to operate. Despite the “jobs for the boys” policy adopted by some ministers, can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the “Yahapalanaya” will identify and appoint leaders who can run our public sector organisations more efficiently and economically?

Nepotism Continues

During the presidential election and as well as in the general election, we were told by the President and the Prime Minister that the new government would establish good governance and put an end to the previous regime’s malpractice of appointing relatives, friends, and political henchmen with no adequate qualifications and experience to important positions in government and state corporations. It appears that to a certain extent, the “Yahapalanaya” is also advocating the same policy of nepotism which was openly practised by the previous regime. It is also evident that both major parties have not discouraged or abandoned the practice of giving opportunities to members of the same family circles to become members of parliament at the expense of ordinary party members who have worked tirelessly for the success of their parties.

Then the latest episode of Daham Sirisena’s presence with the Sri Lankan delegation at the UN General Assembly and later participating as a youth representative of Sri Lanka at the youth-led event of Sustainable Development Goals summit. Make no mistake that no one is querying about Daham Sirisena’s trip to USA with his father, the President of Sri Lanka. But it is not ethically and morally correct for Daham Sirisena to sit with the Sri Lankan delegation in the UN Assembly and participating as a youth representative from Sri Lanka in the SDG summit, as he has not got any official status to do so.

When the new President of Sri Lanka addressed the nation on 30th January, I could remember that he demonstrated for the first time in the history of our political sphere that the Leader of our nation had humility among other leadership qualities to lead our nation during the next five years. As Ezra Taft Benson stated, the President has shown that “Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” It is my view that the President has made an error of judgement in the Daham Sirisena’s issue. Therefore I hope that the President will apologise to the Nation for the mistake he has made unlike the previous leaders who showed arrogance in-lieu of humility.

Can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the “Yahapalanaya” will establish good governance as soon as possible and discontinue the practice of nepotism once and for all?

Abandonment of Leadership Programme

It appears that the decision taken by the Minister of Higher education to abolish the leadership programme for the undergraduates, is a short sided policy implemented by the “Yahapalanaya”. The leadership programme introduced by the former Higher Education Minister Mr. S.B. Dissanayake during the last regime, was right in concept but wrong in their application by engaging Sri Lankan Army to conduct the leadership courses based entirely on their model. Of course, we need to incorporate some aspects of the leadership development model of the Sri Lankan Army into the leadership development programme which should be designed to nurture a pool of skilful, talented future leaders to run our profit and non-profit organisations in the country more efficiently to benefit the country as a whole.

It is a fact that in most of our schools, we do not have a mechanism for early identification of leadership talent and then of nurturing it, except for a few elite public and state schools. It is sad that the Honourable Minister has overlooked the importance of developing a culture of leadership development programme for all undergraduates because almost non-existence of leadership training that we have in our state schools. We need visionary leaders in every sector of our society to ensure that we achieve our social, religious, cultural, economic, and technological developments in the country. We all know that since independence most of our leaders have emerged from the few elite state and private schools.

We believe that Sri Lanka should adopt a programme of leadership development and talent management for Undergraduates and secondary school children, because we need to take the maximum benefits from untapped and undeveloped talents and potential in our society. Then only we can produce the next generation of capable, talented leaders in business, education, health, politics, judiciary and armed forces to run our country effectively and efficiently.

Can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the President and the Prime Minister will guide the relevant ministers to implement a structured leadership programme for undergraduates and secondary school children as soon as possible, to ensure that the opportunities are open to all and not limited to the sons and daughters of politicians, and the children from the few private and state elite schools.

Re-claiming Our Dhammadeepa

It is a great concern for the people of Sri Lanka the increasing level of daily violence, rape, child abuse, and murder in the country and rapid deterioration of moral values in our society. It is also disturbing that some of the law enforcing officers (Police officers) taking the law into their own hands and treating the suspects in inhumane manner, making the situation from bad to worse. The top brass of the police must take action to discipline their officers who are exercising their duties against the law of the land. It is accepted that the law and order in Sri Lanka has plunged into a very low level during the last regime but it appears that the new government is not making any significant policy difference to rectify the worsening situation in the country. The time is right for the Minister who is responsible for maintaining the law and order in the country to come up with a short-term plan to curtail these violence activities as soon as possible and a long-term plan to restore the law and order in the country with strict guide lines for the police force to carry out their duties in a civilised manner when they confront the suspects.

Can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the “Yahapalanaya” will restore the law and order in the country to be maintained by a professional police force where people can live without fear of violence?

“Dhamma Sangayana”

It is sad to experience and watch the rapid deterioration of moral values in our society where greed, hatred, and ignorance are thriving. It is also sad to witness that some of our Srilankan Buddhist monks are engaged in the quest for worldly gains rather than propagating dhamma and developing detachment as preached by Lord Buddha. Some of our Buddhist monks have forgotten their main responsibilities of preaching, practising, and teaching Buddhist principles to uplift the moral values of the lay people. It is accepted that the silent majority of the Noble Sangha are carrying out a tremendous service to propagate Dhamma and protect the Buddha Sasana though they do not get headlines in the media. During the general election campaign the Prime Minister proposed to actively work with the Heads of Noble Sangha to conduct a Dhamma Sangayana in 2017 to purify the Buddha Sasana. Can we keep our “Hopes Alive” that the much needed Dhamma Sangayana will take place as soon as possible?

Keeping our “Hopes Alive”

I appeal to the President and the Prime Minister to use the trust of the Nation that have been placed upon them by the people of Sri Lanka, to act decisively and speedily in creating an environment where people can keep their “Hopes Alive” that we are on the right path to achieve our goals. As Martin Luther King, Jr suggests, we say to the President and the Prime Minister that we are ready to accept finite disappointments, but we will never lose our infinite hope that the “Yahapalanaya” will overcome the challenges and change our political culture to create a decent human society in Sri Lanka as promised.

*The writer is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and is a holder of Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Henley Management College, Oxford 

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Latest comments

  • 13
    7

    Gamini,

    You have askes too many questions here and given your personal opinions on matters that are non relevant to many people in Sri Lanka.

    However I will answer the main question you pose to us readers. ‘Can We Keep Our “Hopes Alive” Under Yahapālanaya?’ The answer is a resounding no. This My3 has taken us for a super ride and wallowing in the excesses that always comes with this job in Sri Lanka, adulation beyond belief and nepotism practiced to the max. Ranil is useless to the core, is his usual inept self and nothing can be expected of him.

    • 2
      0

      Yahapalanaya is wishful thinking with Ranil and Sirisena and the corrupt morons of the Diayawenna Parliament doing business as usual!

      Why is Ranil spending 5 days in Japan? Does he not have work to do in Sri Lanka as the Prime Minister?! Usually visits of heads of state or deputies are 24 hours to 3 days because they have BUSY SCHEDULES.

      But it seems that Ranil has all the time in the world to hang out in Japan!!
      Meanwhile all the corruption cases are being postponed till next year and there is NO JUSTICE in the country!
      Yesterday Gotabaya Rajapaksas FR petition hearing to stop him being arrested over the Rakna Lanka scam was postponed till next year. JUSTICE IS A JOKE IN SRI LANKA.

      Let us not forget that justice delayed is justice denied.

      What a joke this ayahapalanaya Govt. is with Sirisens’s National list of corrupt MPs.

      The judiciary is dragging its feet on all cases and the AG is a Rajapaksa Stooge.

  • 7
    1

    Dear Mr. Gamini Jayaweera

    As part of the real conscience of Sri Lanka, you raise several important points, there is hope for Good Governance in this country
    but civil society has to forge ahead of politicians and petty politics.

    The current president came forward as common candidate largely with the support of the UNP. He betrayed the trust in him by his own party and his president. He also sided with the “Federalism” and “ISGA” Ranil Wickramasinghe, which is why some did not vote for him. To some, this Yahapalanaya seemed to be just another propaganda campaign by the UNP, and I am sure it was.

    Events have proved that it is not good governance but the idea that ‘the ends justify the means’ that is in operation now. This is very regrettable, I do wish to see Sri Lanka succeed, which means this government must succeed, but at least now they need to get their good governance act together. I see no signs of this happening though.

    There is hope, but the next election should be campaigned, run and decided by civil society. We can have our party affiliations, but we must agree- no changing of national lists after elections, no unsuitable candidates, we the people must decide, put forward our own lists, our own candidates and run our own campaigns. The politicians will have to put up or shut up. We will suggest our own president, prime minister, cabinet, ministers, number of ministers, and the constitutional changes. The Friday Forum, if they have courage, can go ahead with something like this.

    No government has delivered to the people of Sri Lanka what they deserve. They have delivered insurrections, carnage, ethnic and economic strife and political victimization. If you count. more Innocent people of Sri Lanka have been destroyed, but much fewer governments.

    Only Mahinda Rajapaksa saved this country from terrorism – that’s what Ranil said anyway, so we should respect him. Of course he did not agree to three regions or five regions – that was his main fault. Nor did he listen to the international community, that was his other mistake. No doubt these are being corrected and all is well now. Several of our leaders did much good work, but it was not enough to prevent war.

    You need leadership? The younger more principled members of parliament will have to take the lead. Let the rest retire.

  • 5
    1

    Mr. Gamini
    While endorsing all what you said I suggest keep your hopes alive. For Sri Lanka has a major obstacle to overcome. That is the reconciliation process. This is the last chance to avoid further conflicts and develop our country. If we fail there will be very disastrous consequences. To carryout this process and pass certain legislation in the parliament the government needs majority support.For the first time in our history two major parties have come together to solve these problems.

    But that does not mean that you should not point out the mistakes and wrongdoings. We should criticize them.

    Let us give the two leaders a chance.

    • 1
      1

      Let’s give them a chance. They should listen to their advisers and get new ways of thinking, maybe we can import these from Japan.

      Some food for thought:

      “The most efficient government in the world has been announced… and it’s Qatar

      It is an autocracy where women are discriminated against, migrant workers are exploited and free speech is curtailed. But according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Qatar is a model of efficient government. “

      independent.co.uk

  • 6
    0

    I truly regret that I voted for My3. Politikkos in Sri Lanka are all same as they do 1% for the people and the rest for their families. Sickening…

  • 5
    0

    Gamini Jayaweera,

    You, like many elite are talking of keeping your Hopes Alive:

    The poor masses of Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are hoping to keep alive!

  • 6
    1

    How can we keep our hopes alive when half of MR’s thugs are in parliament? There will inevitably be a showdown between Ranil and Sirisena.

  • 3
    0

    “Let us give them a chance”! As if there is any other option!!!!

    Guys, we are being screwed by them each and every day. Do not try to fight. Just lie down and enjoy it as much as you can.

  • 2
    1

    We are on the verge of losing hope.

    The President of SL, Maithripala Sirisena (MS), said after th present UNHRC resolution, the following;

    1. The UNHRC resolution is “a suggestion and not an order”.
    2. I will appoint a “body” to judge war crimes and disppearances.
    3. War criminals “were saved from electric chair”.

    Firstly, a resolve is not a suggestion but a serious, firm and joint decision. And the UNHRC resolved unanimously, with 38 serious sponsor countries, including SL. Any violation by SL will be a serious offence.

    Secondly, a “body” appointed by the president to judge war crimes and dispeearances will not have constitutional powers to judge and punish offenders legally. And it is not the intent exprressed in the resolution.

    Thirdly, the request for domestic inquiry by SL was to save war criminals from “electric chair” than to do justice.

    Surely, deceit, dishonesty and untruthfulness do not constitute “good governance” in SL.

  • 3
    0

    Now when I see what MY3 & Ranil are up to, I feel sorry for having wasted my vote on Maithree

  • 2
    1

    “Can We Keep Our “Hopes Alive” Under Yahapalanaya.” A very timely and a relevant question. First we have to take back our memories to the “environment” that prompted us to establish “Our Hopes”. That was the period from 2010 to 2014. It must be admitted that the ex President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse attracted the admiration of the Public that no other politician managed to gain, when he eradicated the menace of “Terrorism” that existed for three decades. Also, it is unquestionable that he did succeed in bringing in much needed “Infrastructure Development” that the country was denied for decades mainly because of the “Terrorist” onslaught. But what happened after he received that “admiration” of the public. In my opinion, mainly due to his limitations of political visions and individual character deficiencies, he KNOWINGLY, allowed and encouraged the growth of a CULT of corrupted “GANG” that went over and above all “Democratic” principles and good governance. He developed and nurtured a “FAMILIAL” ruling class and subjugated the very cabinet to that iron fist. His son was allowed to behave as a “Prince Untouchable of High Elite” and he was very publicly dictating terms to the senior cabinet and seasoned politicians. The “Drug Mafia” was made a “Bed Mate” and all those connected with such trade were made “immune” from the arms of the law. One of his own “stooges” who was accused of killing a British tourist was brought to face some justice, only after Prince Charles of UK made some reference to that crime. Another cohort from down South who even celebrated the “100th rape” was allowed to roam around free from the arm of the Law, still maintaining his Chairmanship in the Pradeshiya Saba. He also “ridiculed” and “subjugated” the whole of the Justice System to his “Dictates” by unethical disciplining of the Chief Justice and appointing the most questionable person to the vacancy. We also saw how the “Media” was virtually “annihilated” and some of them had to flee the country to save life. The State Media was made a “inherited family property”.

    All of the above and many more received condemnation and the members of the public, waited and wanted to change that “Growing Corrupted, Mafia Style” of Governance. That is how this present “Ranil + MY3” Government came about. That ENVIRONMENT must be clearly understood by this “Joint Venture” -“Ranil+MY3”; if NOT that will also definitely be kicked out and will face the wrath of the people. We know the task before them is not so EASY; because this “Joint Venture” has INHERITED a highly stinking and carefully crafted corrupted government machinery composed of “goons”; “cohorts” and “familial affiliates” who are waiting like vultures to grab the “kill”. The writer has correctly illustrated some of the glaring instances of “willing negligence” and “turning a blind eye” attitude towards what is going on terribly wrong by this present “Ranil + MY3” joint venture. Yet with a sigh of relief, I would say, with the freedom we have through media, both print and electronic, we still keep our “Hopes Alive”.

  • 0
    0

    the security cocoon is enclosing my3 from yahaplanaya. so it is out now. co ma ra will prevail. there may be somw ra too inside the cocoon so that mi3 will not know anything but nod for everything.

  • 0
    0

    Countries to emulate – choose one: World Economic Forum

    Switzerland, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Luxemborg are small countries so not really a good comparison. But Rwanda?

    Most efficient states

    1 Qatar

    2 Singapore

    3 Finland

    4 Hong Kong

    5 United Arab Emirates

    6 New Zealand

    7 Rwanda

    8 Malaysia

    9 Switzerland

    10 Luxembourg

  • 1
    1

    “Can We Keep Our “Hopes Alive” Under Yahapālanaya?”

    Is there an alternative?

  • 4
    1

    Can We Keep Our “Hopes Alive”

    Mr Gamini Jayaweera,

    Like someone said, we live in hope even though living in hope is what kills us all in the end!

    I, as much as you and many others, am disgusted with president Sirisena about his recent antics and I am not in any way trying to justify or absolve anyone form blame.

    One thing I know is, there is theory and there is practice. In universities I have come across renowned academics who have written brilliant theses how to run the whole world like clockwork, who in practice can’t run a viable family-unit with the wife and children.

    When everyone (including myself) was crying blue murder about Sirisena’s UPFA national list, as a practical-realist, I went away and did a little thought-experiment and put together an alternative national list from the nominated people.

    And the list is,

    G.L. Peiris, D.E.W. Gunasekara, Tissa Witharane, Tissa Attanayake, Dilan Perera, Tiran Alles, Rajiv Wijesinghe (Oh boy!), Jeewan Kumaranatunga

    Now, go on, take your pick. Which is better; politicians who lose or politicians who can never contest an election and win? One way or the other they are both rejected by the people. Either way we are damned.

    In theory, it is right to adhere to the principal that no one who lose should be brought in through the back door but when you do that see what happens in practice. Sometimes conventional-wisdom is not wisdom at all, or at least it’s not what it seems.

    In all these, are we the voters sacrosanct; devoid of any blame? Can the voters vote for any scoundrel and send them to parliament and later turn around and demand “Good-governance?” For crying out loud, one of the people who got the highest number of preferential votes is still in remand for murder! Has the thought ever occurred to you how Sirisena and Ranil can deliver “Good-governance” with this motley crew if they do not resort to some skulduggery?

    People can send absolute scum of the earth to parliament and in return have the right to turn around and expect leaders to deliver “Good-governance” while adhering to pristine principals!

    I think it’s time for all of us to be a wee little more realistic.

  • 1
    7

    Gamini,Despite your qualifications you sound one of the many thousands who were fooled by Mangala,Ranil,CBK,Rajitha,Rathana,Champika mill of falsehoods.
    Now there is no point whining but to consume what you served your self.
    It was plainly clear to anyone who wished to see that these people were lieing through their teeth and what else can you expect from this government built on such lies?
    They hoodwinked the poeple big time!just one example:they promised to keep the cabinet to below 30 and quietly added clause about a national government which then will not be subjected to such a limit and now we have a coalition government which is called a national government just so that they can have as many ministerial positions they need.
    Sorry I couldn’t read through to the end as I felt nauseating half way.

  • 7
    1

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you very much for your comments.
    I am pleased that you and I can exchange our different views in a public forum like this without fear of intimidation which we have experienced during the last regime.

    It is sad that you have passed a judgement on me without reading the article to the end.

    I quote the last sentence of the article for your information.

    “As Martin Luther King, Jr. suggests, we say to the President and the Prime Minister that we are ready to accept finite disappointments, but we will never lose our infinite hope that the Yahapalanaya will overcome the challenges and change our political culture to create a decent human society in Sri Lanka as promised.”

    May you enjoy you enjoy good health always.

    Kind Regards
    Gamini Jayaweera

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