the much hyped Cabinet reshuffle has been postponed indefinitely, because the two major parties in the government, the UNP and SLFP, failed to come to an agreement
Contemporary Sri Lanka politics has become a gigantic swindle perpetrated by many of the people, elected by the people and supposedly for 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.
Essentially, the people discontented and have largely lost hope by the nation’s inability to govern itself with honesty or aptitude. Across the country there is a belief that corruption is flourishing and is most rampant in certain ministerial alcoves. At any rate, that has been the rule rather than the exception in successive administrations. In a nation where poverty and inequality remain discouragingly prevalent, perhaps nothing is more damaging to public trust in a democracy than the politicians who impose austerity on the many while somehow purloining the exchequer for their own sinful indulgences.
But the worrying and perhaps most intolerable aspect to the ordinary citizen is that not even a handful of members of our grossly corpulent Cabinets have not even made the most token gesture in support of practising austerity among themselves.
For any Government confronted with an aggregation of devilishly confounding dilemmas, it would be political and economic suicide to continue its present disastrous willy-nilly course. If it does, it will be heading with lemming-like proclivity to hurtle over the precipice and into political oblivion.
There is another intriguing custom among our politicians that is frightfully interesting. They all tell the people that they are ashamed of the disgusting behaviour of their predecessors and that despite their own shortcomings during their earlier tenures they are resolved not to behave as boorishly and would lead better lives in the future. Oh yes, and pigs might fly!
The people of this nation are being choked by a financial grinding that is threatening to whisk them to the very brink of subsistence. Living standards have nose-dived as ordinary people bear the burden of an unparalleled rise in the charges of utilities and prices of essential commodities. The men and women who toil are the ones who bear the cost of government. But these people are foisted with agonizing financial burdens in addition to unbearable taxes.
With more hope than faith we are still searching for a moral saviour who is bent on restoring some of the democratic ideals and principles that those in power claim had been jettisoned by their party’s predecessor. Both President MaithripalaSirisena and Prime Minister RanilWickremasinghe may have genuinely thought that they could work together towards ushering in a new era. But following the naming of the Cabinet there were several doubters who had expressed their reservations about ivory-towered expectancies.
Because it now seems apparent that both leaders seem to have grossly overrated the suitability of too many of their Cabinet associates to administer competently the portfolios they have been entrusted with. Several of them appear to lack even a basic managing approach to handle the most rudimentary aspects of the day-to-day running of their ministries.
To be fair, there are some among the caucus of ministers who have suddenly realised that truth actually hurts, not because of the searching after it but because of the running away from it. Now that, asserts a political satirist, is because in Sri Lankan politics that once in a blue moon an innocent man is sent to the legislature.
The ruling coalition has evidently done its homework although a bit late in the day. Sifting through its feedback and pulse-of-the-populace reports it appears to have to gleaned some answers on the people’s mood. The Cabinet should have by now determined what a miserable failure they have made of governance and a sorry mess of the economy. Saner heads suggested a Cabinet reshuffle to jettison some of the under-performing ministers as a means of at least showing that the administration is bent on tackling its multifarious tasks.
Yet the much hyped Cabinet reshuffle has been postponed indefinitely, because the two major parties in the government, the UNP and SLFP, failed to come to an agreement.Sources said the ‘good governance’ regime had been established under an agreement, where the UNP would be provided 30 Ministerial posts while the SLFP would hold 15 such portfolios.
However, the UNP has insisted that the agreement cannot be violated by handing over any of the posts that had been allocated to them, to the SLFP.Insider sources say that the UNP has consented to hand over, to the SLFP, only the Lands portfolio which is currently overseen by John Amaratunga.Analysts claim that the government was currently finding it difficult to select suitable candidates to fill the portfolios of Foreign Affairs, Media, Higher Education, Finance, Agriculture and Ports.
They should have also identified many of the problems and where they had fallen on their smug faces much earlier. They must realise that several problems left unaddressed are too urgent to be put on the backburner. Other realities have also to be taken on board. But there are larger lessons as well that will have economic and political repercussions. Also there is a desperate need to defuse the ticking social and economic time-bomb before it ignites into an anarchic explosion.
Every responsible party leader has an obligation to sustain sensible standards for the behaviour of their members and their activities. Many analysts assert that a good deal of compromise is necessary to avert a bloody showdown. They insist that government leaders and the President should sit down and talk. Certainly it is time saner deliberation prevailed to defuse any further crisis before it comes to a head.
Besides, it would only be logical to perceive that so many who comprise the mammoth Cabinet are a liability to both the Government and the nation. They are, besides being an embarrassment to their party and a mill-stone around the nation’s neck, ill-equipped to handle their portfolios and are positively expendable. They are a monumental reminder to everyone that there is no surer way of leading a party to electoral extinction than having them on board.