25 June, 2022


Who Should Be The Next Leader?

By Naveendra P. De Zoysa

Dr. Naveendra P. De Zoysa

Dr. Naveendra P. De Zoysa

New ideas, opinions and arguments about presidential election and candidates are radiating within the society. In this slight analysis, I would neither examine the theories about leadership nor provide support for any candidate. My plan is to discuss some hidden, but decisive and considerable facts about our leaders.

World leadership

In general understanding, power is the decisive fact to control the society even though there are different arguments in theories of leadership. Religious texts, philosophical ideas and political theories had also been widely accepted that, every movement of the society is decided by powerful leaders and their followers. We can identify different types of leadership styles namely, democratic, authoritarian and narcissists. From time to time leaders appeared for a short period of time i.e. four to five years or even a few decades to control or navigate the society. Some of those leaders, by themselves or their supporters or historians communicated that they can change the World or they have provided the best service for humankind.

Sometimes most dangerous killers or invaders like Alexander III of Macedon (336-323 BC) from the ancient Greek Kingdom recognized as “Great” in the present society. However, who would have imagined the situation of societies invaded and the sorrows of the people who were killed by Alexander III of Macedon. For this matter, a few centuries later Hitler would be regarded as a great leader even though today we live in a time where we can safely save and archive evidence and data compared to the days of the ancient Greek Kingdom. Nonetheless, we should note that there are some leaders, who were able to produce actual and widely accepted changes to humankind. Mahatma Gandhi applied the nonviolence concept of Lord Buddha’s’ teachings to the practical political movements as the first person to do so. He tried to solve complex political issues through nonviolence and gained nothing but a remembered name in history.

I would like to mention a few examples of correct decision making leaders from some of the developed countries. Japan is one of our main donors and we have a very cordial relationship with them. With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan enormously changed its political and social structure. Meiji Restoration cancelled the traditional, feudal and strict class system in Japan and implemented a new financial and political security system for the Nation. Remarkably, the then rulers of Japan, introduced a national educational system that was capable enough to give a moral training which stressed the importance of their duty to the emperor, the country and their families. Those changes were responsible for the emergence of Japan as a modernized nation in the earliness of the twentieth century.

Many countries in Scandinavia made valuable changes in the correct time and manner. For example, Sweden was one of the poorest countries in Europe until the 19th century. It then changed its political and economical system in late 19 centuries with a strong grassroots movement namely, trade unions, temperance groups, and independent religious groups. Those changes created a strong foundation for democratic principles in Sweden. This was the same situation in the neighbouring countries. Therefore, the people of the Northern European nations including Denmark, Norway and Finland are the happiest people in the World, obtaining the most effective social security systems and living in a peaceful society with the lowest crime rates and corruption today.

Our Leaders

My personal opinion is that our leaders are different from the above mentioned categories and cannot be included to the existing theoretical leadership styles. I strongly believe that, we missed and still missing a leader who can turn our country around and set it in the correct direction, similar to the present developed countries. During the colonial period we missed a chance but we can still design our own ground system for development. Additionally, many of our leaders who were appointed after the independence were incapable of introducing a longstanding political, economical and social mechanism to Sri Lanka. Many of them experimented in new systems without a real understanding about our society and its capabilities and without consideration for common interests.

We just followed transplanted or forced systems during the period of National Independence movement, domain country, and during the period as an independent country. In 1958, during the Sinhala Only Act, there was a landmark experiment in our political and social system. In the 1960s, the then leaders tried to implement a kind of socialist (or social welfare system) structure in Sri Lanka. In 1978 our nation experienced a capitalist political and economic system with an executive presidency.

After a few decades later, now our leaders want to change to a parliamentary system or abolish the executive presidency. The ridiculous thing here is that the leaders who helped to implement a new structure in 1978 are now appearing to abolish their own system.

Not only our grandparents, parents and us, but also our next generations will enjoy the new experiments to change our political and economical system. However, development of our people has always been and still is a few decades behind in comparison to developed nations. During the colonial period, they asked us to make tea for them and we are doing this even today. In those days we were controlled by force and today we are strategically controlled (the executive presidency is not the only weapon to liberate from those strategies).

The most important issue with those experiments is that our leaders purposely and/or spontaneously had been destroyed the thinking capacity or skills in the people of our nation. There is no valuable step that has been taken by our leaders to develop our peoples thinking capacity and their moral duty to the country and society. Only the considerable educational reform in Sri Lanka is free education system that was introduced by the C.W.W Kannangara. At least this Kannangara reform helped the social mobility in those days and to obtain high statistical data on the literacy rate today. Apart from this, our leaders didn’t introduce an effective education system that helped to develop the thinking capacity of our people and consequently to take correct decisions in an election.

Gradually our people’s commitment for national interests had been reduced and decreased the number of responsible people. Now this situation had been developed into a vicious cycle and many of our leaders who are emerging from this society do not have a moral duty to serve the country, to gain knowledge on the real needs of our people, and a responsibility for their behaviour. Our people also, got used to tolerate corruption, harassments, human rights violations, and all other abnormal behaviours of our leaders. Our people are innocent enough to hear lies, dirty and irresponsible statements made by our leaders. In Sri Lanka we do not have a political culture where political leaders are ready to take the responsibility regarding mistakes within their subject or field and to step down. Unlike the Japanese political leaders and top officials, our leaders will never resign respecting the people power.

To sum up this discussion, it is difficult to select a perfect social, political and economical system that match to our country. Furthermore, it is very difficult for our people to imagine or understand the aftermaths of a new experiment or continuity of the present system. We can see both, positive and negative elements of every system. Acceptability or reliability of those systems is depend on person to person. However, democracy, equality and nonviolence are widely accepted by majority for decades and guarantee of those concepts in the society is depend on the person holding the leadership.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 11

    When studying today s situation in the country – a president who ridiculed out his rival candidate not coming to a debate – people of the country must agree to a change. Today s no war situation, choosing a leader to guide the nation is totally different to any other previous elections the island had. Every right thinking ones should vote for the opposition. Country is drawn to a lawless state to this day by the ruling goons. There is no respect and dignity in the society today. How can people be dignified when the incumbent seems to have no respect to anyone – he behaves as if he is appointed by nothing- not by people s votes.

    • 1

      “Every right thinking ones should vote for the opposition. “

      Common sense, in so far as it exists, is all for the bourgeoisie.
      The worries of the world are for the common people.

      –Can you convincingly enlighten us as to why anyone should endorse
      the continuation of sihala buddhist regime only governance please??

      Democracy does not necessarily mean majority rule! Ceylon was minority ruled to be the Picture Book Island to Sihala Buddhist Scum Regimes for 66 years-
      this is the classic 21st centenary Shill Stupidity.

      Democracy is still a radical idea in a world where we often confuse images with realities, words with actions.

      Diaspora of sihala and tamil (more than your GDP of $60billion) are rich because they are ruled by whom?? Most citizens cant say who because they now got Eiffel Syndrome.

      Satakaya Hato! Sivuru Hato!

      Mara Maitri Modi Mooth Maro QQQQQQ ◕◕◕

      end of the day you can only be ruled- seen the magic of construction by chinese and what do you do?/ kukul goo!

  • 10

    Naveendra P. De Zoysa –

    RE: Who Should Be The Next Leader?

    Common sense Candidate Mr. Maitree Sirisena. Why? Sri Lanka state is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and Not Family Dictatorship of Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka.




    Who Should NOT Be The Next Leader? Why? Common Sense.

    Current President Candidate Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa aka Medamulana ,MaRa.. Why?

    Family dictatorship and Dynasty Vs. Democracy

    Corruption, Violence and Citizen’s rights.


  • 7

    The system of governance SL needs to adopt should be ‘home grown’ after having taken into consideration systems adopted in other Democracies. One thing is certain. It needs to be a Democratic system where the people are given the franchise to make the choice.

    As to who should be the next leader, the choice is clear. Do you need the incumbent who has aleady served 9 years and the record is clear to see or do you want a change. Longevity in one position is never good for a country, more so when the results of the dictatorial, autocratic, family rule of MR are plain to see. We need fresh thinking and new faces to lead the country. The current set of Ministers have (dis)served far too long and they have become stale. Furthermore, constitutionally, it appears it is illegal for MR to seek a 3rd term in Office. Hopefully, the voters will be given a ‘free’ choice to decide. As for me, the choice is a ‘no brainer’. Right thinking people should never vote for a person who attempts to violate the Constitution of the Country for personal gain.

  • 7

    There is no difference between MS nor MR. Both have the same mentality. They both are using the same racist remarks to garner majority votes. Sri Lanka will prosper only when a leader, perhaps yet to be born or from the silent majority, who looks Sri Lanka (SL)as one country, with no cast, greed no race that would dominate the policy. The law should be the same for all. There should be no more family dynasties but jobs only on merits. I would suggest all Sri Lankans who wish to see SL as another Singapore or even to be admired to be one, please read “conversation with LKY by Tom Plate.”
    I “was” a Sri Lankan now a diaspora but very much eager to see a prosperous SL as I described above. Stop the greedy land grab and colonisation and be mutually benefit if required to do so. Make the locals partners of business adventures. There are many ways you can develop the country from the grass root upwards and not be dependent on the government hand outs.
    If I was the leader this would be only a start. Now I challenge the majority voters of the country do you see any leadership in MS or MR? or you don’t have a choice? You ought to find a new leader like LKY. Yes you/we can.

    • 2

      I fully agree. We seem to prefer to choose amongst what is placed before us. We definitely must place standards first, loud and clear.

      • 1

        but your genes don’t take that whether you are sihal or tamil- 66 years of poof.

        While the ones who ruled know as sihal and tamil diaspora are twice as rich as your GDP of $60 billion- this is what mara and his terrorist are after by using citizen silva. Ha ha didn’t you see Raj Rajraratnam go to jail after several meetings with PM Ratnasiri and Goota- both wanted $100million each- it is called the power given by gass gembo!

  • 2

    A sane, honest, efficient and a trustworthy person should be the head of the country. If such a person could be found to become the president, Executive presidential system will be a blessing. However, Sri Lankans have been so unfortunate until today in not being able to find such a noble person. The present president is insane as well as dishonest and inefficient and uncultured. The Previous elected presidents were not totally honest and they were arrogant too. Today the Sri Lankans have got the rare opportunity of electing an honest, trustworthy and a sane person. He is none other than MAITRI(benevolent)pala Sirisena the common candidate.

  • 5

    One of the main elements of the leadership is honesty. Unfortunately, no rulers in Sri Lanka was/is honest. So, they were/are willing to take any dirty action for their benefit by the name of the country. Sri Lanka will only have a real leader once they found a honest human and that will create the history by starting the first step of creating new generation which will no short of leaders.

    • 1

      if only he is honest he leaves the door wide open for others who are well experienced to easily be dishonest.
      We have seen it happen to good great men in the academic field and commerce.

      When you understand democracy is all about human dignity then the island once again becomes the picture not Croak_et the game that is the bore of the world.

      If a country doesn’t recognize minority rights and human rights, including women’s rights, you will not have the kind of stability and prosperity that is possible.

  • 0

    Dr. Naveendra I would very much appreciate that getting your conclusion after this analysis according to you because we have to select somebody to vote not like you.
    See our effect also to finding a way the selection.
    [Edited out]

    • 0

      [Edited out]

  • 4

    I am glad some enlightened Sinhalese want a change of leader/government. As for Thamils 90% of them will vote against him. There is not one reason to vote for him. Mahinda Rajapaksa lost a golden opportunity after the war to unite the people, bring democracy at the grass root level, abolish corruption, respect rule of law, uphold media freedom etc. Mahinda Rajapaksa is guilty of violating all these lofty principles and policies. He was greedy for power. He could have relinquished power after two terms. That would shown humility and honour on his part. He did nothing. He ran a virtual family dictatorship. If he loses the elections he must blame his siblings who took the law on to their hands. The reaction of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa after the broad light killing of Lasantha Wickramanayake was shocking. He told BBC reporter that Lasantha as a news paper editor used to lambast many people thus making them his enemies. So anyone of them would have killed him. May be. But as a state is it not the its duty to apprehend the killers and arraign them before the courts?

  • 2

    KA Sumanasekaram.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.