The Health Ministry is, as it were, on a heart and lung machine and its condition is fast deteriorating. It cannot even be drip-fed for want of saline! The Sri Lanka Air Force has been tasked with fetching vital medical supplies from India urgently. It looks as if the tri forces, the police, the STF and the Civil Defence Force had to be deployed to rescue the Health Ministry.
What the government should do immediately is to replenish medical supplies in whatever possible way and avert a mega crisis on the horizon. Thereafter, it ought to investigate and identify those responsible for this sorry state of affairs. Interestingly, the UPFA government is behaving as though it had inherited all these problems from a UNP regime!
The seemingly intractable problem that new Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena is desperately trying to tackle has resulted from the bungling by none other than his predecessor cum ministerial chum Nimal Siripala de Silva. Its critics like the JVP front liners who fulminated against former Health Minister and the UPFA government for their inefficiency stand vindicated.
That the Health Ministry was in an unholy mess was only too well known. So were many other ministries. Then, how come most of the failed ministers of the UPFA government have got re-elected? It is intriguing that some of them who have been appointed to the new Cabinet are doing an Oliver Twist. They are demanding more powers! Instead of grumbling, they in fact should prostrate before President Mahinda Rajapaksa every morning and lick his sandals because he has done them a huge favour at the expense of the public by reappointing them to his Cabinet! He has also taken a massive political risk in the process. Their failure is his responsibility.
What would have happened if a parliamentary election had preceded the last presidential polls is not difficult to guess. President Rajapaksa being President Rajapaksa was the best judge of the capabilities of his parliamentary team. He was convinced that he could not win the Kentucky Derby with a donkey. He therefore advanced the presidential election and ran himself leaving nothing to chance. But for that master political stroke, which wrong-footed the Opposition, winning 144 seats would have been a pipe dream for the UPFA and most of the former UPFA ministers would have been relegated to the political dustbin like the ex-Foreign Minister, who claimed to have won the world but lost in Colombo!
Therefore, President Rajapaksa need not have appointed so many ministers this time around. He could have reduced the size of his Cabinet further without burdening us with 41 ministers. He is, we repeat, not beholden to any of his MPs they are indebted to him for their election.
The situation in the health sector should serve as a warning to President Rajapaksa. People ignored the bungling by his failed ministers and re-elected him and his party by way of showing their gratitude for defeating terrorism. But, he should be wary of pressing his luck too much as he cannot go places on war victories during his second term. He will have to deliver on his promises which have raised people`s expectations as never before. Can he accomplish that daunting task with the help of some failed ministers including those responsible for the mess in the health and education sectors? His challenge will be to achieve his goals in spite of them. Perhaps, he will have to invoke the devas to assist him in his endeavour.