13 December, 2019

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Finding A Path To True Democracy In Sri Lanka

By Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.” Abraham Lincoln

As the earthquake in Nepal killed more than 7000 people, this natural disaster has taken more lives than the Insurgency the nation was fighting for over the last decade. Bearing in mind the immense suffering borne by victims and their families a cue must be taken by disaster management institutes such as SAARC meteorological department which have made limited contributions to regional calamities. A natural disaster of the magnitude such as of Nepal magnitude may repeat. Preemptive measures are crucial to curtail the limitless catastrophe such disasters may cause.

Depending of the point in time in the arc of history where we live we revisit some of the iconic moments of the past. Through the historical narrative and experiences of people mankind witnesses numerous to curtail power of one individual and restore to a wider representational body. As the colonial empire imposed draconian rule it became impossible to govern the natives as the public believed in strengthening the representative system for their economic freedom and further political rights. The United States in 1619 introduced a general assembly that gave all adult men a say in the laws and institutions governing the colony. It was the start of a democracy in a step to move away from the British Empire which evolved to the constitution in Philadelphia in May 1787.

Sri Lanka experienced historical political achievement with the passing of the 19th Amendment with a Parliamentary majoiry. Such political progress will cut down the centralised power of the executive and moved towards the Prime minister and Parliament. At the memorial oration at the four time Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, Karunasena Kodithuwakku noted that Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake seeing it as early as 1972, was knowing of the consequences of transferring a significant power to one person thus objecting to the executive presidency.

Former Presidents promised but failed to deliver. President Maithripala Sirisena factors in SriLankan political history as a leader who strengthened local democratic institutions at the expense of his own power, a first in post independence Sri Lankan politics. It is our opportunity to strengthen independent institutions and depoliticize them. Bribery Commission a place which should be equal to all citizens without political interference will have a massive local and global impact on our nation to improve on Corruption Perception Index. Tackling political corruption of all politicians should be done without any interference as the urban councilors, provincial councilors or member of parliament or former Heads of State are all representatives which represent us their shouldn’t be a difference in the process. Equality, as a clause engraved in our constitution leaves the author questioning as to why the commissioner was summoned by Speaker. We should ask what if the speaker has an allegation who should summon in such situation.

image1For the 19th amendment to function smoothly and Sri Lanka requires representatives with the highest standards within a functional meritocracy in the State system. As majority of members elected lack basic education a criteria that has to be looked at in the modern day world unlike the past. The next parliament elections should bring in more statesman people who could contribute for the economic prosperity and to create decent political culture. This could be done by the powerful ballot only and if this change is done we are looking at a brighter Sri Lanka or else it will be a repeat of what we had in the past.

A significant strength of our nation was taken away by the three decade war. Over a session last week at the Harvard Kennedy School the author emphasized the grievous political loss to the country in the assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, Lalith Athulathmudali, Lakshman Kadirgamar, President R. Premadasa and many other leaders. These carefully planned assassinations weakened our State. It’s time we strengthen back our governance structure by bringing the right people for the top jobs.

We will face many more challenges in the coming months and years specially after ending insurgency and terrorism specially to deal with the many clusters of the core LTTE group operating from west. To bring them to the reconciliation process to give up their idea on Tamil Eelam will be challenging. TNA should support the reconciliation process of the government and ensure the other groups could engage with us.

A fault in local decision making at policy level is its lack of consideration of research input from think tanks and research material leading ad hoc decisions. Research input should be a priority and we should develop our research capability as a nation. National think tanks and others should welcome public opinion and ideas before policy decisions are implemented in Parliament.

It is important to consider the foreign migration of our talented youth to Australia, US and many developed nations. A talented youth force is a necessity for nation building. They need to be engaged in this important moment of time. It is important to look at mechanisms to attract the expat Sri Lankan professionals back to our country reverse brain drain scheme like in India.

The 150th death anniversary of one of the greatest leaders through time, President Lincoln, was commemorated over the last month. President Lincoln ended a bloody civil war that took more than 600,000 lives and ending slavery while uniting a nation to ensure the freedom for all. Resultantly, a greater nation emerged. Lincoln with his constitutional reform, the 13th amendment build the nation creating equality and opportunity to all. We could draw a lesson from the political will of Lincoln to our present day constitutional reform, the much needed reconciliation process to build our nation as John Kerry said in his brilliant remarks “…what my country discovered to our own anguish during our civil war there were no true victors only victims. You saw, I trust, that it is obvious the value of ending wars in a way that builds foundation for the peace to follow.”

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    “TNA should support the reconciliation process of the government and ensure the other groups could engage with us”……………………..

    The NP Governor has other ideas.

    http://www.tamilnet.com/

    He is bent on ‘sinhalisation’ of the province.
    The army is bent on harassment of northern citizens and assaulting students & arresting citizens under the PTA.
    Army intelligence is present at all civic functions and videos proceedings to intimidate citizens.
    The army interferes with family life and worship in temples.
    The army has misappropriated lands and homes of citizens.

    What price “reconciliation”?

    • 3
      1

      justice

      Please add:

      Army Intelligence(?) has recruited members of Pottu Amman department to spy on Tamils as well as members of Armed forces.

      Army demands Kappang from small farmers, chicken, egg, goat, ……. etc

      Members of armed forces visit single parent female headed households during wee hours of the day.

      As you said they are present at almost all Hindu temples through out the island and make offering.

      Now we have a new race Sinhala/Hindus whose origins can be traced back to Ravana (An ardent adherent of Saivaism).

    • 1
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      Asanga Abeyagoonasekera –

      RE: Finding A Path To True Democracy In Sri Lanka?

      Castrate Mahinda Rajapakda, Gotabaya Rajapakda, Wimal Modawansa, Baludeva Nanaykkara, Balunesh Goooonaqardana,Gon Gonpila, and you are half-way there!

  • 3
    0

    Well, well this guy Asanga [Edited out]

    He served the corrupt and criminal Mahinda Jarapassa regime which promoted a CULTURE OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION well and now is preaching good governance!

    He [Edited out]

  • 2
    2

    Oh wow Asanga.

    This writing is very much different from the last time. What happened? Anyway, follow this trend. You never know, you could be playing a key role in the future playing a vital role in uniting the different communities in this little island.

    • 2
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      .
      Are you saying Asanga Baby passed Grade 1 and now in Grade 2?

      :-)

      • 0
        0

        Mmmm, sort of.

        Well unlike the old folks writing some garbage, and Asanka following the style, I think he is making some progress from his previous article…maybe… :)

      • 0
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        Mmmm, sort of.

        Well unlike the old folks writing some garbage, and Asanka following the style, I think he is making some progress from his previous article…maybe… :)

  • 2
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    ‘EY MAN ( Asanka ),

    Have you forgotten the contents of your previous articcle ” Threats to Sri Lanka After Ending Insurgency and Terrorism ” in the CT ?As this article by you is clearly an extension of that article with lots of camouflage, cunningness of all the Saccountability and Presidents before MS , and praise of US ( US ta panthama allanawa ) to save Mahinda & Co from corruption and abuse of power and possible accountability for civil an casualties and also to divert all the allegations against MR regime by individuals, media, the GOSL after the 8th January , many of the political parties and by the Tamil Diaspora and Sinhalese Diaspora.

    If you are a real or smart patriot of SL and honestly care about all the communities of mother Lanka, you should have taken note of Waran’s comments on your previous article and Lal Keerthie Fernando’s “SL : Why Fear Devolution ? ” in the CT and answered them as the so called researcher. But you have conveniently evaded.

    Never mind, what is your provisional or final master plan or ideas for an effective reconciliation process and a political solutions which are over due since 1948?

    ‘EY MAN, DON’T PLAY YOUR CARDS CLOSE TO YOUR CHEST, PUT THEM ON THE TABLE MAN “

  • 4
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    Asanga,

    There is some improvement in your thoughts but still you couldn’t come out with your fundamental buddhist Sinhala mentality. You are not prepared to go back to the roots of the cause of the poroblem. The political assasination culture was not started by LTTE, it was by a Sinhala buddhist monk who killed oxford educated talented SWRDB who believed in devoultion of power to strengthen the democracy and unity of the people. The Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism did not allow talented leaders to become leaders or strengthen democracy. The Jaffna library was burnt by talented Sinhala Buddhist leaders Gamini Dissanayaka & Cyril Mathew with the support of Police and Army.The talented Sinhala leadership were used not to strenthen the democracy or reconciliation but used to convince the motive of the Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism.
    Unless you change you thoughts beyond Mahawamse mentality there is no recociliation. You cannot go foward without telling the truth. You must understand LTTE is part of Srilanka and they should be part of any reconciliation. As United States and rest of the civilised world agree you should corporate with UN investigation into the war crimes and human rights violation of both Srilanka & LTTE. I hope you will write your next article the horrors of the past 65 years including thousands of victims of Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism and their threat and challenges facing the current administration from Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism.

  • 1
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    Is there something call “True Democracy”??You need to think hard..

  • 0
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    Asanga,

    Are trying to learn the history by writing rhetoric news about Sri Lakan poitical derailment by putting ethnic problems & other substandard activities by regime(s)

  • 0
    0

    Nice big ideals with lots of US civil war analogies – Dayan Jayatileke would be proud. I think what Sri Lanka is missing is some rather simple pillars. Specifically accountability and justice. Sri Lanka doesn’t need to re-invent the wheel. Many wealthy and successful countries have independent courts that ensure the security forces don’t have impunity over other smaller nations the island. That would be a good starting point, and the good news is that if Sri Lanka can’t figure it out, it will get a little help from Mssers Kerry and Co.

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