More than six decades after Independence, we, as a nation, are now experiencing a new political culture. We, as a nation, have set a precedent for others to follow and experience in their respective lands. It is the concept of Good Governance – Yahapalanaya operating in our country.
Two major political parties, with different political ideologies, which have been fighting to gain power for the past six to seven decades have come together for the first time to experience the true meaning of independence to govern the destiny of the country and her people, throwing to the winds their petty political differences for the good and well-being of the country and the nation.
It is undoubtedly a good start, a thought provoking step taken to lead the country and pull it out of the muddle it had been thrown into by political rivalries having put the country before everything else.
The world was shocked and surprised seeing what was happening in Sri Lanka when the leaders of the two major and rival political parties who have tasted the power at intervals during the past six to seven decades, have joined hands to run the affairs of the country together
with the support of other secondary political parties who have read the signs of the times in their true perspectives.
It is a new experience; a crystal clear writing on the wall showing which way to follow, not only to the politicos in the rival camps in the country, who finds it difficult to believe, yet the stark naked truth unfolding before their very own eyes, but also to the world specially to countries and peoples who are more or less in the situation that we experienced, to rise up and grab, take hold of the opportunity, taking Sri Lanka as their model to move in realizing the goals of each respective country.
At the commencement of the New Year 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena in his address to the nation invited people to put aside all differences on nationality, ethnicity, religion and caste, pointing to the fact that it was the bounden duty of one and all to make the country a safe haven for all to live in peace and harmony, as one nation, enjoying freedom and independence, in the companionship of one’s neighbours, by all those who call with modest pride ‘this is our (their) Motherland.’
The question is, are we genuinely interested to see the country on progress and are we ready to work with all seriousness for the better tomorrow?’ The success or failure of the yahapalanaya, solely depends on the degree of our commitment.
It is heartening to note that the President addressing the nation, went one step further saying that he was fully committed to ensure that Sri Lanka which had won the World Recognition as a leading country where independence, democracy and human rights are upheld and respected, to retain that honour and position in upholding the aforesaid concerns to the hilt where no room is left, to breed terrorism of any sort, in whatever form, or social disturbances based on ethnicity, caste or creed. We have to ask ourselves are we ready to fall-in-line, follow suit taking a clue from the President’s address to the nation? Success or failure of the yahapalanaya depends entirely on our willingness to assimilate the meaning behind the new political experience.
We, ‘The Help International Foundation’ in our own way, have taken the first step, in a very small way, from the time of its inception, adhere ourselves to those noble principles, inculcate in the minds of the people, especially the youngsters, our pride and the future of this country, who are in constant association with our Foundation, register in their minds, that we are one people although we are segmented by man-made differences of caste, creed and ethnicity.
The concept of Good Governance becomes meaningful to the extent we commit ourselves in all sincerity in the steps we take. The classic example is the motivation of the Government to provide houses to the families of the war-ravaged Northern part of our country, registering in their minds that “WE care for you… for you are our people, part and parcel of the Nation living in Sri Lanka, we are proud to call Our Motherland”.
We talk about territorial integrity. We say the government is for all citizens. We talk of providing facilities, infra-structure facilities to reach the peripheries, talk of equal treatment, equal opportunity, equal distribution of whatever benefit to all peoples living in every part of the country. These, should never be, mere words or political slogans come up during the election times and let go with the winds at the closure of elections. But if we mean what we say, reading between the lines of the letter sent recently by the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena, in respect of the move of the Government to provide houses to the Northerners, emphasizes saying that the.
“Together with the present Government, your Excellency has been public in your commitment to bring about reconciliation. Initiatives to help conflict affected- communities rebuild their homes and live, are important opportunities in this regard. “On behalf of the TNA and the Tamil People, I urge Your Excellency, together with this Government, not to waste this opportunity. If the Government is committed to reconciliation, then its actions must reflect that. For its part, the TNA remains committed to constructively engaging with both Your Excellency and the Government in order to bring about true reconciliation in this country.”
What the letter says in other words, is, the steps taken by the government are the best ways to win the trust and confidence of the Tamils, in making them feel that they are treated well, recognize them as citizens of this country with every right and freedom of movement, education and job opportunity. Such steps would erase from their minds that they are treated as second class citizens. The Yahapalayana will have meaning to the extent we are ready to implement ‘in-deeds, what we say in-words’.
We invite all, putting aside all differences of race, caste and creed to come forward with brotherly care, to rebuild the country. “If we fail to realize that aim so sacred, a time will come, to all of us, to shed tears, irrespective of being in the parts of North, East, South and West. Those who love to live in pessimism say ‘this government has no future’. I wish to tell them, that they will never realize their dreams. I cordially, invite them to join hands and work with the government, instead of trying to change the government in power.”
It is time ‘kaalo ayanthe’ to reflect and resolve to act if we want to make the concept of ‘Good Governance’ a reality.