People, two Government
theory is that the best government is where there is the least government.
The reasoning attributed to this school of thought is that a people
left alone, without too much government interference will allow
the free flow of private endeavour.
Sri Lanka, paradoxically
is in this situation, though for the wrong reasons. It was in this
extra-ordinary situation where the Head of Government was also the
Leader of the Opposition in the country. And the Head of Government
and the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition came from the same
this year, however, it broke new ground when the President of the
Republic snatched three ministries which the People mandated to
the leader of the party with the majority in Parliament - the Prime
Minister - and began running it.
Then came the
hilarious situation in Parliament during the just concluded Budget
where the Opposition moved a cut in the Budget, votes for the three
ministries under the President during the Committee stage of the
Budget, and then votes against the total Budget.
we close this year, Sri Lanka's political leaders have got themselves
into a twist, and the People are faced with two governments, which
is no government at all. This, indeed is fertile terrain for those
who wish to exploit the fast impending chaos as we face the new
year. And there are many such forces around, not least the separatists
of the north, now operating from the north-east.
To say that
the whole edifice of government is crumbling, is not an over-statement.
Various institutions were already groaning under the weight of too
What was meant
to be a leap forward in good governance i.e. the appointment of
independent Commissions to handle key elements of administration,
have not got off the ground.
Take the appointment
of the independent Elections Commission. An objection to a solitary
nominee has prevented the appointment of this Commission - with
a string of elections to come in the new year. Take the case of
the independent Bribery and Corruption Commission. One single vacancy
has not been filled since February this year, and all indictments
and inquiries are suspended in mid-air.
Now, the peace
process with the northern separatists. With all its shortcomings
and dangerous implications, it was a progressive exercise towards
ending 20 years of civil war that has dragged this country, and
all her People into the mire.
That too is
in suspense Government leaders are trifling with serious issues.
Throughout the year, in fact since last year, we have been advocating
an institutionalised mechanism to co-ordinate work between the Executive
Presidency and the Legislature in the cohabitation arrangement we
have been lugged with.
Mano-Malik Committee needs to be expanded into a bigger co-ordinating
unit devoid of parochial party politics. Not to be a committee which
goes into limbo when two individuals go on Christmas vacation overseas.
than done, but there seems to be no other way. The present thinking
seems to be yet another parliamentary election as the only way out
of this impasse.Only to have a hung parliament returned again, for
sure. And the same old headaches of this year brought forward like
a bad debt to the country's ledger books next year.