By Gomin Dayasri
Hillary Clinton lavished praise on the action plan verbally presented by Minister G.L.Peiris. Bless ed him on that futuristic plan that has pleased Uncle Sam in our feeble endeavours of been an obliging nephew. Therein lie an uneasy feeling: notwithstanding whatever accomplishment, West will never let us off the hook on human rights without castigating, for winning a war over terrorism without their blessings. We are wasting precious time.
Hopefully we did not assure Clinton to do what we cannot deliver or travel a distance too far on an unintended road map that would endanger security concerns? Delivery within a reasonable time is indeed a strain with those entrusted in delivering, girdling the globe to win friends without being at home to oversee the implementation of the basic imperatives suggested in the LLRC report like on legitimate grievances.
A course of action should be in the area of the required priorities according to the needs of the country and not waltz to the whims of other countries. With sparse results to show after promising to do much, will make it easier for the West to use the whip at UNHCR sessions in Geneva. Victoria Nuland (US State Department, spokesperson) fired a volley quoting Mrs Clinton “Now really it needs to show your people, the world the concrete implementation steps going forward.”
Are we expending unnecessary time and energy making human rights a prime issue without focusing on placing the national economy on a proper course? Or is it an agenda that has been forcibly introduced to keep us busy and relegate the more pressing needs. It sure needs rethinking in a climate where there is little thinking.
A dynamic action plan on the economy is a need, in a situation where favourable trading partners are in recession or not in favour of us. Economy is what hurts the people and it’s the people that elect the government.
Voters are sufficiently knowledgeable as not to elect a government to the requirements of the West: unless the personal economy of the individual makes it compelling. Manipulating the economy to create an adverse impact may be short cuts to a limited regime change the West desires.
Being still an agricultural society with high costs on power and oil, it’s a bountiful supply of food from home sources that can make Sri Lanka survive an economic downturn, amply demonstrated, during the New Year when grain and vegetable prices were maintained at moderate levels with a supply surplus to overcome dissension. With easy access to the North and East there are fertile fields for a green revolution if water is made available.
Concentrate on the enhancement of an agricultural society without permitting high migration to urban areas in search of employment with reduced opportunities with a poor inflow of foreign investment. Good network of roads alone does not lead to happy homes unless the village infrastructure is improved.
Devolution should be to the grass roots with the establishment of Grameeya Sabha as expressed by diverse opinion. TNA sessions reveal an emphatic call for a 13 plus Amendment, merger of the North/East and the removal of the Defence Forces based on a note of dubious ‘patience’, more an exercise to buy time after a miscued journey with the defeated terrorists, deceptively wrapped in a furtive sugar coated pill of a unitary state. TNA are going for the maximum by upping the antenna on finding support from Ranil Wickremesinghe who is prepared to be a delivery boy of a TNA package after sharing the May Day platform in Jaffna.TNA is back whipping emotions for ethnic politics to create a wedge between the major communities. Without the ethnic divide TNA cannot politically survive and attract Diaspora funding.
Baffled UNP supporters do not want their vote base in the south jeopardized by Northern strategies arising more out of squabbles within the party. With the Karu Jayasuriya fraction searching for Fonseka, Ranil Wickremesinghe tilts towards the TNA for an added vote base, making UNP to ineptly navigate between a Scylla and Charybdis to reach the fringes of extreme- due to an inherent lack of belief in the party winning elections and no acceptable leader in sight. UNP has a stronger brand name than the TNA or Fonseka but play low profile that contributes to its downfall.
Thrust at the next elections will be on the oppositions call on the deplorable state of the national economy as against the government’s crusade on reaching national imperatives through development. Neither issue will be convincing to sway votes. The outcome will depend predominantly on the rural vote, where Rajapaksa leads. People are without persuasive credible options at a national election. After TNA’S resolution at its convention the government is likely to stiffen its stance on the 13th amendment as TNA is back on a fissiparous course. UNP and TNA combine are throwing a life line to Mahinda Rajapaksa by raising issues that can give rise to emotional factors which accrues to the benefit of the government, positioned favourably to attract the patriotic vote after winning the war.
Mahinda Rajapaksa has set his mind on an early election schedule irrespective of emerging issues, for his advantage. His second term like his first will not run its full course. He has learnt the art of holding the elections of the Provincial Councils on a staggered basis to place him on an early winning streak in vote friendly districts to make it a trend setter.
If the President removes the disqualification of Fonseka from being a candidate he will be introducing a candidate that will throw the Opposition more into disarray. The period of imprisonment served by Fonseka improved his image and provided a sympathetic edge. President made an unpardonable error by failing to give him a gracious instant free pardon. Left free and alone, Fonseka would politically destroy himself with his talk as he is presently
endeavouring to do.