When The left hand does not know what the right hand does

When The left hand does not know what the right hand does

May 5, 2018

The general perception of the phrase, “The left hand does not know what the right hand does” is associated with the biblical quotation by Jesus Christ, in Mathew 6:3. It generally means that all merciful deeds should be kept secret, and not be done for praise by others with the sole purpose of seeking publicity, or to gain fame from the society.  In Buddhism too, it sculpts the same philosophy, which is preached to people almost every day by Bhikkhus, at temples and, through Sri Lankan Buddhist TV channels.

However, this expression is used frequently, in modern times, as a criticism in every society, be it a mercantile institution or the public sector, where corporate adaptations or financial regulations are not communicated precisely to all other tentacles of the organisation. It is evidently prominent in Sri Lankan politics where politicians and the government ministers are deemed not to follow such mastery.

Taking a cue from the symbolic meaning of the phrase, President Maithripala Sirisena himself, at times is seen and heard coming out with statements akin to, “I only saw it on TV news or came to know from the newspapers”!

Leaving a broad margin about such assertions and considering the fact that even the Sri Lankan President is only human, as such, he cannot be expected to be omnipotent, but when some of his Ministers in the Unity Government come out with various contradictory statements, willy-nilly, according to their own whims and fancies, it does boil down to the fact that even among the members in Yahapalanaya there is a lack of uniformity.

Well-mixed pickle

It is a travesty that politicians in Sri Lanka, including the Ministers of the Unity Government, as much as members of other political parties, have begun to speak out of turn, without double checking with their leaders, thus making news briefings into a well-mixed pickle! During the recent incident of the ‘no-confidence motion’ against the Prime Minister, a resolute decision was taken by sixteen ministers and deputies to vote in favour of  the motion  to oust the Prime Minister from office, on a matter of principle.  They were convinced that the Prime Minister had a major role to play  in the Central Bank massive fraud, and  he was accountable for the colossal financial losses by appointing a foreigner to head the Central Bank, who apparently is absconding, up to the time of writing this column, disregarding Court orders and red notices from the Interpol.

The rest of the SLFP members abstained from voting during the motion, while some went abroad making it an excuse for their absence. This has demonstrated, beyond any doubt, that those SLFP members who voted to keep Ranil Wickremesinghe in office had certainly given the knife to the sixteen of their colleagues, who voted against the PM, from behind. The final result being, those sixteen had to give up their positions on a matter of principle and were left high and dry. According to news media, the Central Committee of the SLFP had many confidential meetings with the President prior to the no-confidence motion vote in Parliament and had reached a collective decision as a party, to oust the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

An absentee during a voting is generally assumed as favouring any motion which is brought up in Parliament, for whatever reason he/she may decide to back out! Therefore, it was such a misfortune that at the end of the day, when everything was said and done, those sixteen members had no choice but to offer their resignation from their positions from the Unity Government. They have now decided to sit with the Opposition members in the Parliament! Undoubtedly, they could not possibly work with the Prime Minister whom they considered unfit to be in office and voted against on a matter of principle.

It does seem that the rest of the members of the SLFP of which the President is the brains behind, are at loggerheads, which exposes the fact that there is no unity or cohesion within the SLFP any more, as everyone appears to speak to a microphone or a media guy, as they deem fit, with full of contradictory statements.

Provocative remarks

President Maithripala Sirisena, as per Cabinet Paper No. 18/05/576/701/012-1 discarded the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM). Subsequently, he called upon the editors and heads of media organizations to a news conference to advise them about the abolition of the CCEM and revealed that all functions of the Committee would thereafter be performed only by the line ministers who are responsible for the subject.

However, the Finance and Mass Media Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, appeared at a news briefing few days later and stressed piquantly and spicily that, “the CCEM had not been dissolved and requested the news reporters not   to go by ‘media reports’. He further insisted by saying: “I am in the Cabinet. We have not responded or made our observations… we have asked for two weeks.”

However, the whole country by that time was aware of this very fact, except the very Minister in charge of the Mass Media, and every news bulletin carried that news  about the President’s decision on 1 April 2018.

It  further  revealed that the  Ministers at the weekly meeting on 27th March 2018  had endorsed the abolition, and a copy of the minutes had already been  forwarded to the very  Minister of Finance and Mass Media.

What more can be more elaborate than the evidently contradictory statements made by the very Minister, who is in charge of Finance and Mass Media conceitedly denying President’s order publicly? This clearly confirmed the fact about various Cabinet Ministers in the Yahapalanaya regime were going about in a most unprofessional manner, which naturally has given rise to the ever increasing scenario of a destructive disintegration of the Unity Government itself, which has been confusing the general public ever since they came to power in 2015.

Finally, subjecting to public exposure, Minister Samaraweera had to apologise to the infuriated President about his statements to the press with a farfetched explanation that he was “not present at the weekly Cabinet Meeting on March 20”! How can a Government run in such a manner when responsible players in governance make such bloomers?

Being President as the Head of the SLFP, and equally of  the Unity Government, people are certain to view him as   failing to cement whatever the hairline cracks that became  structural fissures that were  taking place within the foundation of the Yahapalanaya regime. Such occurrences within the Yahapalanaya clearly and distinctively indicate the failure and to confirm the fact that the left hand in the Yahapalanaya regime does not know what the right hand does!

What is more ironic is why President Sirisena, amidst all such a hullabaloo, gave the freedom to his SLFP Members to  take an independent decision, at the eleventh hour, giving them only a breathing space  to vote for the no-confidence motion according to each ones conscience! Was it because Ranil Wickremesinghe is his partner in the Yahapalanaya, without whose support and back up he would never have become the President of this Country?

It appears that President Sirisena, during the last three years, was playing a saintly game of ‘supreme democracy of non-involvement’, which goes to prove his spiritless stance in a crucial moment of decision taking.

After all, being the President of a Nation, one has to use his full authority within the framework of the Constitution and act firmly as a leader, for the benefit and welfare of the whole nation, exhibiting leadership qualities without exposing himself to the nation as an entertainer or prankster!

Other side of the Coin

On the other side of the coin is the UNP, where Ranil Wickremesinghe continues to be the leader still. Despite being in politics for the last forty-odd years, and people rejecting him nearly equal number of times at elections, the melodrama within the UNP seems to continue, even after the no-confidence motion where he appeared to have convinced some of his opponents within the UNP with promises of reforming the party including the leadership changes.

A fair section of the backbenchers in the UNP wanted him to hand over the leadership to young blood, and  for him to  retire gracefully from politics in order that  the UNP could shine again and reach to the zenith, where suffering of the masses could be eliminated and corruption decimated.

Several staunch UNP members such as Range Bandara and the young Wasantha Senanayake were apparently persuaded to vote against the no-confidence motion on the promise of an overall reformation of the UNP, including the leadership change. Undoubtedly the discontentment within the UNP is brewing once again, as Ranil Wickremesinghe is playing a game of superiority by various shrewd moves of changing several positions in the party and expending his usual tactics to remain in power, as opposed to the weak President, who seems to be thoroughly confused and behaves like a stick in the mud, confining his activities  only to verbal  public diarrhoea.

However, there is not much of a lifespan left for the Yahapalanaya regime to wave a magic wand and to fulfil their promises given in 2015, before their term comes to an end in 2020. It is crystal clear from  what is seen on TV news  on a daily basis to what extent the poor  villagers  and farmers alike are suffering  without water, battling with  a new wave of threats to their properties, cultivations and innocent men and women getting killed  by elephants, while the politicians in Colombo exhibit a vulgar display of their  luxury SUVs, Benz limousines and roaming in Colombo streets at night time to attend meetings of many sorts, in an attempt to look after themselves selfishly in power battles and party tribulations.

Pic. Credit: Ceylon Today

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