15 August, 2022


The Type Of Leadership The Country Needs 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Although decisive presidential elections are only nine months away political mobilization is not taking place at the mass level at the present time. This accounts for the fact that the main sideshow for the past several weeks is about the detection of large consignments of narcotics and the arrest of drug dealers, most of whom appear to be the agents of others who have still to be apprehended. There is the added distraction of a parliamentarian going public and alleging that several of his fellow parliamentarians are themselves taking drugs. Instead of mass mobilization for political victory, the political meetings being organised are on a small scale and meant for party cadres who will take the propaganda messages to the people when the time comes.

In the absence of mass mobilization events the political events that have been highlighted have been the felicitations of politicians who have notched up decades of service to the public. The felicitation events for Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Tourism Minister John Amaratunge were attended by virtually all party leaders and received considerable media coverage. Former US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who was the keynote speaker at Minister Samaraweera’s felicitation was widely quoted in the media. Giving a glowing testimonial to the minister she said that all over the world, democracy seems to be under attack, highlighting in particular the episode of Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis.

Former ambassador Power also recognised the key contributions made by civil society, the judiciary, journalists, and political leaders in overcoming the challenge to Sri Lanka’s democracy. She said that although Sri Lanka’s institutions were under severe stress, they were not breaking. This is comparable to the situation in the United States, where President Donald Trump has been acting in a populist manner which is out of sync with the traditional ideals of that country. But he has been restrained to a significant degree by strong institutions that are not buckling under pressure. At a time when the Constitutional Council, which is meant to strengthen public institutions, is under attack by the opposition, this is a salutary reminder that in Sri Lanka too, the task is to strengthen institutions, such as the public administrative service, the judiciary and the various independent watchdog commissions, such as the Human Rights Commission, Police Commission and Bribery and Corruption Commission.

Having Space 

However, an even more significant speech was delivered at the felicitation for Minister Amaratunge by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of the Catholic Church. He made pronouncement on national issues that require a sure grasp of the complex political realities in the country. Addressing the gathering, which included the top political leadership of the country that was seated in the front row, including President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said the country needed a transformation of its political life. He called for each ethnic and religious community to be given the space, freedom and rights to grow and flourish. He pointed out that the political basis for decision making in a multi ethnic and multi religious society was multilateralism and not majoritarianism.

Last week the National Peace Council launched a report that presented the findings of a Religious Freedom Index (RFI) conducted across the 25 districts in the country. The Religious Freedom Index is a survey study based on public expert opinion on the status of religious freedom in their respective areas. This study, undertaken by Dr Pradeep Peiris of Colombo University was to enable policymakers, law enforcement authorities, religious leaders and the general public to become more aware of the social, political and cultural context within which religious freedom exists. An important finding was that religious freedom and inter-religious tolerance by and large already exists within the community. What is needed is to protect it from ill motivated intrusions from outside the community.

Sri Lanka is fortunate to have the basic ingredient for social cohesion, which is the willingness of people to readily engage with those of other communities and to take them as opportunities to be hospitable to those from outside who have come into their midst. One of the most readily observable features of any community level inter-religious or inter-ethnic interaction is the goodwill that resonates throughout the activity and is readily visible. When asked about religious freedom in the areas in which they live, the great majority of respondents in the survey claimed that they can practice their religion freely. For example 83.5% stated there is no obstacle at all to practice their religion in the area they live. However, these same respondents also believe that the situation in the country as a whole is more precarious for religious freedom.

Trusted Leadership 

The religious freedom survey showed that the communities harbor various insecurities about the future. Even as they feel that they enjoy freedom in the present, they are very concerned about the freedom to practice their culture and religion, and their demographic strength in the future. They also felt that the sense of security that they experience in enhanced where there is a good understanding between the religious leaders in their area. The main reasons for this would be the fact that the religious leaders are better able to intervene as community leaders in any internal breakdown of social harmony. What they could not control however was the interventions that came from outside and more powerful than they. What is needed therefore is a national level leadership that permits each ethnic and religious community to have the freedom and rights to live as empowered citizens and to protect their own spaces.

On the one hand there is the vision of a polity that is essentially Sinhala Buddhist because a big majority of 70 percent of the people belong to this community. Catering to the sense of history of this majority and to the fears and insecurities that accompany it, was a winning formula put forward by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his political alliance during the decade of his presidency. On the other hand, there is the countervailing vision of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious polity in which each community has its own sense of history and fears and insecurities. The present government has been seeking to stand for this vision.

The real political focus at the present time is in identifying the political direction for the future with an emphasis on building of political alliances. Even as the country closes its first decade after the end of the war, the issue that is likely to be uppermost in the minds of the people will be to whom the country’s future be entrusted to. The basic requirement that will be sought in the selection of the candidates will be to identify who can be trusted to stand by a set of values and obtain the vote of the majority of the electorate. There is a short list of candidates on both sides. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses. The final decision will be made after a careful calculation as to who will be able to present the vision that summons up the support of the majority of the voters.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    There is no good leadership among UNP and SLFP right now. All evidence of recent past tells us. With CKB, RP, JR, SRIMA, all good one are gone now.. Only hope is with JVP right now.. Be honest with your heart consciousness and tell me true nature of both UNP & SLFP. speak to your heart not your corrupt mind , what do we have now in UNP or SLFP…
    1) 30% mps without GCSE in Parliament?
    2) 30% connected with corruption or drug?
    3) 20% fight in parliament & behave like children
    4) most of MPs entered politics from poor families and now are super rich
    what do you want them? do you like them representing you? …
    vote JVP to get some good leaders and leadership. Honest and sincere.

    • 2

      JVP? You say, only hope is JVP right now?????
      Two of JVP’s top politburo members, Vijitha Herath and Lal Kantha were caught by the Police for drunk driving and causing accidents.
      In the latest accident, a mother and a daughter were sent to hospital (mother is in a critical condition) due to Lal kantha’s drunk driving. He is now in remand custody until the 14th.
      In order to hand over the country to JVP, “people should also be very drunk.”
      JVP doesn’t make a good example to the Sri Lankan society. So, they are out.
      Having said that, UNP, SLFP, Pohottuwa are no better.
      Two, three days ago, an SLFP PC Member in down south was arrested for brutally molesting a 16 year old underage girl in his Devale for 4 times in the same day. But he was granted bail on the same day by the Courts, causing an absolute injustice to the innocent girl who didn’t even realized that she was raped by the SLFP MP while performing fake Devale rituals.
      The SLFP MP was a close associate of the current President and the former President. There had been clear political influence in this case, as otherwise there is no way this rapist was released on bail. And interestingly, he is still an SLFP member.
      Before he was arrested by the Police, he had tried to cover up the matter by offering 1 million to girl’s father.
      My angry comments to a Sinhala Daily demanding reasons for granting bail to this villain who is from President’s political party, were not published. That is how “excellent” is the freedom of expression!!! I am sure the Editor was scared to publish my comments as I said the rapist was protected by both current and former Presidents.
      I said, the Devale should be set on fire to teach a lesson to the God, too (I don’t know which God.) There may have been similar molestation to women and girls in the past, by this rapist.
      There were accusations against UNP, TNA and Pohottuwa PC and LG members too, for various types of crimes.
      Seriously, do people want to continue the same mistakes in future elections?

      • 1

        Champa.. You are not an objective person at all. You are subjective. You have to fair in your assessment?
        Have you experienced yet any JVP government?
        Have you seen any cheat in public money looting from JVP?
        Have you seen any fraud from them?
        have you seen seen any drug dealers from them?
        have you seen any one taking bribe from them?
        Have you seen any of them asking favours?
        Have you seen seen any of them cheating in election?
        why do you project lies about JVP? is it fair?
        Drink and drive even British MPs too do ? that is not a big issue at all., It was JVP Mps who went to jail ..
        if it is an UNP or SLEFP do you think they will go to jail.. Police will scare to go to near to them

        • 0

          My assessment is clearly based on facts (objective) and not based on any personal perspectives (subjective).
          Did I invent drunk driving incidents?
          I couldn’t stop laughing after seeing your list. How come you didn’t include drunk driving?
          I am totally fair in my assessment.
          Let’s see.
          1. JVP received only 4.87% from total votes in 2015 August. In my fair assessment, they can never form a government.
          2. Public money looting by “JVP”, yes, prior to 1989 they robbed banks and took ransom from businesses. After that, they were in Chandrika’s government for a short period which is too short to decide their integrity. Moreover, two years ago, they denied Anura Kumara having a mansion in Ireland. That means, there was an allegation to that effect against JVP.
          3. Fraud. Yes, as revealed in Parliament itself by other MPs, JVP, TNA, Estate and Muslim party MPs/Ministers were bribed by Ranil for votes. A TNA MP confirmed it, too.
          4. Drug dealers, not yet.
          5. Bribes. Please refer to my 3 above.
          6. Cheating in elections. Yes. Wijedasa Rajapaksa said JVP was given 2.5 million or 25 million by UNP during the Presidential election, for what, I don’t remember.
          7. I have given examples of proof provided by others. I don’t see any reason to project lies about JVP when there is glaring evidence known to people. By the way it is you who try to whitewash them.
          JVP’s close connection with UNP since 2015 doesn’t sit well with Sri Lankan voters. The policies of this New JVP are not known to people.
          This is not Britain. How could drunk driving is not an issue? Don’t you know it is a serious offence in Sri Lanka?
          Well, I am sure our country doesn’t need JVP MPs who follow British MPs.
          Sri Lanka’s legal system is blatantly abused by all political parties, from Presidents, PMs to down.

          • 1

            Drunk driving Vijitha Herath is in prison without bail. The MR acolyte “Rattaran” who was accused of rape of a 16-year-old girl was released on bail, without sending to prison. Go figure!!

      • 0

        If it was a bhikku who supposedly scolded a woman would have been in the jail for Six months.
        Another was harassed for keeping the donate d elephant Calf.

    • 1

      Dr. JP time for the next generation to lead and Bondscam Ranil, CSira and Mahinda and US citizens Gota and Basil to retire, right?

      Also, after Ms. Human Rights, Sam Power came and went from Lanka with MCC and IMF in tow to sing hosannas to the Minister of Finance who knows nothing about finance, a massive amount of 300 acres of Bingiriya land has been set aside to build a mysterious industrial park with NO industries specified. Just like Horana Tire Factory no? Pl, do a Land Rights investigation here???

      Also machan JP, did you here of the landmark UN ICJ ruling on our neighbour ,Chagos island and Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean, when we were all distracted by accident or design with Sam Power in Lanka, Donald in VIetnam and the Fake war in Indo-Pak last week?
      Sam’s visit to praise Mangala who was happily crashing the Lankan rupee on the behest of the Washington Consensus and the IMF debt trap project in Lanka, ( as in Argentina, Greece, Ecuador etc), seemed timed and designed to distract us from a “blockbuster” judgement by ICJ that exposed the horrific details of how the US marines gased the dogs of Chagos islands and forced its peoples out in 1960 to set up a military base. The Human Rights Tall stories and fake narrative that US and UK feed former colonies in Asia are Africa as they continue to exploit then is coming undone with Brexit Britain asked to vacate Chagos islands. The infamous and violent partnership in Crime of UK and US colonial project exposed in Chagos.

      • 0

        Yep. ICJ’s ruling that Britain should give up Chagos archipelago is historic.
        In 1948, British didn’t return all of the small islands they took from us under Kandyan Convention. It is time we follow up the matter.
        In the meantime, slave government’s attempt to enter into an agreement with USA allocating the latter a Special Economic Belt from Trinco to Colombo including Trinco Harbour (which was revealed by Wimal Weerawansa in detail) displacing agricultural lands, residences, local businesses and people is also a violation of local and international law.
        Sri Lankan patriots should make use of ICJ’s ruling to demand the slave government to drop their project to sell a part of Sri Lanka to Americans, without the consent of people.

        • 0

          Dr. Jehan
          Perhaps NPC can take UK and US to UNHRC for genocide and HR violations they committed in the infamous Diego Garcia military base in the Indian Ocean Chagos islands?
          The displaced and impoverished Chagossians who are scattered in Mauritius and Seyshells want to return to their islands… Perhaps NPC can help them.

          But beware uncle sam now wants another military logistics base hub in the Indian Ocean, now that Diego Garcia is problematic, and is moving in to land grab and displace Lankans like the Chagossians–, using the tried and tested method of ethnic and religious conflict to push their HR endgame which is military bases in Lanka!

          • 0

            Even the UK pound is not saleable now because of the Brexit. So do not think about British Money, Unless you want to give some to them. Good doctor is paid by CPA I think.

  • 0

    The Media especially TV should give a 30minutes sessions to all those who intend to become President or PM to present their cases on why they should be the next President or PM?
    Politicians and non Politicians should be given a chance.
    The Media should make it’s viewers knowledgeable so that they can make the right decision.
    We the voters want the Presidential Election sooner and DO NOT want Provincial Elections now.
    We want all political parties and the would be contestants to declare their wealth as well as their kith &kins and extended family! MR’s Mother in law too own properties!!!

  • 0

    I think you can make a case for yourself. You will be ably supported by the US and other western sponsors of NPC. Just make sure you tell the voters you were wrong when you said GOSL cannot defeat the Tiger Terrorist Tamils militarily. After you and CPA Sara were exposed and proven wrong, you went on another track of “Should, could, Should” on a lot of things. But never present expense reports for NPC and their administrative costs, business-class travel costs and WHAT specifically you had done to help say build a well, a house, a school, repair a bombed out hospital, bombed out school etc with the massive funds at NPC. Other than that, you are the best candidate to become President. Triplitz will fund you like Keshap funded RW.

  • 0

    Need not write manuals on the kind of leadership the country needs.

    Good citizen, never convicted in a court with a reasonable education, born to good parents, healthy & reasonably wealthy (assure that he/she isn’t a thief) & probably has been in politics for some time with democratic mind.

    It’s not politicians work, it’s people.

  • 0

    I agree. Definitely, Sri lanka doe snot need who are the poodles of the American Embassy. So, Mangala, Ranil like people should go. All the Rajapakses and Sira also should be replaced. Sri lanka should be strict with civil society or open society too and consider them as Drug Barons. Do not send to the Hang man. Instead ban them. Countries with Open society and civil society in the middle of Africa lives happily. International community always say we helped you so help us now. with LTTE we paid them a lot, now we do not have to.

  • 0

    Jehan Perera: I hear that British Tamil forum had been chased out from the Parliamentary support group; BTF is now Bankrupt and very soon it will be defunct. So, what will happen to the Tamil National question as the US has already Quit UNHCR and BTF is no more. I think, Lord Nesby may ask Mrs. Balasingham to be deported for prosecution. There are so many LTTE Brigadiers there too.

    • 0

      I would suggest that all those who wish to contest elections should
      submit their names and other details to the Election Commissioner 3 months prior to the elections. The election commissioner shall be given the facilities, including man power to check the correctness of the information given, with particular attention to their financial position (including there immediate families) and other assets with proof of earnings- say over 2/3 million worth of each asset. Further if and when they become Parliamentarians their financial position together with the immediate families, shall be declared annually. As they are public figures it may be prudent to inform the members public too.

  • 0

    King – Tüten Kai Munu/ Tüten Kai Mugan , this was a Name with Tamil Word, Next, Ancient Sumerian/Egyptian King name -( Tüten Kai Mugan, ) Who is Mugan / Murugu/ Murugan/ or your Kathira Gama Deva, so king ( Tüten Kai/ Hand Mugu/ Mugan ) was a Tamil Srilankan, because that time no Buddist in Srilanka, lord Buddha came to Srilanka through Naga dipa/ Divam , there was ( Naga pusani Amen) , woman Sumerian god, so

  • 0

    Our leaders are chosen by he ‘Lankan Elites sans Frontiers’. They will pretend not to understand the Jehan Perera stuff.
    Are our leaders intelligent? Some definitely not. Most, may be.
    Are they cunning? Yes, the lot.

  • 0

    Jehan is back on his religious reconciliation. Before he undertook the job of spinning the Lord Naseby revelation, he has been spreading Buddhism in Jaffna stationing from UoJ.Because now UNHRC is sitting, he is back on the job.
    Let’s recap Jehan’s discoveries. A Sinhala Intellectual did a survey and found 85% of the people feel their freedom to practice religion.There is fear of feature problem exist with in the communities. So the need of the country is a strong, even better than Hitler, leadership to take away the fear.
    The Tamils who responded that they fear not taking “Molten Tar Sinhala Shree” written on their back deserve cursed to go back on that experience again, provided Jehan PhD is unlike other times, honest on this talk. 70 years passed country receiving freedom. Soulbury constitution had clause that any law affecting the minority rights were illegal. The Sinhala Buddhist changed the language as Sinhala Only and dismissed all Tamils workers. They change the constitution as “Appe Sri Lanka- the Sinhala Buddhist Land”, So Jehan PhD is now looking for a leader to take the fear away a leader strong leader. Colombo Tamil women don’t wear Pottu in Colombo Buses. I am a victim in 1977 pulled out of the bus for wearing Pottu and beaten up. Eastern province governor’s wife walked into a temple with slippers (Would she walk in Buddhist temple like that?) The Tamil people regained their lost lands to Rapist Army are cared to remove the Greek Buddha Statues installed in the private lands. Jehan PhD is the King of the dupes.
    Let me interpret Jehan PhD’s number properly. The 15% fearing that they don’t have freedom to practice their religion is Tamils. This is telling the 100% of the Tamil minority is feeling that they don’t have the freedom to practice their religion. Majority’s future fear is that they may not have the current freedom to enforce their religion on Tamils lands as they want secular Federal land.

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