Not-so-good governance
Posted on February 10th, 2016

Editorial Island

Good governance consists in respecting people’s verdicts at elections. Their franchise is not to be trifled with. One of the main flaws in the present Constitution is the provision for abusing the National List (NL) mechanism to appoint defeated candidates to Parliament at the expense of those whose names are presented to the people at parliamentary polls.

The UNP has appointed Democratic Party Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament via the NL. He was defeated at the last general election. No less a person than Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, PC has raised objections to Fonseka’s appointment as an MP, arguing that it is illegal, but to no avail!

We have seen over the years how unashamedly party leaders appoint political rejects to Parliament through the backdoor. It is not difficult to imagine what the situation will be if the preferential vote mechanism is abolished while the Proportional Representation system is retained. There has been a sustained campaign against the preferential vote or manape which enables an elector to vote for one or three candidates of his or her choice. It is claimed in some quarters that manape has resulted in intra-party rivalries which often find expression in violent clashes. But, the problem is not manape as such but the nomination of rowdies to contest elections. When social undesirables are allowed to enter electoral contests it is only natural that they resort to violence to get elected.

The preferential vote mechanism has been introduced to prevent party leaders from acting arbitrarily. Its abolition will be tantamount to giving political leaders carte blanche to appoint their loyalists at the expense of deserving candidates who are not in their good books.

The proponents of good governance won the last presidential and general elections by promising to do away with the present Constitution which they described as rotten. They condemned the previous government—and rightly so—for having made use of the draconian provisions therein for political expediency. But, now, they are unflinchingly making use of the same rotten Constitution to further their interests while extolling the virtues of good governance.

President Maithripala Sirisena, in a desperate bid to consolidate his power and keep Mahinda Rajapaksa at bay after the last general election, catapulted several political rejects loyal to him to Parliament and appointed them ministers. In so doing, he not only made a mockery of his good governance credentials but also dealt a body blow to people’s franchise. In other words, some of the politicians people deemed unfit and rejected at the last parliamentary polls are now exercising executive powers!

Meanwhile, the government has made one wonder whether the much-flaunted 19th Amendment (19-A) is worth the paper it is written on. For, it has blatantly interfered in the process of appointing the next Attorney General. Those who may have thought 19-A would be a potent antidote to political interference with appiontments to key positions in the state service must be disillusioned now.

Why should the government consult the Bar Association of Sri Lanka on the appointment of the AG? There has been an acting AG and he should have been appointed to that post. Is the government looking for a malleable person willing to make himself/herself mere putty in its hands to take over as the state prosecutor!

Ushering in good governance is an uphill task which only statesmen are equal to. Power hungry politicians pay lip service to it while practising the very antithesis thereof. This has been the name of the game in Sri Lankan politics.

2 Responses to “Not-so-good governance”

  1. jay-ran Says:

    Its no secret that WAIRAPALA SIRISENA IS A BIGGEST TRAITOR OF THE SINHALESE AND THE SLFP.THIS DIRTY MAN AFTER COMMING TO POWER,REPLACED THE LAWFULLY ELECTED PM WITH THE RANIL WICKREMASINGHA THE BATALANDA MURDER CHAMBERS GAATHAKAYA!!!
    Deng mulu Lanka Waaseentama penenawa ethi WAIRAPALA SISENA KIYANNE MONA THARAN GUNA MAKUWEDDA,AVURUDU 3k HORENG RANI SAMAGA KUMANTHRANAYA KARALA BATAHIRATH SAMAGA,
    SLFP EKA PAAWAADUNNA HETI?????
    DITTA DHAMMA VEDANEEYA KARUMAYA MEMA PAAPATHARAYANG SERATAMA PALA DENAWA<NIYATHAI!!!SATHYAYAI!!!!!

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    SF in parliament will create fireworks.

    The other alternative was ROSY S.

    SF is much better than her. SO I say a GOOD pick among BAD choices.

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