Practical problems that can pop up in a NPP (JVP) government
Posted on April 2nd, 2024

Chanaka Bandarage

A NPP victory is highly likely in the forthcoming Presidential/Parliamentary elections.  People are jubilant about this.

People will vote for NPP en-mass; this is for sure.

People’s only hope is that NPP will rescue them from the current social and economic plight and bring forth prosperity to them.  

What people want is a political party that can rebuild this nation, not a one that will put it further down.

Since 1970 or so all parties have been extremely corrupt. In the past 30 years we have become one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Because the politicians are so corrupt, public servants emulate them. They also engage in all forms of bribery and corruption.

This phenomenon is in NPP’s favour as their leaders boast a good record in relation to honesty.  Any doubt about same, people give JVP the benefit.

But, that record itself is not enough. Integrity, foresight, wisdom, empathy, patriotism etc  are needed to run a country well.

In 2019 people voted for Gota resoundingly (69 million). They genuinely believed that he would fix the country’s problems and make it prosperous.  Gota failed the people miserably; they threw him out within 2 years of coming to power.

Will the same fate fall upon the future NPP President and the NPP government? Let us hope not.

If it is a Yes, it will be disasterous for the nation – a loss for all people.

Let us hope that the NPP Presidency and its government will be a success. This paper is written in  that good mindset.

This writer foresees some major practical problems that the NPP administration would face, thus pens them down herein:

NPP boasts that upon its current leader becoming the President, he will not rule the country alone but with his team. This is strange.

We have a Parliamentary Executive that consists of the President and the Cabinet. The topmost government officials can be considered as part of the Executive.

How does the NPP aspire to govern the country in such a surrounding? Why are they saying that rather than the elected, individual leader, the country will be run by a NPP leadership team.

It is true – this is how they run the party now.

Currently the NPP is run by its strong polity-bureau. It has a leader, but it is the Party’s Secretary that is most powerful. It is the Secretary not the Leader that selects the  party’s Presidential candidate.

The method that the NPP adopts in Pelawatte will not work in Echelon’s Square.

We have an Executive Presidency. The President has enormous power – some are like dictatorial.  If NPP tries  to run the government the Pelawatte way, that will amount to violating our Constitution.

NPP wanting to run the country by a leadership team is China way, but we have an Executive government system which is French way. If NPP wants the former, they will have to introduce significant Constitutional amendments. People will not be in favour of such nonsense.

Does the current NPP leader think he does not have the ticker to be the country’s leader (run the country under his total command and control in true leadership spirit– this is what our Constitutions prescribes). If Yes, he is not leadership material .

NPP states that each of their Cabinet ministers (there will be about 25) will be advised by a team of experts (about 5 or 6 per Ministry). This sounds nonsensical.

In our current Westminster system Cabinet ministers run the ministries with the help of the deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and other high ranking government officials. The NPP must adapt this system. They cannot change things willy nilly.

Why do they want at least 150 cabinet advisers appointed?  How much will this cost the taxpayer?

Appointment of these advisers (a new layer of administrators?) could be chaotic, duplicative and waste of money. Last thing the people want is another White Elephant.

In  a democracy it is the elected representatives who  run the administration;  not their friends and cronies. If these advisors are so good (this is how the NPP describes them), why not try them as NPP election candidates and ask for the people’s vote?

We must not forget that Gota’s failures commenced from his failed fertilizer policy. A team of experts advised him that the country must disband chemical fertilizer, somewhat within 24 hours; and switch to organic farming. What our farmers had practised for so many generations was abruptly stopped by one  Gota Order.

Gota’s expert agricultural panel mainly comprised of a medical doctor, a Buddhist monk, his agricultural minister (a former insurance agent) and a media tycoon. There were few expert agriculturalists in it.

NPP must learn from Gota’s mistakes. It must give regard to the proverb ‘too many cooks spoil the soup’.

We need a leader like Lee Kwan Yew. Our leader must know what is good and bad for the nation.  He/she must always take decisions in the best interests of the country. US President Truman had the sign ‘the buck stops here’ placed on his desk.

What guarantee can the NPP give us that their President will govern the country with a NPP leadership team? Their President may abandon the promise and start to rule the country per the Constitution. The leader may say contrary to what was stated during the election time, he would adhere to the Constitution. This could cause a rift in the party, which will inhibit public good.

Empirical evidence shows that our Presidents have always deviated from promises that they make during election times. A lie practised by almost every President since 1994 is that once they come to power they would scrap the Executive Presidency. No one has struck to their promise.

Thus, we have been ruled by a bunch of liars for the last 30+ years.

How can such people who do not have genuine intent to serve the masses build a nation?

In developed countries leaders practice what they preach.

The current NPP leader states words to the effect that he is ashamed that Sri Lanka has thus far not produced a minority Prime Minister. Basically, he was saying that it is time for Sri Lanka to have a Tamil Prime Minister under his Sinhalese Presidency. It is probable that JVP’s powerful Tamil polity bureau member who heads the party’s up-country estate unions would be the NPP’s Prime Minister.

An alarming aspect is that this person has publicly stated words to the effect that it is time for the countrymen to forget ethnicity (race) and think Sri Lankan. He effectively wants the citizens’ race not being mentioned in the Birth Certificate.

Why should we hide our ethnic identity? This is bizarre.

He was preaching this to the Sinhalese in a Sinhala YouTube Channel. Has he ever stated this to his Tamil brethren both in the upcountry and the North/East? To the writer’s best knowledge – No.

In the said YouTube interview, he stated that ethnic identity of the upcountry Tamils must be protected and enhanced. Simply, he advocates double standards.

We must not forget that the country’s Sinhala numbers are declining rapidly. Although some foolishly boasts that Sinhala Buddhists are still about 70% of the population, the writer states it cannot be so. He believes this number now is about 65%.

A powerful section of the NPP seems wanting a female as their Prime Minister. A female JVP MP is also a possibility.

Thus, it is quite likely that the NPP’s Prime Minister will either be a male Tamil or a female Sinhalese.

NPP must have a policy of giving the country’s best positions to best persons. This must be done solely on merit, not on quota.

In relation to the Prime Ministership, it seems there are two NPP sections promoting two concepts. This can lead to chaos and animosity. Let us hope that such a situation would not arise.

NPP should sort out these differences/anomalies now. Otherwise, the country will suffer.

Also, the people must know in advance; they have a right to know.

NPP leader has demonstrated us that he is a strong Liberal. This is alright. But, his recent comments in criticizing the need to uphold traditions and values is a real cause for concern.

Unlike the US, Australia; we are a conservative society. People here know who they are/where they came from. We are proud of our culture, customs and traditional way of life. NPP must not try to change everything overnight. This is a civilization that has existed for 2500 years.

Sri Lanka is a country founded on a Sinhala Buddhist foundation. Sadly many Buddhist priests do not have the guts to say this openly. Several Muslim and Christian leaders (including the Cardinal) have been bold enough to state in public loudly that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country.

Accepting this does not mean others are 2nd class.

We all live like children of one mother. It should be that way.

Contrary to what Rohana Wijeweera, Somawansha Amarasinghe preached, the current NPP hates to believe  Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist nation.

Will the NPP accept the fact that the Sinhalese have the right to live in the North and the East? We need answers to this question now.

Since recently, NPP leaders have started visiting/worshiping Buddhist temples. This is somewhat hilarious. It is well known that JVP has been an atheist party.

Are they doing this to canvass the Sinhala Buddhist vote?  NPP must be upfront with the electorate.

We must not forget that JVP has been a marxist party.

NPP has been silent on its stance on the 9th Article of the Constitution. Prior to the election they must clearly articulate their position. Would they support the State giving patronage to Buddhism or not?

Would the NPP preserve the Article 9? People ought to know this.

NPP has slipped away from answering whether or not they would implement the 13th Amendment fully (giving land and police powers to provinces), or even give 13+. It is true that their only female MP in the parliament did state that they support the implementation of the 13A fully. This is an extraordinary statement on NPP’s behalf.

Up to what extent would they go in supporting the 13A or 13+?

The current NPP leaders must not forget that under Somawansa Amarasinghe’s leadership it worked hard to preserve the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It was the JVP that challenged the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces in the Supreme Court. The JVP was successful on that occasion.

Today’s JVP (NPP) policies are poles apart from that of Rohaha Wijeweera and Somawansa Amarsinghe. They are most attuned to the philosophies and concepts of the Peratugamis, Lionel Bopage, Jayadewa Uyangoda, Victor Ivan et al.

It is very good for the NPP to promise masses that under its regime all looted money ($) will be returned to  Sri Lanka and the looters will be prosecuted. This is their strongest point.

This is the main reason why people will vote for them.

But, will they genuinely do this? If yes, what is their strategy in doing so. NPP must explain.

Ranjan Ramanayake stated ‘brother, all 225 are friends”. According to him, the JVP is included in the  225.

The NPP agrees that the IMF way is the only way; they say they will negotiate with the IMF and vary the terms and conditions to make them more people friendly. This explanation is not enough.

They must articulate what are the unfair IMF terms and conditions, and how they will include more favourable ones.

It is wise for the NPP to clear these practical problems that would  pop under their future administration. They should do this now, in utmost good faith.

The country eagerly awaits answers.

Good luck to the NPP! 

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