Martin Luther King (Jr.) the American Baptist minister, who became the most visible activist to lead the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968 was best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. The 50th death anniversary of this great activist falls on 4th April 2018, the same day our Sri Lankan legislators, debate the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister could follow his advice to get themselves out of its present mess for which they are all collectively responsible.
‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope’ said Martin Luther King (Jr.) is a very fitting thought for our legislators in parliament, most of whom had weathered the political change of January 2015 for three years and by their own failing are deeply in chaos, that has fragmented the yahapalanaya regime with a top heavy cabinet with overlapping functions. Such enlarged cabinet, a great burden on the people who have to bear the cost of duty-free cars, free accommodation, their utilities and allowances given to these legislators have to face the no-confidence motion against their Prime Minister that is due to be taken for debate on April 4, 2018. These legislators must accept that their Prime Minister having to face a no-confidence motion debate in the House of Parliament is finite; but never lose infinite hope that it would be possible for the President and the Prime Minister to work out a plan to overcome it. For in spite of the three years, the yahapalanaya government has failed to rid of the past corrupt practices in the country and it is that has caused the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.
The no-confidence motion submitted by the Joint Opposition (JO), follows the landslide victories at the LG Polls of their new party named Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), in the South; has cast a bleak outlook for most Sri Lankans, in particular for the Tamil speaking minorities living in the country, who had expected their political aspirations to be realised under this yahapalanaya regime. For it was on that understanding the Tamils living in the war affected North and East provinces voted to the parliament the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), considering them to be their sole representatives. This has put TNA in an awkward situation, having in the three years extended unconditional support to this Unity Government. TNA having seen that their expectations nor promises made to their people prior to the 2015 General Election by the government are not met; they have thus accepted the reality that the government is very unlikely to do any better in the remaining period to the next election due in 2020. Under these circumstances TNA is best advised not to participate in the debate.
Further under the yahapalanaya rule, it was expected that the government will work to reduce the corrupt practices to reduce criminal activities in the country; but have had no success or have had limited results for their efforts. In fact, the leaders should have listened to the Mahanayake Theras of the three chapters who had advised them to expel those with criminal background from Sasana, who behave as if they are more than followers of other religions. If the leaders had adopted the ‘Live and Let Live’ concept on fellow citizens following other religions, only then the country will get out of the mess and could have avoided all those ugly incidents occurring after the LG Polls. Therefore the leaders must understand that this ‘No-Confidence’ motion of JO is only to open a wedge between the two major political parties to put an end to the Unity Government.
Earlier the government has had a rough voyage the past three years, much to the disappointment of the economic, ethnic and religious minorities in the country, all due to infighting within the government. A good proof of the mess the government is clear from the opposition from the former finance minister now sitting in the back benches condemning the new Inland Revenue Act, which came into force this month, expected to reduce the indirect tax and increase the direct tax to improve the state coffers, without loading the poor people. In fact, it was one of the positive act of the government and considered a very positive move to boost the tax collection system. It is the same with the reforms proposed by the government to resolve the ethnic problem, meeting opposition with the government members; but what capped it all was the corrupt practices at the highest level taking place under the present government brought to light by the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the Bond Issue Scam, that has led to the no-confidence motion being called against the Prime Minister by the Joint Opposition members for their own political gain.
With the existing two large parties continuing with their discriminatory policies that is biased towards the majority community and the new political party entering the political arena would only increase conflicts with the smaller parties representing all the minority communities. In the past, when the situation got out of control, each time the rulers had managed to bring it under control by inviting external interference as in 1987, 2009 and 2015. Thus it does not matters whether the Prime Minister or his government comes out of this no-confidence motion a winner or loser; for the people only want that this episode to teach their costly legislators a lesson, that could help them to maturity and without the corrupt rich providing financial assistance to pursue their petty narrow politics, would enable them work to deliver the promises made at the 2015 general election in the next eighteen months to rid of rural poverty to take the country forward or otherwise get voted out at the 2020 general election.