By Latheef Farook –
National disaster rewarding corrupt politicians
A national government dominated by the two major political parties- Sri Lanka Freedom Party, SLFP, and the United National Party, UNP, both ruled the country since independence in 1948 and bought it to its present chaotic state, is bound to be a national disaster.
There have been reports of surreptitious moves by SLFP to form a national government together with the UNP to bypass a general election. Confirming this move President Maithripala Sirisena’s office announced last month that the SLFP parliamentary group had agreed to form a national government.
However such a move rewards the very same politicians accused of widespread corruption, crime, lawlessness and plundering of national wealth besides numerous other crimes. A national government will help them continue to be in power and likely escape punishments for their misdeeds and crime against the country.
Such a government also goes against the very spirit of the slogan of “good governance” which large majority of people opted for when they rejected former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his corrupt and crime oriented administration. Overwhelming majority elected President Maithripala Sirisena with great enthusiasm in the hope that he would clean up the country of crime and corrupted elements.
Under the existing political environment eliminating crime, corruption and cleaning up the country is no easy task. However this is what people who are keen on the future of the country, peace and harmony for the next generations expect .Though a gigantic task people still have faith on President Maithripala Sirisena, as the only hope for a better future, to do this job despite the slow process in bringing those corrupt to book.
Opposing the move the JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake insisted that Parliament be dissolved on April 23 and fresh general elections be held to bring a set of politicians with honesty and integrity. He vowed that JVP would not allow the corrupt politicians rejected by the people to form a national government and secure ministerial portfolios.
He added that President Maithripala Sirisena and the minority UNP government should not work towards a national government at the expense of their solemn pledge. Those who had voted for President Sirisena expected him to dissolve parliament by April 23 as promised to pave the way for parliamentary elections.
He pointed out that “former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at the 8 Jan 2015 poll meant the rejection of the SLFP-led UPFA. Therefore, the UNP after having helped Maithripala Sirisena to secure presidency couldn’t contemplate of forming a national government with the SLFP. Neither President Sirisena nor Premier Wickremesinghe had received a mandate to go for a national government. The electorate had endorsed their 100-day project to bring in specific constitutional and electoral reforms as well as some relief to those struggling to make ends meet. Therefore, the next step should be dissolution of parliament next month as envisaged”.
However any national government led by UNP and SLFP spells disaster for minorities as SLFP politicians shamelessly promote their racist politics even today to gain or remain in power.
For example almost 65 years after the independence and five years after defeating the dreaded LTTE, defeated President Mahinda Rajapajksa repeatedly tried to play the racist card to remain in power during the last presidential elections. He said when he addressed election meetings that” this is a Sinhala Buddhist country and the minority Tamils and Muslims cannot dance in the way they want”.
After all it was the racist politics of these two major political parties, since State council days in 1930s, turned this paradise of an island into Asia’s worst killing fields.
Sri Lanka, during the time of independence, was blessed with everything required to move ahead to ensure a better future for all. However, where do we stand today after more than six decades?
Who is responsible for our being plunged in to the depths of moral degradation and depravity? Aren’t these two parties, SLFP and UNP, and their communal agendas, not realizing that they were plunging the country into a bloodbath, were solely responsible?
The ruling elite belonging to all shades of political opinions which maintained ruthless control over the island’s politics were solely responsible for six decades of mismanagement which created the current tragic state of affairs causing untold misery and sufferings to the people in general.
As a result since the dawn of independence Sri Lanka failed to produce a national leader accepted by all communities who could think above communalism for all communities and administer the country for the ultimate unity and prosperity for all.
Instead almost all governments dominated by the two main political parties with their eyes firmly fixed on the elections, either to win or to retain power, aggressively continued to woo the majority community as the most effective vote caching strategy.
As highlighted in the media on a daily basis, the entire political system has become corrupt, criminalized and commercialized leaving little room for serious development.
Inevitably, political instability has become the order of the day. Communities remain divided and the ethnic war has also opened floodgates for sinister and destructive players from all corners of the world, with their own agendas, to enter the country, further complicating the already complicated and complex political scene.
The draconian 1978 constitution and its executive presidential system of government have failed miserably .There were demands from many quarters, from all communities, to change the system.
Absolute power in the hands of an individual, and that too with no accountability to parliament or to the country, proved a monumental disaster for the island which continues to pay the price. In a way it is a democratically-elected dictatorship similar to those enjoyed by most dictators who ruined many countries in the world throughout history.
The need of the hour is for a set of politicians with honesty, integrity and sincerity who could think for the whole country.