Banish politics from welfare,
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's
call for banishing politics from development and public welfare
activities will be hailed by a majority of the public across the
political divide for if there is one thing that has kept the
country from achieving progress and prosperity it is the canker
of party politics which today has seeped into every walk of life
and field of activity.
The Presidential appeal is also an obvious invitation to the
Opposition to be a stakeholder in the Government's development
drive, the inherent message being that a collective effort
shedding aside all parochial considerations and political
differences would help the Government to pursue its programmes
for the common good of the masses with vigour and effectiveness,
whilst realising the goals and aspirations of the nation.
Whether the Opposition Leader would display statesmanship and
harken to the President's appeal would no doubt be keenly
watched by the public.
Declaring open the renovated Galle International Stadium
three years after its tsunami battering, President Rajapaksa
said: "There is no politics in cricket. We should divorce
politics from the provision of welfare facilities to the people.
We should not view the country's development from an envious
In drawing parallels with the national cricket team what the
President was trying to underline was the unprecedented success
achieved on the international stage by Sri Lanka in the sport
with the collective efforts of the different nationalities and
religions that comprise the team.
Inherent in the President's allusion is the realisation what
the country as a whole could have achieved if this unity and
togetherness prevailed among all races and communities since
independence, in taking the country towards progress and
More than anything else it can be argued that the decline and
deterioration witnessed down the years was the direct result of
contentious party politics which had proved to be the bane in
the country's forward march to development and progress.
In another editorial we commented how incoming Governments
destroyed or halted the development work of their predecessors
for purely political reasons leaving the vicious cycle to
continue until the country was reduced to a state of drift blown
off its moorings.
The President has no doubt realised the detrimental effect of
party politics on the progress of the country. Hence his
admonition for politics to be left out of the development
sphere. We hope that the President's appeal will be heeded by
both the Government and opposition MPs and partymen.
True, the opposition has a right to pinpoint deficiencies of
the Government. But this should be constructive criticism rather
than political mudslinging. As we have said before a developing
country like ours cannot afford to wallow in politics while our
neighbours in the region forge ahead making giant strides.
It should be realised by all politicians that we are a unique
case where the Government is engaged in a debilitating war to
defeat the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world
while on the other hand waging an economic war braving severe
odds exacerbated by the galloping world prices in essential
Opposition politicians should therefore act with
circumspection without firing their artillery on all fronts at
the Government which is waging a battle on multiple fronts to
keep the nation ticking.
The least that the country wants is instability of the kind
the opposition tried to create by attempting to defeat the
Government on the budget vote by conspiratorial means. Had the
plot succeeded the country would certainly have plunged into
political chaos with the resultant stalemate between the
Executive and the legislature providing the ideal recipe for the
economy to go into a tailspin while throwing a lifeline to the
LTTE which is in its death throes.
Now that the heat has died down it is incumbent on all the
actors to rethink their strategies in the interest of the
country and create a climate where rancorous and vituperative
politics is shunned paving the way for the country to emerge as
a economic and social giant in Asia.