Of that lottery win
Posted on June 11th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Cats seem to have got the tongues of the otherwise vociferous yahapalana apologists including the local NGO activists who never miss an opportunity to wax eloquent on the virtues of good governance. Their silence on the present regime’s despicable practices which are antithetical to good governance is deafening. They did not make a whimper of protest when defeated candidates were brought into Parliament through the backdoor and a jumbo Cabinet was appointed with those rejects within its ranks. When it became too embarrassing for them to defend errant ministers accused of bribery and corruption, and abuse of power they claimed those bad eggs would get their just deserts come a Cabinet reshuffle. A farcical mini reshuffle has come and gone but no heads have rolled. Instead, a head which once rolled over the Avant Garde floating armoury case has made a comeback, so to speak. Yahapalanaya has manifestly gone into reverse.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration has once again done something unbecoming of a government which reaffirms its commitment to good governance from time to time. When it appointed a jumbo Cabinet after winning the 2015 general election, it, in its wisdom divided, among several ministers, subjects which should have been placed under a single ministry. State banks and the Central Bank were removed from the Finance Ministry and placed under two different ministries. The government also combined some ministerial subjects in the most absurd manner. A single minister was put in charge of higher education and highways. The only connection one sees between these two subjects is that university students are more on roads protesting than in lecture halls. Why the government did not couple Law and Order and Higher Education together is the question.

Without caring to separate oranges from apples, the government has gone a step further. It has attached the National Lotteries Board and the Mahapola lottery to the Foreign Ministry! Having thus won the jackpot, newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake must be grinning from ear to ear! He may not have expected his political bosses to become a laughingstock by granting his wish in this preposterous manner. Worse, some UNP MPs including deputy ministers, who promised a better political culture where the interests of the public would take precedence over the whims and fancies of politicians in power, are trying to justify the government action. They look very pathetic, defending as they do the indefensible.

Now that it has combined foreign affairs and lotteries, the government might as well bring atomic energy under the purview of Minister of Fisheries or Minister of Rural Development. It might even lump religious affairs and livestock development together.

Many were the Young Turks of the UNP, who expected ministerial posts in return for their hard work which enabled the present government to capture power. They even made public their ministerial aspirations before the recent Cabinet reshuffle, but their dreams have been shattered. They are disappointed and resentful; they remain backbenchers while some political rejects are holding plum Cabinet posts. Let them be told that the fault is theirs. They have been barking upon the wrong tree. They don’t know how to jolt their leader into granting their wishes.

Here is a sure-fire way for the disgruntled elements within the government ranks to get ministerial posts or for ministers who are unhappy with what they have got to secure better portfolios. The only thing they have to do is contact former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in such a way that the state intelligence services will alert the powers that be to their overtures. Having contacted Rajapaksa and offered to meet him, they can rest assured that their wishes will be granted in next to no time. There is nothing the top yahapalana leaders, troubled by a gnawing sense of insecurity, won’t do to retain their numbers in Parliament so as to hold Rajapaksa at bay.

One Response to “Of that lottery win”

  1. Indrajith Says:

    Hilarious but true!

    The suggestion in the last paragraph is what exactly Mr. Wijedasa Rajapkse did to retain his current portfolio.

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