By Ruvan Weerasinghe –
I for one am not too unhappy that the new government is taking its time naming its cabinet of ministers. Usual practice is, that after we all trek to the polling booths, cast our votes diligently and follow the election results, while we are still recovering from the exercise, a cabinet is thrust on us with barely 2 or 3 days of deliberation.
Nor are many of us particularly averse to the idea of a national government in which decision making would be slower than usual owing to the need for negotiation on each major decision – such as the appointment of the cabinet.
What me and many others who voted for progressive change, both on the 8th of January and the 17th of August take offense at, is being unwittingly drafted into a ‘save the SLFP’ project which appears to be taking place at our expense.
The first signs of this was when at least the few undesirable elements that were voted out of power (to be sure, sadly the majority were re-elected, some with large majorities) were brought back in through the national list – purportedly to strengthen the hand of the President within the SLFP. However noble that cause maybe, clearly the majority who voted for change didn’t do so to be enlisted in such a cause.
If the various so called ‘reliable sources’ quoted in the news, such as the Sunday Times Political Column are to be believed, much worse is to come. Some of the most undesirable ‘seniors’, who were so openly antagonistic towards the President even as the President of the SLFP, are to be part of the cabinet of the national government. Clearly this is more than just a little annoyance – it is a violation of the very mandate that the majority gave during the recent General Election.
MPs such as Nimal Siripala De Silva, Susil Premajayanth, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa are the epitome of bad governance – they stood for all that was wrong with the previous regime, culminating in the drawing up of a list of the most corrupt individuals for contesting the General Election under the UPFA ticket. To give them any ministerial posts, leave alone prominent portfolios, makes a mockery of the democratic process.
Can a government in which these individuals are ministers ever investigate independently the various cases pending against them and their allies who would be waiting in the sidelines to make a comeback as soon as possible? Won’t they instead make every effort to stall, delay and confuse the processes that have just begun to take their course in this respect? Can we trust a national government that has as its leaders those whose past record both within and outside parliament reads like a dismal report card?
In short, unless rear guard action is taken to make some last minute changes and replace these undesirables from the proposed cabinet, the entire national government exercise is bound to be viewed with suspicion, and be doomed to failure long before the planned two year period.
On its part, even the UNP appears to be on track to dish out cabinet portfolios based on loyalty, than on competence – that most voters voted for. Are really the so called loyalists such as the former Ministers of Finance and Education the most competent MPs in their team? What about professionals such as Harsha De Silva and Eran Wickremaratne who also showed they are capable of winning at elections? One is only left to hope that sanity will prevail, and that the UNP will recognize competency over loyalty in their cabinet appointees in the new government.
After all, we don’t want the hard work of civil society and the conscientiousness of the common voter to be hijacked for solving party problems – we want the best MPs that the parties can give, to take this country forward.
Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, the responsibility of using the mandate given by the people for establishing a healthy national government based on good governance, should not be usurped to play party politics for controlling and managing the MPs of the respective parties that you are heads of.
kumaran / September 1, 2015
This where a very strong CIVIL organization must kick in. Temples, Churches, Universities, Schools and Colleges, professionals, all must collectively raise a strong lobby against political cronyism. In many countries there are at least three “executive” branches of administration such as a president or Monarch, Parliament and the Senate. Here we have on paper two, namely the President and the Prime Minister (in the present context) but like during the MR era, both My3and RW are playing the old game. Cronyism has been there with the UNP and the SLFP as well the UPFA. If we do not support a strong lobby against appointing wrong people to office, following unethical procedures, etc we will never be free of harmful influence.
kumaran / September 1, 2015
This where a very strong CIVIL organization must kick in. Temples, Churches, Universities, Schools and Colleges, professionals, all must collectively raise a strong lobby against political cronyism. In many countries there are at least three “executive” branches of administration such as a president or Monarch, Parliament and the Senate. Here we have on paper two, namely the President and the Prime Minister (in the present context) but like during the MR era, both My3and RW are playing the old game. Cronyism has been there with the UNP and the SLFP as well the UPFA. If we do not support a strong lobby against appointing wrong people to office, following unethical procedures, etc we will never be free of wrong decision makers.
Hamlet / September 4, 2015
The question that MS and Ranil have to ask themselves is:-
Are their Parties more Important than the Country and its People?
British Style Democracy is not working in Sri Lanka, because Uneducated Crooks, with no other qualifications, are using Politics to enrich themselves!.
K.A Sumanasekera / September 1, 2015
What do these people in the picture have in common with Dr Weerasinghe and his Elite mates Batalanada Ranil and Co ?…
These poor innocent inhabitants were used by Bodhi Sira to gt in to the President’s chair and help the Elite and Anglicans take charge.
These innocent naive people have no clue of what is going on…
Can’t wait to see how many of these will progress into Elite class in Batalanada Ranil’s new country. which he has promised to deliver in 60 Months.
Raja / September 1, 2015
Did the innocent naive people knew what they were doing thief was made the chief and robbed country left right and centre after committing war crimes
paul / September 1, 2015
Solution my dear Ruwan was to get a parliamentary majority at the last election. The UNP could not do that. Political prostitution is the only available option remaining to form a government….
Amarasiri / September 1, 2015
Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe
RE: Why Are We Being Enlisted In ‘Save The Party’ Projects?
Save the Party
Save the Family
The voters need to be used for saving the party and family.
After All, the Average IQ of voters is 79, and there is plenty with IQs below that cab be deceived.
All the politicians know that.
300,000 voters voted for Wimal Buruwansa.
425,000 voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Guess the Average IQ of those who voted fot the above characters? 65?
National IQ Scores – Country Rankings
1 Singapore 108
2 South Korea 106
3 Japan 105
28 Guatemala 79
28 Sri Lanka 79
28 Zambia 79
Spring Koha / September 1, 2015
Alas, the post election reality is that while a few undesirables have been booted out, MS and RW are still saddled with much baggage from their respective pasts. So, the old tactic of keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer has to be adopted. Better, no, to have such people on the inside pissing out rather than the other way around.
I’ll second what you have written: Nimal Siripala De Silva, Susil Premajayanth, and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa in the cabinet are about as welcome as a fart in a lift. But these are vagaries of our political life. What to do?
There is still much to purge out of the system. Keep vigilant.
Don Quixote / September 1, 2015
Well said and kudos for naming the names !
Emil van der Poorten / September 1, 2015
I cannot endorse too strongly what the writer has had to say, even though it has been all too obvious from the “get go” that when you put unprincipled people in charge of the process, the results are going to be just that: UNPRINCIPLED.
Don’t give us “realpolitik,” we voted for decency and the rule of law in governance, NOT for a bunch of the most undesirable politicians in this nation’s history to be given a second innings!
First step (if it isn’t already too late)FIRE EVERY ONE OF THE BROKERS WHO WERE/ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TRAVESTY!
Dodo / September 1, 2015
Thank you Ruwan Weerasinghe!
1. ’90 cabinet and deputies would also be a policy disaster with lasting implications for the entire economy and development of the country. It will make for policy fragmentation and incoherence with so many uneducated and corrupt ministers in such a tiny country messing around with institutions – there will be a total policy log jam and corruption will be rife. Not to mention the cost of such an enormous cabinet on the treasury and tax payer. Sri Lanka is indeed a Miracle of Modayas.”
2. The ends do not justify the means, and the ends will be destroyed by corruption. The so-called new constitution will not be worth the paper it is drafted on if the politicians need bribes to pass it.
3. Why cannot Sri Lanka Political leaders DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE COUNTRY and educate themselves to do the right thing for the country? This planned Sinhala national government with the UNP and SLFP with its 90 cabinet members is based on bribery and corruption.
4. That Sri Lanka’s accidental president Sirisena lacks moral compass and even an iota of leadership is seen repeatedly. He should have refused Mahinda Jarapassa and his cronies nominations if he wanted to save the SLFP from corruption. Rather, than giving nominations and then back stabbing.
Leadership from the rear end seems to be Sirisena’s style, which in fact is moral corruption and turpitude. Now to add insult to injury, Sirisena is foisting on the people his cabinet of corrupt morons from the SLFP because Sirisena is no leader and cannot DO THE RIGHT THING and EDUCATE the SLFP Politicians to do the right thing for the country, rather than for bribes of cabinet posts! Instead Sirisena is bribing the corrupt clowns in the SLFP to support him – for all the world to see. So, how can you have good governance when the cabinet 90 is reeking with corruption?
5. 90 Cabinet Ministers is an insult to the idea of good governance because it is legalized corruption for all to see among those who are supposed to be the law makers. It is also an example of how rotten political leadership and culture in Sri Lanka is today.
Nathan / September 1, 2015
Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe,
I applaud your sentiments. Such disgusting behaviour is the reason why we are rated a 3rd world nation.
gamini / September 1, 2015
Ruvan Weerasinghe your claim
‘On its part, even the UNP appears to be on track to dish out cabinet portfolios based on loyalty, than on competence – that most voters voted for. Are really the so called loyalists such as the former Ministers of Finance and Education the most competent MPs in their team? What about professionals such as Harsha De Silva and Eran Wickremaratne who also showed they are capable of winning at elections?’
With your reference to Ravi Karunanayake, I believe he should be considered favourably over the new entrants for the dedication commitment for the party UNP for so long and also being returned by the voters after he was falsely maligned by his critics unfairly.Ravi was unfairly accused by the very senior SLFPers who have robbed this country silly. How long has Ravi K been in governance as a Minister? Only for a short stint when the UNP won in 2002. Think, Could he have robbed and escaped CBK and MR who both accused him and even tried to incarcerate him. In fact Legal action was initiated against Ravi K by MR who tried to tarnish his image, but was unable to get a conviction with his kept Judiciary? So much for FALSE allegations against an individual like Ravi Karunanayake who stood by the UNP in her hour of need. I personally know Ravi Karunanayake who deserves the best from this govt. The ones who accuse him are the real Rogues who have robbed this country.
Punitham / September 1, 2015
Thanks, Dr Ruwan.
More academicsshould be voicing their concernsand all these must appearin Sinhala/Tamil too because we cannot give up our efforts for #wecanChangeSL movementfor our future generations’ sake.
K. C. John / September 1, 2015
Excellent, very sensible article which conveys the sentiments of all who wish and hope for good governance.
I cannot understand why those SLFPers who were non-supportive and even antagonistic towards President Maithripala Sirisena should be considered for Ministerial office. Only those who supported the President from the inception should be considered. Let those who wanted MR back remain where the voters consigned them to – in the ranks of the opposition.
Furthermore, I cannot but agree that the UNP should be considering Cabinet posts for such professionals as Dr. Harsha and Eran rather than sticking with ancients who are considered tainted and incompetant by very many UNP supporters themselves.
K.A Sumanasekera / September 1, 2015
Is Sira holding the File on Ranil?
Ranil’s mates in the West form Governments, even with just a majority of 2 or 3.
Here is Ranil with 11 seats majority of his own, and 16 TNA Vellala MPS, who worked so hard to push un winnable Ranil ove4 the line.
It makes Ranil 122 to Sira’s 95 That is a whopping 27 seat majority..
Even the little oomph Ranil had as the Samurdhi PM has now dissipated after becoming the legit PM on the 17..
Ranil can’t even tell his loyal deputy and enforcer of his Faction Galleon , whether he got his own job..
What a sad state of affairs..
Can anyone remember Ranil’s speeches where he boasted how Sira was going to hand over all the exec Powers to him on the 9 and become a nincompoop President until Ranil gets the Presidency demolished ?.
Is Dr Mahendran still putting his autograph on our Bank Notes?….
gamini / September 1, 2015
These Idiots, like Amanasekara think they are smart Alecs. What happened to their predictions of MR earlier and of his return afterwards? Ranil Wickremasinghe has outwitted all and he will have the last laugh. They earlier speculated that Ranil cannot ever win an election. Next they speculated that he can never form a govt or a Cabinet. These critics of Ranil are made to eat humble pie all the time. Shameless buggers have the audacity to still think they can unseat Ranil Wickremasinghe from governance. Keep on trying till all of you end up in Political Oblivion.
vids / September 3, 2015
Just wait and see…. How Ranil Wickremasinghe will ruin the country and make it a hell-hole with terrorist bombs bursting all over again. then Idiots like ‘gamini’ will be silent.
Raja / September 1, 2015
Ruvan what else you can expect from idotic leader we voted in. On consolation is that we will have freedom to expose like you have done. Had this been year back, you will cease to exit like Prageeth and they will tell you you worked for LTTE. Internal vigilance is the price of democracy. We need to pay it iternally