Jobs on skill and merit
Rajapaksa’s determination to end the era where youth have to go
after politicians for jobs should be applauded. No other
politician had voiced this bold view in the past fearing adverse
political consequences. Besides the President has good reason to
end this culture of political patronage to obtain employment. He
has set the ground work in the education sphere for the youth to
come up by their own initiative. Already he has pioneered the
spread of English IT knowledge into the far reaches of the
country. Therefore the present day youth have now been given the
opportunity to obtain quality employment, instead of depending
on politicians to give them any odd job.
Therefore according to the President’s declaration very soon
the era where youth went after politicians to get jobs will be a
thing of the past. And it is about time. Enough damage and
heartburn has been caused by this patronage system where only
the supporters of one political party was privileged.
Addressing a political rally in Matale the President said a
culture should be created where youth would obtain gainful
employment in accordance with their skills and knowledge without
having to depend on political backing.
It is hoped that the President’s stand would be taken
cognisance of by all politicians in the fray for the General
Election and make this a starting point to end this despicable
culture that has not only ruined the public sector but also
caused uprisings due to the perceived injustice of the system.
The offer of jobs should never be the criterion by which
politicians should aspire to win their voters. Rather it is the
opportunities and scope for employment generation that should be
unravelled. Today one sees milling crowds of youth hanging
around at the homes and campaign offices of candidates - a
majority of them expecting jobs.
While it is expected of any politician to ‘look after’ his
supporters this should not be at the expense of the general
public. Today due to this patronage system many of our State
institutions are in the red bursting at the seams with
unproductive political appointees.
Of course political influence for obtaining jobs is not a new
development. It has existed from the very inception of the
political party system of this country. Supporters of the
politician work for him during an election expecting favours and
the politician has to make good his promise if he is to succeed
in getting re-elected. This way he dispenses with various
favours such as issuing liquor licences, granting tenders and
other contracts especially to those financial backers of his
These type of favours can be condoned as it has no direct
bearing on the general public. But when it comes to jobs it is
definitely a different kettle of fish. This is because these
jobs have to be given in the public sector which as already
mentioned is packed with political appointees under all regimes.
Hence it is a direct burden on the public who will invariably
have to pick up the tab.
Besides these jobs are given overlooking qualifications and
suitability. The result - a public sector choked with misfits
and deadwood,bringing with it inefficiency and lethargy, with
the public given a raw deal. Over the years we have witnessed
this problem taking a turn for the worse with the public
institutions virtually becoming a haven for political appointees
ruining the viability of these institutions.
The best example of this is the former CTB when the then UNP
regime recruited even baila singers to top posts resulting in
the death knell to this once profitable venture.
The President no doubt has taken cognizance of the damage
caused to State institutions by indiscriminate recruitment
courtesy ruling party politicians and wants to stem the tide.
Hence his emphasis on qualifications being the criterion for any
recruitment. It is hoped all heads of institutions will heed
this call by the President and stop succumbing to political
pressure to fill their organisations willy nilly with political
appointees. They have the full backing of the President to
resist such moves.
It is time the system of political patronage is dispensed
with altogether and a new culture established where merit and
merit alone will win the day.