Throttling dissent the y-palana way
Posted on August 14th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island


The yahapalana government is apparently in the suicidal mode. It is planning to move two no-faith motions against Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Mustapha. This is an interesting turn of events.

A motion of no-confidence is long overdue against Minister Mustapha, who keeps postponing local government elections on some flimsy pretexts albeit at the behest of his political masters who suffer from ‘polls phobia’. But, Minister Rajapakshe has incurred the wrath of the government by opposing the leasing of the Hambantota Port. Yahapalanaya or good governance consists in tolerating dissent among other things. Why should anyone bay for Rajapakshe’s blood simply because he has opposed the disastrous port deal?

The government is not serious about removing Mustapha, who is only a minor irritant. It, no doubt, wants Rajapakshe ousted as he has criticised what passes for the government’s economic strategy. But, it is not likely to go ahead with the no-faith vote against him because if it fails in its endeavour the motion will boomerang on it. Rajapakshe got it right when he said the other day that the government would have to resign in case of its failure to remove him through a no-confidence motion.

The government has had to lease or sell public assets to foreigners mainly because of its expensive election bribes such as the huge pay hike for the public sector workers. It also cooked its goose by antagonising China, which alone has the funds to grant loans. Now, it has had to placate China by leasing strategically important assets to Chinese companies. It has chosen to remain in India’s good books by handing over the Mattala airport to an Indian firm. One hopes that Hambantota won’t end up being Sri Lanka’s Doklam.

What the country desperately needs is frugal economic management. It doesn’t need a government to sell its assets to shore up the national economy. If it contracts some auctioneers they will certainly do a much better job!

The government ought to refrain from taking punitive action against Minister Rajapakshe, who has emulated the truthful boy in Hans Anderson’s tale, The emperor’s new clothes.

Meanwhile, it behoves the Opposition to ask Speaker Karu Jayasuriya what the Attorney General has said about the no-faith motion which was to be moved against Ravi Karunanayake. Now that Karunanayake has made a tactical withdrawal by way of his resignation as the Foreign Minister there may not be any need for it to be taken up. But, the public has a right to know the AG’s opinion thereon because the government insisted that it was sub judice.

Brave women!

A story that lifts one’s spirits has been reported from a southern township. A life-giving pot of curd never gives a scare to anyone. Instead, it may make one’s mouth water. But, if coupled with a woman’s intrepidity and sangfroid, a pot of curd can become so scary as to make even an armed hardcore criminal show his victims a clean pair of heels. This is exactly what happened to a gunman who entered a house in Baddegama at night and shot a former sailor, injuring him, according to a report in this newspaper yesterday. The assailant was about to accomplish his mission when trouble for him came from unexpected quarters. The victim’s wife materialised before him, carrying a pot of curd, which landed on his head before he could say Jack Robinson. Scared out of his wits, he ran as fast as his legs could carry him. What would the gunman tell his fellow criminals now? He will have to concoct something like the UNP lawyers’ report on the Central Bank bond scams, to save his face!

A few moons ago, we reported a somewhat similar incident. A gunman forced himself into a house in Matara and tried to relieve a woman of her jewellery by holding her at gunpoint only to run away minus his gun, which the victim grabbed and dashed on the floor damaging it. Last year, in Dambulla a female garment worker pounced on two armed military deserters who tried to flee on a motorcycle after snatching her chain. They lost their balance, fell on the road and faced a citizen’s arrest.

The moral: Never underestimate a woman!

Whenever we read about fearless women who make machos bolt we wonder why they don’t take to the sickeningly male-dominated politics. The problem is that women generally underestimate themselves. They keep the economy afloat by toiling on plantations, in garment factories and in the deserts of West Asia. Besides their contribution to the national economy, they account for more than one half of the population. Sadly, they settle for less when it comes to representation in Parliament, Provincial Councils and local government bodies. They must demand that at least 50 percent of the seats in those institutions be reserved for them and more female candidates fielded at future elections. If the selection of candidates were ever to be left to us we wouldn’t hesitate to nominate formidable women of the calibre of the ‘pot thrower’ of Baddegama. Else, the kapati suit clad, corrupt, violent males who come to blows at the drop of a hat and turn the once-august assembly into a fish market of sorts will continue to rule the roost.

One Response to “Throttling dissent the y-palana way”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    The proposed no-confidence motion against Wijedasa Rajapakse is just for cheap public consumption. Nothing will happen. These are similar to the “good cop bad cop” dramas of the “Mulberry Group” headed by Dilan Perera from 1995 to 1999. He is not alone. Ranjan, Thevarapperuma, Harin and even Chathura have been critical of the government. All of them are together on the new proposed secular federal constitution, the OMP Act, persecution of war heroes, Buddhist monks, reconciliation, etc.

    Why only Hambantota? His biggest concern on Hambantota seems to be Indian concerns. How about 16 oil tanks already leased to India? How about ETCA? How about the disastrous FTA with India since 2000? How about the marshalling business of Avant Garde that ended up with an Indian company?

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