President Sirisena Must Takeover Law and Order, Economic Affairs and Media Ministries As President Kumaratunga Did in November 2003
Posted on October 17th, 2016
This is not the first time UNP has proven it cannot manage law and order and economic affairs functions. President Kumaratunga came to the same realisation in November 2003 that President Sirisena is getting into now. She took a bold step to takeover defence, finance and media ministries under her. Otherwise, the UNP regime would have put national security and the national economy in serious perril. Her timely action saved the nation and her party. Sirisena must do it without letting the UNP further ruin the economy and erode national security.
UNP has no right to govern the country, as people didn’t give it the mandate (113 seats) needed. If it governs the country, it must do so taking into account the concerns of the SLFP as well since SLFP is party to the national government.
Intimidating War Heroes Will Have Wider and Nastier Repercussions
President Sirisena quite correctly condemned with disgust the actions of CID, FCID and other agencies in politically victimising war heroes. As the Commander-in-Chief, it is his responsibility to protect them against politically motivated harassment. If this continues, rank and file of the military will be utterly frustrated with the government. Losing their support will become crucial to uphold democracy if the UNP were to use undemocratic means of grabbing power from the President. Police was put on high alert recently fearing a coup by the UNP. Law and Order ministry is manipulated by minister Sagala Rathnayaka for petty political gains which puts national security at risk. He is incapable of running this ministry and it must be taken over.
Although the defence ministry is with the President, deputy defence minister is from the UNP. What is more worrying is he is the nephew of the UNP leader – the Prime Minister. If anything were to happen to the president, or if the president is deliberately incapacitated by any group, these two UNPers will take matters into their hands. It is time the President removed the deputy defence minister and hand over the post to a SLFP minister for his own safety.
Economic Ruin from Central Bank to VAT
UNP is responsible for the economic ruin the nation suffers today. Everything it touched turned into ruination. Central Bank governor was appointed by the UNP and the bond fraud that resulted keeps bleeding the economy to the tune of 5 billion rupees every year. People expected good governance from President Sirisena, not the world’s biggest bank fraud. Until that incident, Central Bank was mostly shielded from corruption. Now that too is in corruption. As the heart of the national economy, massive fraud at the Central Bank will have a dire impact on the economy.
Despite concerns of the President, UNP showed no regard for people’s difficulties when it illegally imposed higher VAT on a broader range of goods and services. It was taken down after the Supreme Court declared it illegal not before bringing it again. It is clear the VAT increase has a lot to do with the bond fraud at the central bank. If not for the bond fraud, there is no need to raise VAT so very badly.
People enthusiastically watch the president on the bond fraud. Will the culprits be punished as promised or let off?
Foreign debt was a huge concern people had when they voted out the former regime. Limitless borrowing piles up an increasing interest bill and takes money away from other important sectors like health, education and development. UNP regime has so far borrowed in excess of $10 billion in just 21 months. If the trend continues, creditors will come knocking and the country doesn’t have the means to settle debt. Worse part is, the UNP regime has not done any development work with it. Where did the money go? Sirisena’s much-hyped Moragahakanda project will not take off ground as the UNP regime will not release budget funds for it.
A History of Eliminations
The UNP leader acceded to and retains his post following a series of assassinations. It was the assassination of president Premadasa and UNP giant Lalith Athulathmudali that made him the Prime Minister. If Lalith had not died, he would have been appointed the party leader and possibly prime minister as he had a dispute with the former president. Gamini Dissanayake briefly assumed the role of UNP leader and the Opposition Leader after Ranil’s UNP was defeated in 1994. However, he lasted only two months. He too was killed by Tamil terrorists. In 1999, Ranil contested against Chandrika for presidency. Tamil terrorists seriously injured Chandrika but failed to kill her. Had their plan worked, Ranil would have ended up becoming president. On the same night, UNP leader General Lakshman Algama was killed by Tamil terrorists. He too held enormous leadership potential and he would have mounted a successful challenge for UNP leadership.
Then General Janaka Perera was sent to the UNP gallows. He too had huge leadership potential within the UNP and he could have very easily replaced Ranil.
It is obvious Sirisena is the only obstacle for Ranil to claim his much-desired presidency. President Sirisena must take extreme care not to end up as the five (almost six) previous victims that stood in the way of his ambitious Prime Minister. President Kumaratunga’s presidential commission unearthed horrendous crimes allegedly committed under the supervision of his Prime Minister in Batalanda.
President Sirisena must use his mandate to advance good governance and he should not hesitate to take over any ministry to prevent corruption, politicisation, favouritism and other forms of bad governance. If he fails to do, people will take those tough decisions against him. Avoiding Rajapaksas should not be the focus as people have bigger concerns than bringing them back to power or keeping them out of power. This mad game of politics ruins the nation and the SLFP. It must stop and president Sirisena must identify who his real supporters are and who exploits him to gain what they want. Further, Sirisena must guard against UNP’s devious plans.