Sri Lankans should vote back Unity Government to return equality for all

Sri Lankans, though highly literate, lacked political insight with their moral values eroded in the past had taken political decisions shaped by then prevailing circumstances permitted the religious racists to make headway in politics. Since independence the two majority communities dominated political parties’ alternated power between them to rule the country by cashing in on religious and racial sentiments that resulted in the whole population paying dearly, with major share of the cost met by minority communities. In 2015 as respective head of these two major political parties the President and the Prime Minister formed the Unity Government in alliance to take control of a country with its economy in ruins. With all its limitations the Unity Government in three years made many reforms and today nobody is above the law that includes the President, Prime Minister, Ministers and Monks; but government needs more time to restore normalcy in the life of the poor and those affected by the civil-war. Therefore to facilitate completion of this programme people must vote back all the legislators supporting the Unity Government for a second term.

Another Term

Earlier in 2015, with all its limitation the Unity Government undertook a mission to repair the annihilation of ethical and socio-cultural values that led to grave suffering, through massive waste and abuse and corruption with absolute freedom and provide immediate relief to those who were oppressed, while embarking on social and economic reforms to restore normalcy and lead to prosperity for all. The country will be better off with new blood, but the people had no choice than elect back the same old veteran legislators; in fact they voted for most of the sitting members and the few they rejected managed to crush through the national list system. The two leaders as President and Prime Minister in alliance for the first time, unaware of the involvement of all their legislators during the corrupt administration of the previous regime, attempted to find solutions to all the social and economic ills of the country. The two leaders were supported by the leaders of the many minority political parties, including that in opposition of the affected northeast minorities. These minority leaders patiently expected the government to resolve the conflict that caused the civil-war to restore normalcy in the life of their people left uncared to 2015. In the three years to 2018 the Unity Government took some prudent and difficult steps to resolve many problems with limited success.

It was a tall order for the Unity Government legislators of the two parties with all the past resentment between them, to come good from their murky past and take on the difficult task of bringing a painful discipline on public finances to a corrupt administration inherited from the previous regime. What is more up to 2015, these two major partners in government were only attending to and if at all their own vote bank members at the expense of others, but now they had to take account everyone, including the minority voters who all supported them. But the high expectations of the war torn minorities to resolve ethnic problem and their post war issues remained unresolved; while the whole country looked for much needed reforms and rapid results to irradiate corruption, this too was taking long to produce positive results. With fewer investments and more unemployment visible the government faced more trouble in putting right many white elephant projects and last but not least settlement of foreign debts of magnitude never seen in the history of this little island nation. Sadly it prevented people lacking political insight living in all corners of the country from understanding the necessity or importance of any government measures taken. Following the General Elections in 2015 there was a clear division in parliament between those supporting the government from either side of the house and the breakaway group formed by previous regime members, resentful over losing power and seeking to form an alternative government from the time of their unexpected defeat. They opted to sit in opposition to made situation worse by opposing every move the government made in parliament and were soon busy eroding away any public support to foment social unrest. While the government side legislators failed to grab the Wind of Change opportunity and support their leaders to provide good governance. Instead most of them without anticipating any fear of fallouts pursued their past corrupt activities. When fallouts did occur from the many past and present irregular acts of ministers, legislators and administrators in government, least surprised were the people for it had been rife in the past.

Thereafter more trouble brewed by subversions caused by trade unions, universities and various state sector employees with politically motivated strikes; in parallel many protests commenced in the war torn northeast due to delays to address the grievances of the families affected by the war. This lack of corporation prevented the new rulers to understand the deep social, economic and political grievances of the people who supported the old regime; was exploited to their advantage by the breakaway group, who held many rallies from shortly after the 2015 election leading up to the 2018 polls. Thus, all the political parties in the government and others supporting them from opposition went out of favour with the people, causing their respective candidates to perform badly to give advantage to their opponent parties in the country at the 2018 LG Polls. These actions were instigated inside the parliament and out in all corners of the country by those living in the pre-colonial past with religious and racial sentiments and supported by biased media opposing the government. It is best for them is to move out of this mentality and let the President resolve anything that prevents them to put the country before self to rebuild the nation. All must appreciate that the Unity Government has not just simply replaced the crooked old regime, but has given hope to give the whole population that it would have their interests at heart and would be honest in trying to advance them. Yet the complexities of the tasks prevented them from get cracking, as the two leaders of the Unity Government were preoccupied in the first ever alliance to joggle control for their political parties, then there was the Bond Scam fiasco not yet fully resolved all caused them to win over the confidence of the public and it was reflected in the results of the LG Polls. Moreover it is foolish of these people, who with their moral values eroded and lacking political insight to expect the Unity Government to produce results in a single term of office, particularly considering how corrupt the country was prior to 2015.

After the LG Polls, the two leaders have reacted positively and got to grips with their task to earn as much credit for their respective political parties before their first term in office ends to prepare to govern the country together beyond 2020; has ventured into projects to exploit the strategic location of the island nation, to spur trade to further economic growth; while renovating the agriculture and fisheries based export industry by coming out of subsistence agriculture based economy. It was the lack of such holistic approach in the past that caused heritage genocide in northeast region of the country with the state discriminating one by one all the minorities. As the successive majority led rulers by their horrendous repeated actions deviated from democratic moved to more and more authoritarian regime for the country. This pushed the ethnic minorities further to the limit and in particular its resentful youth left with no choice rose against the authoritarian government that gradually drove the country to a bloody cruel civil-war that stretched over three decades; resulting poor governance oppressed the minorities to the brink of death. The cruel civil-war of three decades accompanied all the outrages that war brings, was finally brought to finish abruptly with external assistance in 2009.  Six negative peace years passed by with neither the victorious majority rulers nor the oppressed minorities in any mood to reconcile the cause or the effect of the conflict; before another external assistance brought a wind of change to elect a new President in January 2015 that disposed from power the authoritarian President. The new President then repealed the anti-democratic 18th Amendment and through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution independent institutions were established to strengthen democracy that got strained during the past authoritarian executive presidential system.

Today more political campaigns are necessary at all levels on the economic achievements to counter misinformation feed by media supporting the previous regime and to do away the scares from strikes, agitations, almost all designed by motivated people with money and other fascistic forces remains a threat to democracy. The two leaders have realised that law enforcement can only be done through institutions recreated for that purpose as law enforcement, officers whose duty it is to ensure that the law is equally implemented for the benefit of all citizens, without any political influence. For this was missing in particular in the previous war zone that Northeast was, where skeleton services were started but manned by majority community personnel, with limited knowledge of local lingo that prevented  cooperation from the community. This was case after the war ended in 2009 all through the negative peace years; in such a situation no individual can live or sleep in peace until the illness is treated, that has resulted in more corruption and abuse of power. Unfortunately, this situation become a normal part of life, with new scandals replacing old scandals, and these scandals worsening to this day; giving opponents in the warzone to judge the government negatively, as they correctly feel the best solution would be for them to have a federal system of governance in the merged northeast, which the President should consider favourably as no reconciliation possible with subjugation of minorities.

In the meantime, the past regime members knowing well that their ousted leader cannot run again for the Presidency are aiming to reinstate him as President for a third term; but cannot blame them for that’s how the country was ruled by him as a decisive leader before January 2015, bending the laws as and when required to meet the regime’s objectives, that brought instability and discord over the negative peace years failed to build the nation together.

Whereas the President and the Prime Minister having faced many hurdles during their first year in power have made considerable progress in three years, though not acknowledged by many extremists on either side of the divide caused by the civil-war that lasted over three decades. Accepting there would be limitations for the government any wrong moves or no moves from the main actors in the government administration needs to be brought to the notice of the President for resolution. For keeping these problems buried would only help to reinstate back the brute force that would no doubt undo in its own terms to accumulate back enormous powers and put pressure on all institutions including judiciary to evaporate away the freedom people now breathe following the wind of change in 2015.

Sri Lankans with any interest for their motherland could serve the country better by giving the President and the Prime Minister a second term in office to consolidate at all costs the delicate democracy prevailing with the separation of powers and a system of checks and balances reinstated after 2015 and to complete the process of rebuilding the nation by 2025 as all the groundwork for the new constitution has been completed against heavy odds to meet the aspirations of the whole population. While the two leaders must give special treatment to resolve the problems of the people in Northeast to achieve a multi-ethnic and multi-religious united nation that all Sri Lankans dream.