Dissenters, roadblock to stability | Daily News

Dissenters, roadblock to stability

President Maithripala Sirisena, meeting with newspaper editors and media heads on Friday said the unity government would proceed for the remainder of its term and called for the support of all, irrespective of political differences, to strengthen his hand to take the country forward. “Priority now should be given to the development strategies for the benefit of the country”, he said adding that the Kandy incidents and the No Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister affected the development work undertaken by the government to a certain extent. He said that in spite of what happened in parliament he was responsible to the people.

The President's intentions, laudable though they may be, is bound to come unstuck in a climate of uncertainty that is still palpable in the aftermath of the No Confidence Motion. Chief among the reasons for this uncertainty is the role that is being played by the SLFP ministers, who voted in favour of the NCM, in parliament. The UNP wants them to quit the government on the basis that they have no moral right to remain in the government enjoying all the perks of office while voting against the PM. The Pro-NCM SLFP ministers are not making things easy either, for the President, by not making their stance clear in this regard. Yesterday's newspapers reported that the six ministers who voted for the NCM wanted to quit while in the same breath stating that only the President can decide on their fate.

Vocational Training and Skills Development Minister Chandima Weerakkody says they were ever willing to step down from their ministerial posts and had communicated this to the President orally and in writing. However, later speaking to the media after attending a ceremony in Galle, he said that it is the President who will decide whether they will remain ministers in the Cabinet or relinquish office to become ordinary MPs.

But what is interesting is when he says that they voted in favour of the NCM in keeping with public opinion completely disregarding their position. They had to take that stand as politicians elected by the people's mandate. He goes on to state that as a person who received the largest preference vote from the Galle District, he had a duty to bow his head to public opinion and vote in favour of the NCM.

These are hardly the sentiments of a government minister that would bring about stability to the government which the President obviously implied when he called for the support and corporation of all to take forward the unity government for the remainder of its term. Obviously, Minister Weerakkody meant the outcome of the local government election when he said they had to bow to public opinion. He certainly is overlooking the fact that the mandate he derived did not originate from the LG poll results but the general election in August 2015 when the people gave this government a mandate to rule for five years. If the Minister says that the people gave them a fresh mandate at the LG polls then he should bow to that mandate and step down as a Minister since he and the SLFP was trounced at the LG poll and with it went his highest preference vote he received in Galle which he so proudly boasts about. Similar sentiments were also expressed by Dayasiri Jayasekera as justification of him remaining as a Cabinet Minister.

How the likes of Weerakkody and Jaysekera can work with a Prime Minister, whom they tried to oust, in the same Cabinet, where they obviously have to exchange views with him on policy, not to mention financial allocations for subjects pertaining to their ministries, only they will be able to explain, since the PM is the fulcrum on which any government revolves.

Be that as it may, the President should decide on the fate of the 16 SLFP ministers and state ministers one way or the other without further delay. These ministers, in any event, were openly hostile to the Prime Minister and the No Confidence Motion, no doubt, has exacerbated feelings which is not the ideal recipe for the stability which the President desires for the unity government.

Having ministers in a government who are ever willing to trip the Prime Minister in that government cannot be condoned for whatever reason. Besides, these ministers are allocated financial provisions from the annual budget to run their ministries and it is ridiculous for them to be showered with such largess while supporting a No Confidence Motion to remove the Prime Minister. They should gracefully step down without causing further difficulties for the Government and join their erstwhile colleagues in the Joint Opposition.

They cannot be allowed to run with the hare and hunt with the hound. The government has only another two years to serve before the next general election. It cannot afford to squander the little time that is left while ministers are undecided whether to quit or stay. The public is least interested, one way or the other, on the fate of their representatives who are only sponging on them.


There is 1 Comment

Voted in favour of N C M in keeping with the Public Opinion is a lame excuse. A Minister must have the wisdom to discern the the unrealistic views of the public and direct them in the correct path.


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