Speaking of cohabitation…
During the 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.

The "who 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.

The recent 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.

Anyway, it 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'' theme.

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.

No. 8, Hunupitiya Cross Road, Colombo 2. P.O. Box: 1136, Colombo.
Editor - steditor@wijeya.lk , News - stnews@wijeya.lk Features - stfeat@wijeya.lk
Business - btimes@wijeya.lk Subs - suntimes@wijeya.lk,
Funday Times - funtimes@wijeya.lk
EDITORIAL OFFICE Tel: 326247, 328889, 433272-3. Fax: 423922, 423258
ADVERTISING OFFICE Advertising - advt@wijeya.lk , Fax: 423921
CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT No. 10, Hunupitiya Cross Road, Colombo 2.
Tel: 435454, 448322, 074 714252. Fax: 459725

Back to Top  Back to Index  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Contact us: | Editorial | | Webmaster|