Let me start this post with Edmund Burke’s quotes:
“The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
……,and Transparency International calls to speak out against corruption.
‘Easier said than done’ comes to mind when you read the above? True, because corruption grows on fertile grounds sowed by bad governance practices of self serving politicians with the enormous effort of irrigating and fertilizing by corrupt businessmen. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to ensure people don’t speak out against this menace.
José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International, said “Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.” Sri Lankan voter was able to at least give this message in January 2015, and save the country in the short term. Maintaining the momentum and acting on those nice promises has become a tough task for those elected.
A country trapped in the clutches of these corrupt officials needs an independent and strong anti-corruption agency to fight against corruption – when they are independent of the government and empowered to investigate allegations, they have the potential to hold even the most powerful people in society to account. May not be true every time but it certainly acts as a deterrent. Even if politicians are not corrupt they need to grow a backbone to hold the powerful & corrupt, accountable. Otherwise, what happens in countries like ours is, a media hype is initiated, the arrested rogues spend a few days in a hospital and then released. Thereafter, the case is forgotten!
The corruption perception index (CPI) covers perceptions of public sector corruption in 168 countries. in the 2015 list, Sri Lanka (37 points) is at 83rd place sharing the honors with China and behind India (ranked 76) with whom we are planning investment strategies. Denmark took the top spot for the 2nd year running. There are two ways of looking at this- we are as good as China, or we are ranked even below India, where their powerful media keeps hounding corrupt deals and exposing them and the judiciary is independent of government.
Top performers in the CPI share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that don’t differentiate between rich and poor, and that are truly independent from other parts of government.
Corruption thrives in war and conflict. That is why corrupt politicians will always try to promote racial or religious disharmony so that some foolish people can be fooled all the time. In addition to conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions like police and the judiciary, and a lack of independence in the media characterize the lowest ranked countries in the CPI.
Here lies the importance of a movement for Sinha-le; create disharmony, continue corruption, destroy the country and accumulate personal wealth abroad. Good governance takes time because the pros and cons need consideration and everyone should be treated equally. So be patient and support the efforts of good people. Don’t ask me “how long” because I do not know. Ask not what the politicians can do to root out corruption (or racism), ask what you can do too.