:The cabinet reshuffle which Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena effected on Tuesday, shows a rational distribution of portfolios which was not the case earlier. For example, Mano Ganeshan, who had National Co-existence but not Reconciliation earlier, has got it now.
But there has been no major change in the line up, other than the re-induction of Wijedasa Rajapakse, the former Justice Minister who had resigned under controversial circumstances.
Earlier, the distribution of portfolios did not form a definite pattern, which confused ministers, officials, the public as well as foreign embassies and investors. Ministers felt helpless with some of their functions being handled by other ministries.
Having promised to make a “scientific” reshuffle, the President gave “Reconciliation” to Mano Ganeshan who earlier had “National Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages” but not “Reconcilation” which is a criticial portfolio in the context of the need to bring the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalse together after a 30 year war.
The war ended in 2009, but ethnic reconciliation is still a far cry.
Previously, the Reconciliation portfolio was held by President Maithripala Sirisna and his second in command was AHM Fowzie, a senior minister but not a Tamil.
Srimilarly, the has rationalized the distribution of other portfolios.
Additionally, Wijedasa Rajapakse,former Justice Minister, has been brought back into the cabinet as Minister of Higher Education and Culture. Earlier, he had to resign because of his controversial remarks.
Eighteen new Cabinet Ministers were sworn in on Tuesday. Following are the Ministers and their portfolios:
1. Lakshman Kiriella – Minister of Public Enterprise and Kandy Development
2. Sarath Amunugama- Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Skills Development and Vocational Training, and Hill Country Heritage
3. S. B. Navinna-Minister of Internal Affairs and Wayamba Development
4. Mahinda Amaraweera: Minister of Agriculture
5. Duminda Dissanayake: Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and Disaster Management
6 Hon. Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa: Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Rural Economy
7.Hon. P. Harrison: Minister of Social Empowerment
8. Kabir Hashim: Minister of Highways and Road Development
9. Ranjith Maddumabandara: Minister of Public Administration and Management and Law and Order
10. Thalatha Athukorala: Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms.
11. Faiszer Musthapha: Minister of Sports, Provincial Councils and Local Government
12. D.M. Swaminathan: Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs
13. Sagala Ratnayake: Minister of Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development
14. Mano Ganesan: Minister of National Co-existence, Reconciliation and Official Languages
15. Daya Gamage: Minister of Social Welfare and Primary Industries
16. Field Marshal Hon. Sarath Fonseka – Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development
17. Ravindra Samaraweera: Minister of Labor and Trade Union Relations
18. Wijedasa Rajapakshe – Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs
Other ministerial portfolios will remain unchanged and the new State and Deputy Ministers will be sworn on Wednesday.