24 August, 2019

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Enemies Of Democracy – Demand For A Strongman To Rule The Country

By W.A. Wijewardena –

DR. W.A Wijewardena

Demand for a strongman to establish discipline among citizens

I posed the following question to a group of university students recently: ‘Do you desire to have a strongman to rule Sri Lanka today?’ The students, made up of both genders in the age group of 25 to 35, chorused the answer in the affirmative. When probed further, they revealed that Sri Lanka very badly needed discipline in every aspect of life today and only a strongman could deliver it.

But, they qualified the strongman to be a disciplined visionary in the calibre of Singapore’s strongman – Lee Kuan Yew – the model for many Sri Lankans. In other words, he should be a person without any personal or family agendas. The strongman should be brought to power not through a military coup. He should be voted to power, they opined, through the normal electoral process. That model had already been tested in Germany in 1933 when Adolph Hitler was voted to power through popular ballot. True to the expectations of Germans, he was a strongman – and in that sense, too strong a man.

Indiscipline is everywhere

These students are not alone in entertaining this view. They are angry at indiscipline which has stained the fabric of Sri Lanka’s society like a cancer. Indiscipline here can be defined as behaviour that goes against the set order of society. Since a society is made up of diverse people, it is a must that everyone obliges to that set order to assure interpersonal interaction among society’s members. But in Sri Lanka’s case, indiscipline is found everywhere in the country to the annoyance of civic minded citizens.

In Parliament, lawmakers very often hurl abusive slogans at each other, prompting the Speaker to expunge them from the Hansard. As if it is not sufficient, they also resort to physical violence when they cannot prove a point to their opponents. At universities, students who believe that ragging of new students is a right, resort to boycotting classes when authorities try to be tough on raggers. They block the roads with unannounced demonstrations putting the public to innumerable inconveniences. Government doctors go on strike even for issues that are not related to them. Roads are blocked by protesting men, women and children wishing, because, for them, the way to resolve conflicts is only through violence.

The indiscipline among the road users is the most annoying. A bad motorist may knock at your vehicle and keep on driving as if he had a right to do so. When the Government increases penalty for errant drivers, private bus operators choose to take their buses off the road when buses are most needed by commuting public. But, this is not mere indiscipline in society. It is an instance of using violence to win demands or resolve disputes. Since it has become endemic, the angered public has demanded the restoration of discipline in society. For that, the suggested solution has been the bringing of a strongman to power.

Even some Buddhist monks have demanded authoritarian rulers

In Sri Lanka, there have been many instances where such authoritarian rulers have been proposed even by the Buddhist clergy. In late 1960s, an influential Buddhist monk, Rajakeeya Panditha Henpitagedera Gnasaseeha Thero in a book in Sinhala titled dictatorship called for the election of an authoritarian ruler to govern the country.

The crux of the argument was that people in Sri Lanka had been a lazy lot compared to those who lived here in ancient times. Hence, to force them to work, a strict ruler was necessary. Under democracy, that could not be done, because people can vote such disciplinarians out of power. More recently, the Deputy Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter of Theravada Buddhism was reported to have advised the former Secretary of Defence, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to be a Hitler if that helped the country to solve its present problems.

The sentiments expressed for such authoritarian rulers have been voiced by many who have been disillusioned by the failure of democratic ideals to solve the country’s problems.

Direct rule of a country by people

Democracy was simultaneously born in ancient Greece and ancient India in the 5th century BCE. In both instances, it was people who directly participated in ruling them. In the city states in Athens and in the republics of Lichchavis in India, adults sat together in assemblies to decide on their destiny. However, it was not an inclusive democracy since only the elites and aristocracy that had the right to participate in the assembly meetings. Women, slaves and low caste people had been excluded from this democratic process. Besides, those direct democracies did not last for more than 200 years in both Europe and India.

People in power lack time or knowledge to make rational decisions

Thus, democracy came under criticism of both Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates had two objections to democratic rule. One was that those who formed the majority rule in democratic form of government did not have the time or intellectual capacity to make judgments. Hence, they were all substandard judgments.

This was similar to what Nobel laureate Herbert Simon found in 1957 when he conceptualised what he called ‘bounded rationality’. He said that the rational thinking of Homo sapiens have been limited or bounded by the lack of information, time and brain power to process that information.

The other reason adduced by Socrates was that in the absence of knowledge, those who came forward to rule others sought to create impressions among those being ruled by delivering favours to them. Thus, democracy is twisted and corrupted. It is not the free thinking of people that will rule them. It is the opinion of a vast majority of people whose support is essential for the rulers to remain in power. These two criticisms are valid and relevant even today.

Aristotle criticised democracy on the ground of kings turning themselves into tyrants, given the state of power struggles among different groups in a democracy. Accordingly, democracy was a rule by tyranny.

Government of which people? 

Yet, from the 19th century onward, democracy was hailed as the ideal form of government. One time US President, Abraham Lincoln, had described it as a ‘government of the people, for the people and by the people’. Thus, people were involved inclusively in the whole process of making democracy to work.

But, critics began to point out that the people involved in the democratic process were just a minority who had assumed power through the ballot. To those with a left leaning, that elite group was those who owned capital; to those with liberal thinking, they were power groups in society; and to those with religious affiliations, it was religious leaders belonging to other religions. Thus, democracy is simply an eternal battle among different power seeking groups in society. In this way, there were many who had been disgruntled with the way democracy worked on the ground. As a solution, they sought alternatives. The present day demand for a strongman or an authoritarian ruler is one such alternative.

Sacrifice today’s comforts for a better future

According to the proponents, the rule by a strongman here is simply a temporary strategy in which today’s comforts are sacrificed for a better future. To move forward, a nation has to work hard. But hard work cannot be established as the accepted norm of society. This is because the democratic system of government is too weak to enforce its will. It is hard on silent law-abiding citizens, but lax on law breakers with loud voices. Since law breakers live on the fruits of the labours of others, there is natural dissent among citizenry about the way society is ruled. If a strongman appears to take charge and delivers order and discipline to society, it is wholeheartedly welcome by many.

Post-independence Sri Lanka was full of authoritarian rulers

But, in the post-independent Sri Lanka, all democratically-elected governments had more or less functioned as authoritarian rulers. It was not the authoritarian rule proper that had been established in its own right. It was the authoritarian action that had been taken by using the majority power in the name of democracy.

On each occasion, such action had been justified on social, economic, cultural, ethnic, spiritual or political grounds. Accordingly, the right of the citizens, freedom of thought and expression, right to assembly, right to hold property, right to elect their own representatives and the right to be treated equally under the Constitution had been suppressed. Yet, over the past seven decades, Sri Lankan authoritarian rule could not deliver prosperity to its people.

For instance, Sri Lanka’s per capita GDP, according to World Bank metadata series, amounted to $ 160 in 1969, the earliest year for which these GDP data are available. After five decades in 2017, it had grown a little more than $ 4,000 which is a third of the level required for a country to become a rich country. Sri Lanka had graduated to the status of lower middle income country in 1997. Because of the low economic growth thereafter, it had remained in that category for the last 22-year period. Meanwhile, Thailand whose per capita GDP stood at $ 186 in 1969 had witnessed a faster growth than Sri Lanka reaching a level of $ 6,500 in 2017. Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s authoritarian rulers had failed to deliver the promised prosperity to Sri Lankans.

A docile man today may be a monster tomorrow 

The problem with strongmen is that they may be docile at the time of election to power. But their behaviour is unpredictable and there is a chance that they may turn out to be monsters later. This is because after enjoying the comforts associated with power, it is difficult for any human being to resist the temptation to taste it for personal benefit.

Thus, the 4th century BCE Indian Guru Kautilya advised the king in his treatise on economics, The Arthashastra, not to place honey at the tip of the tongue of king’s servants. That is because they could not resist the temptation to taste it secretly. The king has a double predicament here since he is unable to see whether king’s servants abuse power ‘just like one cannot say whether a fish swimming in water is drinking it or not’.

What this means is that strongmen who are brought to power with good intentions may betray the trust of people and emerge as the worst enemies of society.

Tendency for strongmen to accumulate wealth

The normal tendency for any strongman is to remain in power as long as possible. After his time is gone, he may want to hand over the mantle of power to his children or relatives. To do so, he will have to consolidate more power around him. That takes the form of wealth accumulation, building an unchallengeable power base in society and loyal armies – military or para military – nurtured through extraordinary privileges.

Strongmen are gullible to corruption 

Wealth is accumulated via shady business deals in which fixed cuts are paid to the strongman himself or to his close family members. The gullible public is brainwashed to believe that those businesses would make the nation stronger one day. There is evidence in Sri Lanka as well as elsewhere how strongmen or their close family members have accumulated unearned wealth through such deals.

In Nepal, as revealed by Billionaire Binod Chaudhary in his autobiography, ‘Making It Big,’ no one can start a large-scale business unless he offers 51% of free shares to a member of the royal family. In Indonesia, Suharto and his family have been accused of embezzling state funds amounting to about $ 25 billion during his 32-year rule. Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged in courts for looting $ 4.5 billion through his deals with 1MDB Corporation. There are many other examples of strongmen voted to power with good intentions accumulating unearned wealth belonging to the people of respective countries.

Suppression of people’s voices

To establish their power base firmly so that no one could challenge it, strongmen in power use all coercive laws to suppress public opinion. To reinforce it, they also arouse nationalistic or religious sentiments among people. The first makes them involuntary prisoners in their own country. The law enforcement agencies are brought under the control of the strongman or his associates so that the aggrieved public cannot seek redress through the judicial system.

On the other hand, the arousal of nationalistic or religious sentiments makes the public voluntary prisoners of the land. They suppress their rational thinking and blindly believe what they might be told by national leaders without questioning. As long as people are gullible, the strongmen could manipulate them according to their wishes as if they handle lumps of clay. The strongmen and their family members will remain in power unopposed, but the conscience of the nations concerned is killed making them laggards in a fast moving world.

Use of the military to remain in power

The objective of loyal military or para-military forces is to brutally suppress public uprisings. In this way, even the slightest opposition to the rule is severely dealt with. In many countries, there have been extra-judicial killings placing the entirety of population in a very vulnerable position. Any civil society organisation that questions such killings is immediately branded as those who shout with dollars paid to them by external conspirators. The nation is struck with fear and a fear stricken people could not be creative or innovative. The corollary is that such nations would limp in their development process when other nations move forward in leaps and bounds.

Fault of strongmen

Thus, calling for a strongman to come and rescue Sri Lanka has its own costs and risks. Once the man is in power, there is no way to remove him without resorting to bloodshed and violence. Such violence in turn impedes the country’s growth momentum. Hence, without a counterchecking and counterbalancing institutional structure in place, it is a risk to call for a strongman to come and occupy the country’s power base.

The need is for a firm leader 

What Sri Lanka needs today is not an unchecked strongman. It needs a firm leader who would take the country forward by observing rule of law, protecting property rights and leaving the positions in the very first instance he would find that his remaining in power is not welcome by people. When questioned by a journalist from TIME magazine in 1995 why he chose to quit, Nelson Mandela quipped: ‘Quitting at the appropriate time is also leading’. This should be an example to Sri Lanka’s prospective leaders.

To be continued….

*W.A. Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

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  • 5
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    CT

    “Enemies Of Democracy – Demand For A Strongman To Rule The Country”

    Does a strongman usually mean a man with pumped up biceps (treated with anabolic steroids) is usually exposed to the public from a very short sleeve T Shirt?

  • 14
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    Anyone advocating for a “strongman” to lead their country is delusional. Take a good look at the present day strongman, there is no Lee Kwan Yew anywhere. Take a good look at how the previous regime operated. Do you want journalists killed, threatened, and harassed, for criticizing your leaders? Do you want the media and the opposition to be kidnapped and taken away in white vans? Do you want people living in fear? Get real. Most of the time these “strongmen” are nationalist, and as a multi religious, multi cultural nation, this will result in ethnic conflict, and the majority taking advantage of their position, which will give the excuse for extremists to cause problems.
    Take a look at the US. Trump was a so called “strongman” that even some Sri Lankans supported, but look what has resulted. Hate crimes have gone up, white nationalist now openly operate in the country, Hispanic children are bullied in schools, militants are taking the upper hand and rounding up asylum seekers at gunpoint, Trump has aligned himself with tyrants and dictators, and distanced the nation from moderate leaders around the world, he has destroyed international agreements, including the Iran nuclear deal (at Netanyahu’s urging), which was working, and UN monitors having access to nuclear plants, he is acting above the laws, and norms, and fired all those who refused to go along, including the White House Ethics Czar, there are no rule of law, and he has brought shame to the nation, by saying he believed an ex KGB official, over his own intelligence officials. He is a racist, supported by white nationalists and the KKK, and he has attacked Mexicans, Muslims, African nations, and behaves like a dictator rather than the leader of a democracy. The US is in utter chaos, under this “strongman” who fact checkers have claimed he has lied over 9000 times from the day he became president.

  • 11
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    Yes we need a strongman but not the one pictured in here.

    • 2
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      “Germany in 1933 when Adolph Hitler was voted to power through popular ballot”

      This is not accurate …………. “The Nazis registered a large increase in votes in 1933. However, despite waging a campaign of terror against their opponents, the Nazis only tallied 43.9 percent of the vote, well short of a majority.” – wiki

      Be careful of what you wish for …… strongman and all ……

      The trade-off of freedom for security!

      Does anyone still remember the pre-9/11 America? The freedoms we enjoyed?

      • 3
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        nimal fernando

        How about a Sinha Le blooded leader?

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 12
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    Sarath Fonseka would be a good, strong leader. It is a case of picking out the best from the worst! We don’t have much choice, do we?

  • 7
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    the student opinion is nothing but foolish. you like to have a strong man and end up with a SL hitler. as a great scholar said ‘the lesson from history is that we do not learn anything from history.’
    -dayal

  • 3
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    Instead of using your ability to brainwash Sri Lankans please attempt to find a solution for this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJcS1KKgw_c&fbclid=IwAR3EhwpT2H8-GiJZvfdFILX9uFAUxDrnyFQjZCYjqGUm41hB89JGS-Y7u3U

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgGiIIkg1Ik&fbclid=IwAR2lIQAKR0n2Eh6y7LJVJo4cYhjdz9yXWAEfH4M7YMnnLxQer_GSZ8ylSLU

    The truth is buried alive and a new reality is portrayed to the international media using our own people. Shame on you for pushin apologetic political agenda to evade responsibility in these attacks.

  • 2
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    Interesting survey but very abstract. At this conjuncture SL needs some concrete suggestions. Abstract thought is good, I hasten to say, but we must finally bring it down to clear and specific decisions to be made in the here-now.

    a) Is this piece an implicit case for Gotabaya?
    b) Is it a case for a new all-community all-party unity government with more power to the leader?
    c) If (b), then it calls for a new constitution going far beyond the currently proposed draft.
    d) Is it a call to the JVP to lead a transition of power?
    e) Is it a call to retain the Executive Presidential system?

    The inadequacy of this piece, useful as it is in the abstract, is that its concluding section should address these concrete alternatives, but it does not.

  • 5
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    PATHETIC SITUATION OF SINHALE
    ———————————————
    DURING THE PAST 71 YEARS:
    We tried UNP and failed
    We tried SLFP and failed
    We tried UNP+SLFP and failed
    We tried Democracy and failed
    We tried semi-Dictatorship and failed
    We tried capitalism and failed
    We tried socialism and failed
    We tried neo-liberalism and failed
    ———–
    One thing that we have not tried is Army rule. Let us try that for a change. Sri Lankan Armed Forces is the only institution in this country that has a proven record for maintaining a high level of discipline. They will be able to restore law and order, discipline and stability that this country need very badly. If we alow the present set of politicians to go on, this country has no future.
    ———
    When Brits left India they created two rival countries deliberately expecting that they will go on fighting and it happened. In Ceylon, they did a similar thing in a subtle way without dividing the country. They promoted Demala people to demand for a separate state. With that they knew Sinhalayo and Demala people will keep on fighting. That happened exactly the way they planned. Unless this country take some strong decisions and actions, this situation will drag on.

    • 3
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      Eagle Eye, there is something wrong with your knowledge of history;
      1. British did not divide India. It was the wish of Gina the founder of Pakistan. He fought for Independence along with Nehru and Gandhi.

      2. Once India went The British virtually handed the independence to Sri Lanka and Sir, Pon Ramanathan a Tamil aristocrat and D. S. Senanayake negotiated the terms of independence and assured the peaceful co-existence of Tamil and Sinhala speaking people.

      3. British did not instigate the Sinhala Sri Riots in 1955.

      4. The British did not divide the country by introducing the “Suya Basa” legislation.

      6. The British did not introduce a proportional entry into the university and abolished the tried and tested merit-based system of education.

      Blame the Bandaranayake family for almost all of our ills with UNP a very close second with J R Jayawardena was the bloody culprit for tinkering with the constitution.

      Burning of the Jaffna library – I’m sure the order did not come from the Westminster. Sir, I could go on. You better reflect on these for the time being.

    • 2
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      Eagle Eye,
      You have listed a few but not all You also tried Man and Woman that failed. All the leaders you tried are Sinhala Buddhists who cannot go beyond the limits put forward by Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism. But you never tried a Tamil or Muslim leader to run this country. Why?

      • 0
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        Ajith
        You are right . We should try someone from the East . Any suggestions ?

    • 3
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      Eagle Eye there is one thing that is missing from your list.
      For the last 71 years – Sri Lanka did not try promoting :
      equality to all religion
      equality to all language
      equality to all minorities
      promote peace and harmony
      The only thing Sri Lanka promoted was corruption and greed among the politicians

  • 4
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    power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely
    that is what happens to strong men so we must be careful
    i dont think a another hitler is the answer but at the same time we cannot have weak rulers who promise the moon and deliver nothing like the one million jobs fiasco
    so we are now between the devil and the deep blue sea as none of the contenders
    can get us out of this mess

  • 6
    6

    A fine piece by an erudite scholar.Deserves exposure in all newspapers and a translated copy given to all parliamentarians as compulsory reading.

    Men such as this fine economist are the ones that should have gone to parliament.

  • 8
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    Its not strong man to lead the country. The Country should have strong system and procedures.
    See Cuba had very strong leader Castro but what happen to the country today and there are so many example, Venuzula , Burma north Korea etc
    Does Srilanka want to follow those countries ?

  • 14
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    Mr.Wijewardena …..you are well educated and well experienced person.
    We all respect you. I kindly ask you not talk or write about Gotabaya.
    Everyone knows that Gotabaya is a murderer and he utterly abused the power.
    He did not listen to anyone. Even his own brother Mahinda.

    Gotabaya is not an educated man. He is good for Buruwansa but not good for the country.
    I kindly ask young generation to be mindful of that.

  • 10
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    Strongman? He is a fanatic himself being part of the robbing Rajapakshe family. When there are well educated individuals available to do the leading job, why are you still sieving the sewers? It would be better to look for some new faces and start the rebuilding business afresh. Country can be disciplined without the existing garbage of legislators.

  • 2
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    Dr. Wije: Now again, long suffering Sri Lankan citizens, cursed with corrupt, morally and intellectually bankrupt leaders and politicians that have sunk the country into the Washington consensus-Euro-bond debt trap, must now go begging bowl in hand to seek DEBT CANCELLATION from the world’s biggest arms manufactures and arms traders whose economies thrive on violence and war..and so the terrorism war, peace and debt trap circus called the global economy whose narratives are crafted by dismal scientists goes on..
    But was there a message to China in the attacks on carefully selected hotels in Colombo? The first and most important Economic Asset and target was the newest and brightest -Chinese owned Shangri La. However, Indian Owned Taj Hotel that is right next to Shangri La was not touched, but Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand in that sea-front hotel strip, both owned by Sri Lankan groups were bombed.

    Long suffering Sri Lanka is certainly in the eye of the storm caused by Asia Rising–as a new superpower is born and the US Empire crashes out..

  • 2
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    See what happened when a weak idiot ruled the country.

    • 1
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      Shenal,
      This is not the first time and it is not going to be the last time bloody massacre of civilians happened in Srilanka. Srilanka suffered continuous bloodbath since 1958 at frequent intervals. I think there is something wrong with this land and the people. This is like a ghost land not suitable for human beings.

  • 8
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    This is the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank who initiated the Private Placements of T Bonds and who with his cronies in the Bank and his businessmen became millionaires overnight during the Rajapaksha regime. You were clever at attacking the present government and throwing mud at them over the Bond Scam while covering up your involvement. Now you are talking of a getting a “strong man” to lead the country after the carnage on the 21st. Looks like you have a clear link to Gota and the Rajapakshas. The Gota foot print in the carnage is too obvious to be overlooked. Gota and Rajapakshas are good at using terrorists to further their objectives. People have not forgotten how they funded LTTE to defeat the UNP.

    • 3
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      Kalu Nangi,
      “People have not forgotten how they funded LTTE to defeat the UNP.”
      Except few Sinhala two legged donkeys, mainly members of the Unpatriotic National Party Sinhalayo have not forgotten the role played by Rajapakses to send barbarian Prabhakaran to hell and restore peace to all communities in this country. Unfortunately ungrateful Wellala Demala politicians have forgotten that. Those days they were behaving like poodles. Mahinda Rajapakse gave them the freedom and opportunity to keep on chanting the mantra ‘War Criminal War Criminal War Criminal’.
      ——–
      Dravidians from Hindusthan never allowed native Sinhalayo of Sinhale to live in peace during the past 2500 years and they will not allow Sinhala people to live in peace for the next 2500 years.

      • 1
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        Did they restore peace to everyone in the country? Remember Rathupaswala, Katunayake, deaths of journalists etc

  • 0
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    Additionally, in the two rival parties of SL there is usually the family centric dynastic tribal politics, which makes it difficult for a good aspiring leadership (one and collective) to emerge. The SL population is conditioned to this conformity and is incapable to seek afresh or outside the box.

  • 0
    0

    Additionally, in the two ‘rival’ parties of SL there is usually the family centric dynastic tribal politics, which makes it difficult for a good aspiring leadership (one and collective) to emerge. The SL population is conditioned to this conformity and is incapable to seek afresh or outside the box.

  • 3
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    Strongman concept has not worked anywhere in the world…Such temporary regimes have survived only with the suppor of strong democratic Western Countries….Fujimori…Pinochet…Suharto…Ershad…Zia ul Haq…Gadaffi…Saddam Hussain…Assad….few examples and 90% of the African Continent..North Korea.. They all survive by subjugating the population to slavery..When the time is up they have to go or forcibly removed at the command of their master…What essentially requires in Sri Lanka is to establish Law & Order …independent Judicial system..proper intelligence service. However given the circumstances today there is a strong possibility of a puppet regime of US being established. Besides Sri Lanka is over populated by 9.0mn ..of which 60% are unproductive in terms of Economy and are subservient to MR because he has filled his party with them..brought them in to politics …

  • 2
    0

    I found this article more practically at ground level than his usually economic “mumbo-jumbo” pieces that elude the ordinary folk who read CT. Yes, most Sri Lankans will make the wrong choice yet again when they’re desperate for change, forgetting that their very same attitude has brought them disaster time and time again. Whether the carnage in Sri Lanka had Gota’s ugly foot-print or not (ie NTJ looks like an extremist group) the supply of logistics and the gross negligence of intelligence agencies does smack of foul play. The logic in the notion that nationalism is the ultimate refuge of the scoundrel seems way too complex for ordinary Sri Lankans to comprehend. So they will embrace the present corrupt and parasitic system yet again and elect another face that will bring yet another era of disaster.

  • 5
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    YES! We need a Strongman BUT one who would be apolitical, secular, and pragmatic in thinking. Definitely IT IS NOT GOTA.
    The Strongman should not be an ardent follower of any particular religion. His personal religious beliefs should be confined to him (his heart) and his faith/God. It should not be publicly advertised, by carrying either trays of flowers in worship or publicly bend down five times a day.
    Gota has his hands dirty, with pilfering our money (MIG deal, Mausoleum for his parents etc etc). His past record of suspected killings of Lasantha and others etc etc. the worst about Gota is that he will be dictated to by his elder brother MR, and also by others in his wide coterie of family members. We have seen iyt before so he is DEFINITELY OUT.
    There is none that I could see, not Ranil, not Sajith, and not Karu. But I think I could take my chances with Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.
    One, he has no family that we have seen hovering around him. Two, no known records of having pilfered our monies (if he had the MR government would have skinned him alive), he has a mission and a vision to get the country around. He may not be very educated academically, but I think he has common sense and also is not accused of any human rights violations during the war. It was others who were directly under Gota at whom the fingers are being pointed at.
    Finally, if he could get good professionals around him, may be he could turn our country around. The professionals should be handpicked without any hidden agendas or with skeletons in their cupboards. They should be thoroughly cleaned and vetted. If need be sent to the laundry and checked for their bona fides.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0
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    You need a strong man when mad men are entered into parliament.
    But proper law and order is controlled and people have to obey the law be it the leader or the peasant, Proper Education should be given to the young that includes their discipline, talent, sports, etc be given a must.
    One blunder done was the scrapping of English. So I guess to fix it, it should be made compulsory that all three languages should be learnt up to Ordinary Level.
    Parliamentarians should have a certain qualification level at least a Degree or Advanced Diploma including passed out Advanced Level.

  • 1
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    Requesting the need for a Strong man gives mixed thoughts; what we need is a disciplined educated accountable leader. But well before that, the systems have to be in place. The system in place needs to have checks & balances to operationalize Executive Presidency & the Cabinet of Ministers (if we intend to retain), Judiciary and the Parliament. The Parliament is for the legislators to make the policies for the country. It should be downsized to 125. All state-run institutions should have Directors appointed by a Commission similar to PSC. The Constitutional Council should be constituted with 50:50 Parliament to Non-Parliament members.

  • 1
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    [One thing that we have not tried is Army rule. Let us try that for a change. Sri Lankan Armed Forces is the only institution in this country that has a proven record for maintaining a high level of discipline.]

    Machang Blind Eagle Eye, before that will you first come back to our country. Now I learn that you scooted off the very night Preme was murdered and used that to get your PR status in Down Under and now enjoying life on tax payers’ money. Before you experiment with our country fist you come back and live among us. Your rabid racism and Tamilophobia is endless and you have lived on that so far. But now time for you to come back. By the way I want you to come back to Sri Lanka or Illankai and not to your imaginary land of milk, honey and blood aka as Sinha Lay. You guy have made enough lay to flow in our country and your thirst of lay is still not over. You can drink Aussie Red Wine as lay and anjoy life in Down under or if you have any real feeling then come back to Lankawa and clear the rubble. What a hypocrite. You re-write history.

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    Manel: “… there is no Lee Kwan Yew anywhere”. Very correct and NOT EVEN IN SINGAPORE. That land of “NO NONSENSE” has turned out to be a “SAFE HEAVEN” for all types of criminals to play “Hide & Seek”. For example: Who and where the “Mig Deal” originated and ended? How was Sajin Vas Gunawardene amassed wealth in many Singapore Banks? Who masterminded the Sri Lanka “Bond Scam” and still provided “Safe Heaven” life style? There are many more such “Deals” that have been and still continuing in that land built by that icon man Lee Kwan Yew. He, Lee Kwan must be biting his teeth some where out in the “Heaven”. This writer, Mr Wijewardane too wants a “STRONG” man. That is misleading and promoting a “Picture” (posted by CT, I believe) of a “TYRANT”. Recently that “Man” in the picture posted admitted to his “Extra Judicial” behaviour and promised to “REFORM”. Isn’t he a “TIGER” wearing sheep’s clothe?

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    People say they need a strongman leader, but they protest when traffic fines are increased to create discipline. Do they have a particular strongman in mind?

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    Is this essay a feeler to ascertain Gotabaya to fit the role of a strongman to rule the country?
    Philistine Sentimental journey!

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    It is safe to assume that Dr W A Wijewardena’s idea of a ‘strongman’ is not necessarily correct.
    He views are inside a UoJ’pura square.
    His idea of a ‘strong government?

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