The aftershock of periodic violent conflicts in Sri Lanka once called Ceylon the Paradise Island, led to a cruel civil-war lasting over three decades was with help of many friendly nations brought to finish in 2009. With both sides yet divided politically and ideologically due to the absence of any intergroup forgiveness, nothing had changed to resolve the basic cause nor the effects of the bloody war. Then six years were wasted as negative peace years with the victim groups, made up of economic, ethnic and religious minorities and the homogeneously immoral perpetrators the majority community dominated group made up of rulers, administrators and security forces. Thus country returned back to square one as the process of reconciliation was hindered by pro-government extreme elements including religious monks that roused up tensions blaming the other for past sins only to cause more conflicts. Then a Wind of Change blew across the island nation in the form of external interference from friendly nations to bring in a Unity Government in 2015, made up of the two major political parties dominated by majority community together for the first time with many minority political parties joining them to power.
Unity Government has in the past three years, in spite of many hurdles thrown in the path of the new rulers by the extreme elements of both sides of the house, the President and Prime Minister have attempted to bring about Yahapalanaya or Good Governance. With all the short comings caused at different times by the actions of past corrupt and unethical governments in which they were themselves part of the two leaders with improved ethics are determined to finish their present term in office on a good note before the next 2020 General Elections.
The President has among other things, on realising the prevailing scarcity of rain in the northern dry zones of the country has emphasized the need for speedy completion of the much needed final phase of the Mahaweli Development Project (MDP), to address water shortages in the Northern Dry Zones of the country and have scheduled to complete the entire project before his term expires in 2020. This project of taking Mahaweli water to the dry zones north of the country* when completed would be the second largest ever built in the country and be used to minimize the drought conditions prevailing in the North Central Province (NCP) and Northern Province (NP) to facilitate early commencement of cultivation to optimise use of Maha rainfall. While the Prime Minister has been busy putting the country’s derailed economy back on track and renegotiated terms with countries financing many mega projects that were a burden on the country; turned many white elephant projects to generate income; got many trade agreements done with neighbouring countries to attract more investments for new projects and some of which are already in operation.
Further both leaders have overcome many obstructions placed by the past immoral perpetrators, to meet the complex and demanding needs of people affected by the bloody civil-war; but much to the disappointment of these people the progress have been very slow. What is more the Unity Government has done considerable work on much needed reforms that has improved ethics of government machinery; but there are still much work to be done to make a difference to the life of the ordinary people; as it involves undoing the years of wrongs done by past governments. Most obvious is the current pro majority community biased constitution that has already been amended twenty times being not suitable for a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. Then the provincial council system that was never fitted properly into the government machinery, has been causing more new problems than solving any existing problems. All are still under review to produce a new constitution and the contents are still brewing in the think-tank pot at the legislature. All done in the presence of active past regime members waiting to find fault with every move, consuming considerable time of the government to guard off these attacks. In particular the Prime Minister had to face a no confidence motion that he manage to defeat and while some ministers were forced to resign for past mistakes they made in executing their duties, or were out of step at present or had been involved in unethical or corrupt practices.
All credit goes to the Unity Government President and Prime Minister, who have in the past three eventful years, but most importantly forced a mindset change slowly to alter the alleged morality of the former perpetrator group and their descendants to accept that changes are needed to take the country forward. Most of all attending to numerous post war problems, though not at the preferred phase to the liking of the affected people are all commendable. Also have introduced much needed many long overdue reforms; have kick started many stalled mega projects and put right many white elephant projects. Last but not least is the laudable act of President to name the new Moragahakanda reservoir after the veteran Engineer who pioneered the project; but bitter truth is many Sri Lankans would have accepted if he had instead put his own name, a familiar pattern of many past rulers.
Today the country is facing the ill effects of seven decades majority community dominated governments ruling without any collective coexistence practices, that has dented over the years all the basic rights of the minority communities. Such continuous oppression of the minorities, forced them to up rise against the state that took different dimensions and finally led the country to a bloody cruel civil-war lasting three decades. The civil-war was brought to finish in 2009, but the country is still in a cupola of darkness problems remained for the minorities; who in addition have to burden with all the carnages caused by the cruel war. Bitter Truth is the affected minorities in particular are forced to make a living in a corrupt environment for almost a decade and are today in no mood to forget their past or forgive their oppressive rulers. On the backdrop, the leaders of all the political parties in parliament representing all communities have acknowledged this problem as the basic cause of all ills in the country are determined to redress the problem with a New Constitution; but three years have rolled on and the new constitution is yet in draft stage, because of varying views on its contents are keeping apart the traditional political opponents. With stakeholders still debating over basic issues pertaining to the ethnic problem three years rolled on with no party willing to come down from their stance and problems were left boiling in the think-tank pot.
Perhaps the affected people are not be able to forget the past immoral behavior of the perpetrator group and their followers; specially with opponents of the government on either side of the divide constantly fueling them to prevent occurrence of any mindset changes in the affected people. Unity Government could create a climate to increase the willingness of the minorities as the victim groups to forgive the State; possible only if the two leaders first rise up as statesmen and be sincere on bringing prosperity back to the island. The two leaders must therefore rise above all party political differences and get prepared a New Constitution that would restore the lost rights of the minority communities and create a win-win situation for whole population to remove thirty five years old cupola of darkness over casting the Island Nation. Opportunity has been presented again for Sri Lankans to remove the cupola of darkness, having fumbled up on two such occasions earlier, first in 1987 where Prime Minister’s party was ruling and then in 2009 where President’s party in power!
*Visit Northern Breeze to read more of the project @ https://rtr734.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/taking-mahaweli-water-to-the-dry-zones-north-of-the-country/