Time to stop playing games
By Random Access Memory (RAM)
Remember when we were kids. Our parents insisted we finished play time when dusk set in, wash ourselves and take to our school books. More darkness than at dusk has set in on the Sri Lankan polity and the economy right now.

The parliament which sat for four times since the formation of the new government is about to get a citation in the Guinness Book of World Records, with three brawls happening at three of the sittings.

The country is waiting with bated breath for a statement of economic policy directions and the sittings at the well, where it needs to be discussed, have been postponed by almost a month. The line up of legislation pending approval must surely be getting long.

It is true that the executive can up to an extent, carry out the affairs of state, under the all encompassing constitution we have in place. It is also true that the stock market may not truly reflect the state of the economy or the state of the well-being of the people of this country, as rightfully stated by several, before and during the election campaign. But 'little things' like brawls in parliament, disunity, appointment of persons of disrepute to positions of reckoning, demoralisation of good persons in key positions and the ensuing instability, certainly does. It hurts not only the international image of the country but also impacts on the day-to-day lives of us all, ordinary folk who crave for stability and good sense to prevail, so we can go about doing the little things we do, in a conducive environment.

Before the elections, business leaders and professionals joined other civil society organisations to ensure a free and fair election and free also of the alarming levels of violence we have seen in the recent past. The result is that of a very satisfactory score card, with the conduct of many, being exemplary during and immediately after elections.

Today what we see happening within the parliament, with elections to positions conducted as if they were badly refereed soccer games with unruly crowds as spectators, is nowhere near the decorum one expects of a house whose incumbents' conduct must be a model for the whole nation. Outside the wells of those chambers, there are other games played and some of them are played pretty badly as well.

It is time we realised that when one has to wash dirty linen, that it must not be done in public with banner headlines in newspapers, for the simple fact that it becomes a bad story for potential investors and for the economy as a whole.

Complete transparency and meritocracy we certainly need, but not unfolded in the form of that of a bull in a china shop. It is time that these 'leaders' who seem to behave worse than some spoilt kids, are firmly reminded that whatever actions they take that result in creating negativity in the eyes of the world and the people of this country, to be bad news for the country, the wellbeing of her people and that of future generations.

One wonders if what we see happening, to be a mirroring of what ails our body polity as a whole. A polity and system that throws at us, 'leaders' we richly deserve. If that be the case, it is time for us all, to look straight in the mirror, take stock and more importantly, assume responsibility.

It is perhaps time for civil society leaders to play the role our parents played, when we continued to play games, beyond the fall of dusk. What we do not need is more disunity, more discord and more mayhem. We do not need to create 'Rajyas' where polarisation of groups is thought to be the way forward.

What we need is positive thoughts and action to unify those divided and polarised. We need good sense to prevail and good positive vibes to be transmitted to the people of Sri Lanka, as well as the international community.

The time has come once again for civil society leaders, professionals, chambers of commerce, business groupings, NGOs and all sensible citizens to work together to drive some sound sense into our 'leaders'. They may need to be reprimanded and firmly reminded that it is time that they stopped playing games and worked in unity to serve the needs of our motherland and her people.

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