Why a fuss over the changes to the Constitution ? …… Why not ?
Posted on September 6th, 2010

by Charles.S.Perera

 In ancient times in Sri Lanka  when there were wrongs done to  the people they appealed to some higher, spiritual power “”…”a God, a deity or even  to the village Yakadura and the Kapuvas to invoke the devils or other  mighty powers  to strike thunder bolts against the perpetrator. 

 But today it is different, people also have changed .  There are now the western educated intellectuals, academics, politicians, journalists, and  web masters,  who unlike the ordinary people  appeal or make a big “fuss”, expecting  India and the International Community to intervene.

 But what is all this present “fuss” over the Constitution  ?  It is about removing a restriction in the Sri Lanka’s Constitution which limits the number of times the same person  could be elected as the President of Sri Lanka. 

 According to this limitation a President of Sri Lanka cannot seek re-election after his second  term in office.  The removal of this restriction allows an incumbent President to seek nominations along with other  candidates for Presidential elections after the  two consecutive terms in office, and as long as his wants.

 However,  his election depends on the voters, and he may or may not be elected.  So it is not by appealing to any higher spiritual power that the candidate even if he was twice the President of Sri Lanka  could win the election, but it is only by successfully appealing to the ordinary voters-the people, that he could get elected.  

 Therefore, the power is still in the hands of the people, to  elect a candidate who proves to the voters-the people, that he is the best candidate  among all the rest of the candidates, including the incumbent President who is seeking election. The incumbent President  may be called a dictator only if he usurps the rights of the voters, and denies any other candidate to seek Presidential elections, thus making himself the only choice for the people at the Presidential election.

 Now where does the democracy comes in this “mƒÆ’†’ªlƒÆ’†’©e” ?   Democracy a system practiced by the ancient Greeks was introduced to us by the west, to keep the developing countries bound to “underdevelopment”. 

 Why should we adhere to democracy with such fervour ?  

 We could modify it to a system which  follows a  political middle path towards progress and  development.  It is our thinking fortified by our western education and knowledge acquired through reading western  authors  and writers  that has made us believe that democracy is the only political system appropriate to Sri Lanka, and that we should protect it at any cost.

 Even people of   China- an economic giant of to-day, and the people of  Russia which is also a recognised world power  did not appeal to the West against  the usurpation of their democratic rights by the respective governments. May be people were forced to face economic hardship, and disciplined by force to allow the government machinery to function to give the people a better future, an economic fulfilment.

 But that is how all countries  advanced  economically , and politically to be finally   recognized universally as developed countries .  Great Britain went through it , and so did America and all other “civilised  Christian democracies”  not to mention India which is still scrambling towards that goal.

 But nothing in the world  has begun its  existence with comfort, joy and fanfares.  Even the birth of a child is  not without danger and uncertainty. The mother goes through untold discomfort and” the birth” is at risk both to the mother and the baby.  So it is with a country -a developing country at that, breaking in to development and prosperity. It also  has to wade through the periphery of uncertainty, risk, danger and suffering.

 But when we take our problem with the Constitutional changes to the intellectual arena to discuss its rights and wrongs, and  see whether it is  breaking down all norms of democracy, we remove the problem from the ordinary people that matter. In the intellectual arena the  President Mahinda Rajapakse  who had done  marvels not only in the elimination of terrorists, but also in all fields of development, is immediately treated as a despot, a dictator. 

 When the problem is taken away from the  ordinary people  and transferred to the ” intellectual arena”,  it will take a different dimension.  Unless the   problem is  discussed  pragmatically turning towards  commonsense-  the tool used by the ordinary people in the assessment of their  leaders, the intellectuals may   fail to make the ordinary people understand their point of view as the language they use is not the language of the ordinary people. They will only confuse the ordinary people.

 Even the Great Buddha when he spoke to the people he  did not confuse them with  theories and profound Dhamma.  He did not speak to them of paramattasacca ( ultimate truth), but spoke to them in terms of  voharasacca(conventional truth).

 The Ground view website has roped in the intellectuals, the TamilNet the terrorist sympathisers, the Sri Lanka Guardian anti-Sinhala racists and so on and so forth.  But where is the “untainted ” voice of the ordinary people ?  Untainted to mean the minds uninfluenced, by the intellectuals, the academics and the politicians.

 The ordinary people accept  a leader for what he is, a man  who  they think is a “good” man, a man who they can approach, a man who listens to them, a man who is not different from them, a man who is disciplined, a family man who loves his wife and children, a man who has not forgotten those who are close to him relatives and friend, a religious man, in other words a man who they can trust. The ordinary people  do not  care for what  Lord Acton, Machiavelli, Pontius Pilate, Baron de Montesquieu or  for that matter even  Peter Bouckaert, has to say.  

 Then the critics  speak of perpetuating a dynasty.  That is a historical fact  existing even today in the sacrosanct “Western Christian Democratic model” we are trying vehemently  to imitate.  The critics of  the  present government seem to be unaware or conveniently avoid speaking on the issue as their main target of attack is the President of Sri Lanka.

 For the ordinary people of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse, Chamal Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Basil Rajapakse and Namal Rajapakse represent persons they like, on whom they can place their trust.  They do not think of them as  the  Rajapakse dynasty. That is what the politicians, the journalists and the so called intellectuals try to inculcate in the minds of the ordinary people reluctant to accept such nonsense.

 When the intellectuals, academics, politicians, professionals and the business men sent their children to London, Canada, Australia, or America  or to International Schools, the ordinary people sent their children to the Government Armed forces perhaps to death  in liberating the Tamil people who were not their close relatives, or fight in Mulativu, or  Kilinochchi places they have not  even seen or previously heard of .

 No one  then said it was dictatorial.  Because every one profited from that “war” in which the “other children” died to give them freedom of movement to rid themselves of fear and uncertainty of life.

 But one would say that those children of the ordinary people were not forced to join the Armed Forces, and  therefore there was no Dictatorship to talk about.  Then why the allowing of an incumbent President to contest  a Presidential election like any other individual any number of time be undemocratic and dictatorial ?

 In any relation ship there should be the element of trust.  If we accept the fact that the President Mahinda Rajapakse who  had  lot of power concentrated on him as the Executive President , had not used that power against the people or the country, we should then  have the decency to place our trust on him to continue with that power, which he may need once again to use in  the defence  of his people and his country, and not against the people..

 The 17th Amendment to the constitution is not workable. But if it becomes  evident only after its implementation, then  an amendment to it would have been impossible if the government did not have the required two third majority.  Therefore, now that the government has the two third majority why not make it the opportunity to replace the unworkable  17 th Amendment with a more workable legislation.

 The West is against any third world country rising above its underdevelopment. We have trusted the white colonialists to such an extent,  we have become blind to their scheming projects to keep small nations under their control integrating them in to a global network., through globalization, demanding conformity to norms of human rights etc. 

 Our development  depends on not adhering to democratic norms setup by the West,  but by placing trust on our leaders recognising their sincerity, and patriotism, adhering to norms set up by them for the development and progress of the country.

 This is not the time to call  for anti government demonstrations .We have come to a decisive cross road in the history of our country, we should seize this opportunity to place our trust in the President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse to allow him to proceed further in the process of development he had initiated. 

 This is not the moment to hesitate.  If the members of all political parties in the Parliament support the President Mahinda Rajapakse, placing their  complete trust on him and adopt the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, future generations will be thankful to the decision you have taken today the 8th September, 2010.

9 Responses to “Why a fuss over the changes to the Constitution ? …… Why not ?”

  1. Kit Athul Says:

    Author Charles presents a very logical argument, however unlimited terms could be misleading to the naked eye. There is some thing happining around the government cirles that an untraind eye cannot read. Why are so many INDIANS arriving in SL right now? We have a lot of outstanding writers but none of them are addressing this issue. India owns two of the Ari Fields that Prabhakeran built and close to 20,000 INDIANS work there. There are no SL military bases that INDIANS don’t have access to and their base military strengths. This is how I analyze it: After the sensus results in 2011, (What happend to Prabhakeran’s Force that killed the sensus workes? they are a sleep and will wake up at the right time) Tamil Nadu Tamils will go bananas when they realize that the Tamil population has shrunk and they would demand that the SL Tamils in Tamil Nadu camps must be repatriated to Tamil villages and MUST be protected by INDIAN MILITARY. So the Northern Province will becaome a part of GREATER TAMIL NADU and NO SINHALA will be allowed there. INDIAN RAW has bags and bags of money to distribute. Who gets them? Certainly Ranil gets them. Any one else?

  2. gunarat Says:

    President Mahinda Rajapakse should seriously consider using the two-thirds majority in parliament to abolish the written constitution that has created so much dissension and division in the country.

    An unwritten constitution based on conventions is the best for Asian countries. Rule the country by applying the 10 principles of dasaraja dharma as determined by the Mahasammata–a scenario where the people gathered together and decided to elect one among them (the mahasammata, or “great elect”) in whom they would invest authority to maintain law and order.

    Such a framework would help us to do away with imaginary distinctions between “state” and “government,” human “rights” and “responsibilities,” and other Western gobbledygook.

    Follow the “Sila” principles enunciated in the Noble Eightfold Path, the “Ten Commandments” (minus those relating to belief in almighty God), the Hindu principles of “dharma” and “ahimsa” and the Confucian principles of good governance.

    Lankaweb Forum could start a debate on the framework of a democracy based on Eastern conventions devoid of Western gobbledygook.

  3. Sajith Says:

    Good suggestion gunarat. We have everything but still looking at the Americans for everything.

  4. Dr.K Says:

    Dear Gunarat & Sajith

    Don’t dream on the history of the country. We know the history says that we have had a system of appointing rulers to rule the country following Mahasammatha process. We have had leaders in the recent past who bowed down to Americans and look forward to follow what they said BUT NOT now.

    We have a leader who can lead the country and the nation to the correct destination. He has proved his competency by now by action. No doubt on it. Country majority have accepted it.

    As Mr. Perera (Charles) says no problem in extending his term any longer. The longer the period the better the results that bring into the country. Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) has not misused his power yet and would not be in the future too. The danger is not with MR but could be in the future in the hand of another fool who’s heart doesn’t feel the rhythm of Sri Lankan Nation – OR with future Suhartho in Sri Lanka.
    We have to think of a mechanism /barriers to avoid that danger.

  5. cassandra Says:

    Dr K,
    Your optimism is to be admired.
    But just one thing, why is there this indecent hurry to get this Amendment through, with hardly any chance for public scrutiny or discussion and when MR has not even started on his second term?

  6. Dr.K Says:

    Dear Cassandra

    My understanding is that MR is well aware of what , when and how anything to be done successfully. That’s why I say he is a good leader.

    When MR appointed Sarath Fonseks as the Army Commander and fought against LTTE, did he asked public scrutiny? if he did he would have never ended the war. We have hundreds and thousands of ‘Pandiths’ in our country who can talk and give opinions but in reality we hardly find some one who talk truth and is brave enough to go forward.

  7. cassandra Says:

    Dear Dr K,

    I note your response but with all due respect to you, it seems to me that there is a world of a difference between appointing somebody the Army Commander and changing the country’s Constitution.

  8. Dr.K Says:

    Dear Cassandra

    That’s just an example to prove that a correct leader does not need to seek public view for every movement but I do agree with you up to a certain extend when it come to a situation like that it changes the country’s constitution. At the same time we should not forget that parliamentary members are the representatives of the general public in case when general public representation is needed.

    A President who had been appointed by the general public has worked out a constitution for the country with the agreement of the majority public representatives. So what?

  9. Janak Says:

    Warning about comments here.

    Readers must note that the comeents under the pweudo-names Kit Atul, Cassandra, Sajith and Dr K are from the same source in Colombo who is monitoring this site on behalf of US manipulators.

    Nothing to worry! The monitors are being monitored.


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