FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Unity Govt. speaking in different voices
Posted:May 15, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) faction in the government has decided to appoint its own Cabinet spokesman, indicating the increasing differences it has with the United National Party (UNP). The immediate cause for the decision seems to be the clash between co-Cabinet spokesman and Health Minister, Rajitha Senaratne and Labour Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne over a suggestion reportedly made by President Maithripala Sirisena on countering trade union action.   
 
 
In the wake of a series of protests by various groups and on the eve of a countrywide strike by the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), the President had suggested that the task of maintaining essential services be assigned to former army commander, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. This suggestion immediately opened a can of worms. Health Minister Senaratne who broke the news to the media at a weekly news conference meant for the announcement of Cabinet decisions was of the opinion that it was a serious proposal whereas Minister Seneviratne argued saying it was only a joke. This led even to some sort of a personal verbal dual between the two ministers as a result of which the SLFP called for the appointment of their own Cabinet spokesman.
 
 
  
This indicates that the Cabinet spokesmen would in future give the media two different versions on certain matters, either from the same platform or by holding a separate media briefing, a ludicrous situation indeed. On the other hand this suggests that the version of one political party in the government is not acceptable to another party. This naturally raises the question as to how then that the ordinary masses could believe what the government now says.   
 
 
The members of a government, especially its ministers are supposed to speak in one voice on the basis of the Cabinet’s collective responsibility which is a constitutional requirement. The Constitution says, “There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers, charged with the direction and control of the Government of the Republic of Sri Lanka, collectively responsible and answerable to Parliament.” Therefore there cannot be more than one version in matters relating to governance. 
 
  
If one looks at such matters from a partisan perspective he or she would justify the SJFP also having a Cabinet spokesman as two ministers currently function as Cabinet spokesmen, Rajitha Senarathna and Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake who are from the UNP. But if the two main parties in the government have decided to work towards a common goal and as a “national or unity government”, as they boast sometimes, there cannot be two versions on the government’s achievements and failures or its expectations and targets.   
 
 
Already the government is divided on many matters. The UNP, as promised during the presidential and parliamentary elections, wants to adopt a totally new Constitution while the SLFP faction in the government wants just to amend some of the Articles of the Constitution. 
 
The factions in the government were seen last month fighting over the ways of garbage disposal with one wanting to recycle the Meethotamulla garbage while another was proposing that the garbage be transported to another area. One group in the government argues in favour of holding the local government elections under the old system while another group favours holding them under the new system. As thing are at present, the statement issued by the government would confuse the people further by officially appointing Cabinet spokesmen on party lines.   
 
 
A country cannot move forward without a single specific goal or objective pursued by the entire government with one mind. The term “national or unity government” would be a laughing stock unless the government works towards a common goal and the ministers speak in one voice.   
 
Daily Mirro, May 16, 2017 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Vitaly A. Prima, Ambassador of Belarus to India for close to five years, is very enthusiastic about the future of bilateral relations as the two countries mark 25 years of diplomatic relations. Resident in New Delhi, Prima is also his country’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
 
read-more
India’s top diplomats held a four-day brainstorming session in New Delhi this month to strategise and decide how India should engage with major global powers and countries in the immediate neighbourhood, writes Nilova Roy Chaudhury
 
read-more
Video Gallery

 
see-more
Is it the Modi magic or Modi cult propelling the BJP to new heights with the opposition pulverised and decimated by the split vote banks of these parties in large parts of India? The BJP has gained five states in the assembly elections but lost Delhi and Bihar, writes Lalit Sethi
 
read-more
Several prominent citizens from different walks of life have called for a declaration of ceasefire in Kashmir during the month of Ramzan, beginning on Friday. Their appeal needs to be immediately heeded, both by the Centre and the state government.
 
read-more
Recently, quite a few stories have appeared on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in both local and international publications.
 
read-more
What a week it has been for the Middle East! People of Iran came out in droves to re-elect Rouhani as president for another term.
 
read-more
Poor Donald Trump. Back from his whirlwind Middle East tour — to escape rumours about how deep his closeness to a certain world leader runs — only to find talk of his loose lips still looming large, rather like a third presence, over the NATO summit.
 
read-more
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive