Chick and egg story of corruption in Sri Lanka

27 Oct 2007

In recent past, there has been a renewed enthusiasm on corruption in the media and political arena. However, the corruption in Sri Lankan society has been a chick and egg story for decades. The legislature is elected by the people of the country and therefore it should reflect the cross section of the common people. It is a multimillion worth question to ask if corruption is passing down to the society from politicians or vise versa.

Mere topic of chit-chat for the common people?
Corruption of politicians has been a popular dessert in lunch areas of office and institutions. It has become a popular fashion to criticize politicians in social gatherings. However, it is unfortunate to find that most of the time, the politicos that they are criticizing are the ones that they have personally elected and of course they will most probably vote for the very people they criticized in next elections for petty gains and expectations. It is the same lot of corrupt politicians that is being reelected by the vote of the people.

Span across the society
It is astonishing to see the number of medical reps lobbing around medical practitioners in government hospitals and private medical centers. The result is doctors prescribing in commercial names rather than using their pharmaceutical names resulting exploitation of the innocent patients. Is there any difference in giving a tender to higher value by a politician and a doctor prescribing expensive drugs using brand names rather than pharmaceutical names in return for direct commissions and foreign tours etc? Do we have regulation to counter this type of exploitations in the society? This same corrupt mind set has been widely seen across most of the professions and institutions alike ranging from taking bribes for day to day activities to underhand deals of millions of worth by influential people in the society.

Look warm approach of political parties
Corruption has been one of the highly marketable topics for opposition parties in Sri Lanka. They are super active in accusing their opponents. However it is really doubt if their true intention is to minimize corruption or to take petty political advantages. Once in power, the same people behave like dumb. This has been a role play by both UNP and PA in tandem to just to fool the people to grab the power. Once in the power, all the politicos are in one side while the common people are in the receiving end.

JVP has been in the forefront in criticizing the corruptions of politicians. However, it is sad to see that they are reluctant to show this by example rather than by words. In the recent past, JVP has been so reluctant to involve in governing by taking ministerial portfolios. The best way to eliminate corruption at ministerial level is to take up those ministries and manage them with clean hands, rather than preach nor criticizing others. It is an irony that the only time they ally with a government is one of the most corrupted governments under CBK.

One of the whole marks of Sri Lankan politics is the indifferent attitude of minority ethnic parties towards corruption. By looking at their behavior, one can decide that either they are more corrupt than main stream political parties, or they have no real interest in democracy and rights of people other than operate based on separatism.

The role of media
The bulk of the mass media in Sri Lanka is directly allied with either the political parties or under direct influence of allied businessmen. Therefore, most of the time, the noise is against targeted individuals who are against their political aspirations rather than with good intention in the side of the common people. These media only talk about individual cases which they can exploit rather than bringing up worth dialog against corruption as whole in the society.

COPE and Commission of Bribery & Corruption
The commission of Bribery & Corruption has been a positive outcome of a long time struggle of the people. It required even a higher effort to get the commissioners appointed and activate it. This has brought some hope in the right direction.

COPE has been in existence for decades, and it is only in recent past that it got its due place largely due to the active role played by the current COPE president Mr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa and its active membership consist of multitude of parties including JVP and JHU. Unlike Commission of Bribery & Corruption which is an independent body, the effectiveness of COPE is highly dependent on its leadership and members.

The next step
COPE has been a success in the purview of its legislative powers exposing large number of corruptions and suspicious under hand trades which involved billions of hard earned money of the people of this country. However, it seems that there are no clear cut guidelines on the next steps to proceed on with the findings. It is arguable to say that the legislature itself should punish the culprits.

The next step should be to bring up new laws in the parliament to mandate the COPE findings to be presented to either Commission of Bribery & Corruption or directly sue them in the courts.

It is the wish of all Sri Lankans to see the justice in bringing all the corrupt politicians, bureaucracy and importantly the crooked businessmen behind the deals into court and punish to the maximum.

By the by
In the mean time, it is duty of the nation to punish all the corrupt politicians, regardless of they somehow escape in the judiciary, in the next election. The real political prudence of the voter is not mere chit-chatting conduct of corrupted politicians in pubs, but selecting real genuine politicians while rejecting all the crooks by ballot. It is the eggs that they hatch in the form of ballot that will result in swans, crows or vultures.

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Anonymous said...

I very much appreciate and agree with the writer's comment.

Anonymous said...

100% agreed....

Anonymous said...

JHU is also corrupt see the BENZ


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