Sri Lanka: Is it the best moment for cabinet reshuffle?

Most of the political indications in the country are indicating that the cabinet reshuffle is need of the moment to move forward through the current leadership.


by Nilantha Ilangamuwa

( January 19, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The change makers or those who are playing “tipping point” of our society are losing their grip on governance. Therefore, the usual blame-game has returned back on the tracks. It is hard to find a person who can openly take responsibility to accept failures whereas many who exercised “power” are greedy in credit grabbing for “successes”. The Dickensian module of great expectations has turned down to great delusions in a very short period of time.  Too early; isn’t it?

Fortunately, there is yet to pop up a political movement which is capable of rationally criticizing the ruling elements while introducing the authentic alternative pathway for true governance that ensures fundamental rights of every citizen. In other words, a movement to understand, discourse, debate, and introduce the alternative path on real social crisis such as ongoing trade war and other immediate crises of governing system is yet to emerge.

Politically speaking the country is not in a post-war situation but in a post-authoritarian democratic period about which many are in confusion. Rulers are confused over a governing system. Opponents are confused over finding attractive political themes. Critiques are confused over analysing and reasoning the socio-political tendencies. Ordinary people are confused over the dynamics of political power. Such situation is the best environment for looters to loot the nation.

Nonetheless, much-engaged discourse over the idea or plan for a new constitution has developed its own parameters to play around. But that doesn’t make immediate influence among the general public as the necessary economic reliefs are still far away from the access of the ordinary folks. The discourse on a new constitution is indeed playing a significant political role among the political parties and interested groups.

The old discourse is being repeated in a deferent mode. Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) in a recent press briefing correctly hints at the dilemma over the political climate in the developing the proposed constitution in which she has recalled her experience with the then the political rival, the United National Party.

“Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe was then strongly opposed to the proposed constitution by me, whereas now he is advocating the same formula,” she chuckled. This isn’t just about the constitution. This and other thoughts she has elaborated confirm the nuances of slowly but surely growing contradiction within the “national government”. What is much clear in this situation is that all political parties and interested groups are searching for their lost identity during the battle against “Rajapaksa phenomenon.”

What is the factor holding this political unity? It is nothing but “Rajapaksa phenomenon”. “Rajapaksa phenomenon” is not only the glorifying of personal characters but socio-political tendency developed by undermining the value of basic rights while creating the “dream world” named “Wonder Asia through Mahinda Chinthana (Philosophy).”

If Rajapaksa had performed through political wisdom though it is hard to imagine this or if Rajapaksa is capable of constructing the situation like that which was earlier created by CBK, immediately after Rajapaksa grabbed the leadership of both country and the party, then the present government will have fallen between the cracks. They will have to find their own way out.

Present situation is much more challenging than ever before. Killing the “enemies” and displaying the slaughtered accounts through mass media to glorify victory over our own people is no longer valid. The common sense of each person is rapidly strengthening and the will power not only to criticise the leadership or others who are in-charge of the subjects but also critically thinking about themselves is on the rise.

How can such situation managed by the leader if he wants to be the success during his tenure? It is indeed the heart of entire administration of particular leadership. It is usual for there to be a few immediate political rivals to any leadership. First and the foremost group is the opposition. Second and most dangerous group is those who are looting while being a part of the leader. Third group is the interested parties that are representing the administrative system of the country.

The success of the leader will lay on the capacity of reading between the lines of these three groups and having the capacity to manage towards what the leader wants to achieve. There is bold criticism against most of the ministers and their ministries of the governments. There are allegations by the people that same wrongdoings of the previous government are repeating under new government as well. The reputation of the leadership is eventually tarnishing. The expectation of the people under the good governance is evaporating.

What is to be done? This is the nuclear question of the leadership or true architects of the present government. The ultimate cost has to be paid by the leader.  No doubt, not a single leader would like to leave the office as yet another failed character.

When the people lose interest or the reputation of the leadership falls, then other party can manoeuver to use the political climate comfortably.  Such situation can be diverted by using different strategies. In a democratic society, one of the foremost strategies is the cabinet reshuffle. The idea of cabinet reshuffle is not just changing the heads. It is an opportunity to deconstruct the existing method of ruling if it is not achieving the expected targets. It is a pathway through which to assess accountability and evaluate each minister and ministry. It is an opportunity to refresh the general mindset to around them from complacency.

Most of the political indications in the country are indicating that the cabinet reshuffle is need of the moment to move forward through the current leadership.

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