The Joint Opposition (JO) has taken up the cudgels against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe calling for his resignation on the grounds he appointed Arjun Mahendran to the post of Central Bank Governor and continued to support him even after his alleged involvement in the infamous bond scam.
Resignation has been demanded because the Central Bank technically came under the purview of the Prime Minister and he had given relevant instructions to the bank with regard to the bond issue They point out that even after the bond scam the Prime Minister was not in favour of removing Mahendran from the post, but it was President Maithripala Sirisena who finally prevented his reappointment by nominating Indrajith Coomaraswamy to the post of Central Bank Governor.
Following the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) the Prime Minister, however, referred the committee’s report to the Attorney General for legal action. It is in this context that the joint opposition has threatened to organize countrywide protests demanding the Premier’s resignation.
One thing that is relevant here is that ours is not a country where politicians have ever set examples in the past by resigning from their positions whenever some major allegations were levelled against them. The other point is, if Ranil Wickremesinghe resigns at this juncture will it resolve all our problems? At least will it be the end of all corruption in the country?
On the contrary it will be the beginning of a new political crisis in the country especially at a time the new government is trying to put the economy on the right track with some clear vision for the future.
The advantages of such a resignation and the ensuing political uncertainty will go to corrupt politicians who are already being investigated and those who are already indicted and have little choice other than making every effort to topple this administration.
Meanwhile President Maithripala Sirisena has publicly stated that he came to power with the promise of good governance and therefore his responsibility is not only to punish those who have done wrong things in the past but also to prevent recurrence of such things under his own administration.
The President is still the head of the state and head of the executive and has all the powers to ensure an independent investigation into this matter and punish those who are responsible. He has made it clear that he is determined to obtain an impartial verdict through the country’s legal system.
So what is necessary is to rely on the assurances given by the President and our own legal system and to carefully watch the manner in which the investigations are conducted and not to create political chaos by having public campaigns demanding resignations or change of administration.