By Malinda Seneviratne –
The word on the street thanks to President Maithripala Sirisena is ‘science’. The cabinet reshuffle, Sirisena said, would be done scientifically this time. He went on to say that he had discussed (presumably scientifically) about it and made changes. He implies that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe submitted to the power of his (Sirisena’s) science or else the two, together, scientifically came up with the names and the relevant portfolios.
So far, Wickremesinghe has uttered not a single word on the scientific claims. Sirisena, on the other hand, has elaborated thus: ‘Most ministries which had allegations against them were changed under the new reshuffle,’ he said.
Sirisena has not elaborated on these allegations, but if allegations there are and if ministers were moved on account of the same we have to conclude that either the particular minister is him/herself under a cloud or s/he is incompetent. Now if Minister A has been removed on account of either of these reasons, what is the (scientific) logic of putting this shady/incompetent creature in charge of a different ministry?
Do Sirisena and Wickremesinghe believe that ‘a change of scenery’ would automatically make such a person honest and competent?
We could apply their logic to the changes. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was effectively hoofed out of the Justice Ministry in August 2018. Technically he was not ‘reshuffled’. Neither was Ravi Karunanayake, who was forced to resign as Finance Minister. However, if they were considered ‘unfit’ to hold those portfolios, their recent elevation to the Cabinet indicates that their replacements are doing a better job and that somehow, within the course of a few months faith in their abilities has been restored. How they managed to do this of course is a mystery. Let’s leave it at that.
What of the others? Kabir Hashim is no longer the Minister of Higher Education. Did he score low on the relevant KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), assuming of course that there are such things for ministers. He was made the Minister of Highways and Road Development. What does this say of Lakshman Kiriella? He’s been made Minister of Public Enterprises and Kandy Development. Who held these portfolios earlier? What are the allegations against the predecessor(s)?
Before me move to others, let’s consider the scientific nature of a ministry for a single city. Kandy is a major city, no doubt, but if the principle of consistency had been applied, we would need ministries for every capital of every province or at least ministries for Kurunegala, Galle, Anuradhapura, Gampaha and Jaffna.
Moving on, Mahinda Amaraweera has been relieved of the fisheries portfolio. Were there allegations and if so what are they? Was it corruption or mismanagement or incompetence? He’s been put in charge of Agriculture, previously the subject of Duminda Dissanayake. Did Sirisena and Wickremesinghe believe that Amaraweera would leave behind corruption and incompetence at the Fisheries Ministry when he assumes duties as the Ministry of Agriculture? And wrong did Duminda Dissanayake do? We need to know.
We need not go on and on. This new science of reshuffling is baffling. Perhaps the problem lies with the ‘scientists’ who have done the reshuffling. Maybe they have no clue about basic logic. Maybe they are just confused or have a limited vocabulary. Maybe they don’t know the meanings of the words they use.
Consider this: J.R. Jayewardene turned ‘dharmista’ into a cuss word. Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe turned ‘peace’ into a cuss word. Wickremesinghe, along with Sirisena, made a cuss word out of ‘Yahapalanaya’. Now they’ve corruption the words ‘science’ and ‘scientist’.
People don’t have to use words such as idiot, moron, nincompoop, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, dullart, dimwit, dumbo, dork or boofhead. They can simply say ‘scientist!’
That’s not something to laugh about. Seriously.