Colombo Telegraph

The UNP Should Be Factored Out Of The Governance Struggle In Sri Lanka

By Springer

We cannot deny that Sri Lanka is in a crisis at the moment. Even if the country does not meet the indicators of a failed state, it is as good as one.

Whatever impression the government would like to give, fiasco upon fiasco is mounting. if we go from the most recent – the illegal impeachment of the CJ, to the totally botched up case of Rizana Nafeek, the mess in the Judiciary before the CJ’s unfortunate fate, to the Z score, to the messed up education system at all levels, to the almost non existent implementation of an LLRC Action Plan, to all types of religious fundamentalism rearing its ugly head, to the increasing violence, the increasing cost of living, to the failed administrative system, to the over employment of graduates and resultant burden on the economy and the final nail in the coffin – the economic down turn.

The economic failures are most serious from the time of the removal of the GSP+ concessions.The country is on a steady economic decline, whatever the Central Bank would like to say. The real growth rate can only be estimated at best as an inflated one is given in the Central Bank Report. Foreign Direct Investment for real growth in enterprise does not seem to be there as most of the money received is invested in infrastructure. In fact the government is investing in infrastructure and external investment is limited to  Chinese assistance for infrastructure yet again and a few others lenders.The economy is also affected by the many strikes and bad fiscal management as evidenced by unhealthy investments and playing around with people’s savings such as EPF.

Let us say for the time being that citizens dream that  the government should correct itself eean at this stage and move on. May not happen, but it is one of the few possible roads ahead.

What is the UNP doing while the country is burning?

President Rajapaksa very successfully defends the impeachment process and the fact that the CJ has to go out. Citizens are made to believe that the Divineguma is the best thing that happened since sliced bread. In fact as found out in the process of a discussion with Heads of Civil Society Organizations today, many of them were unaware that the passing of the Divineguma Bill was not a cake walk for the government. That many amendments had to be made and a few clauses dropped

There has not been a single concentrated communication campaign on the part of the UNP to tell the public what is happening in reality. Citizens need information to make decisions. Citizens need to be made aware of the tremendous power that goes with their sovereignty.

Even during a talk show the UNP makes a very poor argument except for Harsha de Silva, Kabir Hashim, Rosy Senanayake, Ravi karunanayake, Sajith Premadasa and Eran Wickramaratne. But such events are  islolated  and not strategic campaigns that run with a theme and muti faceted communication tools and events to change the mindset of the polity.

So many demonstrations and marches were held both by the Government, Lawyers’ bodies, civil Society Organizations and Trade Unions mainly of the left. However, the UNP could not even mobilise people onto the streets once, for the past 3 months, while all this was happening.

So in the struggle ahead it might be more prudent for citizens to factor the UNP out and for professionals and other Civi Society Groups to take the lead. However bad governance is, still the government is effective though diabolical. The leadership of the UNP has become so ineffective that it is pulling back its own members from doing something progressive.

Many people’s struggles have been successful without an opposition, so let us think about a Civil Society led struggle in the months and years ahead.

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