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Forget vendetta curse and get down to work right away

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For as long as one can remember Sri Lanka has been a nation of shifting political alliances. Hardly surprising, because that has widely been considered a national characteristic that has become more pronounced in the wake of the socio-economic and political upheavals that have been an integral part of its problems as a result of a secessionist war that had raged for decades.


The people have spoken. A new administration is in place. By the looks of things on the surface two moderate level-headed leaders are at the helm. They have promised to bring about dramatic changes of governance within a 100-day deadline. Indeed a tall order given such a perilous time limit.
Yet one would have expected that after the dust had settled following the presidential poll so would the euphoria. But even some of the multi-hued common opposition heavy-weights are behaving like common or street-corner thugs. Which as any right-thinking person will concede is not a nice way to behave.

Deceitful lies

Instead of putting their heads down and working towards their leaders’ pledges to meet the short cut-off date a few of them are spewing out a cacophony of downright, deceitful lies about their predecessors. But saner heads within the new bureaucracy had prevailed when Minister Ravi Karunanayake made an outrageous allegation ,without the slightest proof, claiming that a sum of Rs. 7.5 billion was found in a bank account under the name of the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and that the money has been transferred to the Treasury.


The newly appointed Secretary of Defence, B.M.U.D. Basnayake, was quick to confirm that the account held with the Bank of Ceylon’s Taprobane Branch, containing nearly Rs. 8 billion, is not under the name of his predecessor and that it belongs to the Ministry of Defence. We need more bureaucrats in the mould of Basnayake and his Additional Secretary S. Hettiarachchi who possess the gumption to stand by the truth and remain un-cowed by spurious statements spewed out by powerful ministerial sources.


But what we see now is an unprecedented circus comprising a complete mish-mash of jugglers and clowns of different political fortunes as well as misfortunes. Certainly, it has been an accepted norm that when new governments are swept into power, they often deliberately attempt to ambush the opposition, often in a rigged circus atmosphere and promise exciting witch-hunts. And now the horse-trading has begun and the larger faction of the Common Opposition must surely be miffed at some of the portfolios being handed on a platter as a reward for recent defectors.


For many, such changes in affiliation and loyalty have become a springboard for survival. For a people who have been celebrated for adopting a lethargic lifestyle and earning for itself the sobriquet ‘the land of lotus-eating lizards,’ such an opportunistic outlook would appear to be an accepted pattern.


It is an outrageous conception that no government in recent memory has been held properly to account for both their transgressions of commission and omission. Certainly, wrongdoers have to be brought justice whoever they are. But such a crackdown poses several risks. One is that certain politicized overzealous investigators might trample on civil liberties. Another is that the public, which will be squarely behind any such campaign, will turn cynical if it appears that the targeting of officials is selective or politically motivated.


But the priority of the moment is to get down to business and re-establish good governance. People have been profoundly shocked by the declarations of some of them who injudiciously attempt to fob off allegations against themselves or their colleagues with such scurrilous subterfuge. Privilege of power does not provide the justification for legislators to indulge in such slander against respectable personages, who have been immorally victimized by this kind of political prejudice.

Character assassinations

These totally unwarranted and condemnable character assassinations will be certain to trigger a widespread outcry for self-imposed regulations by political parties over such abuse. Their protestations of patriotism and nation-building aside, it seems as if all succeeding, irresolute governments have sanctioned such reprisals by their very indecisiveness.


When will they get it into their thick heads to never forget that without civilization, without order, there is only the law of the jungle. It appears clear that in many sectors, there remain certain autocrats who appear to think they can govern by the law of damnable lies, thus losing all credibility in the public eye for themselves and their leadership. Besides many such utterances are tantamount to criminal libel.


And there are other insidious factions attempting to get into the act of vociferously seeking personal vendettas against high-profile appointments by the previous administration to serve their own selfish ends. There are some in the legal fraternity who stir up their memberships to flagrantly and unfairly attack the reputations of some treasured officials of this nation, whose accomplishments and characters they would never be able to emulate in twice-ten-thousand years.


Going by the reptilian analogy in human terms, lotus-eaters or lounge-lizards included, one is starkly reminded of the most self-indulgent of the species. These are the chameleons who are suitably possessed with the ability to change colours virtually overnight and blend with any political background.


But politics certainly does make strange bedfellows and realignments do occur as was evidenced as never before at the recent presidential election. Politicians as well as people are often constrained to make fateful ideological choices. But they might not always do this consciously nor always for the sake of self-advancement. Several are compelled to make such choices sometimes based on considerations prompted by either a sense of conviction or hopelessness. But by and large come another parliamentary poll and the people will make their choice of sending a good many charlatans into the political wilderness.


If the administration is aware that the power they wield has come from the people, they must be doubly aware how assuredly fragile it is. But the Government needs to move fast and effectively. Or else they will soon seem like archaeologists shifting the shards of their own witless, ideological ruin. And it will serve them darn well right.

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Last modified on Sunday, 25 January 2015 10:59

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