President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to finally dissolve Parliament sounded like a clash of cymbals without the customary fanfare of trumpets, heralding its demise. Not that the move came as a surprise to anyone because it was expected at any moment within the month.
Yet, if not for the dissolution, the Parliament could have remained until April 2016.President Sirisena, no doubt, would have had no objections to have continued boxing on with his hastily-cobbled Cabinet and play for more time. It became patently clear that the crevices were becoming too deep to plaster over within his fractured-interim administration. But with the way things were unraveling, he didn’t seem to have many options either.
The result of the recent change in leadership had brought about a precariously fragile arrangement of governance, comprising a host of defectors of the vanquished president honeymooning with the main Opposition UNP. And there appeared the peripheral voyeurs awaiting any opening to do an opportunistic leap into the marital bed and make multitudinous whoopee with whoever lusts after their warm embrace.
Many analysts are of the view that the move for the dissolution was a ploy of last resort to pre-empt impending no-confidence motions against Prime Minister Rani lWickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as well as a parliamentary committee report on an alleged bond scam under the new government.
Heading a hodge-podge government confronted with an aggregation of devilishly confounding dilemmas, it would have been political suicide to continue its disastrous willy-nilly course. If it did it would have been heading with lemming-like proclivity to hurtle over the precipice and into political oblivion. That would have been quite acceptable as far as the people of this nation are concerned, except for certain disturbing consequences that would be bound to originate from such a development.
The main legitimate worry in such a scenario concerns its replacement, which is the other big-party political dynasty which has an equally bad, if not worse track record of governance. Indeed, as long as these two see-sawing powers continue to dominate the scene, the voters will be left with such little choice. The voters, over the last two and a half decades or so, have had low expectancy of what successive governments can achieve.
Both big parties this week pledged that they would not grant nominations for the next general election to individuals facing charges of wrongdoing including corruption. One wonders whether that same assurance would include Cabinet ministers in the now defunct interim administration as well.
Sirisena who was considered among the few prudent heads in the former Rajapaksa Cabinet had displayed worries about the corruption and reprehensible behavior of some of his erstwhile colleagues. As the Sri Lanka Freedom Party General Secretary and Health Minister he had over and over again denounced some of his own Cabinet colleagues as being corrupt to the core and lamented that they were getting completely out of hand.
But analysts are unsure whether he might reluctantly be pressured to let them off the hook and hold some of them to his bosom for the sake of political survival. If he does it would clearly endorses how ethics are thrown to the wind during political exigencies.
Providing even temporary immunity to such rascals will set any government on a sure course of electoral annihilation. It would also be accurate to mention that some of the interim Cabinet appointments were being discerned with circumspection by the voting public. Ominous dark clouds of suspicion hover over the heads of some of them regarding certain alleged past disreputable dealings.
We have been told that the level of both moral and political maturity among our citizens is obviously higher that what its political leaders are willing to acknowledge. At the risk of sounding inequitable I would agree to disagree. Why then, if we had any intelligence would we vote for the political patrons of such audacious rogues?
Admittedly, it does not take an analyst or a think-tank to surmise that there are no gross ideological differences between our two major political parties, which have both been alternately riding this nation’s democratic see-saw since independence.
And of course, we Sri Lankans do not vote with our heads alone. We often vote with our hearts with more hope than faith that we have picked one relatively honest face after being left with such little choice.What we have had up to now have been governments of contradictions and controversies. It has clearly manifested that politics always prevails over justice. Certainly it is not a beneficial legacy to follow. It can ricochet with unexpectedly stunning force.
Contemporary Sri Lanka politics has become a gigantic swindle perpetrated by many of the people, elected by most of the people and supposedly for all the people. But they are anything but for the people who are beginning to recognize the bitter reality that many of those chosen representatives run the country only with their own interests at heart.
As a scribe with no political attachments, I honestly suspect that up to now we have been left with Hobson’s choice in casting our ballots in the hope of picking a basically honest government. As a cynical voter, I have given up looking for governments in terms of honor, moral tone and acceptable patterns of behavior. And I dare say a number of right-thinking readers will endorse this view.
We will have to take our pick largely from the denizens of Hell. It’s a devil of a choice!