No new faces, no innovations, no out of the box thinking, no principles – appeals not to the floating voter; the vote that changes regimes, as did the good governance kids in 2015 - more inclined to be anti establishment- to the old or new outlaws. Both sides of the divide are populated with dandies that dye their hair and retain green or blue shirts in stock, if a switch is required in an emergency.
Prof. G.L. Pieris is an eminent choice for chairmanship of an emerging party as he is devoid of sharp practices and honest on financial transactions (except travelling in unaffordable luxury around the globe at great cost to the public) and is able to win the goodwill of party seniors as he is a hospitable food and beverage (F&B) provider for a hungry leadership in lean times. In a school for scoundrels none is more acceptable than the tuck shopkeeper, if he keeps his doors wide open to a bunch of ravenous lads.
Expectations were shattered, with scams on the ascent; by those promising good governance became part of the filth and squalor.
Cost of living is the prime issue not economics-unless it is personal home economics! Selfishly, each voter thinks of his wallet in the hip pocket! Is it bulging or shrinking?
Nursery rhymes ‘this little pig went to the market’ where he learns the local market conditions. Finance Minister does not market in the proper street. He markets in stocks shares and bonds and not at the village fairs wherein lie the rural vote that does not attract him coming to parliament from Colombo North.
Scams at the bond issue bother Colombo Society: Is irrelevantly treated in the Sinhala and Tamil newspapers. Ranil Wickremesinghe read the message correctly and is not disturbed of the outcome at the Central Bank, as it does not impact on the votes of the majority poor. Likewise the previous administration’s corruption issues do not bother the shirtless and sleeveless. President Sirisena, after his bold speech is cornered. He damaged the concept of collective responsibility from the top berth of Presidency and now has to get back tamely into the UNP corner like a little boy lost to pick votes. Speech was counter-productive except that it pushed a nightclub incident into the background. His efforts to attract Gotabhaya [Gota] Rajapaksa were rebuffed positively as Gota cannot for his own upward mobility rise without the blessings of his popular elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The split within the SLFP places Sirisena in the mini class in local politics as he cannot muster votes from his remaining team of SLFP appointed MPs as they are the defeated candidates of 2015.They would collect fewer SLFP votes in 2020 having sat in Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet. MR would be a loser if he attached those candidates to his list; ultimate beneficiary could be Ranil Wickremesinghe if he is courageous to jettison the muck from the decadent SLFP and bring new faces to the front. Are we looking in 2020 at a leadership beyond 70 years with new votes churning in numbers from youth of 18 years above? MR’s strength lies in Team Sirisena’s inherent weakness. The ultimate winner Sirisena in 2015: acquires the loser’s award in 2016, as he has antagonized the voters both in the UNP and SLFP. Still 2020 is a distance away.
Lets peep in the midst of gloom and doom at the positives of the present government. It lies in the absence of fear psychosis in the expression of thought in the open. This had led to more media freedom with scandals and scams surfacing faster as media is not afraid to carry such news whereas during the last government such would be revealed only by way of idle gossip. With no authentication or denunciation once revealed to the chattering society, it gathers moss and the tales became sleazier and snottier. If it originates from responsible sources the news items would retain an authoritative value with defamation as a possible safety valve. The present government has failed to present any evidence against the discriminatory selected members of the previous government against whom charges are framed in court awaiting trial while the ‘suspects’ are ritually paraded before the FCID. Not an iota of evidence has been placed in substance in any court because of ineptness of some of the prosecuting officers of the Attorney Generals/Bribery Commissioners Departments.
One single officer Ian Wickremanayake, did his work alone in keeping bribery under control while the threesome in the Bribery and Corruption Commission appointed by the Constitutional Council has shown no results to make it a worthwhile entity. Could these aged lads show results in their septuagenarian age? Still worthwhile to park for the emoluments and perks obtained in office. What became of the well-documented case against the TRO that was presented to the Attorney General’s Department by the anti-terrorist outfits of the State? [Could personally vouch having personally studied the evidence] State officers will undo this government, more than the previous government, if their work is not kept under surveillance. Being paraded before the FCID may become an easy way to enter the next parliament.
The State should retain Special Prosecutors from the private bar like the engagement of great George Chitty in the Bandaranaike murder case. The last government requested a non-Presidential Counsel to appear for cases where they felt State Counsel were deemed too feeble to present a case. Successful results were obtained without incurring fees. This government is more fortunate in having an array of eminent good governance counsel who no doubt would appear with or without fees if tapped for service. At the Udalagama Commission on war crimes Yasantha Kodagoda of the Attorney Generals Department led evidence admirably for the prosecution on a virtual three days-a-week basis to complete 17 trials in 13 months. There are many able lawyers in the state sector amongst the more visible offenders. This government should hand the bribery/corruption cases to their trusted counsel with the spirit of good governance who may accept it as a national service or for an agreed fee or pass it to a selected dedicated state counsel.
COPE brought into spotlight Sunil Handunhettige, a balanced JVP MP, with no past scratches, steered a controversial report with aplomb and composure. Leadership material for the future; his workmanlike nature sure deserves appreciation after years of loose rhetoric originating from the JVP. This was a great victory for the media, especially for investigative journalist suave Faraz Shaukate Ali, TV 1 and Financial Times that broke the story that stands confirmed by the COPE report. They are recipients of a trophy in the form of letters
Sometimes defamation plaints and the accompanying letters of demand are empty epistles to deter parties from making further exposures by the filthy rich who can afford to write off legal expenses. It is hard to imagine a party disgraced entering the witness box as plaintiff to loosen doors in cross-examination for the eliciting of other muck against him. Sometimes lawyers give advice to make a buck and clients should on their own weigh evidence before rushing to court. Otherwise they may look foolish.
Old familiar faces must be retired, as they are recipients of healthy pensions. We need a fresh leadership from a new generation if we are to overcome the problems. For sure the old boys must be packed home otherwise they would be interested in ending their days in stately comfort unaffordable on their own might. Where have all the young men and women gone? Issue search warrants seeking young people if you want to bring investigations to a successful end. Otherwise tri- partisanship of the UNP/SLFP old/new wings would bring inquiry to naught.