22 May, 2019

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Why The Opposition To The Provincial Councils

By R.M.B Senanayake

R.M.B. Senanayake

I was wondering why the President is so vehemently opposed to Provincial Councils now when earlier he even talked of the 13th Amendment Plus. Wimal Weerawansa who seems to be proxy tried to whip up popular opposition. But his campaign has tapered off without gathering momentum as I had expected. Why? Is it due to the hard line attitude of the Indian Government?

I think the opposition to the Provincial Councils is due to the fear of the ruling family that such Councils would lead to the emergence of powerful regional or provincial political leaders not only in the North but also in the South. This would constitute a threat to the monopoly of political power (not administrative power) by a few families in the national level. It promotes the dilution of not only administrative power but also political power as people look up to their Chief Minister as a hero if he can deliver what the people want. In India we see the emergence of regional political leaders. Narendra Modi is one such regional leader who is making a bid for the national leadership of the BJP and is most likely to contest the next General Election to the Indian Parliament.

Here in Sri Lank the President faced a formidable provincial leader in Berty Premalal Dissanayake of the North Central Province. Others will emerge when they realize their popularity with the people.

If the Provincial Councils are allowed to function as envisaged in the 13th Amendment with freedom to exercise power then the potential for the emergence of regional political leaders is there. They will then constitute a challenge to any dynastic national political leadership.

I suspect that it is the fear of losing political power rather than the erosion of administrative powers which lead the SLFP leadership to oppose Provincial Councils. But this would have a good result provided the provincial council politicians are not allowed to politicize the administration. The bureaucracy and the police should be restored to their previous pre-1956 status quo. The provincial politicians should be debarred from interfering in day to day decision making and administration. The bureaucrats and the police should be free to act according to the law and good governance practices. If they don’t then they should be held accountable to the Chief Minister and then only should the Chief Minister call upon officials to explain. But even such explanations should be called for only by the Secretary who is the Chief Executive of the Ministry.

Now that the leader of the UNP is also unable to mobilize the people it is better for the entire Opposition to campaign for the restoration of the Independent Commissions for the Public Service, the Police and the Electoral Commission. This is the only way ahead for democracy to be restored in the country.

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Latest comments

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    The politicians are always scared to devolve power. In fact it is not only politicians but many individuals like to keep power in their own hands. As a result we have a bottleneck where no decisions or improvements can be made without the approval of a single person. This runs counter to democratic principles and modern management concepts of teamwork and empowerment. It may result in a situation where the country is run by a ‘Jack of all trades, Master of None’ – A leader who has reached his level of incompetence.

    People are talented in various ways and the best way to mobilise their talents for the good is to empower them. A good leader will always listen and devolve power to his team. In public service we have talented and capable individuals who should be afforded the freedom to run their organsiations cost effectively with minimum interference for the benefit of the Nation. Similiarly at provincial level we may have good leaders who will develop their areas for the benefit of the people. So this strait jacket of Central Executive Control must be removed for people to be free and have a say in their future.

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    Where are all the politicians against devolve the power ?
    All gone
    Now this another greedy family in politics so or later same thing is going to happen to this dictator family
    Don’t forget another dictator will come to power because the majority had been brain wash by these racists

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    RMB thinks that MR was scared of Premalal Dasanayake who was defeated by an unknown SLFP politician. Poor comparison.
    How is that the Provincial Council failed to act on the issue of water pollution when both protection of the environment and health are devolved powers.

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      Like the way the country is being ruled by the ruling party the provincial council where the water issue cropped up is also being badly managed by the ruling party politicians. The whole lot are corrupt and criminal and are useless morons.

      Rajapaksa and his criminal and corrupt gang are in politics to fatten their bank deposits and live a cushy life. Resorting to using the police and the military to kill civilians asking water, justice and peace has become the norm under this dastardly regime. Any power devolution to the provinces will obviously dilute the powers of the Rajapaksa and so that is why they are opposed to it.

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    RMB Sri Lanka is a tiny isle when compared to India. The state of Madras or Tamil Nadu has a population of 60 million compared to the 20 million in Sri lanka. What is the purpose of having tiers and tiers of useless politicians just sitting idle counting wads of money and perks that go with these jobs.
    The problem is to find a few high caliber intelligent, honest politicians to run the nation and cut the wastage of hundreds of layabouts enjoying tax payers money. We have too many cooks and they really spoil the soup. useless samasamjist crap like DEW Gunasekera’s are still hanging on to coat tails to get the perks!

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    I am an ordinary sri lankan. Every aspect of our lives are politicised . Politicians of today have successfully disenfranchised thr people. The criminal activity of the local politicians are daily news from rape to other forms of violence. They interfere with the law of the country. 13th amendment will only give more power to these people and the instability of this country will be another excuse for the Indians to interfere with our live. In addition when people are suffering with the economy in dire straits provincial councils cannot be affordable. The reason why the 13th amendment is not done away with is because the politicians wish to enslave us further.

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