The need to end the danger of leaving the destiny of the nation entirely in the hands of politicians
Posted on June 27th, 2013

Dr Sudath Gunasekara (SLAS) Retired Permanent secretary and President Senior Citizens Council Mahanuwara 30.5.2013

                                        (Politicians are a crafty pack of hungry wolves ruling over a bunch of stupid asses) 

Part 1

This note is an attempt to look at the political parties and politicians in this country and examine the danger of leaving the destiny of the nation entirely in the hands of politicians.

Present political party system originated in the west, as a democratic tool of governance, is alien to our society which had been governed for 2500 years by a different form of government that was fashioned by an entirely a different philosophy of statecraft based primarily and mainly on the concept of “ƒ”¹…”Bahujana hitaaya Bahujana sukhaaya’ as enunciated in Buddhist teachings. This may be the major reason why “ƒ”¹…”the modern political party model’ has failed to achieve the objectives and purpose of governance as expected by the people of this country according to the Buddhist concept of governance. Another reason I see is the inability or reluctance on the part of our modern day politicians to understand the basic principles and objectives of the indigenous system as their thinking has been mauled within a different culture and mainly as the purpose of their getting in to politics is basically different. Today they do so only to seek power, make wealth and seek comfort as against serving the people and the country. There may be few exceptions but they also appear to be helpless, rather backboneless, to fight against the all powerful existing corrupt system. So they also just float astray for survival. None dares to take the risk to be adventurous for the sake of the country or the people.

In this article I am trying to look at this “ƒ”¹…”National cisis’ from a different perspective as to why Sri Lanka like most countries which were governed by former western colonial powers has failed to develop as a vibrant and prosperous nation, through the mechanism of party politics. Apart from the wanton exploitation of its physical and human resources the legacies alien to our social system left behind by the British and other colonial powers I think are the other root causes of this situation. Among the main legacies responsible for this situation their system of Government (the distinctive features of which are selfish, divisive and antagonistic ruler-centered politics), administration, legal system, education, economic models and their social values that are unfamiliar to our social system rank as the key areas. Like the Euro-centric modern technology that has killed the indigenous technology in agriculture, industry and all other fields and impoverished these nations economically and completely destroyed all indigenous creativity by making the subjects a pack of dependent mental slaves and minions, the imported alien political system also has adversely affected this country by killing all aspects of native governance and statecraft that were deeply embedded in our social system for a long time.

The political parties and their leaders who are at the helm of politics in this country are the direct products of this alien socio- psychological system. Although there was a wave of national resurgence in the latter part of 19th and early 20th centuries that culminated politically in 1956 it was again put on the reverse gear by the reactionary forces in 1977 with a new tribe of politicians, and an amalgam of the dying reactionary forces, and the newly emerged underworld thugs and all undesirable anti-social elements of the western capitalist socio-economic system that formed the underpinning of the new political culture. With the emergence of this new development the generation of intellectual and patriotic political culture dominated by towering personalities like Sir DB, DS, Bandaranaike, CWW, and Philip in forties and fifties that was anti-imperialist, committed and dedicated to the service of men and their motherland disappeared for good.

After the 1977 General Elections a new and parasitic culture of politics replaced the above and it gave pride of place solely to politicians and their own welfare as against the good of the people. The first Bill passed in Parliament after 1977 General Election was the Pension bill for MPP. That itself clearly shows the mentality of our modern day politicians. The 1977 change set the trend of the new politico-centered political culture. The new Constitution adopted in 1978 became a critical landmark and a watershed in the development of political history of this Island nation that set the starting point of complete political and social degeneration. It marked the beginning of an era of selfish and exploitive or extractive politics that replaced the age old service centred politics. This  Constitution was amended 16 times by the end of 1988 to suit the consolidation of the then government; the number of MPP in Parliament were also increased from 168 t0 225; their salaries, allowances, perks and all privileges increased to unprecedented levels; they and even their families were made pensionable after 5 years, violating the government pension minute; number of Ministers was increased at the center and new breed of puppet Ministers called District Ministers were appointed in the Districts, enabling the President even to appoint a man from Matara as the District Minister of  Jaffna. Under the 1978 Constitution an Executive Presidency was created and the President was made all powerful and immune to all acts committed by him; he was also made the Head of the Cabinet who appoints and dismisses Ministers at his will and pleasure. Even the Judges of the Supreme Court and higher Courts and all the Secretaries of Ministries were appointed by him. Thus the 1978 constitution in fact brought all three arms of governance Executive, Legislative and Judiciary under the control of the President giving him the absolute power to rule. This made the President of this country the most powerful Head of State in the whole democratic world, even more powerful than the President of the United States.

MPP were elected on preferential voting and proportional representation.  This deprived the voters of nearly 50% of electorates of their representatives in Parliament and a new tribe called the District MPP was introduced. This system created vacuum electorates where people did not have an MP to air their grievances. In Kandy district alone there are eight such seats up to date. It also created super politicians commanding fabulous wealth and underworld power who could buy even a whole district and who were answerable only to the party leader and left the voters high and dry. It is said that even ordinary Mps nowadays have private helicopters (Eg. Sajin Vass Gunawardana as revealed in the June 15 (DM). This has made democracy a big joke in this country; unsigned letters of resignation from MPP were taken by the President; the Judiciary and the Public Service were brought under political control; lower rungs in the public service were given political rights making them more powerful than the higher official’s thus killing discipline in public service. All appointments were made on a political chit system.

Adding further burdens to the people nine Provincial Councils with Governors, Chief Ministers, Cabinets and a large number of politicians and officials with overlapping public institutions squandering billions of public funds which made peripheral governance an utter mess duplicating government machinery with no benefits to the people were created in 1987 under the 13h Amendment. The 13th A was adopted against the will of the people of this country under duress by the Indian Government for political survival by JR. Though Provincial Councils are widely considered to be white elephants and a cancerous appendage that has completely mess up the governance in the periphery politicians want to retain them as they provide lucrative employment for them. At the same time all politicians and high officials are provided (rather bribed) with duty free vehicle permits (which they can sell) each worth millions that fetched the recipients 10, 15 millions of rupees and even more every five years in addition to official vehicles. This facility was recently extended even to defeated candidates in the Provincial Councils with 2 and ½ years in office in spite of public protest.

For all politicians political office was made the most lucrative “ƒ”¹…”JOB’ on earth with no qualification, no obligation to the people and not answerable to anybody other than the party leader. This whole process converted democracy in this country in all its theory and practice to a form of government of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians, instead of its classical definition that “ƒ”¹…”democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people’. Abraham Lincoln would have turned in his grave and hung these Sri Lankan politicians (rather poly-tricksters) who boast of a 2500 year old tradition of just ruling.  The “Bahujana hitaya, Bahujana sukhaaya“ concept of political philosophy that ruled this country for 2500 years by our Kings was replaced with a novel concept of “ƒ”¹…”Mantri hitaya,  sukhaya, Mantri saha  unge  pavule pamanak sukhaya hitaya’ thereafter. Consequently today our politicians have become mere poly-tricksters.

Looking back at the history of political parties in this country they were formed in a hurry to contest the elections in 1947 by picking up the existing political groups with different policies. It is a pity and a tragedy too that in 1947 our politicians completely failed to adopt a Constitution embodying the age old and time tested traditions of the land that were one with the people of this country. They even failed to restore the original name of the country that is “ƒ”¹…”Sinhale’ that was handed over to the British in 1815. The leaders simply formed a government on the Westminster model in a hurry to implement the Soulbury Constitution that was “ƒ”¹…”made in Britain’. Thus right from the inception of Independence Sri Lankan politics was not based on the aspirations or the home grown traditions of the natives. Unlike in countries like UK or USA parties here were also not organized on a strong party basis dedicated and committed to the good of the country and the people. Thus they do not have a long and strong tradition either. They even tried to implant political systems completely alien to our culture. For example leftist parties like LSSP and CP wanted the Russian Communist system of government and even the UNP introduce the Westminster system. Sri Lankan political parties are also not wedded to a consistent national policy that does not change frequently with every change of government and sometimes even with change of Ministers. To this extent our political parties exist as parties only in theory and not in practice.

Like in most countries that were formally ruled by the colonial powers, in Sri Lanka too, they adopted a divide and rule policy during their regimes and have left behind a legacy of political traditions based on communal, caste, regional and divisive politics.  In the process they also made it a point to kill the rich local traditions and institutions and weaken the majority while they encouraged and supported the minorities, including those who were brought in as slaves and left behind when the British left, which they continue to do up to date. This was a part of their subversive policy to destabilize this country. In India this process reached the culmination with the partitioning of the subcontinent as India and Pakistan. Fortunately the British could not complete this vicious mission in Sri Lanka.

Therefore political parties in Sri Lanka never started as instruments dedicated and geared to nation building as an independent nation. Instead they began as organizations fighting each other for political power and control of resources claiming supremacy over one another. This situation has badly affected the political stability of the Island. While major parties of the majority communities in this country were organized superficially on ideological lines like capitalist and socialist or western aligned (capitalist) and eastern (socialist/communist) aligned, like UNP (Ceylon National Congress and Sinhala Mahasabha), Communist and LSSP they were based more on the personal convictions of leaders rather than the wishes of the people.

Part 11 to be continued

12 Responses to “The need to end the danger of leaving the destiny of the nation entirely in the hands of politicians”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    At least politicians must have the decency to REFER matters to the PEOPLE when they CAN’T decide.

    Pissa Vitharana, DEW, Rajiva, Rajitha are from the USELESS NATIONAL LIST.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    DR. SUDATH !!!

    The gist of your write up is that Uneducated, Corrupt, Thieving Politicians are ruling the destiny of our country ~~~beautiful Sri Lanka ~~~

    Absolutely TRUE. The Bus is overloaded with Passengers. The Driver is unable to control the vehicle, with ineffective brakes. It is about to veer off the road, and could possibly topple.

    The President started on a very good footing. Became a world hero by annihilating the murderous LTTE. He appointed his brothers to positions with great confidence to know that Terrorism will be history in the Country. This is understandable. Great. We all admire him for that.

    As time passed by, the cancerous nepotism set in, and all shades of politicians were vying for a piece of the pie. Politicians appointed their uneducated family members to responsible jobs. They in turn appointed their uneducated friends to responsible jobs. They again brought in thugs and street loafers to more jobs, and the cancer was building. Corruption was the name of the game. They were making Big money.

    The educated government servants were watching how big money can be made. They shed their learning, integrity and honesty to join the band wagon of corruption. They even went into contract killing for luxuries in life.

    So, where or when is this going to end ?

    The SWEET PRESIDENT is now turning to be a SOUR PRESIDENT. The people will decide what is good.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    JAYAWEWA! But, thousands of Buddhist Monks Rallying against the 13th Amendment is NOT ENOUGH!

    Where are the TENS of MILLIONS of Sri Lankan PATRIOTS!

    I URGE THE PATRIOTS to gather 10 MILLION SIGNATURES on a Petition DEMANDING the REPEAL of the 13th Amendment and DISSOLUTION of ALL Provincial Councils!

    Wimal Weerawansa gathered 1 MILLION SIGNATURES in support of his Petition against the Devolution of Land & Police Powers under the 13th Amendment.

    GOOD … BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Stop FIDDLING and THINK BIG! THINK VICTORY!

    Wimal … get together with the SLFP, the JHU, the MEP and ALL other PATRIOTS and DELIVER a PETITION with 10 MILLION SIGNATURES.

    Rise Up ……. O Patriots of Mother Lanka …. Rise Up to WAGE EELAM WAR V confronting us, NOW! REPEAL the 13th Amendment, DEMOLISH the Provincial Council System, and RESTORE to Sri Lanka, our sceptered Isle, her hallowed Sovereign CROWN!

    ………………………….
    Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka to rally against the 13th Amendment on July 2nd

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    June 27, Colombo: Thousands of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka will hold a rally in Colombo on July 2nd calling for the abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    The rally, organized by the National Movement for the Abolition of Provincial Councils (NMAPC), will be held in Maharagama.

    The NMAPC has stated that 3,000-4,000 monks from all over the country would participate in the rally.

    A member of the organizing committee Ven. Rajawatte Vappa Thera has openly invited the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Nikaya and members of the Maha Sangha to take to the streets on July 2nd.

    Ven. Vappa Thero has said the 13th Amendment should be abolished before the Northern Provincial Council election.

    He has observed that it was the actions of the bhikkus that have saved the country whenever there was any disaster and the politicians.

    According to Ven. Vappa Thero, some elements were trying to use the 13th Amendment to separate the country.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Patriots,

    Let EACH OF US do what we can … EASILY!

    Please keep an eye on the support building for the GOPetition to REPEAL the 13th Referendum at :

    gopetition.com/petitions/an-appeal-for-the-abolition-of-the-thirteenth-amendment/signatures.html

    Please sign the petition if you have not already, and help to publicize it!

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    CAPCS demands abolishing of PCs ahead of Northern poll

    By Thushari Kalubowila
    Island.lk
    June 26, 2013

    Picture Caption: General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena Ven Galagodatte Gnanasara thera addressing yesterday’s press conference. Also in the picture are Ven Hadigalle Wimalasara Thera, Ven Rajawatte Vappa Thera, Jagath Sumathipala of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Prof Pandula Andagama of Hela Deya Wadanno organization, Bandula Chandrasekera of the National Intellectuals’ Council and representatives of other member organizations of the Collective for the Abolition of the Provincial Councils System.
    Pic by Nimal Dayaratne

    The Collective for the Abolition of the Provincial Councils System (CAPCS) is demanding that the provincial councils system be done away with prior to the proposed election to the Northern Provincial Council.

    “What is needed is the devolution of administrative powers and not the devolution of political power. The provincial council system has failed to address this issue and as a result the entire country has been made to pay for this,” Ven Galagodatte Gnanasara, General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, a member organization of the CAPCS, told a media briefing at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress conference hall yesterday.

    Gnanasara Thera said although it had been four years since the LTTE was militarily defeated the country had failed to win the trust of the Tamil people.

    “The Tamil people are least bothered about the provincial council system and only want to live happily in their areas,” the monk claimed.

    Gnanasara Thera said that the 13A and the provincial councils entered the country’s statutes in 1987 as part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord, which had been forced upon Sri Lanka by India.

    “If the government cannot repeal the 13th Amendment to the Constitution at this juncture, then it should take urgent action to amend five clauses in the Constitution which gives undue powers to the Provincial councils. We demand that the government either repeal the 13th Amendment or amend clauses that gives police powers, land powers, powers of provincial councils to merge and the so-called concurrent list.

    The government should amend the Article 154A (3) – that allowed the merger of the provinces, which could lead to the North merging with the East to create a new state, ‘North-Eastern Sri Lanka’ – encompassing 1/3 of Sri Lanka’s land mass and 2/3 of the coast, he said.

    It was imperative that the Article 154G (3) be done away with. The Article reads that any Bill in regard to matters in the Provincial Council List shall become law only if they are passed by every Provincial Council.

    The removal of the Land and Police powers from the concurrent list (9th Schedule) would eliminate the threat to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Gnanasara thera said.

    The Thera also said that the CAPCS would hold a national rally in Maharagama on July 02 demanding the abolition of the 13th Amendment.

    Ven. Rajawatte Vappa thera of the National Sangha Council, Prof Pandula Andagama of Hela Deya Wadanno organization, Jagath Sumathipala of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Bandula Chandrasekera of the National Intellectuals’ Council and representatives of other member organizations of the CAPCS attended the media conference.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    “Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka to rally against the 13th Amendment on July 2nd”

    EXCELLENT!

    Others should support their move by HOISTING BALCK FLAGS, strikes, burning tyres, blocking ministers and parliamentarians, poster campaigns, etc.

    UP THE ANTE!

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    If we leave it only to Buddhist monks, they GET THE BLAME for us (people).

    That is not good. We ALL have to HAMMER THIS HOME.

    SCRAP 13 amendment NOW!

    Glad BBS came onboard AT LAST. A CURSE campaign should be launched against supporters of 13 amendment.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    “If we leave it only to Buddhist monks, they GET THE BLAME for us (people). That is not good. We ALL have to HAMMER THIS HOME.”

    Agree 100%.

    We can’t leave a few Patriots to Immolate themselves while the rest hide under their beds and benefit from the their sacrifices. FAIL to show up now, and you will lose it ALL …. those are the stakes now for ALL Sri Lankans.

    Therefore, COME OUT from UNDER YOUR BEDS onto the STREETS NOW to FIGHT Eelam War V for yourselves, your descendents and your Motherland, or FOREVER REGRET that you failed to HEED the CRY FOR HELP of Your People and Your Country!

  9. Senevirath Says:

    ASGIRI AND MALVATHU MAHANAYAKAS SHOULD JOIN THIS. MAHANAYAKES ARE THEIR FOR THAT AND NOT TO STAY IN TEMPLES WHILE OTHERS DEMONSTRATE

    IF THERE ARE PATRIOTIC CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS THEY SHOULD JOIN THIS

  10. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Usually in most nations the destiny of he nation is decided by politicians elected or not. But being a Buddhist nation the faith alone has decentralized the power by giving a leading role of the Sanga in the destiny of a Buddhist nation. In that light both Colombo and the Buddhist Sanga should be involved in shaping the future of Sri Lanka

  11. hela patriot Says:

    Politicians have failed. They have lost the trust of the people. They are considered corrupt and immoral. How can you trust them to do the right thing by the country.

  12. S.Gonsalkorale Says:

    Not good news when you read on the news that our President postponing burning of 13A and travelling to Africa together with his beloved Mervyn Silva while demoting Champaka Ranawaka.

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