Needed: A robust Opposition
Posted on January 8th, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island


President Maithripala Sirisena did not make any revelations as such in his recent statement on the bond probe commission report. But, he has stirred up a real hornets’ nest. He should have respected the people’s right to information by releasing the whole report instead of selectively disclosing parts thereof. He has left much to the imagination of the public, as usual.

The knee-jerk reaction of beleaguered former Minister Ravi Karunanayake has been to dismiss the bond commission findings, made known by the President as false, according to a report in this newspaper yesterday. He has also denied any wrongdoing on his part. He is entitled to his opinion, nay has a right to challenge the report which is inimical to his interests. But, his boss, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, seems convinced otherwise; the PM is reported to have directed Central Bank Governor to make arrangements for a forensic audit to be conducted in keeping with the bond commission recommendations. If one is to go by Karunanayake’s claim then the commission recommendations cannot be acceptable to the UNP as they are based on what he calls erroneous findings and the Green faction of the government shouldn’t undertake to have them implemented. Curiouser and curiouser!

Karunanayake has cleverly bracketed himself with the PM, thereby, throwing in his lot with the party leadership vis-à-vis the adverse political fallout of the bond scams. He never uses the first person singular when he talks of the bond controversy. He makes it a point to use ‘the PM and I’ repeatedly while claiming that both of them are clean. It is being argued in some quarters that he fears that he might end up being an expendable if push comes to shove for the government. His fear doesn’t seem totally unfounded! Finding scapegoats is the name of the game in politics. Look at the way the holier-than-thou SLFP members of the yahapalana government are condemning their erstwhile partners in the Rajapaksa government. They are also said to be baying for Karunanayake’s blood. A separate presidential probe is called for into the damning allegations against those corrupt elements pretending to be saints.

Meanwhile, the Joint Opposition (JO) has said it is planning to move a no-confidence motion against the PM over the bond scams. The SLFP dissidents have chosen to play it safe once again. They float like bees and sting like butterflies, so to speak, when they confront the UNP. It looks as if they weren’t so keen as to take on the green party. It has mastered the art of being seen to be active while doing nothing. It seems to have adopted the same ruse as private bus drivers who wait at halts while making gears scream from time to time so as to give passengers the impression that their boneshakers are not stationary. Any Opposition worth its salt would have been on streets by now, demanding that the bond racketeers be hauled up before courts. But, with so many corrupt elements within its ranks, the JO is apparently wary of doing so lest the government should dig into its heavyweights’ past sins afresh. Politicians usually have skeletons in their cupboards. But, as for the JO big guns, their cupboards are catacombs!

It is also possible that, the SLFP dissidents’ strategy being to weaken President Sirisena’s position in the SLFP as well as the government so as to take over the party leadership, the JO doesn’t want take on the UNP with might and main. For, the President, faced with moves to undermine his position in the government, stands to gain from a campaign which debilitates the UNP. Former President Rajapaksa has said there is a cold war between the President and the Prime Minister. The JO seems to be operating on the basis that its enemy’s enemy is its friend.

A prerequisite for ensuring that bond racketeers are made to pay for their crimes is to bring adequate pressure to bear on the government to have the presidential commission recommendations implemented. The media have done their part and the political opposition has to take it from there. Sadly, we are left with a useless Opposition. The TNA has reduced itself to a mere appendage of the government. The JVP’s bark is worse than its bite. The JO is waiting till the government collapses and power falls into its lap just like the proverbial jackal which trailed behind a goat expecting the pendulous organ of the latter to fall. The country desperately needs a robust Opposition.

2 Responses to “Needed: A robust Opposition”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    An excellent Editorial.

    JO should have praised the president for the bond scam report and demanded him to accelerate the process of recovering the loot and punishing the offenders. Instead, the JO finds holes in the process (just like the UNP) and tries to disrupt the anti-corruption drive. This is very strange behaviour. But the Editorial answers it.

    Quote – Any Opposition worth its salt would have been on streets by now, demanding that the bond racketeers be hauled up before courts. But, with so many corrupt elements within its ranks, the JO is apparently wary of doing so lest the government should dig into its heavyweights’ past sins afresh. Politicians usually have skeletons in their cupboards. But, as for the JO big guns, their cupboards are catacombs!

    This is also true about the JO. They are relying on government failures to win votes. Will give them a maximum of 35% of the vote but not more.

    Quote – The JO is waiting till the government collapses and power falls into its lap just like the proverbial jackal which trailed behind a goat expecting the pendulous organ of the latter to fall.

  2. L Perera Says:

    The breakaway from the Two Party System at the previous election resulted in an opposition that was weak and in disarray. A future repeat of this scenario is something that cannot happen without dire consequences to a great number of Lankans who live in hope for a better future as they eke out an exsistnce , surrounded by luxurious appartments and flashy motor vehicles.

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