Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Yahapalanaya on a tight-rope walk ? Or is it ?
logoThursday, 15 June 2017

Negative assessments

I am wondering, as I receive news from all sides. Those who want to see the Government fall like to cling to a negative rhetoric. Where is Yahapalanaya? What have they done? To be sure, one hears such negative refrains not only from the Rajapaksa-committed. A very large number of people at home and in the diaspora keep talking that way adversely.

Former Central Bank Deputy Governor W.A. Wijewardena, who has been quite vocal about Government failures ever since the Yahapalanaya Government was formed, told an audience on 10 June that “this is a lame-duck Government”. All sorts of rumours are floating and this occurs when communication and explanation from the Government side aren’t forthcoming. Successful governments keep in communication with the people.

Untitled-1Paradox of liberalism

In this respect, the Government-controlled media in Sri Lanka has been most ineffective in the past, while independent media are freely using the tolerance granted by Yahapalanaya in order to attack Yahapalanaya.

British Philosopher A.C. Grayling states: “Tolerance is not only the centrepiece but the paradox of liberalism. For liberalism enjoins tolerance of opposing viewpoints, and allows them to have their say, leaving it to the democracy of ideas to decide which shall prevail. The result is too often the death of toleration itself, because those who live by hard principles and uncompromising views in political, moral, and religious respects will always, if given half a chance, silence liberals because liberalism, by its nature, threatens the hegemony they wish to impose.”

So now we observe how media attacks the Government and street protestors attack the Government. The BBS is said to be at large burning, as it does, one Muslim shop a day. This is the new land of Yahapalanaya tolerance and freedom of expression. Freedom has now been taken for granted so much that it isn’t valued any longer.

Even knowledgeable experts of the ilk of Wijewardena would have pissed in their pants if caught criticising Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya or the siblings during those dark years. In fact, I have never heard Wijewardena do that. Yes, the Government is a lame duck Government; but not of choice. That’s the important factor. Critical assessments must take context into account.

Keeping numbers

One can see the Government struggling to keep its numbers in Parliament in order to pass the new constitution. For this reason it seems to be just giving into demands. MPs are given massive financial benefits, luxury car permits, etc. Their greed is satisfied to the maximum extent. The crooked from the former regime have been bought over and these idiots are kept with a wide margin of tolerance.

The most recent case of yielding to pressure was when former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake made a Shylock-like demand for two agencies that fell under his former portfolio – the Lotteries Board and something else, which under no stretch of imagination can be classed classified under the Foreign Ministry. The President caved in.

Ravi appears to be a hard nut to crack. He organised something called the ‘Best Finance Minister in Asia’ title for himself. It was a joke for others but Ravi took it seriously. It is a credit to the sense of the President and PM that they weren’t impressed. It is a characteristic of the stupid that they assume others are stupider than them.

Pragmatic moves

It is easy to comprehend that Government hand-outs like the above are strategic concessions made under constraint in order to sustain the Government’s strength in Parliament. Numbers in Parliament are vital for any legislation and, particularly, in order to pass the new constitution.

I think the Government is being very politically down-to-earth and pragmatic. The tight-rope walk is fairly fluent. A country’s constitution is its most fundamental legal document. It lays down the rules of the whole game of political process. It was because people realised that, that they cried for a new constitution that expels the executive presidency.

For the Rainbow Revolution to materialise, this horrible institution must go. Sri Lanka’s social and political culture has become so pliant and so corruptible over the decades that the country has become vulnerable to the agendas of damaged and obsessional presidential incumbents.

The institution of the Executive Prime Minister would, on the other hand, while leaving in the hands of the incumbent adequate powers to govern firmly, make that institution thoroughly accountable to Parliament. If that change-over can be effected, it is “hurrah!” for the Yahapalanaya movement. We believe the rest of the processes of good governance will follow on the heels of this change.

Need to say “no!”

On the other hand, this conceding game of the Government is in dangerous territory. By conduct sans principles, the Government will lose acceptability and respect within and outside Parliament. This triggers an erosion process that can well lead to a political landslide.

President Sirisena and the Prime Minister must develop the guts to reject and repudiate dark moves from among their fold.  They must learn to say “no!” If one does not reject anything, one stands for nothing.
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