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

Friday, May 11, 2018

Doctor in the Palace, with no remedy 

article_imageMay 11, 2018, 10:36 pm

This week saw a diagnosis of serious national illness by none other than a doctor most affected by the same illness. President Sirisena told Parliament the record of governance of the past three years showed the country lacking in the political and social maturity needed to realize the objectives of coalition government, causing a power struggle that had driven the people to despair. Quite a politico-medical record.

The diagnostician was unaware he was largely the infectious source of this spreading malady, and had little to offer as a cure.

The infection has major political consequences. He does not want to quit politics in 2020. Why? He believes he still has a mission to accomplish. Has he ever given serious thought to what this mission is? There are no signs of such thinking.

The President did show signs of this illness some months ago when he sought the opinion of the Supreme Court whether his term in office would go on for six years. The learned judges at Hulftsdorp consultancy, gave a clear negative reply. But the patient is determined to move on, such opinion notwithstanding.

The Sirisena commitment is service to the people. What better goal can anyone have? Yes, that is what he was chosen for, more than three years ago. But the record does not have much to show for such service, but much more of a disservice to the people. The core of that commitment was to fight corruption, the stuff of the Rajapaksa Regime that he gave a lead to defeat. But it all ended with that lead, backed by many others. Corruption of the past remains untouched to this day, and his commitment to neglect in service has seen corruption boom even larger today – under his very leadership.

The fight against corruption has been a mockery of peoples’ expectations. Yes, the Remand Prison was almost full with the big political figures of the past. The FCID was hitting the headlines every day with more probes, more questioning and more arrests. The courts were kept busy, and the remandees were soon becoming stars of the media, displaying hands raised with handcuffs of joy and great expectation.

Three years and more later, the remand cells are near empty of those Stars of a Corrupt Regime. Those cells, or comfy zones for those with the stuff of fraud and corruption, are holding more of the corrupt of the Sirisena Domain. They are holding those involved in the Central Bank Bond scam, and now the Presidential Secretariat and State Timber Corporation have given two big catchers to be held.

Political commitment at the presidential level to the fight against corruption leaves much more to be desired. He may have some relief in knowing that at the prime ministerial level too, the story is very much the same. Cabinet shake ups have a story line that is more of science-fiction than the promised science. The truth today is that political science is most distant from the stuff of governance, which is carried on in keeping with the science of the crooked and the dirty.

President Sirisena now lives in a dream world of political leadership. Yes, he formally leads the SLFP – where the majority is with the Joint Opposition led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, and an ‘independent group’ who just crossed over to the Opposition benches, swear to bring down the government led by him, which had and has a UNP majority.

Is his commitment to serve the people after 2020, related to a new grip on the Executive Presidency? Let’s forget his post hopper-breakfast promise to abolish the Executive Presidency. But is he now ready to fight one of the Rajapaksa siblings – Gotabaya or Chamal – for the next Executive Presidency?

That is just one issue. As one who sought and gained election to do away with the worst aspects of family bandyism in politics – the pavul deshapalanaya – would he like to be remembered as the person who paved the way for biggest or worst ever family hold in politics – Rajapaksa brothers as President and Prime Minister?

Are we not heading to a much bigger wrap of governance by the powers of family and corruption? Is this the display of dirty politics that President Sirisena wants to continue in his service after 2020? Family Bandsyism in politics is on the rise, the political soil watered and nourished by the unquestionably crooked politics of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition. Trying to teach people about the failure of a coalition government, requires President Sirisena to look at himself from a mirror of good reflection. The same is true for Ranil Wickremesinghe, too.

The people can understand the malady the country faces today. The Doctor in the Palace, who has largely spread the infection, is certainly to the source for the cure – long and painful as it would be.