Sri Lanka’s Political Crisis: Name 29 Professionals to be included into National List
Posted on July 9th, 2022

Shenali D Waduge

We are in the midst of a political crisis emerging out of an economic crisis. People’s emotions are high as a result of the sufferings they have to undergo affecting their homes & livelihoods. While debt has been carried forward and made worse with every successive governments, no government is elected to make excuses for non-performance or inability to come up with alternative solutions. Parliament today is a home & home for politicians majority of whom have served in every party or are related to members in other parties. This is one big Parliamentary family who think they can fool masses with rhetoric. It has therefore reached boiling point where masses are of the view that they do not wish to have entire Parliament & the Executive President. These emotions have to be realistic. The country cannot fall into anarchy. We cannot jump from one crisis to create another crisis. People have to be aware of the constitutional and legal restrictions at play. Majority understand that it is pointless changing heads or chairs to bring those who cannot get the funds needed to provide interim reliefWho can bring funds to last at least 8 months and who can use the 8 months to plan revenue modes to sustain the remaining period while paving avenues to pay back funding with a plan to also pay back previous funding, is what Sri Lanka needs to do. 21 out of the 29 National List are professionals. Have they not performed? Have they not been given the opportunity to perform or do we need a new set of professionals who can perform.

The 29 member national list was created to make way for professionals who could not campaign and win elections but whose inputs were considered important for policy making. As such political parties were supposed to present their list of professionals to the Election Commissioner prior to elections.

Eventually, an allocation meant for professionals came to be hijacked by political parties to insert politicians who could not face elections due to likely defeat. Not stopping there, these political parties went on to even remove nominated national list members to accommodate defeated party candidates. The latest example is the present PM himself – rejected in 2020 but re-entering parliament after removing the national list nominee who should have been in parliament.

21 out of the 29 National list MPs are first-timers.

Some of these are professionals / attorneys/ academics – it would be interesting to see how they have performed since August 2020.

Note correction: Yadamini – Engineer / ICT Professional

What are our options

  1. Electoral reforms and new voting system to enable voters to vote suitable candidates at the next election. Criteria must include exclusion of politicians who have served 2 parliamentary elections. If the President can be elected only twice, same provisions must apply to Parliament.
  • People must come to terms with the fact that an elected Parliament cannot be removed by protests. Look at the chaos unfolding in the UK after over 50 resignations. Simply changing heads in a corrupt Parliament and MPs with controversial records against their name, is simply a façade and replacing corrupt with corrupt. Therefore, the better option is to pressurize the entire Parliament to curb their wastage/corruptions & expose them so that the next election even first time entrants who are not performing will not get re-elected.
  • Moratorium on loan repayment negotiated with funding bodies without unilaterally declaring country bankrupt as Sabry and Nandalal did. This is to buy some space to build up Sri Lanka’s revenue.
  • Relook at all State Operated Enterprises & revamp them (not privatized them) – from COPE/COPA reports it is clear that the primary reason for losses are the political appointees, poor management, unsuited Boards, corruptions, wastage, unfair salaries and allowances. All these must be cut & new targets given. An Enterprise Management Commission must be set up with mandate to choose & remove heads & boards of SOEs & turn them into profit centres. This must be immediately planned to enable profits to generate in order to reduce loan taking in the future.
  • Invite investments in keeping with Sri Lanka’s developmental goals without causing national security threat. Simply because a foreign government or multinational company agrees to bring a large investment – before giving tax holidays, resident visas and other perks – a feasibility study should ensure there is no environmental impact, social issues, national security threat & what is the advantage Sri Lanka accrues from the investment. Simply because kickbacks and commissions and lobbying takes place Sri Lanka is not getting anywhere with such investments which may also include privatizing our assets & resources.
  • Given that 21 out of the 29 National List MPs are already professionals/academics if these have not performed to expectations (who decides that?) then political parties must come up with names of those who can bring the funds and revamp the political apparatus in particular all of the Governments revenue generating areas from which the govt not only repays loans taken but runs the government/country.
  • Fanfare over Civil Society” inclusion – let it be clearly pointed out that any individuals who are getting salaries from foreign sources are loyal to these sources and not the country. While their achievements” are heralded in society, in reality these are fulfilling the targets and orders given to them by their paymasters. Thus, these are not national or to the benefit of the nation. Such individuals should not be considered suitable to be in Parliament or on any Enterprise Management Commission for their goal is generally to privatize or to promote what suits a foreign agenda first. This is where people must be aware of the realpolitik and study how NGOs & civil society have helped overthrow foreign governments using protests & demonstrators combined with social media campaigns (role of Cambridge Analytica should be studied)

They have a file on every voter

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’

Electronic Brainwashing: Cambridge Analytica’s Sinister Facebook Strategy

  • What about duties of Citizens? Every citizen demands rights but have they ever considered whether they have done their duty by the Nation?

However, rational thinking has been set aside & a more revolutionary campaign is taking place. The next few days will decide Sri Lanka’s fate.

Yes, people must protest – that is a right given to them. This right does not however include vandalism, destruction to public property, causing a public nuisance or even dismantling barricades.

Yes, protestors are angry with the government in power, simply because they protest it does not mean they are the only ones who decides fate of the country.

Yes, there are valid reasons to be angry with the ruling government, but have people understood the context behind the current economic impasse?

Yes, protestors deem the government should be unseated, but is it legally & constitutionally possible? Have the protestors got a ready-made team to take over?

Do protestors have the answers? Have the protestors who propose to revolt against the government

  • Got a team to take over governance?
  • Does this team have the solutions to provide immediate relief & bring fuel, gas, medicines, fertilizers etc
  • Does this team have sufficient funds to run country until such time elections are called?
  • Does this team have a plan to generate annual income & increase GDP?

What is the assurance protestors can give to the entire Sri Lankan populace that by overthrowing the government, they have the solution that will solve Sri Lanka’s economic & political crisis?

Shenali D Waduge

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