20 June, 2019

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Sri Lanka Needs Clean & Competent Political Candidates

By Jayadeva de Silva

Jayadeva de Silva

Jayadeva de Silva

Criminal politicians should go to jail, lose their seats and be disqualified from contesting for a substantial period of time. Sri Lanka’s wheels of justice grind slowly, common man lays the blame squarely on politicians and laments that ‘goondas’ are winnable candidates. But how did criminals come to dominate in the first place? Are there fundamental flaws in our political system that makes it favour the tainted over the sainted? Have civil society’s movements in courts only attacked the symptoms? Can we identify and attack the root causes instead?

Today, candidates typically start their parliamentary careers with monies obtained from big mafias. Candidates who cannot raise white money openly are at a disadvantage. Thereby, clean politicians are crippled by the system.

At the last presidential elections one candidate has spent Rs 43,000 per voter !

Mahinda*Photo courtesy AP

Therefore, across the board, parties have tried to cope by favouring candidates with black money and the networks and capability to expend those resources. Such candidates, whose political foundations are built on lawbreaking, typically hijack the political system for private profiteering. The rare few get caught and eventually convicted.System should change so that cleaner candidates who can raise limited amount white resources will also be able to compete. Today when people want clean candidates but political parties shun them on the criterion of ‘winnability’. Campaign for clean and competent candidates (CCCC) has been initiated in Sri Lanka to find a solution to this pressing issue.

As a country, we also need to make it possible for people to back their preferred candidates openly. This will allow the electorate to hold their candidates accountable. Contemporary political as well as civil society movements are already demonstrating that public-spirited Sri Lankans will willingly contribute to causes instead of pontificating from armchairs.

In a representative democracy, the candidate represents and is responsible to the citizen electorate. It is worth recalling that in India, Mahatma Gandhi introduced the ‘char-anna’ membership for the Congress. Through small contributions he made the masses a stakeholder in swaraj. Similarly, we should enable individuals to contribute small sums and help free politicians from dependence on vested interests.

Today, parties typically resort to filling their coffers by collecting donations from unaccountable funds, including from crooks and criminals and some individuals give them money in return they are rewarded with positions in the government.

Free, fair and effective democracy costs money. Parties need huge resources to sustain themselves, whether in office or in the opposition. Politics is practically a full-time job but we expect politicians to live on love and fresh air. We must learn to contribute openly and hold our representatives accountable. We must explore different state funding formulae to encourage political participation. We must bring every aspect of the political process into the open. For sunlight is the best disinfectant.

As more sections of society actively contribute and participate, the political system will undergo a transformation. Then, we will see inclusive, empowered parties, citizen candidates and positive politics.

Parliament can still use the remaining days to reform counterproductive aspects of party financing and election expenditure laws. That will set a virtuous cycle in motion and make Sri Lanka truly a democracy instead of hypocrisy.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    0

    Jayadeva de Silva,

    Please ask Kusal Perera about the state of the society: That will give you a clue as to why the society elects these criminal politicians.

    If parents produce false birth certificates to gain admission to school, doesn’t that say something about the society that elects these criminals?

    • 6
      0

      Jayadeva de Silva

      RE: Sri Lanka Needs Clean & Competent Political Candidates

      “If parents produce false birth certificates to gain admission to school, doesn’t that say something about the society that elects these criminals “

      First of all, Sri Lanka needs to Send all the Para-deshis, paras Back to India.

      If India is not willing to accept, then there are multiple options, with increasing pain for those who violate them. Question. Who is going to implement the laws? The Liars, Crooks, Robbers and Criminals?

      Wimal Weerawasnsa’s wife has two passports.

      Parents have two birth certificates.

      Namal Rajapaksa cheats on the Law Exam.

      Rapists and murders escape.

      Bribery commissioner cannot do her job.

      Judges misinterpret the Law .

      The list is too long..

      • 6
        2

        Why do you keep writing repeatedly about things that could never ever happen such as packing back long standing resideNts of this country, Sinhalese or Tamil back to India? Is this some sort of paranoia? Why not consult a good psychiatrist?

        Sengodan. M

        • 1
          1

          Sengodan. M

          “Why do you keep writing repeatedly about things that could never ever happen such as packing back long standing resideNts of this country, Sinhalese or Tamil back to India?”

          1. Srima-Shastri Pact did send back about half of the Para-Tamil Estate Workers back to Tamil Nadu, 150 years after they were in Lanka, the Land of Native Veddh Aethho. Their Citizenship was removed in the 1950s, courtesy Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils, who arrived earlier.

          [Edited out]

          • 0
            3

            @Amarasiri

            If today Arab countries follow your modaya idea and repatriate all SL WORKERS a specially housemaids from South SL ..half of the sinhala population will commit suicide because of hunger…

            you must thank for Arab hospitality and send more and more teenage Sinhala girls to M.E

            Do you know what will happen if Tamils in tea plantation go on strike for one month…

            Without Tamils there will be no SL Tea in the international market…

            ungrateful animals are malayali origin Sinhalese

            • 1
              0

              cholan

              “Do you know what will happen if Tamils in tea plantation go on strike for one month”

              Now you are beginning to get the point. Double Standards. Why treat one set of Para differently than another set of Paras. After all , they are still Paras. Mahawansa lies and imaginations?

              DOUBLE STANDARDS.

              It was the Double standards of the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils, that Amarasiri was trying point out, and bring to the surface.

              1. We saw the Double standards with respect to the Tamil speaking Northern Muslims. They were chased from their Homes and villages, and were not able to get back, for various reason, 6 years after the war, and still languishing in the Jungle.( the Para-Tamil LTTE chased them) Now the para-Sinhala are making a claim of environment Damage, True, but Double standards, because there was no problem with the Sinhala.

              2. There was a tragic rape and murder if an innocent Tamil School girl, and the culprits had to be apprehended by the Tamil people, and handed over to the Sinhala police, to be released, resulting in a mini riot, and the culprit was again apprehended by accident at Colombo, before he fled.

              This was a gang rape and murder by Tamil Men, yes Tamil Men. The Tamil Diaspora is very silent here. Why?

              Please call a spade, a spade, irrespective of the para status, Para-Sinhala or Para-Tamil or other Para.

            • 3
              0

              Cholan,
              I am against sending girls and women as housemaids to Middle-East. Why can’t the politicians explore the idea to exploit the natural resources of Sri Lanka. Just imagine the number of dead bodies of housemaids been sent to Colombo. Isn’t it evil money. Politicians should realize that it is time to give adequate powers to Provincial Councils to exploit the natural resources in their area. Politicians are the root cause for all these evils. They spread false ideas of separation for their survival.

        • 1
          0

          Sengodan. M

          “Why do you keep writing repeatedly about things that could never ever happen such as packing back long standing resideNts of this country, Sinhalese or Tamil back to India”

          Because the Average IQ of the Paras, Para-Sinhala and Para- Tamils is 79.
          [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Parents produce various documents ranging from house deeds to IDs, but we need to go beyond this and find out why these parents commit these crimes. Why do parents wants admissions to good schools. It is a complex situation

  • 7
    0

    There is no doubt that Clean and Competent candidates should be selected and elected as political candidates. However, in reality you can dream about that but it is not going to happen in Srilanka. In our political culture Crime and corruption are two major associates of politics. Even relegious leaders are no exception.

  • 7
    2

    look at the faces of the guys around MR , Can you judge the quality of these persons

    • 6
      1

      Ali Baba ( Hora ) and forty IDIOTS

    • 4
      0

      All are crooks and criminals!

      Sengodan. M

  • 3
    0

    The 19th Amendment should have incorporated all these important issues, including the cut off age or retiring age limit of a politician. Politicians are all govt servants who have come to work for the people with the peoples vote. Therefore the retirement age of a normal govt servant should apply to all politicians whether they are Exec President,PM, MP or Councillers. It is still not too late to bring all these issues into the 20A. These issues are more important that the change of the electoral system. If a candidate does not declare his assets his nomination should be cancelled. If strict laws are not brought in by the current President/PM/Parliament, there is no chance that it will ever be done. As much as people are aware that they should not vote in undesirable or corrupt people the relevant issues are also very important.

    • 6
      0

      I agree with you. If President terms can be limited to 2 terms, why not limit the terms of the MPs. Then we can see new faces in the Parliament. Now the MP has to die or are not favoured by the party heads to loos his nomination as a party candidate.
      I don’t think 20th Amendment or any amendment for that matter can bring about this as the sitting MPs will not vote for it. As a compromise amendment can make some concessions to the sitting members and pass the new provisions to limit the term of the MPs

  • 0
    1

    “Sri Lanka needs clean & competent political candidates.”!
    You cannot get them anywhere in the world, let alone Sri Lanka. There are grades in political circles. They vary from country to country.

  • 2
    0

    Plato said that ‘politics is the last refuge of scoundrels’.

  • 2
    1

    Just not the last refuge of the scoundrels.

    Its worse Kumar.

    Its the first refuge of the Rajapakses!

  • 4
    5

    This country has gone to DOGS ……

    There is no way to change….

    Rape..Killings ..Drugs…Gambling..Prostitution …all moving upwards

    Law & Order all has gone to rock bottom ..

    Thanks to Muderpakse & Co.,

    Better make Maththala Airport and surrounding area special ZONE for all vice so special tourists will flood here and money will flow..

    Strange Buddhist Ayotullahs are also scared to talk against all immoral activities ….

    .but vomiting racial hatred messages .

    May be they are living in stone age …as usual ..

    If Buddha come back he will jump from Mihintale and commit suicide …

    • 4
      0

      ‘vomiting racial hatred messages’

      Read dozens of your own posts, that’s your speciality.

      • 0
        2

        truth is always bitter……specially for Malayalai origin Sinhalease

        Cheers

        • 1
          0

          Not a friend of Antony or related to him are you cholan? Sound like him writes like him hates like him enough said.

    • 1
      0

      Can you spell out precisely what will be the harm caused to society by controlled, regulated and legalized prostitution?

      Don’t talk about morals; just stuff the morals and give other good reasons.

      Good mental exercise for those who think they are great thinkers!

    • 0
      0

      cholan

      “If Buddha come back he will jump from Mihintale and commit suicide … “

      No He won’t.

      He will say, Mara tried to tempt me and my followers. He did not suceeed.

      MaRa, alka Mahinda Rajapaksa a;so tried, but but got defeated.

  • 3
    2

    “Sri Lanka Needs Clean & Competent Political Candidates”.

    OFCOURSE,
    But it is not Possible,
    presently there are no more, As Most of them are dead;
    and new ones are yet to be BORN.
    So pathetic !!!!!.
    Doesn’t it????.

    • 1
      1

      Julampitiye Amaraya;

      You are right. After thirty years of Civil war and Corrupt Government, it will take another Thirty years to produce Political candidates who are Honest and Competent.

      After all those who are available now, grew up believing that Politics is the best way to make a Quick Buck, whether by Fair means or Foul!

  • 0
    2

    This article has some incite into the Sinhala Intellectualism. A genuine thinker would not take a second to grasp how the Sinhala Intellectualism works.

    But the mistake part of the article is, it posted a theory for entire Island. In fact the Sinhala Intellectualism operates only in the south. For Example, even though Douglas and Pillaiyan was portrayed in the south as elected ministers in their respects, they did not receive any votes from Tamils. Pillaiyan got something from eastern Sinhalese and Muslims and the one stuffed by army. EPDP never got anything from anywhere, not even army stuff for them. So the need for the correction is only in south. As rule don’t fix something not broken, the article should have expressively recommended that the North should be left alone to go on their path and the South should be fixed.

  • 0
    1

    duh !

  • 2
    2

    Jayadeva de Silva:

    I havent read your Article but I am responding to the Title

    Sri Lanka Needs Clean & Competent Political Candidates

    *** There are two kinds of Crimes which Mahintha & his Cronies have Committed and the Jurisdiction to try them for their Crimes lies with different Courts and they must face Justice.

    1) GENOCIDE:

    The right forum to try them is the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT and Sri Lankan Courts have no jurisdiction and cannot be expected to conduct a Trial in a Fair and Just manner. It is like asking a bunch of Criminals to try a Fellow Criminal and we are seeing evidence of that from the Statements of SF and Desmond.

    2) Commercial Crime:

    This is a matter for the Sri Lankan authorities as in the end it is the Nation they have looted and the country is going to repay the Loan to the Loan Shark. But I have already heard and seen evidence of Dilly Dallying because they are war winning CRIMINALS.

  • 1
    0

    Mr De Silva has scored a bulls-eye here.

    How do we explain the paradox that for sometime we the people, with an ever growing class of literate and professional people, are dictated to, and our lives affected by low-class, half-past-six, scoundrels with low morals.

    Leaders of political parties must be pressed to explain the qualifications and credentials of ALL who put for to be elected to public office. The thugs and crooks, many laundering black money to wheedle their way into office, or in support of someone that they ultimately control.

    There must defined limits and strict control over the spending of those seeking election to public office.

    All power and success to the Campaign for clean and competent candidates (CCCC).

    • 0
      0

      Thanks

  • 0
    2

    Like our un Elected PM Ranil. who seem to have a few Mr Cleans like Dr Mahendran..

    We can always give them the Duals with the help of Ranil’s nephew who is now doing the Interviews ..

  • 0
    0

    And how will you find clean candidates? The whole society is corrupt-not now not yesterday – it has always been thus. Except in the past it was all hush hush, now people and the media are competing with each other to cry foul with gay abandon. Can anyone honestly say they were treated with curtsey and attention if they approach public sector services? How many times have you been forced to pay back handers to get any work done or you are not given your change back at various paying points? And the gossip, rumours that are purposely floated around through envy or revenge? That is the daily bread of the general public. So may be clean candidates will have to be imported say from Singapore (eg Central Bank) or Malaysia (LTTE think tank)eh?

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