21 May, 2019

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Enemies Of The President’s Promise – Dopey

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

It is entirely understandable that the President should indulge his son Namal. Given the manner in which politics in Sri Lanka has been conducted, it is also understandable that he should see him as his eventual successor.

The tradition goes back to the first Prime Minster of Sri Lanka, D S Senanayake, who wanted his son Dudley to succeed him, and appointed a complaisant Governor General, Lord Soulbery, who duly requested the son to take over when the old man died. Later Mrs Bandaranaike took over from her husband, and in time handed over control of the party, and thus the Presidency, to her daughter Chandrika.

A senior Indian journalist told me recently, when I questioned him about Rahul Gandhi, that this phenomenon of family politics in South Asia had produced youngsters who combined arrogance and stupidity in astonishing measure. I objected with regard to Mrs Gandhi herself, but he quickly granted her ability, and noted that she had come up the hard way. To some extent that could be said of both Dudley Senanayake and Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the former certainly is remembered as a good leader. But clearly now the situation has changed, and even basic ability is no longer required, at least in Sri Lanka, for political advancement.

namal-colombotelegraph (5)This is to a great extent because of the electoral system we have. In the 1978 constitution, J R Jayewardene introduced proportional representation, given that the first past the post system we had previously had produced lopsided majorities. This was because so many constituencies in the country were marginals that a small swing nationally was enough to give the more popular party a massive majority. However, the pure list system he first introduced led to those low down on the list not working at elections – and indeed sometimes crossing over to the other side – since it was obvious that, on PR, they would not be elected.

Jayewardene therefore introduced a preference system. In itself this might not have been objectionable but, instead of one preference per voter, he granted three. This meant that candidates were obliged to seek preferences in the entire catchment area they represented. Though in theory they were appointed as organizers to particular constituencies within the District, the electoral catchment area, they could not only seek votes in that constituency. Nor could they object to others, from other constituencies, seeking votes in their own particular area.

So elections became a free for all, with candidates evincing greater hostility to members of their own party, their rivals for preferences, rather than to members of the opposing party. Certainly in recent years the vast majority of complaints about electoral violence have been intra-party complaints.

The system has engendered tremendous problems. First, given the vast area in which they have to campaign, candidates require more resources than in the days in which they contested in just a single  constituency. The need for enormous amounts of money naturally leads to corruption. In addition, given the material resources that those holding executive office have, and the opportunity to appoint a large number of staff members who have basically no work except to serve the Minister who appointed them, there is a massive demand for ministerial positions – which in part explains the massive Cabinets we now have.

It also explains the manner in which funds are allocated for development purposes now. For some years, well before the present Parliament was elected, all Members were allocated Rs 5 million, to be spent as they recommended, on projects in particular subject areas. The interpretation of these was however pretty loose, so in the education sector for instance funds could be spent on providing instruments for a school band. Given the need to win popularity in a wide catchment area, most Members therefore spread their money thin.

How ridiculous the system was came home to me, when one of the Divisional Secretaries in the North told me that I was the only person who spent substantially in his area. And indeed in two Divisions in Mullaitivu, I found that, whereas I had spent 1 million rupees on each, the combined allocation of all other Members of Parliament came to less than1 million in one Division, less than Rs 100,000 in the other, which was perhaps the most neglected Division in the country – and sparsely populated, which explained perhaps the neglect.

As a National List Member, I had decided that I would each year spend half of my money in the South, and half in the North. I cannot take any credit for this, in that I did not need the money to win votes since I had no constituency, and had no likelihood of being nominated, or winning election, from any District. But I did try to spend my money on projects that would have a lasting impact and, in the North, having started with entrepreneurship development workshops for former combatants, I moved on to establishing Vocational Training Centres. These were in schools, to minimize expenditure on infrastructure, and also to develop a culture of continuing education within the school system.

In two years then, I had set up five such Centres in four Divisions in Mullaitivu and one in Kilinochchi, the Districts in which the LTTE had held sway. Despite my urging, way back in 2010, that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Vocational Training develop Vocational Training in the area, and the Minister agreeing, very little had been done. Planning seemed to have been left to Basil Rajapaksa, who just spent money on buildings. Thus there was a large complex in Mullaitivu town, but it had very few students by 2014. No study had been done of what the people in the area wanted, so there were no courses in for instance the motor mechanics that the fishing industry of the region needed.

In the four other Districts of the area, one had no Centre, two others had Centres that were not functioning, the fourth had a Centre with just 16 students in attendance. My own Centre in the same area had 55. The situation was similar in both Mannar and Kilinochchi, the other two Districts in the North that had suffered most from LTTE domination. And to add to the neglect from which they suffered, Kilinochchi was lumped together with Jaffna for electoral purposes, while Mullaitivu and Mannar were included with Vavuniya in an electoral District known as Wanni.

The whole area then received very little funding from Members of Parliament elected from there. Those Members who represented what was termed the Jaffna District spent their funds there, and only two of them, one from government and one from the opposition, bothered to any appreciable extent about Kilinochchi. In the Wanni, the government Members were all Muslims from the Mannar District and concentrated there on the Muslim areas, albeit neither of them thought much about training – even though one of them, Rishard Bathiudeen, was Minister of Industries, and should have realized the paucity of skilled workers in the area. Ironically, Douglas Devananda, the Tamil government Minister from the North, was Minister of Small Industries, but for him too it seemed that training was a closed book. And the opposition Members, with no encouragement to think of long term development, also did little in the area that could have long term impact.

Perhaps realizing the failure to win hearts and minds through the existing provisions, in the rest of the country as well as in the North, the indefatigable if tunnel visioned Basil Rajapaksa came up with new wheezes in 2014. Previously he had deployed the bulk of funds available for development through the Economic Development Ministry, which indeed commanded the second largest share of the National Budget, following Defence. But there had also been rumblings about this, from Members of Parliament, who finally began to say openly that massive building projects alone were not enough.

So a new scheme was instituted whereby government Members of Parliament elected from the various Districts were allocated Rs 30 million each to devise Projects for their Districts. And then, to frost the cake extravagantly, selected Members were given varying amounts, of 100 million and more, for development of areas where they presided over what were termed Divisional Development Committees.

These schemes made it very clear how desperately the country needed reform of both the electoral system, and administrative structures. As I told the Chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee to look into reforms, it was absurd that government should still function in terms of electorates when these had no administrative status, and indeed meant nothing formally for political purposes either. The absurdity of allocating huge sums to all government members elected from a particular District, obviously because they needed to win hearts and mind throughout the District – and in competition with each other – should have made obvious to anyone concerned with executive responsibilities the need to change our electoral system, as had been pledged at so many elections.

For good measure I wrote too to the Ministry of Public Administration to point out that this see-saw between electorates and districts and divisions made clear that we needed to streamline the system for administrative and financial purposes. My view was that now it would make sense to work primarily  through Divisions, the increasing population making that the most practical unit of administration, on the pattern on which some decades back the Province had given way to the District. Coordination of government services, and in particular results based budgeting, seemed best done now at Divisional level, given the number of services which could be coordinated at that level.

But I had little hope of the necessary reforms being considered, given the absence of conceptualizing capacity amongst decision makers. Besides, it was clear by the latter part of 2014 that government was gearing itself for elections, and saw the confusion about units desirable for both allocating funds and avoiding accountability based on clearcut units where popular consultation could play a significant role.

Another consequence of the electoral system from which we now suffer is that simple name recognition is generally enough to ensure election. Often voters, having selected the candidate from their constituency, use their other two preferences on those whose names they know. Obviously posters put up all over the electoral catchment area help in getting one’s name known, but there are other easier reasons too for some individuals to get votes. So film or sports stars do very well at elections, as do those who obtain publicity for other reasons, through eccentric behavior, or even by being jailed, as happened with a relatively unknown character from the opposition in the 2010 General Election.

And of course if one’s father or mother or brother or uncle is already an established politician, then one is more likely to pick up the loose preferences of a large number of the voters. In short, the children of well known politicians start with a built in advantage. Contrariwise, in the past, when candidates were chosen for particular electorates, they had to establish themselves in that area, as individuals with some connection with the constituency they wanted to represent. Now however they simply have to command patronage in order to get their names on the electoral lists. So in recent years there have been increasing numbers of children standing for election, and many of them have done very well. Whereas Mahinda Rajapaksa had to prove that he was the most able of his siblings to step into his father’s seat, and whereas he lost elections under the first past the post system and was not in Parliament for several years, Namal had no difficulty in getting nomination for the Hambantota District, and in topping the list there on preferences at the election. And he will surely be able to get enough preferences in any future election to stay in Parliament, even if the SLFP becomes less popular in the District than another party.

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Power hunger in Prof Rajiv wijesinghe is unbelievable. He is really prepared to be or do anything in order to stay in power.

  • 8
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    Don’t you ever get tired of talking about yourself?

  • 2
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    I objected with regard to Mrs Gandhi herself, but he quickly granted her ability, and noted that she had come up the hard way. To some extent that could be said of both Dudley Senanayake and Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the former certainly is remembered as a good leader.

    But clearly now the situation has changed, and even basic ability is no longer required, at least in Sri Lanka, for political advancement.

    Namal does not have even the basic ability to be a president. But he is being brought to be that.

    Politician is the only job that does not need any qualifications; does not have any job description and the Salary, benefits and perks are unbelievably lucrative.

    • 1
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      “Politician is the only job that does not need any qualifications; does not have any job description and the Salary, benefits and perks are unbelievably lucrative. “

      Just like North India Criminals and jail birds are in both houses..

      Anything new in the island that it has not copied??

  • 2
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    Rajiva Wijesinha –

    “A senior Indian journalist told me recently, when I questioned him about Rahul Gandhi, that this phenomenon of family politics in South Asia had produced youngsters who combined arrogance and stupidity in astonishing measure. “

    Expose, Expose and Expose..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMQxUqyKhJg

    cartoon 2014.12.12

    Story of the modern Hitler…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IKHJG5ztL68

  • 2
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    Rajiva Wijesinha –

    Enemies Of The President’s Promise – Dopey

    Story of the modern Hitler…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IKHJG5ztL68

    Sinhala Joke Drama – Mahinda Rajapaksa – After Being Defeated

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3ZORcsG75I

  • 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/

  • 2
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    Rajiva Wijesinha –

    RE: Enemies Of The President’s Promise – Dopey

    The Holy Pope is Coming to Sri Lanka, because the Medamulana MRa has Files of the Pope. He must have stolen the Popes files when he visited him…

    Pope Francis is a big thief,files with President,Sujeewa Senasinghe insults Pope (video)

    The UNP member of parliament Sujeewa Senasinghe has insulted Pope Francis in parliament.

    He had said to the House that Pope will definitely visit Sri Lanka and that is definite as the reason for his visit is purely as the files with documents for thefts etc, are with President.

    • 0
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      Birds of a feather flock together.

  • 8
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    ”As a National List Member, I had decided that I would each year spend half of my money in the South, and half in the North. I cannot take any credit for this, in that I did not need the money to win votes since I had no constituency,….”

    I always wonder about you and Rajitha…!!? But… Of course G L is the most matured rascal of you all !!?

    When Ranil was on the verge of lose you Hyenas boasted about the glory of an illiterate idiot Rajapakse….and when you see some light in the green house you bastards are back to the doors with some philharmonics..!!?

    Let me recall the worst sarcastic display of yours in Geneva in the year 2008 !!? When a Catholic Priest confronted you with details of the agonies of the Tamil Refugees at a camp Called ”Kalimoddai – Murunkan” in the District of Mannar – claiming that the camp is filled with poisonous snakes and even some inmates were bitten by serpents…!!? …!!?

    Do you recall your ”Arumugam Thondaman style of Animal Talk ”!!? – Your reply was….”Dear Rev.Father….even at the Garden of Eaden…you’ve had a snake !!? Why not at Kalimoddai !!? Didn’t you dear sarcastic Prof. of English !!?

    How come you complain that Rajapakses are snakes in the garden of SLFP !!?

    You should be punished for defending Rajapakse criminals against humanity. You brought the dignity of the educated society of Sri Lanka to it’s knee by serving classless creatures like Rajapakses..!!? I always wonder, how come that the Racist Athuraliye Rathne Thera is happy to be in your company while refusing your brother Mervyn Silva’s entry into the Opposition.!!?

    Is the change meant opportunity for opportunists like you or …really for the genuine people of this country !!?

    • 5
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      Rev.Devil

      Is Rajiva Wijesinha still friends with the self confessed war monger and war crime denier?

      What sort of job offer did he get from the opposition?

      • 5
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        Hi Native…long time !!

        Well…in the event of an (unbelievable) victory by the opposition (as we hear about the manner in which the ballot papers were printed – allowing the presence of the police alone …!!?) I sadly have to recall the words of Victor Ivan !! Who once described Chandrika as…

        ”The Queen of deceit and the most corrupt and inefficient of all the corrupt and inefficient in the history of the country” shall show her colors again to Ranil !!!?

        These penuts like Rajeeva could be seen again behind the backs of those failed & fake faces !!?

  • 3
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    Probably going to get voted down for saying this, but I actually agree with a lot of what’s said here.

    Right is right, people, regardless of whether it is said by a saint or Satan himself.

    • 4
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      Dear KP….Satans like Rajeeva serve the morons in most part of their life time and like the nailed thief on the right side of the cross of Jesus they suddenly become saints …if and when there is a General election !!? Even KP himself is a Saint in the eyes of the Rajapakses isn’t it !!?

      One more big thing is that to all the Tamil Nationalist Jaffna men, Karuna Amman is a traitor but KP Means that…he has had no other way than going along with Rajapakses ..hahahaha….Your comment reminds me the hypocrisy of yours and my Jaffna man !!?

    • 3
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      I repeat what I have said elsewhere as it is pertinent here. Too many people are still smarting from the part that this man (and others)played in the years 2008-2010, and in particularly during his time at the haplessly named Peace Secretariat. Then it was ‘yes sir, no sir, whatever you say is what I will say sir’, and what he did say then was callous, crass and insensitive. Many people were hurt and puzzled – and we are not talking just of our Tamil brethren who have been destined to share this blessed island with the rest of us. Rajiva showed a streak of abhorrent inhumanity that was clearly indulged in to keep him in the good books of the Regime. The thing is that I (for one) had followed Rajiva’s star for many a moon; bought his books, read his articles, laughed at some of his stories but my expectation that his actions would alleviate those fraught times was dashed when I found him clearly lying, hurtfully, in many utterances during his tenure at the Peace Secretariat. He must, he should have, known better. Better men would walk away from bad company rather than collaborate and compromise. Notwithstanding the sense he often writes, and occasionally speaks, it is all tainted by the memory of what he did then, and what his motives might be now.

      • 5
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        “”I found him clearly lying, hurtfully, in many utterances during his tenure at the Peace Secretariat.””

        At campus they cultivate the thickest of rhino hide that- do they care??..

        only beating them at the elections and jettisoning them into non entities by exposure is the panacea.- honestly i have seen classic cases with professors of the UK too. he is just like dr subu swamy our maths prof iit delhi (pungi lungi sambar)

  • 4
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    Someday I’m gonna write, the story of my life, I’ll tell about the day we met, And how my heart can’t forget, The way MaRa smiled at me.

    I want the world to know, the story of my life, The moment when your eyes met mine, and that first exciting time, when MaRa spoke to me.

    The sorrow when our love was breakin’ up, the mem’ry of a broken heart
    but later on, the hope of makin’ up, but in the end to part.

    There’s one thing left to do, before my story’s through, I’ve got to crossover with heavy heart, so that I can make a new start, with My new love My3.

    With due apologies to Messrs David and Bacharach.

    Professori, the bane of our body politic has been the inexhaustible stream of siblings and offspring whose only contribution has been to perpetuate mediocrity (and worse) and block the truly capable from serving our country (or even discourage them from coming forward in the first place). Ah! for the long overdue education of our masses to hopefully stop the rot.

    • 5
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      Nice little idea that would bloom in paradise at galle festival i suppose so.

      “”I’ve got to crossover with heavy heart, so that I can make a new start, with My new love My3.””

      It’s a constant struggle when the left wing initiates lowering of standards to accommodate their kind of people who now sit under the table and are the cause of the state of affairs and continue to do so..

      UK also saw labour shift the standards from meritocracy to quotas and it’s former colonies like India did the stupid same just to stay in power. Thankfully they realise it and are effecting the changes but the loss is colossal- brain drain of the very best never to return but just a seepage or two.

      USB3

  • 2
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    Why can’t you people accept that Rajiva is pointing out severe defects in the system?

    Is there no room in your heads for reason and logic or even basic human courtesy?

    • 5
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      The truth is that too many people are smarting from the part that Professori played in the years 2008-2010, and in particularly during his time at the haplessly named Peace Secretariat. It was ‘yes sir, no sir, whatever you say is what I will say sir’, and what he did say then was callous, crass and insensitive. Many people were hurt and puzzled – and we are not talking just of our Tamil brethren who have been destined to share this blessed island with the rest of us. Rajiva showed a streak of abhorrent inhumanity that we can now see was clearly indulged in to keep him in the good books of the Regime. The thing is that I (for one) had followed Rajiva’s star for many a moon; bought his books, read his articles, laughed at some of his stories but my expectation was dashed when I found him clearly lying, hurtfully, in many utterances during his tenure at the Peace Secretariat. He must, he should have, known better. Better men would walk away from bad company rather than collaborate and compromise. Notwithstanding the sense he often writes, and occasionally speaks, it is all tainted by the memory of what he did then, and what his motives might be now.

  • 4
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    The good Professor seems to be off his rocker. How ridiculous of him to compare a revered leader like Dudley Senanayake with the likes of Mrs B and Chandrika and Indira Gandhi in the manner in which he came to be PM? RW is repeating a popular canard in stating that DS “wanted his son Dudley to succeed him, and appointed a complaisant (sic!) Governor General, Lord Soulbery (sic!), who duly requested the son to take over”. Any objective look at the record will show that Dudley was no amateur politician who stepped into the shoes of his father on the latter’s death. Dudley had served more than what was needed by way of political apprenticeship to lay claim to the leadership in his own right. When DS died, SWRD had already left the UNP and the Leader of the House was Sir John Kotelawala but Sir John was not an undisputed leader and did not command similar respect or loyalty that Dudley did. And if DS indeed wished his son to succeed him ahead of SWRD or Sir John or even JR, did not the terrible manner in which those three gentlemen performed when they eventually succeeded to the high office of PM, serve to confirm DS’ good judgement?

    And RW must be one of only a few who seems to think that Indira Gandhi was an able PM. Her only qualification for office was that she was Nehru’s daughter. She had no political experience save that of serving as her father’s ‘secretary’ and certainly as far as SL was concerned was anything but able. We now see that she did indeed preside over a very inefficient and far from clean administration.

    RW is given to some real muddled thinking. To even compare DS and Dudley with MR and his son Namal is an insult to the memory of two of SL’s great Prime Ministers and the intelligence of CT readers.

    Two things seem constant in his recent articles – an effort, however weak, to make excuses for MR and an ill concealed boast of how very clever RW himself was in the assignments that MR had entrusted to him.

  • 1
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    It is obvious from his writings that Rajiva W has an exclusive love for “His3”, not “my3” or any other 3.

    Wonder why CT keeps encouraging this scum bag by publishing his garbage. Just like CT does for the other s.bags: Mahindapala, Dayan, and Ayathuray.

    Repulsive shit.

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