Sunday Leader Editorial
Image and cartoon googled from internet
The writ of any government – good or bad – has to be effectively carried out. If these writs issued in the name of our sovereign power – the people – are not implemented, governing a country will not be possible.
In this country today we have had a Good Governance government – a Yahapalanaya Aanduwa – which is well and good. But being only good is not good enough. There must be governance as well with the effective implementation of its decisions as soon as possible.
Leaders of government should make it clear to the people the decisions are made on their behalf and the people will be the best judges of their implementation.
This Good Governance government is in its third year in power and unlike any government before it is a coalition of the two most powerful parties in the country having diametrically opposite views on very important issues. Reaching consensus on certain matters may have been difficult but it has survived despite desperate efforts to bring it down.
Reversal on some of the budget proposals made in its first year may have been due to the failure to reach consensus but the apparent differences being ironed out even later is an indication of political maturity and perhaps also survival instincts in our hostile political jungle.
Sri Lankans by and large are critical of the Westminster system of governance which they often compare to a game of tennis where the ball is bounced from court to court between the opposition and government. Apart from being a source of entertainment, there is no positive gain to the country, it is alleged.
In contrast the Donoughmore system of governance that the British introduced to the State Council where the entire legislature was split up into Committees whose Chairman was designated a minister. This system made all members of the legislature a part of government and endowed them with responsibility, it is claimed. For some reason or the other some Sri Lankans who were not even born at that time are waxing eloquent about the Donoughmore System and it was hoped that the current parliament would function accordingly. But after the 2015 elections, what was witnessed was not a tennis match but kick -boxing sans the Queensbury Rules or any other rules.
How decisions are made within the UNP and SLFP members in government are not clear but in the 3rd year of their governance it is imperative that clear cut decisions be made and presented in a lucid form for the bureaucracy to understand and implement and for public awareness. At times even hotly debated budget proposals such as imposition of heavy fines for certain traffic offences appear to be lost somewhere in the system.
The media, both state and privately owned, appear to devote more time to real life political entertainment on the streets rather than government activity. The choice of the coverage of events by the media is their unquestionable right but the issue of responsible governance should also be a matter of concern for a newspaper or Radio/TV channel that stakes a claim to be ‘national’.
The Good Governance government has however failed so far to push through some of its main proposals such as ECTA (the Economic and Technical Agreement with India), finalization of an agreement with a Chinese company to lease out the billion dollar loss making Chinese built harbour under the previous regime and even the approval of the private university campus awarding medical degrees by the medical authorities. All these moves have been stalled by an opposition led by the defeated former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has made the proclamation of toppling this government within this year.
A sovereign government cannot be thwarted in fulfilling its objectives in accordance with the law and if there are antiquated legal impediments they must be cleared post-haste. It also cannot be thwarted by calling out mobs, thugs, juvenile delinquents and misled students to the streets for ‘revolutions’ against the government. The opposition has the right to oppose within the limitations of the law and the government has the right to rule within the law. There can be no mob rule.
The Good Governance government has not yet kept to many good promises made to alleviate most of the grievances of the Tamil communities due to the fear of a racist backlash at the next elections. Let members of the UNP and SLFP recall that they dared the racists at the last elections by joining hands with the major Tamil Party, the TULF and other minor parties and defeated racists.
Good Governance MPs should realise that united they have stood for three years but divided they will fall to the maurading jackals collecting loot for one family.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister in their third year have to crack their whips. If Singapore is our role model, let’s realise that a main reason for its success was that writs of government were obeyed unquestionably.
The fundamental duty of any government is ensure its decisions are implemented.