A recipe for stability | Daily News

A recipe for stability

As the nation was emerging out of the aftershocks of the political tsunami last Friday, the revelations by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his Address to the Nation on Sunday would have jolted the nation further. In the light of this expose, the people have wholeheartedly welcomed the change orchestrated by the President.

Giving reasons for the sacking of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the President revealed a gamut of serious lapses on the part of the ex-Premier that took the country downhill economically which if allowed to continue in the same vein would certainly have plunged the country into a major crisis.

To begin with, the President revealed that Wickremesinghe was in gross violation of the tenets and principles of good governance, contrary to the aspirations of 6.2 million people and that critical decisions pertaining to the economy were taken by an elite cabal who did not know the pulse of the common man. However what was underlined in the address was the monumental corruption and the cavalier manner in which decisions were taken that affected the economy.

The President did not fail to touch on the scandalous Central Bank bond scam and blamed Wickremesinghe for appointing his pal Arjuna Mahendran to head the country's economic nerve centre and the subsequent efforts to thwart the investigations into the biggest fraud that ever took place in this country.

The President said after forming the Government in January 2015, former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe arrogantly and stubbornly avoided collective decisions. This behaviour led to many conflicts. Due to his lack of collective decision making through discussions, the country had to face harsh consequences when he (Wickremesinghe) used to take decisions with a group of his very close associates. The plot to assassinate him, it appears, was the last straw that broke the camel's back and compelled President Sirisena to swear in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.

Here too President Sirisena revealed attempts to dilute the investigation following revelations that a Cabinet Minister of the former regime was involved in the plot. There were instances of some responsible officers in the Attorney General's Department evading investigation duties, he revealed.

“Under these political problems, economic troubles and the strong plot to assassinate me, the only alternative open to me was to invite former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and appoint him as Prime Minister to form a new Government," the President asserted.

From the point of view of governance, it appears that stability has returned to the country. The main problem that the President had with Wickremesinghe was the divergent views and irreconcilable differences between the duo on a range of vital issues such the way the economy was handled, and, more importantly, consideration towards the ordinary public and public welfare.

In the latter sphere Wickremesinghe was found wanting since he viewed all things from a macro-economic perspective resulting in the public being left in the lurch. Even the February 10 warning delivered by the voters, which was alluded to by the President, appeared to have no impact on the former Prime Minister who went on talking about economic theories and concepts which were completely alien to the common man whose immediate concern was daily survival.

Politically too both were on contrasting wavelengths so to speak, with the UNP policies not in sync with the those of the left oriented SLFP/UPFA, with the former taking a wholly global outlook and the latter giving priority to indigenous concepts.

This gulf, no doubt, will now be bridged, with both the President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa speaking the same language, on all these fronts. Both can now work in concert on many of the issues that the President did not see eye to eye with Wickremesinghe. Added to this, with a Cabinet comprising solely SLFP/UPFA Ministers everything is bound to fall into place.

We say this because under Yahapalanaya, Ministers from the UNP and SLFP were at odds on many issues and clashed openly in public exacerbating the state of instability in the Government. This, no doubt, would have led to confusion among would be investors at a time the country's foreign exchange problems had aggravated and the rupee taken an unprecedented tumble.

However, the President should be mindful of the current situation and take measures to arrest the tensions sweeping many sectors following Friday's dramatic events. Some of the Ministry buildings have been sealed and clashes between rival trade unions in Government institutions have contributed to the unrest. Incidents such as the one which occurred at a CPC depot in Dematagoda on Monday, where one person was killed, should be avoided. The new Cabinet was yet to be sworn as this is being written. The sooner all Ministries start functioning therefore will help fill the hiatus.

Unruly behaviour of trade unionists in government offices where supporters of rival political parties are being targeted should also be reined in and stability restored on all fronts for the new Government to commence business in earnest.


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