Ad hoc elections are nothing new to Sri Lankans. Most are purely based on whims and fancies of the individuals in power. In between a little spice may be added by the astro-folks as well.
The letter reproduced below is written during the run-up to the 2010 Presidential Elections, where the writer warned the people through this letter addressed to both leading candidates, namely MR and SF. And you will note that some of the predictions made by the writer, such as bringing Mohan Peiris to the office of the CJ from the back door have absolutely come true. This letter represented the voice of the silent majority who had been deceived and sidelined from participatory democratic governance by all post – Independence governments.
However in reality it was a grim reminder of the country’s pathetic record of the authoritarian executive presidential rule since 1978.
Here we go again. This time one jokey has been changed while the last time winner and other factors remain moreover the same. Only exception is that the ruling bosses have alienated themselves not only from Tamils but from Muslims as well. Hence the critics and the West presume that the Government has failed in its duty to the minority communities. The Ranil faction, not confident enough to challenge MR head-on, has hidden behind another Common Candidate, with a plan to grebe executive power for the PM designate RW through pre-poll agreements
Serve to yourselves not the rouge politicians, put MR in the witness box and charge him for deceiving you and taking the country for ride at will failing the democracy altogether.
People’s jury demands you to prove your integrity and will to deliver
Posted on January 4th, 2010
Since 1977 motherlanka has been betrayed and her destiny destroyed by too many dishonest, twofaced Machiavellians. The innocent people have suffered enormous hardship in the hand of these two faced self-seeking autocrats who preached morality in public and practiced completely opposite in private. They were so drunk with power and dare to use alarming subterfuge to mislead and cajole the innocent citizens. The need of the hour is to demand the both prospective candidates who stand the forthcoming presidential election to prove their integrity by deeds not by words They should give a clear undertaking to all citizens that they would strictly honour their oath of allegiance and govern the nation faithfully with utmost respect to the rule of law and not by deception any more.
Pledge for government embracing a policy of strict discipline and commitment
In 1960s when Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, visited Sri Lanka his dream was to emulate the Ceylonese economic model, at a time when Sri Lanka was well ahead of Singapore. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew followed a system of government based on strict discipline and commitment and with that radical approach he turned Singapore then called -malarial island into a global financial centre and a made the Singapore a developed nation.
Singapore and Malaysia, role model economies in Asia, are very appropriate if Sri Lanka is to mover forward as a nation. Nobody will disagree that those politicians ruled Sri Lanka since independence are directly responsible for the plight of the country today. They betrayed their motherland with lack of vision, self-seeking attitude coupled with their incompetence and lack of respect to the law and order.
MR and SF who appeal to the people for a mandate to the office of the President should stop displaying their ignorance to identify the real issues faced by the people of Sri Lanka today. If they have a political will and commitment to serve the motherland they should address the fundamental failures that let down motherlanka since independence by their predecessors [including MR administration]. At this election campaign people expect them to say, only if they have a commitment and will to deliver, in very clear terms that, in the event elected to the office of the President, they would adopt an economic policy based on strict disciplined policy backed by sheer commitment to steer the nation to economic prosperity.
The potential candidates should pledge to the people to put a stop to exploitation of the innocent people any more and insulting them of their intelligence. What people yearning today is for a committed and honest leadership and not for another incompetent leader with no vision and direction; Peoples desire is for a genuine leadership dedicated to deliver what is pledged to the people by the government headed by a Executive President.
Country needs a nation-building plan with the participation of all the parties
Parties may came or go but there should be a National Action Plan with the participation of all political parties [including the ethnic minority parties] that should stay remain and followed by all governments elected to office.
It is an undeniable truth that those incompetent and corrupt leaders hitherto ruled the nation were fatally failed to exercise peoples sovereign power as required by law and lead the country in the right direction. At least at a time when the whole nation is experiencing the catastrophic results of the fatal failure of former leaders [including MR], the so-called should have the audacity to concede that they got it completely wrong and their ignorance and failure directly responsible for the disastrous results; that had they had a vision and commitment based on strict disciplined economic policy to deliver, that there would never have been a youth uprisings in 1971, 1989 and an extremely costly war [more than 200,000 precious life of youths from both sides] waged by youths in North and East that almost divided the country. It is an accepted phenomenon that the youth, as they always are, do refuse to suffer in silence when those who responsible for good governance are at fault and failed to deliver; when leaders are corrupt and mercilessly exploits nations resources and the sovereign power of the people, only to serving themselves, their cronies and their families.
Restore the right political culture
Sri Lanka is one of the very few countries where politicos are allowed to go unpunished even when found committing wrongs of very serious nature, both criminal and civil offences. Probably the extent of unfettered immunity they enjoy may not be found anywhere else in the world. This dangerous situation invariably induced the corrupt elements to disregard all ethics in politics and to indulge in all forms of wrongdoing with no regret or remorse.
One of the urgent needs of the day is to redesign the political culture in the country that leaves no room for criminals and disruptive elements to enter into mainstream politics. Reforms should encourage honest and committed people willing to serve that nation with their time and energy to enter into mainstream politics whilst discouraging disruptive elements.
The conduct and behaviour of present-day politicians suggests that they are from a different planet. There are so many criminals and government revenue fraudsters in the mainstream politics today. Needless to mention the names but the intelligent people of Sri Lanka know them by name. It is very unfortunate that the incumbent President, down to earth and a humble man, is ignorant of the criminal characters closely associate with him whereas sensible people know inside out. It is hard to believe that these disruptive elements enjoy absolute immunity from enforcement of the laws of the land; Bribery and Corruption laws, Criminal law, Revenue and Customs laws, Road Traffic law so on and so forth do not apply against them. If Sri Lanka is to succeed, clearly there should be an end to this menace. Those who appeal for peoples mandate to the office of the President cannot be ignorant of this fact anymore and people expect them to declare their stand not by words but by deeds that they will deliver
There is no point punitive measures against such elements are only limited to statute book. There should be a political will to punish those who offend the laws of the land with no mercy. There is a great sense of responsibility in the people and the media. They should not be divided when there is threat to observance of the law and order of the land. They should be united in adversity disregarding political differences. They should always be vigilant and observant of the rights of the people. When any person in the executive or legislature are found committing a wrong they should act decisively to build a strong public opinion against such elements demanding immediate action and resignation from holding of any public office. Both media and people should recognize that there is an unwritten agreement between the people and the politicos. The politicos are required to exercise the mandate given by the people as required by law. People should be aware of that the focal point of power is in the people and hence not dare to demand the politicos to deliver the promises pledged to the people and not to let them to evade their responsibility.
Those who enter politics do so on their freewill and they are paid for their job. They should behave appropriately and serve the people as true servants of the people whom they represent and not as their masters. This is why oath of allegiance is there and it is not there for fun, as some politicos seem to think. All media institutions and people should realise that when the media institutions [print and electronic] are independent and play their part to expose corrupt politicos who violate law with a strong public opinion created against them no politico would dare to indulge in any wrongdoing. They would behave appropriately when there is system in place, a strong media and public awareness, to deal wrongdoers with what they deserve.
Observe how beautifully the system works in the other parts of the world. For instance in the UK, the powerful Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was forced to apologise and resign for a minor wrong committed. She had made a wrong expenses claim of just £ 7 of money for viewing of two adult movies by her husband. There are so many other MPs like her who were forced to step down for making false expenses claims. For seeking help from the Immigration Directorate, to expedite a visa application by his housemaid cost David Blunkett his job as the Home Secretary. Again in July 2009 the labour party deputy leader, Harriet Harman, MP was charged before the Magistrate Court for using a mobile phone whilst driving. She attended court and paid the fine. There is a lot Sri Lankans can learn from these countries where the democracy works proper. In these countries people respect and understand the importance of the concept of equality before the law and act without favour in the public interest.
Zero tolerance of abuse in any form
What people of Sri Lanka are urging from those who seek mandate to the highest office of the Executive is nothing more than a similar form of administration; guaranteeing the equality before law to all citizens. Both SF and MR, the leading candidates, should express their stand in clear terms to the public that they will not tolerate abuses of any nature under their administration. First and foremost the interference with the public institutions and committing immoral acts whilst holding a public office. Then comes the other crimes; unlawful disposal of duty free permits; abuse of rent disbursement of Rs.100, 000,00, abuse of pubic funds assigned for MPs under decentralized budget allocations; abuse of office to make ill-gotten money by other means such as illegal commission taking through improper awarding of government tenders and so on and so forth. The candidates should set an example by their own conduct, by deeds and not just words by displaying their commitment to uphold the rule of law. They should pledge to the people that they would ensure zero tolerance of any form of wrongdoing.
Athigaru Uthumanan Wahanse
This is something infused in Sri Lankan politics by insincere politicos that clearly undermine the self-esteem of the fellow citizens. No one can justify as to why citizen should be made to call politicos elected by popular vote, Thuma or Uthuman wahanse or Athigaru Uthumanan wahanse. It is the president, elected to exercise peoples executive power, who should put right this bad precedence. Even in US, or UK where the executive power of the head of the government is superior, the head is not addressed with such titles. In the US the president is addressed Mr President in public and in the UK the prime minister is addressed Mr Prime Minister. Whereas in Sri Lanka when the president appear in the electronic media the interviewer address him – Uthuman wahanse that is not acceptable in a civilised democratic society. It is the duty of the president to put this right. He should not undermine the dignity and self esteem of the people. He should make a statement in public that nobody should call him with the insulting title of – Athigaru Uthumanan Wahanse
The president and other politicos should be made to realize by the people and the media that represent people that they merely exercise the sovereign power of the people; that they only perform a job of work in the legislature or in the executive and that they are not above the fellow citizens but servants of the people. There is no point that the norm – every person is out of use and restricted to the supreme statute book only. What people yearning for is equality in real sense; that every citizen is treated with respect regardless of his or her vocation or social standing. Due respect and honour should be conferred only on those who dedicated to bring a real difference to the quality of life of the people.
Establish the democracy proper in the political party system with reforms required
Since independence, Sri Lanka suffered heavily without visionary leaders serious economic downturn whilst the other nations in the region, some who were well behind us, like Singapore and Malaysia, marched forward achieving tremendous growth.
For Sri Lanka to achieve true potential of the people and economic prosperity there are certain fundamental chances to be introduced to the working of political party system. A bold policy invention by all political parties in the leadership selection process is utmost important. Such a move would clear the path to select able and dynamic people with a vision to lead the country in the party leadership. Although Sri Lanka a democracy on paper, not a single political party in this country [including the JVP] follow a democratic and transparent process in the in selection of the party leader.
There is a lot Sri Lanka can learn from other leading democracies where the party leader selection process is absolutely transparent, democratic. Any elected MP, who believes that he has the required qualities, a clear vision and character to command the nation should be allowed to enter the leadership selection process. [This is the process followed in the UK, a leading democracy] In the even a vote of no confidence against the incumbent leader is upheld, a leadership election should be called and the incumbent leader should be barred from standing in it.
If two or more candidates stand, then all elected MPs in the partly should hold a series of ballots. On each round, the candidate with the fewest number of votes should be eliminated. The series of ballots by MPs to be continued until there are only two candidates remaining at which point ballot of all registered members of the party should commence. To be eligible to vote, an individual should have been a paid-up member of the party for at least three months or so. The candidate who tops the poll is to be declared the leader.
This is clearly a transparent and democratic process and it allows only the person who demonstrates true leadership qualities, dynamism and commitment to serve the nation to become the party leader. In the public interest, people demands all candidates who takes part in this presidential election campaign to declare their commitment to bring in necessary reforms in the leadership selection process in their respective political party. When one party comply and introduce necessary reforms that would automatically compel the other parties to follow.
In Sri Lanka had there been a proper democratic policy in the party leader selection process, probably MR would not have been the leader of SLFP. Surely RW, a proven product of incompetence [whose behaviour suggests that the UNP is a private property he inherited from his father] would never have been the leader in the UNP. In the JVP, on the other hand, Somawansa Amarasinghe would not have been the leader. There are more committed and popular people in the party with proven character like Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Lal Kantha who would have selected to the party leadership.
Pledge to bring following changes to the character of all from of elections
(a) Bring in necessary legislation with provisions to declare all forms of funding to the political parties mandatory with unfettered powers to the Auditor General to inquire into funding
(b) Bring in necessary changes to the election laws to make it binding for every person stand in any election to declare assets before or at the nominations [remove any room for delay or evasion]. All asset declaration should be available for public inspection on a request made to the Election Commissioner by any media institution or member of public.
(c) Ban public rallies, cut outs, banners, posters etc altogether in future elections. Valuable time, energy and money wasted for such purposes could be use for a productive purpose.
(d) Make electronic media the only mode to address the people with a fair time allocated to all candidates.
(e) All party leaders should agree to go for head-to-head electronic media series of debates.
(f) Restrict public meeting for political party members and party conventions only
(g) All elections [parliamentary, presidential and local council] should be held on a same day avoiding unnecessary waste of public funds. All politicos stand elections should realise that Sri Lanka could not afford endless elections. It is estimated staggering cost of two billion rupees for the forthcoming presidential polls. This is reportedly the highest cost ever to be spent on one election in the history of Sri Lanka. The Commissioner of Elections, Dayananda Dissanayake has already directed his officials to cut down costs as much as possible.
(h) MR is fully aware that his term of office is due to end only in 2011, although he used the constitutional provision for his personal advantage to call for an election after four years in office. Had he been a true patriot would he ever called for an election when he was fully aware that Parliamentary election is also due in three months time.
Remove all forms of undue inducements offered to politicos
Make politics attract only worthy people not criminal elements
In Sri Lanka politicos enjoy luxurious life with all kinds perks and privileges whilst the quality of life of the average citizen is pathetic, some eats only one meal a day. There is no question that Sri Lanka cannot afford a jumbo Cabinet of over 50 people maintained at taxpayers money. Probably Sri Lanka may be the only country where Cabinet posts are offered to entice cronies who please the President.
It is an accepted norm that the size and the privileges offered to Cabinet should reflect the standard of living of the people. In Sri Lanka, a poor country with 20 million people there are 51 Cabinet Ministers with excessive privileges, whereas in the UK, a developed nation with 60 million people, there is only 17 Cabinet Ministers with lesser privileges.
MR clearly knows he has got it wrong but seems ignorant about the pledge given to the people. If he wants people to see him as a man who feel the pulse of people he represents, then he should not hesitate to tell the people that he got it wrong and that he would reduce the number to bare minimum and stop extravagant expenditures of taxpayers’ money.
If MR and also SF failed to address this important issue head-on, and continued to utter rubbish that would only expose their lack of vision or direction. The right person would unreservedly pledge to the people that in the event he is elected he would bring down the size of the Cabinet to bare minimum of 15 members, proportionate to the population and the size of the country. He would also undertake to cut down the extravagant privileges to bear minimum.
Pledge to stop other privileges that only encourage abuse
(a) Remove the privilege of a duty free permit issued to all politicos once in five year to import a luxury car. The government incur colossal loss of revenue due to abuse of this privilege by fraudster politicos who unlawfully sell their permits to organised revenue fraudsters.
(b) A study conducted on this matter reveals that the average CIF value of luxury vehicle usually imported on these permits such as Mercedes [s class], Toyota Land Cruiser BMW X5 etc, is over 10 million rupees. The rate of customs duty and other levies chargeable on these (diesel driven) vehicles is 524% of the CIF value and for each vehicle imported the government incurs over 52 million rupees of revenue loss. If the fraudster politico gets his share of 20% of the government revenue defrauded he gets over 10 million rupees just for doing nothing and then “legitimise” these ill-gotten gains through various kinds of money laundering activities.
(c) In 2007 a large number of brand new vehicles were imported on these duty free permits issued to parliamentarians, provincial counsellors, local government members and other privileged officials. According to the Central Bank Finance Policy Report 2007, Government revenue collection has been affected due to the motor vehicle imported under duty free permit scheme.
(d) In 2007 government expected 28 billion rupees on motor vehicle imports but only collected 15 billion rupees because customs duty waivers on 2007 was staggering 14 billion. For the year 2008 revenue collection target on motor vehicle was 35 billion rupees and if the situation continues the government may not be able to collect 40% of the target – A press release by The Director General of Customs.
These are the real issues that MR and SF should address without beating round the bush. They must make a statement clarifying their stand and tell people whether they would continue with this abuse or will put it right immediately preventing a colossal loss of revenue.
(e) Stop rent disbursement of Rs 100,000.00 offered to politicos to rent a house in Colombo. This is another absurd arrangement open for abuse. Those politicos live in Colombo suburbs conveniently made use of this privilege to cheat taxpayers’ money. For instance, people like Susil Premajayath and Bandula Gunawardena vacated their own houses in Nugegoda and moved further in. Surely there are so many others who did the suite. People would like to here from both MR and SF, where do they stand on this issue.
(f) Remove the unnecessary back up security provided to politicos, a nuisance in the eyes of the fellow citizens. Surely, every citizen would agree that the way the so-called politicos behave on the highways is a disgrace. They seem to think that the Highway Code is applicable for other citizens only and violate the traffic rules at will whilst the police turn a blind eye. This is really insult to the people who yearn for law and order in the country that should be applied equally to all citizens irrespective of their status or authority. People see no valid reason for police inaction, if not for a directive from above. Absolutely there is no apparent reason (except exaggerated security concerns created by their own security people who would loose the perks they enjoy in the event the unnecessary security is withdrawn) for the continuance of back up security to politicos involving a large number of security personal and vehicles, another unnecessary burden to the already ailing economy.
(g) Remove pension rights to politicos and demonstrate your commitment to the principle of equality before law real sense [like any other public servant no politico should be allowed pension right unless served in the legislature for a minimum period of 20 years of continuous service]
(h) Stop the annual budget allocation to MPs to be used for ‘development work’ under their own supervision. This is just another scandalous affair open to abuse.
(i) All MPs should be held accountable for their actions. There should be no special or unequal treatment for those holding any public office. Any MP or a Member in the Cabinet found committing any wrongdoing should be dealt with severely with automatic dismissal from the office held.
(j) Abolish provincial council system, which provides no value for money spent on them. The provincial councils have been introduced only to accommodate politico cronies of second layer at the taxpayers’ expense. Originally this system was proposed by India as a power sharing arrangement with people in the North but the people of north refused the system and finally it ended up in the other parts of the country. Clearly, this system is nothing more than a white elephant maintained at taxpayers money. If the presidential candidates truly focused they should pledge to the people to abolish the provincial council system altogether. They should not hesitate to those parasites who live a luxury life on taxpayers money to find an alternate way of living without being a curse to the already bleeding economy.
(k) Solicitation and acceptance of Commissions and bribes is another major concern that is rampant in the government business causing colossal losses of public funds. There should be a system in place to ensure total transparency of all dealing of government bodies with freedom guaranteed to the people and media [both electronic and print] to obtain information of such dealings/transactions. All dealings of government projects and tender process should be made absolutely transparent and published before awarding any tender or project to any prospective bidder with an adequate window guaranteed to public or media institutions to intervene if any evidence of wrongdoing is surfaced.
(l) Remove the immunity guaranteed to the office of the president under the Constitution because president is not a ceremonial figure but is the person who exercises the executive power of the people. The person elected to the office is responsible for performance of peoples executive power. Hence the president should be held accountable for all executive actions.
Evidence of abuse of power by the president is in abundance that cost country dearly. The past presidents abused the constitutional immunity with no fear or whatsoever to serve their cronies who were found guilty for defrauding government revenue and the president CBK was the most prominent. In some cases on her illegal orders not only confiscated property by the government revenue agencies were released even the penalties and fines imposed on the government revenue fraudsters were nullified.
(m) Strengthen the powers of the Auditor General with unfettered powers to combat corruption in every public institution. This is mandatory if proper system of democratic government to be assured. The Auditor General is the peoples watchdog created to ensure proper accounting for all forms of expenses of public funds. Therefore, to ensure effective functioning of all executive and legislative bodies that exercise peoples sovereign power the office of the Auditor General should be absolutely independent from any form of political interference.
Restore peoples confidence in the judiciary
In Sri Lanka judiciary lacks both direction and commitment that is required to uphold the peoples executive power exercised by the executive president and the cabinet of ministers. However, due to undue political interference by the president, the Judiciary in Sri Lanka has lost it independence and effectiveness.
The most glaring act of interference with judiciary is the fast track option to the Office of the Chief Justice, retained by the president. In Sri Lanka this process is being used to appoint subservient junior judges to the office of the Chief Justice through the back door entry policy – first to the office of the AG and then fast tracked to the office of the CJ.
This unethical practice and abuse of authority by the president has denied Sri Lanka the services of most respected and independent judges in the calibre of Justice Mark Fernando, who was deliberately denied his logical expectation to the office of the CJ by executive intervention. He was indisputably a firm and impartial judge who would have firmly upheld the independence of the Judiciary and due performance of peoples executive power by the Executive President as required by the Constitution. He was denied his logical expectations to the highest office of the judiciary, because he was not anther yes man. The president CBK first indirectly interfered with the independence of the judiciary by appointing Justice Sarath Silva, a judge in the Court of Appeal, to the office of the AG and then she directly interfered by appointing the same judge to the office of the CJ fast track process bypassing the outstanding judges in the Supreme Court of their expectations to the highest post in the Judiciary.
Abuse of power by the President and interference with the independence with the Judiciary never came to an end after CBK. This unethical practice is still being continued under MR administration. Appointing of Mohan Peiris [a lawyer and legal advisor to the government from the private bar] is a similar ploy adopted by MR administration. Mohan Peiris is not a person with an unblemished character either. There were serious complaints against him, allegedly exposing his unbecoming character as a lawyer. For instance, in 2001, the Director General of Customs, WDL Perera, reported him to the Supreme Court against Mohan Peiris’s conduct in a significant government revenue fraud inquiry, where the value of the subject matter was worth over 50 million rupees. The DGC’s complaint was never inquired into. And now Mohan Peiris has been appointed to the office of the Attorney General. The sinister motive behind this appointment is patently clear because MR administration has had enough from the former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva and therefore president MR has cleared the path to install his obedient man to the office of the CJ.
The immoral actions by president CBK and president MR clearly undermine the independence of the Judiciary and Presidents action discreetly conveys a message to the most senior Judges in the Supreme Court with logical expectation to the highest office of the Judiciary i.e. unless they are willing to be abide by the president they can simply forget about their high expectation to the office of the CJ. The president’s action not merely a direct interference with the judiciary but it is an act of insult directed at the Judiciary. On the other hand, from the public interest point of view this wrongful action is extremely damaging for the following reasons.
Under the constitution there is a great sense responsibility vested in the Judiciary. It is a creation by the supreme law of the land to defend peoples executive power and their legislative power. Whenever there is any likelihood of threat of abuse of peoples executive power by the president, the cabinet of ministers or by the elected members to the legislature who exercise peoples legislative power the Judiciary is required by law to defend strenuously sovereign power of the people. If put it in plain language the Judiciary is the peoples watchdog created to ensure that peoples executive power and their legislative power is appropriately exercised by the president, cabinet of ministers and the legislature.
When the Judiciary is headed by a person who is partial, prejudiced and obedient to the president, the purpose of creation of the judiciary is completely lost as effective functioning is held back by undue interference by the executive President. Those who wonder as to why no person holding high office in Sri Lanka was ever brought to justice should now realise the reason behind it. It is depressing that the judiciary in Sri Lanka is dysfunctional against big sharks, whereas the judiciary in the same region in Asia had never hesitate to defend the peoples judicial power and to deal with fraudster politicos with no mercy, including the heads of the state for abuse of office and corruption charges.
The people of Sri Lanka would like to hear from the main two candidates of their stand on this matter.
Question 1 to MR – Will you make a clear statement to the people and concede that you got it wrong.
Question 2 to MR – Will you undertake not take any further action that undermine the judiciary and would abstain from appointing Mohan Peiris to the office of the CJ after Justice Asoka de Silva?
Question to SF – Will you make a statement condemning the unethical practice by president MR, interference of the independence of Judiciary by him and give a clear undertaking to the people that you will staunchly uphold the independence of the Judiciary and ensure proper functioning of all three institutions [executive, legislative and judiciary] under your government in the event you are given a mandate?
People yearning for moral standards return to politics
People reject the political notion – Ballo marala hari salli hoyapalla pioneered by JRJ in 1977 and followed since then. Sri Lanka has suffered enough due to JRJs Machiavelli political idealism, which encouraged all sorts of criminal and fraudster elements to enter into politics, who were allowed to accumulate wealth by any means by indulging all sorts of immoral acts whilst infusing a kind of horror feeling in the people. This Machiavelli approach is still being followed in Sri Lanka under MR administration to meet the aspiration of the government. According to the Machiavelli approach the leader speaks of morality in public while acts amorally in private. The criminal, Mervin Silvas covert role is the best living example under MR administration.
Cases of this nature under previous administration are in abundance. People should be aware and mindful of the immoral behaviour of the so-called peoples power to insult their intelligence anymore.
Machiavellians ruled Sri Lanka since 1978 onwards
- J R Jayawardena [1978 – 1988]
Probably JRJ is the smartest Machiavellian ever produced in Lankan politics. First, JRJ used his crafty approach to sideline Dudley Senanayake, perhaps the last gentleman leader in the UNP.
JRJ, when serve in the opposition was a committed campaigner for democracy. He talked passionately about morality in politics, failure of government instructions to uphold the law and order, breach of fundamental rights of the citizens and so on so forth.
What he was practiced after came became the head of the state was completely opposite to what he was preaching. He was the man responsible for opening floodgates for all fraudster and criminal elements to enter politics. Under his administration he encouraged wrongdoing and then blackmailed the wrongdoers to have a firm grim on them. People of this country are well conversant of the style of governance practiced by Machiavelli JRJ. He obtained signed resignation letters from all the MPs of his party and used the signed letters to be used as and when he deemed fit. JRJ he was the main architect who ruined the morality in Sri Lankan politics altogether. Under his administration, politicos were provided excessive perks and privileges that never found in the Lanka politics before. State pension, duty permits for cars, a pay that is completely disproportionate to the average pay of a fellow citizen was offered to politicos under his regime.
He created a fortress for his own defence. Under the monstrous Constitution, his own creation, he was the focal point of all powers. He retained all executive powers under his command. He was the Head of the State, Head of the Executive, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The stronghold created for the protection of the President was so impregnable he incorporated a special provision in the constitution [Article 35] and enjoyed absolute immunity from any criminal or civil proceedings against anything done by him in his official capacity or private capacity.
The man, who talked extensively about the human rights when he was in the opposition, denied the right to life to fellow citizens [a most important fundamental right recognised in the UN charter and also in constitution of our neighbour, India] under fundamental rights chapter in his constitution.
JRJ, under his constitution also retained the control of the legislature with absolute power to summon and dissolve the parliament as he may deem fit. Power retained by him to undermine the legislature under his command was such that he retained the power to dissolve the parliament was such that he could do so simply after one year the citizens elected their representative to the legislature.
Control over Judiciary under him was so rigid that powers retained in him devalued the countrys Judiciary and its independence. He retained all appointments to the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice and judges to the Court of Appeal by a warrant under his hand. And he was first person who is responsible for bring in outsiders from the private bar to the apex post in the Judiciary. His appointment of his own lawyer, Neville Samarakoon to the office of the CJ was the beginning of direct political interference with independence of the Judiciary in Sri Lanka. Having Neville Samarakoondone as the CJ, JRJ surreptitiously hoped for an obliging CJ to do his bidding, although after the said appointment his desire never succeeded, as CJ Neville Samarakoon was a strong and independent Judge who never flinched from his duty of maintaining judicial independence.
Under his democratic constitution JRJ also allowed multinational companies to setup their bases in Sri Lanka and to exploit countrys resources including the work force as they please with no interference whatsoever from the domestic laws. The protection provided extended to include any other form of interference by any executive or administrative action.
JRJ, the man who talked morality in public discreetly used his power to destroy those who refused to suffer in silence under his oppressive rule. When he sensed that youths who were agitating against his autocratic rule destroying all democratic institutions and embraced Rohana Wijeweera, JRJ clandestinely prohibited Wijeeweeras political party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna for no reason whatsoever and force the party members to underground and then used state and state sponsored terror to eliminate thousands of youths who were killed in cold blood.
JRJ also was not afraid to interfere with the operations of the government revenue agencies to protect the government revenue fraudsters. In one such case where a luxury car imported by Nawaloka, defrading the government revenue of over 1.8 million rupees, was ceased and confiscated [Case No POM/167/1985], he summoned the Head of Customs and ordered him to release the car, which was by the then advertised in print media for sale by public auction.
His respect to the rule of law and to the fundamental rights of the people was such that when policemen were found guilty for violation of fundamental rights and ordered to pay compensation to victims, JRJ came forward to defend the policemen and authorised such payments from taxpayers money, which was considered a tacit approval of human rights violation by the state agents. Tyrannical rule under him also encouraged criminals and their accomplices. In one such famous is where on his orders a reconvicted criminal serving a long prison sentence [such as Gonawala Sunil] was pardoned and released.
- R Premadasa [1989 – 1993]
When this name is mentioned the immediate imagery produced in the minds of the people is a man holding a basketful of saman pitchcha flowers over head high worshipping Lord Buddha. But in reality he was a two faced criminal. On his orders all JVP polibureau members taken into custody, including the leader Rohana Wijeweera were killed in cold blood. President Premadasa carried out that inhuman and degrading act with tacit approval of the then Attorney General Sunil Silva. After carrying out this serious crime Premadasa had the audacity to allow telecasting a video clip in which Rohana Wijeweera was pleading his comrades to surrender. The impression given to the public was that Wijeweera was alive and keeping fine in the government custody. The media reported that polibureau members who were in the government custody had differences between them and after serious row they exchanged fire at each other. Premadasa was a crafty Machiavellian and a spin doctor who abused his office to get rid of people whom he considered a threat to his own survival. Day in and day out he preached morality to people while acting amorally in private.
- Ranil Wickramasinghe (RW) [May 1993 – August 1994]
This is another twofaced peoples politico who closely associated with the criminal elements. His association with the SSP Douglas Peiris, who was accused for murdering hundreds of youths in cold blood, is a known fact and enough evidence is available in the public domain. RW was also accused for his personal knowledge for some brutal murders carried out in his own backyard, Batalanda torture chamber.
How he got his man [Gonawala Sunil], a reconvicted criminal serving a long jail sentence, is another illustration of his connivance with criminals. Once Gonawal Sunil was released from the prison RW was his ally in crimes in RW private life. Gonawala Sunil was not only a well-known criminal he also was a powerful figure in the ring of smugglers who were concerned in the importation of goods by illegal means defrauding the government revenue. In one such case, even after failed a smuggling attempt, thanks to the intervention of his ally RW, Gonawala Sunil was successful in snatching 1.8 million rupees from the Customs Department by deceitful means.
RW’s association with the other government revenue fraudsters in general was also excellent. When he was the Prime Minister, in September 1993, Customs launched stern action against those who imported duty free cars on duty permits issued to politicos and sold such vehicles unlawfully in the open market. As a result of strict enforcement of law some cars were seized and confiscated amidst strong political pressure. However, soon after the initiation of action in the first case, further action against fraudsters was stopped as a result of direct interference by the then RW who came forward to defend the government revenue fraudsters. RW had no respect whatsoever to the law of the land and ordered release of all vehicles already confiscated by the Customs. That was not the end of the matter, he was a man with such a despicable character and he had the audacity to give a strict warning to the law enforcement agencies to abstain from enforcing law altogether.
RW was an excellent Machiavellian who followed his belief to the letter. Having served his men with his fraudulent action [unknown to public], RW had the audacity deceive the public with a press statement that carried only utter falsehood. He informed the public that on his orders stern action was being taken against those who abused duty free permits and those who illegally sold permit cars in the open market, incurring over 2 billion revenue loss [Silumina 5th September 1993]. Today this passionate Machiavellian once again preaches people about the importance of honestly and integrity in politics.
- D B Wijetunga [1993 -1994]
What kind of picture is formed in average citizen’s mind when the name of DBW is remembered? Probably a very innocent and harmless person may come to your mind. Yet, this was another very successful Machiavellian who left no room for the average citizen to know about his true character. The powerful fraudsters used this man to the maximum and for them DBW was a fatherly figure. They worshiped him and even personally delivered his monthly ration to his family home in Kandy.
The President DBW’s private life was totally different from his public life. He used his diplomacy extremely well to support his men, the powerful government revenue fraudsters. However, he was vicious when offended, particularly when failed to get things done the way he wanted. Very few only knows that he was a man directly responsible for persecuting some officers who refused to compromise with his unlawful orders and accommodate fraudsters. Some such officers who refused to carry out his illegal orders were lost their jobs and some were placed under interdiction under his rule. See Counterpoint magazine [February 1994] for a complete exposure of DBW’s deceptive character and connivance with fraudster mafia.
5.Chandrika Bandaranayake Kuramatunga (CBK) [1994 – 2005]
The people gave CBK an overwhelming mandate because she pledged to the people to be a strictly disciplined leader and to clear corruption and abuse of power rampant in the government business. She was extremely firm, uncompromising and committed during her election campaign to power and promised people to restore law and order, to eliminate abuse of power and for a lasting peace under her able leadership which would not tolerate any form of wrongdoing.
By far from those idealised hopes, the political leadership under her reflected only a common or garden-variety leadership, autocratic and unenlightened. What she practiced in private was totally different to what she preached to the people during her election campaign. She was just another Machiavellian and the government under her rule was a total disaster. She betrayed the people who had placed a great faith and trust in her and simply became an easy pray of the powerful fraudster and criminal mafia that effectively control the economy. Not only did she tolerated all sorts of wrongdoing she also encouraged those who swindled the government revenue with her tacit approval. The extent of her blindness and drunkenness with power was such that at times she was bold enough to dictate her unlawful orders directed at the head of the government revenue agencies with her own handwriting.
During the CBK’s term of office, there were some upright officers in the government revenue agencies courageous enough to blow the whistle and expose her abuses through the media. However, this arrogant woman, as against the other Machiavellians, was so stubborn and overconfident. She launched direct attack on these officers who expose her deceptive action in the public interest. And on her illegal order some officers were arrested charged with baseless grounds and placed under interdiction. Now, this politically bankrupt woman once again preaches about the honestly and integrity in politics and about a visionary leadership which she claims found in the MR administration.
Need of the hour and obligations of SF and MR
You may pledge to deliver different things at the election campaign. Please stop this immoral, senseless and illusionary politics that only insult the intelligence of the people. What people want right now is to prove your character with your will to be a truly honest leader with a vision and commitment to deliver. Up until now, the people of this country had betrayed by so many dishonest politicos who rule the country by deception. They were two faced and had no integrity or commitment to serve the nation. Consequently, the innocent people who were taken for ride by corrupt and self-centred politicos have undergone immense hardship for no fault of them. People want you to prove your character and worth right now and to demonstrate by your own conduct that you are not just another twofaced politico. People demand you to respect each other and not to display your ignorance of responsibly by allowing disgraceful acts such as use of force and terror towards your opponent, which only expose absence of any vision, direction or magnanimity in you, an essential characteristic to be a successful leader. Politically intelligent people of this country expect you respect the political judgement of the people most of whom are not partisans of any particular political party or candidate but clever observers.
Advise to SF
People will never forget your contributions towards wellbeing of fellow citizens; your dedicated service as a truly committed military commander. You proved to the whole world that what you have achieved during your tenor as the military commander is simply unparalleled to what others have done. You almost sacrificed your life on your march to free the nation from terror. Surely every decent citizen of this country who enjoys freedom from strife would pay his or her utmost respect for what you have achieved under your command. Therefore, just turn your back on some disparaging remarks made by certain criminal elements enjoy immunity under MR who yet to understand how costly the association of these criminals would be.
General, now you are promoted to contest the Presidential election by the United National Party under the grip of [RW] and by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramauna headed by Somawansa two proven impotent leaders who lacks either vision or direction. Why they promote you? Is that because they love you to be the President of this country? Remember, these two are politically bankrupt and decomposed and not worth a penny. They are fully aware that people have no trust or confidence in them and that is the very reason for them to come behind you and use you as their proxy. They are trying to have a piggyback on someone like you, a renowned figure who has won the hearts and minds of people. These people who has no confidence in them are now trying to get into power through the back door.
General, people know that you have signed a MOU with these people contents of which are hidden from the citizens yet. People also know that the MOU you signed would impose very serious limitations and moral obligations on you. If the citizens of this country were to consider your candidacy in the forthcoming elections, in the first place, you should place the MOU you signed with UNP and JVP before the people. They have a right to know what you have conceded to RW and Somawansa in the event you are elected to the office of the President. Therefore, people of this country have their reservations about your candidacy at the elections. The reason is clear. In the event you are elected to the office of the President, people of this country require you to discharge the duties of the President strictly in accordance with the oath of allegiance you would take under the constitution i.e. to be faithful to the laws of the land and to the people of Sri Lanka who would assign their executive power to you for due execution. And for whatever the reasons people do not want you to be directed and dictated by a MOU you signed with RW & Co. It is very unlikely that the politically knowledgeable people in this country would let RW to take them for a ride anymore.
You should bear in mind that as long as you go along with RW and Somawansa in the election campaign you will destroy your chances. You know the popular saying when you sleep with dogs you will have ticks in you. People have no confidence in these people and as long as you go with RW and Somawansa people will have no confidence in you as well. That would be the most likely the verdict of the people. As at present, in the eyes of public you are nothing more than a puppet remotely control by these rotten, disintegrated politicos. People know your capacity is severely curtailed for reasons beyond your control but still believe you have some options open for you provided you act swiftly.
Remember, if RW and whatever the executive committee of the UNP are confident that you are the right person to contest the under UNP ticket, then surely you naturally become the most appropriate person to be installed as the party leader. You should not hesitate to use this opportunity to your advantage. People want you to use your intelligence and to become the party leader in the UNP by a popular mandate by the general membership. This is not a bad ploy at all, particularly at a time when there is a steady disintegration is observed in the UNP. You can see in front of your own eyes that senior in the party are deserting RW providing you the best opportunity.
Having become the party leader, you can have your the executive committee appointed by popular vote, the only process that allows people with integrity to take key position in the party. In fact, you should have done this at the very initial stages of this campaign but still it is not too late. There is no doubt, providing you become the party leader and seek peoples mandate to be the chief executive of the country with a right team [your shadow cabinet] with no barriers, people will definitely consider that you are the right person with proven character to be the President in this Country.
General, your destiny is in your hands. Act fast, meet the plausible challenge if you need peoples mandate come before the people free from any impediments. People don’t want some elements that are already rejected to dictate terms on you; prove your character by meeting the challenge head on with a integrity to lead the Nation
Word of advice to MR
Dear President, before your own eyes you can simply see the plight of those who followed the Machiavellis political ideology and got burned to ashes. Best example is the decomposed CBK, your predecessor; the one who shamelessly abused the great faith and confidence placed in her by the people of this country. Probably she was one of the best who was given an overwhelming mandate to put things rights. Yet, it is very unfortunate that peoples judgement on her was proved wrong. She was a monumental failure. CBK was just another common and unenlightened autocrat. Look back and see her sorry plight today. Nobody bother pay a shit of respect towards her. She got everything wrong and got what she rightly deserved.
Do you want to follow the same footstep and fall into the same trap or you want to be the peoples leader forever? Choice is in your hands. If you want to be just another Machiavellian like JRJ, RW, R Premadasa, and CBK and rule the country by deception your destiny in the history would be the same; another addition to the names of ‘Great Betrayers of the Nation’ list.
Remember, you have full potential to be the Mahathir Mohamed, or Lee Kwan You of Sri Lanka. You have already proved some characteristics of a good leader. You were stand firm against the western pressure, stood firm and refused to betray your people and won the hearts and minds of the people. If Ranil or CBK had been the President there is no question that they would have kneeled down before the western pleasure. People love your good qualities. You are known for your modesty and people naturally compare you with big-headed CBK. Yet, please be aware, people also know about your bad character, lack of integrity; that why this sincere word of advice, because people are willing to pardon, after all you are a human; providing however, you shun all bad qualities and become a true leader with firm commitment to deliver.
For you there is so many thinks to gain. Simply be honest and committed. Reject rule by deception, which will only bring your downfall. Be brave enough to redesign your policies based on strictly disciplined economic policy – dasaraja dharma and zero tolerance of any form of wrongdoing. In the name of your motherland, give up all forms of wrongdoing; reject all habit of pleasing cronies and other bad practices that only help ruining your chances be a successful leader. Get rid of all criminal elements around you. Reject Mervin Silva criminal gang. Renounce egoism that only tarnishes your name and don’t promote or tolerate elements that promote egoism. Be courageous to select and rely on a team of committed people [your cabinet] with proven character to deliver. Reject wholeheartedly the ones whose prime concern is to embezzle public funds by improper means.
MR, people want you to displays that you are a changed person with right characteristics. If you want to win the hearts and minds of the people you must prove your character before the election that you are not a Machiavellian anymore or a ruler govern by deception but a man with an integrity and commitment to fulfil all objectives set by the supreme law of the land
People want actions not words. Prove your character to the people right now with the implementation of the following
Get rid of all criminal elements you associate right now. Prove your adherence by removal of Mervin Silva criminal gang forthwith
Display your magnanimity with due respect to your opponent. Deal severely with those who disrupt his political campaign
Make a voluntary declaration of your assets and all contributions made to your election campaign
Stop extravagant expenditure of taxpayers’ money including Dansala’s to induce people
Withdraw all backup security provided to all MPs and Ministers with immediate effect. This is just another nuisance; unproductive waster of taxpayers money. There is no logic in continuation of this practice. Security backups provided when in power is withdrawn when moved to opposition. If they can live without such security when in opposition, there is no logic to provide such security when they moved to government. In the eyes of public this is purely an abuse.
Give a clear undertaking to the people to meet the following in the event you are given a fresh mandate to be the President
To remove all elements that have blood in their hands from the office of the Cabinet of Ministers and from the legislature [Lokuge, Susantha Punchinilame, Mahinda Ratnathilake and other such elements whose names are not included
Pledge people to strengthen the fundamental rights of the citizens with right to life guaranteed in the Constitution
Pledge to strengthen the independence of judiciary with no interference whatsoever. Give an open undertaking to the public that Mohan Peries appointed to the office of the AG will not be to the office of the CJ through the back door. This unethical practice clearly undermines the independence of Judiciary and implicitly warns the Judges to be partial towards the government when it is a party to a case or when any bill is challenged before the Supreme Court.
Pledge to stop the bad practice of paying compensation awarded against police officers who violated fundamental rights of citizens from taxpayers money. There is no logic in this practice and clearly this act amounts to tacit approval of violation of citizens rights by state officers. Those who found fault at fault should be made to pay on their own funds and should be removed from office forthwith.
Pledge to remove the pension rights given to MPs unless one complete a minimum of 20 years continues service in the legislature
Pledge to remove the privilege of a duty free permit issued to all politicos once in five year to import a luxury car. The government incur colossal loss of revenue due to abuse of this privilege by fraudster politicos who unlawfully sell their permits to organised revenue fraudsters. Instead allow permit only once in 10 years however, no individual should be allowed to profit from the privilege afforded to a public office. If any vehicle imported under any duty free permit scheme is to be disposed of then the permit holder should made to sell it direct to the government store at the depreciated value the base value for which should be the cost of the vehicle at the time of importation. Any unlawful disposal of either a permit itself or a vehicle imported under a permit should lead to automatic removal of the MP concerned who abused the privilege plus automatic confiscation of the vehicle.
Pledge to abolish provincial council system, which provides no value for money spent on them.
Stop rent disbursement of Rs 100,000.00 offered to politicos to rent a house in Colombo. This is just another opening to abuse taxpayers’ money by politicos
Pledge to remove the immunity guaranteed to the office of the president under the Constitution. Office of the President is not a ceremonial head but it is the office that exercises peoples executive power. The person elected to the office is responsible for due performance of peoples executive power. Hence the president should be held accountable for all executive actions.
Pledge to strengthen the powers of the Auditor General with unfettered powers to combat corruption in every public institution. This is mandatory if proper system of democratic government to be assured. The Auditor General is the peoples watchdog created to ensure proper accounting for all forms of expenses of public funds. Therefore, to ensure effective functioning of all executive and legislative bodies that exercise peoples sovereign power the office of the Auditor General should be absolutely independent from any form of political interference.
Pledge to reintroduce morality in politics. The President should set an example by shunning all forms of wrongdoing and giving a clear message to every person that the will zero tolerance policy against any form of wrongdoing.
Pledge to end all forms of abuse of power including any form of interference of law enforcement agencies punishable with automatic removal from office.
Pledge to overhaul the government tender awarding process. Make it absolutely transparent with freedom guaranteed to the people and media [both electronic and print] to obtain information of such dealings/transactions.
Pledge to bring in democratic reforms in the leadership selection process – first introduce necessary reforms in your own party, invariably other parties would follow. That would help to dump rejected people holding onto power by undemocratic means – RW [UNP] and Somawansa [JPV] – and the general membership of the respective parties would have a opportunity to elect the most deserving person to be the party leader
Pledge to bring reforms to the character of all form of elections minimising expenses, time, energy and conflicts between the parties
Pledge bring in necessary legislation with provisions to declare all forms of funding to the political parties mandatory with unfettered powers to the Auditor General to inquire into funding
Pledge to bring in a National Action Plan with the participation of all political parties [including the ethnic minority parties] that should stay remain and followed by all governments elected to office.
Pledge bring down the size of the Cabinet of Ministers to bare minimum of 15 members, proportionate to the population and the size of the country. And to cut down the extravagant privileges to the Cabinet of Ministers to bear minimum.
Pledge to establish professional and cost effective public service with an assurance that recruitments and promotions to be made purely on performance and merits only
Pledge to bring in a statue to honour peoples right to information to uncover how all state institutions are run and to release the information when required by any citizen or any media print or electronic, unless the release of information requested could prejudice the effective conduct of public
Pledge to make all media, both electronic and print to function independently with no government interference.
Pledge to bring in Public Interest Disclosure Act to provide legal protection to workers who are victimized by employers for blowing the whistle about wrongdoing at work place. Such a piece of legislation is a must to encourage public officers to raise their concerns about of abuse of power by any office whether in the executive of in the legislature
Pledge to deliver all other objectives promised to the people of Sri Lanka under article 27 of the Constitution, through a strictly disciplined programme of work.