Professionals serving in Armed Forces across the world abide by a strict code of ethics when it comes to speaking to media. ‘Gung-ho’ reactions are avoided at all costs.
by A Concerned Citizen
( October 11, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) One of the key promises of the ‘Yahapalanaya’ prior to 2015 January elections was ‘the immediate depoliticization’ of the Armed Forces if elected to office. Consequent to winning the polls in January 2015, the Yahapalanaya government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe took a few firm steps towards fulfilling this promise. The frequent visits by Armed Forces officers (especially senior officers) to politicians’ offices ceased and appearances on TV screens in uniform too ceased. In early 2015, Sri Lanka Army took a few noteworthy steps in preventing politicizations of this great institution. Firm instructions issued by the Army Headquarters in this regard appeared in some of the print media. Army Chief at that time Crishanthe De Silva should be commended for taking these steps. The other two prestigious defence components of our nation; Sri Lanka Navy and the Air Force too would have taken similar steps.
2015 Parliamentary elections clearly indicated the effectiveness of the steps taken by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe in depoliticizing the Armed Forces. No untoward incident was reported either by the Police or the Election monitors of Armed Forces getting involved in any activity either during election campaign or on the day of voting. This needs to continue.
The utterances by various individuals on the conduct of the Armed Forces arbitrarily, portends the danger of once again politicizing the Armed Forces. All of us need to understand that the Armed Forces are bound by stringent regulations and if anyone is found guilty of breaching such regulations there is no hindrance in taking appropriate action against such individuals by the Armed Force concerned. At the same time those serving in the Armed Forces too should guard against making reactionary statements to the media in response to such allegations. The best course of action would be the government media spokesman to clarify details rather than those in uniform getting involved in verbal duals.
Professionals serving in Armed Forces across the world abide by a strict code of ethics when it comes to speaking to media. ‘Gung-ho’ reactions are avoided at all costs. Therefore, it will be prudent for the Yahapalana Government authorities to continue with the depoliticization of the Armed Forces in the same intensity as that of early 2015 for the sake our nation and the Armed Forces which are the guardians of our country and its people.