23 April, 2024

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Immediate Governmental Actions Needed

By Sunil J. Wimalawansa –

Prof Sunil J. Wimalawansa

Part 25: Sri Lanka—Changing Pillows to Cure Headaches: Immediate Governmental Actions Needed, including a New Amendment in Sri Lanka

The country needs a new political system, complete social and behavioural change, and a new constitution. However, achieving all these in one step is not feasible. Therefore, in the interim, an amendment is justified. Subsequently, introducing a People’s Constitution is essential that would make all politicians and administrators accountable while separating the judicial system from politics.

A meaningful amendment to the awful constitution is necessary

In addition, the new amendment (either modified 22 or a new 23 A) must allow failing or corrupt politicians and those who change party affiliations (usually for money) to be recalled—removed and replaced by fresh candidates at any time. Those who break law and order and violate the constitution must bring to justice promptly and punished.

In the interim, the new amendment must liberate the judiciary from the grips of the executive and legislative branches. The powers of these three branches must be separated. All Council and Commissions appointed under the new amendment, especially the “Constitutional Council,” should not have any parliamentarian or the president under any circumstances.

Politicians will try to sneak them into these Councils/ Committees, as we see in the current form of the 21st and the 22nd amendments, to protect 225 MPs. They do this to keep the judiciary under their control, which is illegal under democratic governance. Instead of honouring laws, they prevent the judiciary from becoming independent of political grips.

The new amendment must include meritocracy: appoint only those professionals who are suitable and qualified to a government position, including governors, chairpersons, and diplomats. In conjunction, the president should not hold any cabinet portfolio, and the cabinet should be limited to between 15 and 20 ministers, including the prime minister. It is unnecessary and a waste of funds to appoint deputy- and other types of ministerial positions. Why waste public funds for the self-gain of MPs? With the new amendment, the parliament must enact the 19th A (preferably going back to 17th A), which would weaken the disastrous executive powers.

The proposed “all-party” government is a deception, a misleading gimmick, by the president to maintain power

The president’s goal is selfish: to destroy the weakened opposition for the next two years to stay in power and govern as a dictator, to which he is already engaged. Being a cunning person, he is offering the opposition members a pretext of an all-party government to achieve his goal of remaining in power. Unfortunately, many greedy MPs will likely fall into his trap by accepting his ‘carrots’—ministerial positions and/or money. He is also counting that there would not be dissenters in the Phottuwa party that gave him 134 votes, a sweep ticket to assume the presidency out of nowhere. However, he must realise that he has little public support and no mandate.

Giving ministerial positions to greedy opposition members with no loyalty to their parties is a convenient way of silencing them for the remainder of the parliamentary period till the next election. MPs in the current opposition will then genuinely complain or criticise the president. It would also allow him to enact additional policies protecting him, even though these are likely unfavourable to people, the country, and its economy.

This is not different from the pitiful master trick he performed on the day of the former president’s resignation on 10th July. While waiting, he categorically stated that he would resign with the president: he lied to the parliament and the public. He suggested that the speaker become the acting president, per the constitution.   Instead, the swindler bluffed everyone and immediately assumed the temporary presidency. Then he made underhand deals (apparently bribing MPs to vote for him) to gain many gullible MPs.

What should be done in the short term?

Apart from enacting a new amendment, there are other vital steps the administration must take. These include revoking unnecessary and harmful emergency declarations. Ironically, the unscrupulous president enforced an emergency to protect him and his crocked supporting MPs at the expense of the public. Emergency declarations or his other brutality decisions are not to protect the public.

Without a national threat or country-wide armed riots, there is zero justification for declaring an emergency. If there is violence, such is solely executed by the government (ab)using the police, military, and militia (i.e., an unauthorised private (illegal and drunken) militia as a witness on 9th May) and initiating “state-sponsored” terrorism against innocent people. How can anyone justify such brutality against the unarmed public (especially when they were at sleep)? Anyone who attempts to justify such violence against people is a part of the problem and should be considered a public enemy for future prosecution.

Miserable failures of the police

The failure to arrest violent mob and para-military sent by the former prime minister, some ministers and Mayers to attack peaceful protesters, and proxies who attacked on and after 9th of May—mob invasion stunningly brought disrepute to the president who gave orders and the country. The public and families seek justice for damages, bodily harm, and extra-judiciary killings of protesters in Colombo and elsewhere by these gangs and the police. None of those who instigated or carried out these attacks was arrested or prosecuted by the police. Why such blatant injustice?

Why are the IGP, DIGs, and the attorney general protecting criminals and murderers mentioned above? Because of the refusal to arrest them, citizens wonder if those mentioned were also involved in harming the public. No matter what, there is zero justification for their abysmal failures to prevent harming protesters or killing them: police or the military has no right to do so. Police failed to maintain law and order and themself broke the laws on multiple occasions. In addition, there is zero transparency in the actions taken by the president, cabinet, police, and the military: they assume they are above the law.

Lack of transparency and hiding information by the government

Consequently, fraud and abuses escalated in 2022. Politicians have turned Sri Lanka not only into a begging country but also into a kangaroo republic. The public is weary, as the government does these secretly, illegally, and unconstitutionally. Meanwhile, most believe that the similarity of brutality, torture and recent killings are characteristic of killings at Batalanada.

How-come postmortem findings of none of the recent killings, as with Batalanda and other killings by the police and militia, been made public? Recent torture and killings are reminiscent of practices when the current president was the prime minister and directed violence against the JVP youth in the late 1980 using a few corrupt police members. For them and those who ordered these brutalities will have a new hell for themselves. More questions are accumulating than answers. People want to know why the recommendations of reports like Batalanda report were not implemented. What people want answers, not more killings.

Knowing the history of how politicians managed to suppress revolution in Sri Lanka with extreme brutality as in the late 1980s, recently, many predicted extra-judicial killings would commence soon; it materialised. Killings of youths at Batalanda and other torture camps amounted to several thousand: loss of future of Sri Lanka.

Successive governments have not hesitated to use brutalities to protect a handful of politicians and ruthlessly maintain power at any cost. Despite thousands of killings, none of the culprits was penalised: the police would not investigate themselves! Is this the type of democracy people want using dictatorships in Sri Lanka?

Conclusion

It is essential to develop immediate solutions to establish pollical stability by appointing a meritocracy-driven cabinet of approximately 15 experts in a given subject out of the 224 MPs. There is no reason to appoint deputies to other types of misters, which would be an utter waste of funds, especially when the government is bankrupt. All-party government is an expensive stunt and will fail.

Appointing a new cabinet with experts, irrespective of age and political affiliation would be the best option under the current deadlock. Such would be a hundred times better than the so-called politically-motivated all-party cabinet the president is aspiring to for personal gain. All members of this “professional” cabinet should include those with expertise in the macro-economy and international negotiations capable of solving the economic crisis.

If the president opts to have an early election, it is because he does not have enough support from MPs or has zero ideas for getting out of the economic mess they created.

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    BUT WE CANNOT FORGET THE TRUTH AS BELOW.
    Only 1 or 2 social media carry these types of comments. They support a true “Right of Expression” ethics.
    Gota deserves more than this from the people of Sri Lanka than what the hooligans and rowdies, political conspirators and the gang members of R2R Western group , NGO’s and INGO’s meted out to him since March 2022 for what he had given the “SINHALA PEOPLE” and the “MINORITIES” a country and Nation called the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to be what it is – to belong to them as a “SOVERIGN BUDDHIST BSTATE” and “NOT” a puppet state of the Western Christian powers who would have divided it and created 2 states if Gota and those patriotic forces and their supporters did not defeat the ruthless LTTE terrorist organization in May 2009 after crushing them from Maavilaru to Nandikadal within a period of 3 years from July 2006 to May 2009. Standing up to the onslaughts of the LTTE front active and lobby groups in Canada and only a handful of dedicated Sinhalese “patriots” and 3 or

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