Why the JHU Strategy is Right in the Scheme of Things
Posted on November 18th, 2014

Dilrook Kannangara

There is a delicate difference between the desirability of executive presidency (EP) and clipping the EP powers that are not used for the betterment of the country. Sri Lanka had five (5) executive presidents and four (4) serious aspirants since the forcible enactment of 13A. None of them tried to remove 13A. In that case, they don’t need the powers of the EP. Why should they? There is nothing good the executive powers can do while retaining the undesirable effects of 13A. Continuation of 13A drains all the good of EP.

It is regrettable JHU dropped this vital demand. However, if the president is not using his powers for the benefit of the country (Executive Presidency was designed for that purpose), there is no reason why he should have those powers. To that end, the JHU position is correct. The President must prove he is worthy of holding those powers by initiating action against 13A which according to his own presidential secretary is a white elephant and the Defence Secretary made it clear 13A must be removed. What most fail to understand is the 2/3 majority will not last long (at most until April 2016) and it is impossible to get it back. 13A must be knocked down within this small window of opportunity.

Tamil is not an official language even in India and there is no reason why it should be in Sri Lanka. At most it may be a regional language in the north and the east under the reasonable use provision of 1956.

In my view, the JHU pressure tactic can only be overcome by the president proving to the people that he is worthy of those powers by using them to abrogate 13A and restraining from misusing his powers for family gain. The president in fact did misuse his powers. If the president was answerable to the parliament could he have expended 90% of borrowed funds on the north and the east alone? No. If the president was answerable to the parliament could he have promised the UN General Secretary and the Indian government to fully implement 13A (and go beyond it)? No. These are just two examples of the incumbent president misusing his executive powers. But then it gets worse.

Now there is another instance of misuse of EP powers. Under pressure from UNHRC, the President called upon the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to come up with a political solution via a change to the Constitution to address Tamil demands. Recently the term of the PSC was extended by another six (6) months. Had it not been for the 18A, there won’t be a PSC. Instead a more broad-based Constitutional Council would handle all matters relating to Constitution tinkering. In that event it would be impossible to tinker the Constitution to appease UNHRC in order to save the President and his brother from war crimes allegations. Many are unaware of this danger. It poses an existential threat to the nation.

It must be remembered that even the avowed nationalist JR Jayawardena succumbed to 13A under similar pressure from India. If he didn’t have executive powers, 13A would never have seen daylight.

It is also useful to remember how people power prevented SWRD Bandaranaike from implementing an illegal pact he signed with the ITAK leader without parliamentary approval. Had he the executive powers, the fate of the illegal B-C Pact would have been different.

I don’t think venerable Rathana Thero has been bought over by anyone. Though not the most appropriate slogan, JHU is making an impact. Had Mahinda acted to remove 13A anytime in the past 5 years, this wouldn’t have become an election issue and no one will demand to remove presidential powers as people would be extremely pleased with Mahinda using them. Therefore, overall the JHU strategy is correct.

If the president is still incapable of tough decisions (having enjoyed executive powers for 9 years), he is not worthy to hold those powers. People hope he proves his worth, soon. And there is no better president in sight which means none is worthy of those powers. Executive powers go begging.

The best chance of replacing this Constitution which has been plastered 18 times with a more appropriate constitution is immediately after the president’s re-election (if it happens). But abrogating 13A must be done before the election. If there is political fallout among ruling party MPs due to their kith and kin losing posts in provincial councils, it is still worthwhile to appoint them as Divi Neguma ministers in each district and get their support for the noble task of abrogating 13A.

15 Responses to “Why the JHU Strategy is Right in the Scheme of Things”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    JHU will go into history as a JATHIKA HORUNGE URUMAYA !!!
    JHU is a failed party. JHU is and was run by a group of inexperience highly egocentric and self-seeking individuals with unpredictable political decisions. If you see the history of JHU, Initially JHU organisers were fighting against unlawful conversions but with the political power vested on them by SL Ruling party they completely forgotten about the basis on which JHU was first formed. Then they were fighting against the 13th amendment and now they have completely ignored that issue too. Now they are fighting for diagonally opposing issue subcontracted them by NGOs, International Community, UNP, JVP TNA and Tamil diaspora. If you search Lankaweb for JHU you will get a week worth of readings and you will be surprised to see the way they have been changing their goal post in the political arena of the Sri Lanka.
    Even though Minister of Power and Energy Patali Ranawaka is an engineering graduate, he has never worked as an engineer or never received his basic graduate engineering training. So he is not an engineer. He himself disclosed recently a corruption involving billion of Rs under his ministry while he was the Minister of Power and Energy. So he should have been fired from the government as the minister responsible for this scam .
    Storm in the alms bowl
    Maha Sanga said that they would use the JHU Party as a boat. But what has happened today is that we find that the Maha Sanga has been made prisoners in the boat. Within this milieu it is not possible either to protect the Sinhala Buddhist Heritage or maintain our respect as Monks”-Ven.Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera.
    Here is some links;
    Lankaweb Special -Bikkhus in Politics
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/bikkhusinpolitics.html
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2013/09/09/jhu-withdrawing-from-the-psc-highlights-danger-of-not-removing13a/
    JHU withdrawing from the PSC highlights danger of not removing13A
    Science and Technology Minister, Champika Ranawaka stated, that the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has decided not to participate at future sittings of the Special Parliamentary Select Committee to resolve the national question, as the PSC has failed to revise the 13th constitutional amendment before the upcoming elections.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/260404-11.html
    In a fair analysis, therefore, The JHU, has done nothing but imparted more momentum to the separatist efforts. We remember that the JHU invited the president openly, to form a government giving an indirect pledge that it will not allow any body to topple the government saying further that it will help government implement all “good promises”. But The JHU has now extremely hastily adjudged the very first action of the UPFA,( ie, appointing a UPFA man to the speaker post), as one with bad intentions, or failed to weigh it’s importance how it will form the basis for future course of action, and went ahead to foolishly nullify the votes of the defected members.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/040504-4.html
    Why did the JHU not vote in the first round?
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/100604-3.html
    VENERABLE ELLE GUNAWANSA SAYS NINE JHU MONKS BROUGHT INSULTS AND RIDICULE TO 20,000 OTHER MONKS IN SRI LANKA
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/130404-1.html
    JHU must not go to the rescue of traitorous politicians !
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/290404-8.html
    Birds With Same Feathers Flocked Together
    Asoka Perera PhD Toronto
    It has been getting more clear now that the JHU has been made born to destroy the progressive forces which came to power on April 02. The business tycoons of pawnbrokers, bookie brokers and arm dealers together with the support of Sihala Urumaya poured millions of rupees to form this monk wing of UNF to function as a collector of frustrated UNF fall outs in preventing falling them into the UPFA reservoirs and finally bring them back to the UNF-LTTE-SLMC solidarity in the parliament.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/300504-3.html
    Venerable Ellawela Medhananda as Commander of Chief of Armed Forces
    By R.G.Gunapala
    Now, at a Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) conference in Sri Lanka Venerable Ellawela medhananda has been made the leader of the political party making him the only candidate of the party at a future Presidential election, following Archbishop Makarios of Cypress. The election of Medhananda as President would automatically make him the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. The difference is Christian priests had a tradition of going to war , especially during the mideaval ages, while Buddhism provided no such tradition.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/260404-4.html
    IT IS SHAME THAT JHU HAS JOINED THE TREACHEROUS UNP AND SLMC TO SERVE THE TERRORISTS.
    A.A.M.NIZAM MATARA.
    As a person studied with and associated Sinhala Buddhist bretheren from the LKD, I happened to know some Buddhist monks and had a great esteem for them due to their altruistic, and noble qualities and for the righteous and exemplary lives they lived. In the villages they were truly responsible for molding the lives of village children and shaping them as patriotic, responsible individuals who loved and respected their parents, elders, the village and the country over and above the self.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/11/08/open-short-letter-to-mr-udaya-gammanpila-western-province-councilor-and-a-leading-figure-of-jhu/
    Open Short Letter to Mr. Udaya Gammanpila: Western Province Councilor and a leading figure of JHU
    Posted on November 8th, 2010
    Kithsiri Athulathmudali, Florida, USA
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/280404-3.html
    JHU MONKS HAVE BECOME A LAUGHING STOCK!
    By Gamage Palihapitiya

  2. Christie Says:

    I have had the misfortune of bumping in to the top end of JHU. They are no better than the JVP.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    JHU MPs are DISHONEST CROOKS.

    In 2012 they brought a 19th amendment that demanded to SCRAP 13 amendment.
    In 2014 they bring a 19th amendment to KEEP 13th amendment!

    How can you trust them?

    Birds of a feather have flocked together.

  4. Independent Says:

    Interesting to note that non of the writers wrote even slightly favourable to JHU except Dilrook Kannangara , who is one of the best analysts.
    DK has indicated previously that he has even spoken to ex-Minister Ranawaka on this.

    Funniest comment is from NMY accusing minister Ranawaka as “Horu” but no facts given , just a list of LankaWeb writings.

    Even a regular commentator, Lorenzo appears to be going with the trend.

    But DK has given very good points and people should read it first.

    This includes

    1. Continuation of 13A drains all the good of EP.
    2. The President must prove he is worthy of holding those powers by initiating action against 13A which according to his own presidential secretary is a white elephant and the Defence Secretary made it clear 13A must be removed
    3. 13A must be knocked down within this small window of opportunity.
    4. If the president is still incapable of tough decisions (having enjoyed executive powers for 9 years), he is not worthy to hold those powers.
    5.Now there is another instance of misuse of EP powers. Under pressure from UNHRC, the President called upon the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to come up with a political solution via a change to the Constitution to address Tamil demands.

    I wonder what the regular commentators think about the above points, without jumping guns. Who knows, ex-minister Ranawaka might run for Presidency which is good, even if he looses – we need educated intelligent people like him trying this difficult task than Gods of Mervyn Silva.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    I will not DEMONIZE the JHU, except to say that Ven. Ratana is too egocentric and does not conduct himself as a Buddhist monk should; he does not belong in politics.

    However, the JHU is ABSOLUTELY WRONG in leaving the UPFA coalition on the eve of the Presidential eection, because they are contributing to the DISINTEGRATION of the ALLIANCE OF PATRIOTIC FORCES that supported the Military Victory over the Separatists in 2009, and has supported the RAPID ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT of our Motherland since then.

    In my comments at LankaWeb, I repeatedly WARNED that this will be the END RESULT of the attempt by various parties seeking to exploit the Presidential Election to achieve their various agendas by BLACKMAILING the UPFA Government in genera,l and President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in particular.

    Today is an EXTREMELY SAD DAY for me to see this UNRAVELLING of the PATRIOTIC FRONT that defended our Motherland.

    Only the TRUE PATRIOTS will mourn this day, while other MARGINAL patriots and CONCERNED citizens who criticized and undermined the President and UPFA Govt at every turn and egged on the JHU to this end will shed crocodile tears, while the ENEMIES of Mother Lanka will REJOICE!

    Nevertheless, the vast majority of ordinary Patriotic Citizens of Sri Lanka will not be swayed by the ANTICS of these FOOLISH EGOCENTRIC political leaders, and will reelect the President by a wide margin.

    However, those who have forgotten the crucial issues at stake in preserving the Patriotic Forces in Control of our Motherland for the next decade. Make no mistake, peoples lives are at stake here, and if the UPFA Govt loses the 2/3 majority it now commands in the next general election, these CONGENITAL IDIOTS will find that for them “Allapu Athtath Naha, Payagahapu Athtath Naha”!

    SHAME on you, JHU!

    …………………
    JHU ministers Ranawaka and Gammanpila resign from Sri Lankan government

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Nov 18, Colombo: Members of Sri Lanka’s coalition party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) , Minister of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka and Western Provincial Council minister Udaya Gammanpila resigned from their ministerial portfolios in cabinet and provincial levels.

    Parliamentary Group Leader of Jathika Hela Urumaya Ven, Athuraliye Rathana Thera said the two ministers will resign today, on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s birthday.

    The two senior leaders of the JHU will no longer be representatives of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

    Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero resigned Monday from his position as the Chairman of the Divulapitiya Divisional Development Committee and handed over his official vehicle.

    The JHU leader has told the media that the government has clearly stated that they cannot implement the proposals and constitutional amendments proposed by the party and as a result the party cannot work with the government any longer.

    The JHU proposals call for passing a 19th Amendment to the Constitution and reinstating the 17th Amendment.

    The proposals also ask the government to abolish the preferential vote system, to hold the presidential election and the general election on the same day, grant powers to the Prime Minister, limit the President’s cabinet portfolios to Minister of Defense.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Independent,

    With all due respect I disagree. NO insult meant to anyone. NO offence to anyone.

    1. WHY HOLY HEAVENS did the JHU wait for so long?

    2. JHU voted for the 18 amendment. At least DIDN’T vote against it in 2010. Why cry now? Where were they for 4 years?
    I tell you. Enjoying ministerial PERKS and luxury houses, vehicles, foreign trips, etc.

    3. WHY do they start their HARTHAL now when UNITY is what is needed?

    4. WHY did JHU wait till Patali Coal Ranawaka was sacked from a LUCRATIVE ministry and given a LOW BUDGET ministry? Had he made these demands then JHU would have got them.

    5. The MOST IMPORTANT. Why did JHU change its own 13 amendment scrapping demand of 2012? I have given the FULL TEXT of JHU’s 2012 19th amendment. They change it every 2 years!!

    (I have ALWAYS defended the good things they did and OPPOSED arresting monks. USING this MOMENTUM to SCRAP 13 amendment was FIRST proposed by ME (1) BEFORE Dhammasiri (2) and Dilruk (3).)

    MR should scrap 13 amendment but that is not the JHU demand. Isn’t it? Why NO patriotic LEADER demands scrapping 13 amendment? Elle Gunawansa? Galaboda Gnanasara? Nalin? Ellawala Medhananda? Wimal Weerawansa? Patali Coal Ranawaka? Ratana? Gunadasa? Gomin? Dinesh? Bandula? Even GR? Are they TRUE patriots or just vendors who SELL patriotism for votes?

    I’m puzzled!

  7. Independent Says:

    Lorenzo,
    Thank you for replying. I agree on what you pointed out , on the general question of why waiting until now.

    Not sure about LUCRATIVE and LOW BUDGET , I am no expert in finances , but when I read the budget 2013 estimate I was shocked.

    Ministry of Technology and Research 1.3 bllion Rs
    Ministry of Power and Energy 1.1 billion Rs

    But shockingly , Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils 103 billion Rs.

    So, your accusations of Mr. Coal is slightly wrong but shall we discuss why PCs cost 100 times more ? May be Dilrook could kindly explain on this.

  8. AnuD Says:

    It looks pretty much that Lorenzo got the interest free Car loan.

  9. mario_perera Says:

    “If the president is still incapable of tough decisions (having enjoyed executive powers for 9 years), he is not worthy to hold those powers. People hope he proves his worth, soon. And there is no better president in sight which means none is worthy of those powers. Executive powers go begging.” – Dilrook

    The above statement is an indisputable flawless analysis of the Executive Presidency, its present trustee, and eventual aspirants.

    Time is the essence of everything. Indeed the “People hope he proves his worth, SOON”

    As Jim Reeves sang: Now is now the time that ever there may be.

    Mario Perera
    Kadawata

  10. Hiranthe Says:

    I do fully agree with Lorenzo.

    Scrapping 13A is the biggest thing for the country now. Above comments from “Independent” shows how much hard earned money is wasted on PC’s. … Staggering 103 billion Rs.. in addition to the danger of separatism by Tamil and Islam racist politicians.

    But why all so called patriots silent on it now. Is “Endia” the answer?? Where are the big “Malwathu , Asgiri” maha nayakas?? They are all in a deep sleep.

    If MR cannot do it due to a commitment made to Endia during the war in order to keep Endia at bay, he can assign it to someone else and let him run for the presidency, if MR really loves the country.

    He can easily make GR run for the presidency with the slogan of scrapping 13A. GR won’t mind going against Endia, who can come forward as an independent candidate. To show the world, both can submit nomination and then later MR can withdraw leaving all votes to flow to GR.

    Other option is, using another horse. Who that can be is a big question….
    Patali?, Arjuna?, Shavendra?, Lalith Ranatunga? Any other suggestion??

  11. Independent Says:

    Hiranthe,
    Our President never promised to get rid of 13 A. He promised to get rid of EP. So it is not fair to ask him to get rid of 13A.

    Lately, no one , not even JHU ( as Lorenzo said , previous 19A and now different 19A) care about 13 A. Only people on Lankaweb are jumping up and down for 13 A ( except Raj Mahattaya who is appears to be a R H man of the President).
    People in Sri Lanka (except say 5%) do not care about 13A and so are the politicians because they want votes they speak the language of the voter.

    But patriots outside Sri Lanka know that we need to finish the job by getting rid of 13A before 2/3 majority is gone.

    Will the president get 2/3 this time ? I don’t think so with BBS, JHU, JVP too now opposing him he will struggle to get 1 vote more than 50%.

  12. Christie Says:

    Indian IMPERIALISTS imposed 13A on us. If it was imposed on us by any other we will be jumping up and down.

  13. Hiranthe Says:

    Independent,

    You are right… It is only a few of us who are still thinking of the full mission, yet to be accomplished. People in SL are busy dealing with day to day life struggle.

    Now that the bombs are no more exploding and no more LieTTE suicide rubbish, they do not realise that the danger is not over. Now the threat is in the PEN, not the GUN.

    Worst come, we have to account it to “Anithya” as Lord Buddha preached. Nothing is permanent.

  14. Independent Says:

    Hiranthe,

    No we shouldn’t say “Anithya” and keep quiet. But I believe BBS , NFF and JHU are making people aware of the dangers. All others are politics and collect money only.

  15. Lorenzo Says:

    Whoever did this should be cursed. This is NOT acceptable. Looks like Islamic fundamentalists. They have a habit of stone throwing.

    The temple where Rathana thera is attached stoned, government accused

    November 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm | lanka C news

    The temple where the president of the Jathika Hela Urumaya is residing in Rajagiriya,”Sadhaham Sevana” temple had been stoned a few minutes ago.

    In this connection Ven. Wattehene Vijitha thera of the ‘Sadhaham-Sevana” International Buddhist information and research institute had said to the media that some government municipal members and people had gathered at a meeting in Obeysekarapura had got together for this act of stoning, the dayakaya’s of the temple had told the thera.The police security and protection had been sought before the attack the thera had said.”

    -lankacnews

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