The new era of Maithripalanaya or good governance, democracy, social justice and the spirit of servant leadership needs to continue for much more than 100 days. This is because Sri Lanka was virtually ruined beyond repair by 67 years of party politics where personal gain or party glory took priority over the common good of the people.
Fortunately a silent revolution of the people took place on January 8 to skyrocket a sidelined SLFP Minister to presidential power and prestige with the formation of an all-party national unity Government.
President Maithripala Sirisena, now the leader of the SLFP, has pledged he will be the chief servant leader of the people and rise above party politics. It was this spirit that led to a historic interim Budget that was supported by members of the UNP, the SLFP and other parties to give it a two-thirds majority. Other important measures in the 100-day programme -- including a vital constitutional amendment, the Right to Information Bill, the Bill to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy and the code of conduct for MPs – are also likely to get a two-thirds majority.
Power and Energy Minister and Jathika Hela Urumaya General Secretary Patali Champika Ranawaka, a powerful figure in the National Unity Government, said over the weekend he hoped the new spirit of acting above party politics would continue until a new Sri Lanka and a new political culture were rebuilt. This is the hope of most Sri Lankan people who suffered for seven decades because politicians who claim they came forward to serve the people, instead became lords or masters and plundered the wealth and resources of the country.
For instance, a multi-pronged international move is on the way to recover billions of dollars allegedly plundered by the Rajapaksa family or its cronies and stashed away in secret bank vaults in the Seychelles, the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts and Nevis and elsewhere.
However, sentiments to the contrary are being expressed by opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva who obviously hashigher ambitions.
Addressing a public meeting over the weekend, Mr. de Silva said he hoped to become the executive Prime Minister if and when the SLFP won the next parliamentary elections with the help of President Sirisena who he claimed would speak at SLFP election meetings. However it should be remembered that 95% of those who voted for Maitripala Sirisena at the Presidential election were from the UNP and other parties including a huge vote from the minority parties.
Another divisive move is the no-confidence motion against the Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga. Action needs to be taken against Mr. Amaratunge if a full and independent inquiry reveals he was responsible for the attack on the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabbaha Chairman last month. But if a Minister is removed on the basis of serious allegations, then most of the former Rajapaksa regime’s ministers including Mr. de Silva would have lost their posts. However, the spirit of bipartisanship appears to be prevailing with the UPFA’s General Secretary Susil Premajayantha announcing the no-confidence motion was put on hold. This came after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned he would advice the President to dissolve Parliament if the no-confidence motion was taken up and passed. President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe leading the people’s silent revolution for a new Sri Lanka with a new political culture need to ensure that rogue elements trying to seek personal gain or glory are not allowed to break the new spirit of unity in diversity.