Sri Lanka at present is more in a holiday mood than in a mood to celebrate. People have to struggle to find freshly baked bread or buns these days because most bakeries are closed. Some inquiries made revealed a fact that’s interesting. Workers in bakeries have not returned from villages after going there to vote. A tuk tuk driver was heard telling a customer that these bakery workers would only return after they finish spending all their earnings during their stay in the village.
Does this suggest that Sri Lankans in general are not financially disciplined? Stretching our thinking beyond this we have room to think that the wasteful culture prevailing at the top, associated with lawmakers, has had a trickledown effect.
President elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was sworn in on Tuesday (November 19), underscored the need to create a law-abiding and disciplined country. The indisciplined culture prevails and can be seen in all its horror even when walking on the roads. Strewn toffee wrappers, empty biscuit packets and used paper bags on the road give enough indication of what type of people we have to associate with. Gotabaya could be the ideal person to change all this.
- Another key issue which highlights the existing of an indisciplined nation is the dumping of waste
- The present regime can’t afford to maintain white elephants
But it would amount to overstepping boundaries if the present regime tells the people not to eat toffees and biscuits. This is one area of concern as a nation gets ready once again to work under a regime led by the Rajapaksas.
Citizens have the right to protest and agitate when the regime neglects or fails to deliver on promises. But during past governments we saw several Buddhist organisations, formed for political purposes, posing a threat to certain sections of the society. But what’s hilarious is that the vociferous Bodu Bala Sena organisation making an announcement that it would disband after the much looked forward to General Elections. We had enough reason to believe that this organisation was formed with the blessings of politicians. And the live-wire of the organisation Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera at a recent press briefing had said that the movement would cease to exist because the country’s rule has come under a reliable leader.
What was of concern during the past was the questionable behaviour of this rebel monk and Governments not having the guts to put him in his place. There was an incident a few months ago in Mulaitivu where the monk defied a court order and went ahead supervising the funeral procession of a deceased monk. If the incumbent president wishes to have law-abiding citizens in the country the law must be applicable to everybody in the same manner. This country must do away with the provisions made by religions to sort out civil disputes and legally binding issues. There must be one law for everybody.
It’s interesting to see who would be appointed to the positions held by those ministers and state ministers who have resigned. As we all know parliament can’t be dissolved till March next year; unless a resolution is adopted by parliament with a two-thirds majority. Some lawmakers of the Wickremesinghe Government are still holding on to portfolios. Just a handful of politicians in the UNP led regime performed a worthwhile duty while the rest bluffed. It would auger well for the future if the Gotabaya led regime doesn’t carry any passengers when the next government is formed. Lawmakers like S.B Dissanayake, Dilan Perera, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Arjuna Ranatunga, Wasantha Perera, John Amaratunga, Kabir Hashim, Malik Samarawickreme, Sagala Rathnayake, Mangala Samaraweera showed through their performances that lawmakers like them will have no place in future Governments.
Citizens have the right to protest and agitate when the regime neglects or fails to deliver on promises. But during past governments we saw several Buddhist organisations, formed for political purposes, posing a threat to certain sections of the society
The present regime can’t afford to maintain white elephants; whether it’s people or projects not viable. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was accused of promoting nepotism. Hope Gotabaya will appoint the right man for the right job. From the recent appointments made by the incumbent president, the appointment of former military man Kamal Guneratne as the new Defence Secretary has come in for praise.
We saw so many organisations working with Gotabaya during the pre-election period. So many academics and professionals pledged their support to Gotabaya. It would be heartening to see some of them cutting their teeth in politics under a new regime.
Another key issue which highlights the existing of an indisciplined nation is the dumping of waste. The Colombo Municipal Council has had issues with the clearing of garbage and there is talk of individuals demanding ransom from the mayoress. The incumbent president has vouched to clear the country of the threat of terrorism and the dealing of drugs. Sorting out the waste issue might not be too big for Gotabaya who was once praised for beautifying Colombo when he was put in charge of Urban development.
But his biggest challenge would come in the form of making lawmakers trim their budgets. Sri Lankan politicians are known to plunder state finances and changing such a wasteful culture could take time even if there is no outright resistance to control them.
Gotabaya needs to use the word ‘discipline’ very carefully because if one turns back the clock to the 1990s the ruthless Tiger Rebels functioned because there was discipline within the organisation. So discipline must be applied in a positive manner and for the betterment of the country’s people. To begin with, the lawmakers who form the ruling Cabinet must be disciplined themselves to make the citizens follow their rules and regulations!