Speaking of cohabitation…
past fortnight or so we have meanwhile seen a not-so-subtle tussle
at the apex of power - another episode in Sri Lanka's sorry cohabitation
saga. It is for a chance to speak at the UN General Assembly sessions.
Clearly, the PM has outflanked the President and this is for the
second time after the Development Lottery fiasco. It is an indication
that the President is sleeping on the job. It appears she woke up
from her slumber and realized she is no longer slotted to speak
at the UN.
She must know
that this is not the medieval age, and she is not running a fiefdom.
In Incorporated Sri Lanka, she is the President, but the Chief Executive
Officer is Ranil Wickremesinghe. The people have mandated it so,
and she must live with the reality. That does not mean she must
abandon her Constitutional role which is the protection of the sovereignty
of Sri Lanka and the defense of her people. But, the ritual issuance
of "directives" and "calling for reports" may
not be enough.
What else on
the other hand can she do to appear that she is not in dereliction
of duty? Knee-jerk reactions to the news of the day smack of a display
of political expediency and an attempt to settle scores and win
petty points. The answer is to initiate a better dialogue with the
CEO, and vice-versa, the CEO with the President.
At the beginning
of this cohabitation experience, we suggested a mechanism by which
two protracted protagonists could work together for the common good
of the common people on a common platform. We suggested an office
that channels this process of dialogue. There were 'moderates' on
both sides who could have been detailed to this onerous task.
is to speak at the UN fiasco' could have been easily avoided, and
the President could have avoided the blushes and of having to unpack
her suitcase and stay at home instead of jetting to New York.
issue of the security of Trincomalee following the Ceasefire Agreement
that has been the subject of public discussion is another imbroglio
that could have been tackled through such a institutionalized (even
if informal) mechanism.
seems that it is the PM who will now address the UN General Assembly
on behalf of the Government and people of Sri Lanka. We are not
privy to what he will say - but one would expect him to pitch his
message on the peace process and his "Regaining Sri Lanka''
One could only
wonder and ruminate what it would have been if the President was
to go. Would she say something to the contrary, being in this unique
position of being the Head of State and Leader of the Opposition
(de facto albeit).
It would have
been interesting to have listened to the two speeches except for
the embarrassment it would have caused the people, collectively.
If Sri Lanka is to speak with one voice at the world assembly -
should not the PM aim for encompassing the Opposition's views? Needless
to say, this won't happen - but that is what ought to happen.