|Saturday, 18 October 2003|
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Revitalizing the State
From non-cohabitation to inner paralysis? The ordinary citizens of this country couldn't be faulted for raising this poser on considering the difficulties the different organs of the State seem to be having on reaching agreement on filling some top public sector vacancies.
Reported failure on the part of the different Executive arms of the State to reach agreement on who should be appointed the next IGP, is the latest pointer to the lack of quick consensus between the President and the Cabinet on important State sector appointments, which should be made expeditiously in view of their crucial national significance.
This seeming difficulty in naming the next IGP comes in the wake of other lingering crises relating to top appointments. For instance, a vacancy in the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption is yet to be filled, reducing this important institution to a nominal existence. The independent Elections Commission, for which constitutional provision has been made, is yet to get off the ground, and the incumbent Election Commissioner's request that he be allowed to retire seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
These are just a few current issues on which agreement is urgently needed at an intra - State level for the successful carrying out of governance. However, on all of them, agreement seems to be eluding the key decision-makers, principally the President and the Cabinet.
We need hardly say that this is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. What is most vitally needed in this context is effective governance. The common man didn't bargain for gruelling tug-of-wars between the different organs of the State, when he voted for cohabitational governance.
From the point of view of the ordinary citizen - for whom life is intensely stressful on a number of fronts-intra-governmental squabbles and power struggles are superfluous distractions he could very well do without. What is most desired by the "man of the street" is effective governance, security and the essentials of life, which are, of course, not bountifully falling to his lot. The least that these squabbling arms of government could do is ensure that the citizens' basic requirements are delivered to them without let or hindrance. Their appeal to the rulers is likely to be that essential functions of the State shouldn't fall victim to power politics. This appeal we willingly endorse.
These lingering intra-State squabbles could be considered a measure of the vast degree to which the Lankan body politic remains politicized. We now could lay claim to a Constitutional Council and National Public Service Commission in addition to a National Police Commission, but the body politic remains hopelessly politicized. Are we to arrive at the conclusion that these bodies are degenerating into White Elephants of a sort? Is the tax payer's hard-earned money being misspent?
We couldn't help but raise these posers. It would be entirely in the public interest and indeed democratic governance, to ensure that effective ruling of the land becomes the norm. If not, public disenchantment with the "democratic process" couldn't be avoided.
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