Is President expecting commissions to deliver good governance?
Posted on November 26th, 2015

Barnes Abeywardena Courtesy Island 

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When one examines Sri Lankan politics one cannot but think that the President and the PM think that they have now outsourced what they should do to some commissions. Why else should the government keep saying it is up to the authorities to take action against the illegal acts and corrupt individuals? The President, the PM and half the Cabinet went around the country to convince us how corrupt the MR Regime was but now they seem to have forgotten it, except of course Wijedasa R and Tilak Marapana, who in fact are saying just the opposite, defending some of the corrupt deals and if not for Marapana’s resignation, I am sure several more would have joined him . It is clear that some of the corrupt ministers are eagerly waiting in the wings for the right moment to start defending their ‘partners in crime’.

 

How did the ‘yahapalanaya’ government, at least some of those in it have the audacity to move in the wrong direction? Many of us understand that the president had to do certain ‘un- yahapalanaya’ things in the overall interest of ‘yahapalanaya’, that a large number of his voters would disapprove, to ensure that MR would not get a ‘mechanism’ to come back to power: 1) If he hadn’t accepted the leadership of the SLFP, MR would have appointed his corrupt MPs to the national list and the government would have been weakened. 2) If he hadn’t appointed corrupt MPs as ministers, they would have most definitely joined MR making it impossible for the President and the PM to govern.

 

Besides the above actions that one could tolerate, the President made a big mistake by appointing his brother as SLT chairman and that too in an indecent hurry, almost immediately after coming to power as if his brother’s life was at risk if it wasn’t hurried and by doing so he has weakened his moral authority. Arjuna and others are now happily following the Presidents example with justifiable confidence that they are safe. Corrupt politicos must be thinking that the message is ‘we cannot be corrupt as much as before, but corrupt we could be, only a little less and a bit slowly’. The president himself planted the germ and it would not be easy for him to stop it from spreading. PM’s Central Bank issue is another big germ and he could have appointed a proper committee to investigate and act on it to nip the problem in the bud but he did not.

 

Consequence was that some of the Ministers came out openly to defend the crooks. Marapana has resigned because he is not a ‘politician’ and it is clear that Wijedasa who has much more thick skin than Marapana, would not resign. It seems that neither the President nor the PM want to take any action perhaps worrying that he will go and strengthen the hands of the MR gang or perhaps because their hands are a little weaker due to their own ill-considered actions.

 

However, we are thankful to the President and the PM for appointing the independent commissions as promised but then that is only half the job done and it is the easier part because the politician were forced to vote for constitutional amendments by the vast majority of the voters. But making sure that the commissions function well is going to be much more difficult and to the independent minded, it doesn’t seem that the Government is fully steadfast in its resolve to the commissions are functional as they should be.

 

It is very clear to us, the independent observers that at least several politicos in the government, given half the chance, will put a spanner in the works of ‘yahapalanaya’ and undo the reforms the President and the PM have managed to introduce.

 

Barnes Abeywardena

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