The Sunday Leader

Giving Rajapaksa 18-A And Taking Over From Ranil

The most controversial and dangerous amendment so far to the most centralised and authoritarian of all three constitutions Sri Lanka has seen, will now be law of the land, even if it has to go through the process explained by reputed legal luminary and TNA National List MP Sumanthiran.

Mahinda — triumphant

Gazetting the 18th Amendment is just a day’s work. Rajapaksa could have the consent to this Amendment from any Provincial Council in this land of the Gauthama Buddha, with just a phone call. Having that power constitutionally passed into their own hands was a “dream” the Rajapaksas did not let go, as day dreaming. They will now have their dream written into the Constitution, in very clear terms with a whopping 161 votes that included those “shameless five” from the now redundant “Left” as well.
Reading about ‘dreams’ recently, this canny idea that “dreams are extremely dangerous in sinister minds”, reminded of a few blood stained names, from among many. Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam, Pol Pot, Pinochet and Prabhakaran, all had dreams that ended in gruesome human tragedies. Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Karimov, Mugabe and Than Shwe also have dreams, that would add to more bleeding human tragedies, unless miracles do happen.
Another creepy feeling bothers in knowing what Ranil Wickremesinghe’s dream is. Or, does it matter what his dream is? Whatever his dreams are, his “Uncle Dicky” certainly had no dreams of him, as a leader. Brought into politics, he was given a decent ministerial job by JRJ, in gratitude to Wickremesinghe’s father Esmond, who is often credited for his role in plotting against Madam Bandaranaike’s government in 1964 December. Once again, thanks to Prabhakaran who created President Rajapaksa, the most mediocre but coyly arrogant of all Sinhala leaders since independence, Wickremesinghe was also catapulted to be the most insecure of all UNP leaders since its inception. He has since then, systematically squeezed out the party of its second level leadership for fear of being challenged, axed its political confidence and its potential to be the government in waiting, that could win an election.
Wickremesinghe’s leadership now survives on the strength of the party constitution which allows no democracy within and on what he has genetically gained from his father’s scheming ability. His puerile conduct has only left the likes of Sajith who believes, his father as UNP leader and as President has left him a hereditary right to be UNP’s leader. He would be a bigger misfit than even Wickremesinghe as a leader and that allows the now sharply teethed Rajapaksa to confidently say, he would keep contesting for presidency, till the Opposition finds a competent candidate.
Rajapaksa is right in that. Stamped “expired”, Wickremesinghe and the dwarfed UNP rebels have no more “shelf life” to be considered politically valid. They are too stale a baggage to be carried along, for Sri Lanka’s future. There is now certain space for an alternate leadership, a third force. Its about time now to politically focus on issues that could develop an alternative to Rajapaksa.
Its the Sinhala middle class that willingly forfeited the right to a decent, modern democratic life, for a war against “Tamil separatism” merely to hold Tamil and other minorities under Sinhala dominance. This egoistic mindset, consistently and aggressively contributed to, by even Gen. Fonseka, is what Rajapaksa still counts on, for his popular strength. It is this heavily bulldozed Sinhala urban society that accepts Rajapaksa and provides him a prop as a “saviour” of the Sinhala nation.
This Sri Lanka that bled through ethnically dominated militarised politics for decades, cannot afford to allow Rajapaksa’s brand of family politics on Sinhala popularity, if it seriously contemplates in having socio economic development for all its citizens. It now requires a serious democratic programme that would de-construct the Rajapaksa project, which is an assortment of JVP-JHU Sinhala politics and Wickremesinghe’s neo liberal economic policy. These together accelerated the atomisation of this society, leaving families as selfish “consumerist” competitors amongst each other, in a deformed and stagnant economy.
Sri Lanka, starting as Ceylon at the time of independence, has spent its whole independent life with three constitutions. Each, brought with a promise for better governance, democracy and development that was missing before. None had delivered any. One may argue on relative improvements in their drafts though. The ‘72 Republican Constitution for sovereignty and independence from the British and the ‘78 Constitution for more space in fundamental rights. Yet in totality, they have eroded democracy, centralised political power in Colombo and stifled development, pushing this 62 year old country into 30 years of bloody war.
A devastating war now declared over has in its wake, left Tamil and Muslim people as decimated observers of a regime that holds them further alienated from political power. It has robbed the very Sinhala people who agreed to wage war, their right to live a democratic life with future development. The rural Sinhala polity living in dismal poverty, have been left outside the Colombo centred regimes without access to power, while national wealth and comforts accrued in urban society. The difference between all previous governments and Rajapaksa is that he is accepted in Sinhala society as having the right to plunder and loot as a family, for the only reason of defeating the LTTE.
The 18th Amendment cements that societal power with constitutional legitimacy in the Executive Presidency, and Rajapaksa would rule from Colombo with military powers left in the family, while marketing his rural ancestry for political advantage. A “Burmese type situation”, Delhi or Beijing would not be concerned about, as long as they could weave their influence over the Rajapaksa regime.
Access to such regionally insured, unbridled power from distant villages would be ever more remote. Expansion in those areas would thus be Indian or Chinese funded large reconstruction projects, decided in Colombo, implemented from Colombo and commissions also shared largely in Colombo. This would over time lead to cracks and fissures in daily living. Heavily politicised and servile treatment of public life can not always be held together, under repression.
This would not demand the 17th Amendment back again in better form, but it would make people take the law unto their hands, dissipating the trust in law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the State in general. Such possible anarchic eruptions minus an Opposition to provide politically organised direction, will not be taken care of within democratic practise, under this regime.
This State thus requires serious reform that could allow people to have their stake in democracy and development in their own areas, denied to them ever since independence, under all three constitutions. Reforms that would create power sharing systems, devoid of interference from Colombo, more effective than existing provincial councils. It would necessarily be a dialogue that would challenge this Rajapaksa regime, as a broad, democratic alternative.
It would necessarily accept the need for reconciliation in this war ravaged, ethnically polarised society, need to de-politicise all public services and high positions, a policy framework for education, health, public transport and rural economy which includes agriculture and importantly too, how Sri Lanka could position its economy and development within the emerging Asian economy. This would have to necessarily engage Tamil and Muslim people as well, for it has to be about development in a single, undivided country, what ever the label one gives it.
Would not the APRC Final Report, that both its custodian Minister Vitharana and its rightful owner in President Rajapaksa have agreed to forget, be a sound beginning for such dialogue? A new and constructive dialogue of reaching a consensus in this society, on a democratic and a shared future that does not need Wickremesinghe nor his UNP to facilitate.
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person” said Mother Teresa.

10 Comments for “Giving Rajapaksa 18-A And Taking Over From Ranil”

  1. Lankan

    Dalai Lama of Tibet and aung san suu kyi of Burma also have dreams. Srilanka’s good friend China will make sure that their dreams do not become a reality.
    In the mean time, Rajapaksa will make sure that Tamils will not sleap in peace to have a dream.

  2. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Thanks lot Mr.Kusal Perera for educating us through this valuable article.

  3. Ajay

    Thank ou Mr Kusai Perera for this article. I sincerely hope that the people in Sri Lanka wake up and stand up for their democracy. Unfortunately, all of what you have described is a reality that minorities in Sri Lanka (Tamils and Muslims) have known and experience their entire life. They have suffered through it and now perhaps the rest of the country is waking up to the reality that maybe their government does not respect them or their rights. Perhaps this is Karma coming back onto those who have watched and supported hate, injustice and murder of their fellow country men (whom they regard as lower class or not at their higher level). The signs of what this government is capable of has been there for years, however, the majority of Sri Lankans didn’t care because they were not targetted. But all of a sudden there is talk of preserving democracy when things start going south for them, but not others. It the Singalese intolerence and ignore that will be their undoing – its already happening now. Its time for eveyone in Sri Lanka to wake up, think on a higher level, become respectful of other minorities and stand up for your rights. Only you can save yourself. We Tamils have realized this long time ago.

  4. Ruwan Ferdinandez

    What a stupidly inane article! Kusal is displaying his frustration on the UNP disarray, nothing else. His list of “sinister minds” doesn’t include JR, surprise surprise!! Let me educate you Kusal, so your worshippers can learn as well. The 18-A and 1978 constitution are essentially the same. In fact 18-A is a tad better. With the 1978 constitution, the president has all the powers he or she needed. JR gave hilarious reasons for appointing his goons ignoring the seniority to top positions like the Chief Justice. In 1983, he let loose the drug lords and his confidantes to run riot in the country, all these are thanks to his own creation of a constitution. So why did MR need an amedment? Two reasons. One was MR wanted to have fun for longer than JR wanted it. Who can blame him, although they both became the president when they were 60, MR looks much younger for his age, thanks to Godrej hair and mustache dye.If he feels young, what is wrong with in trying again?? Two was since JR left, before 2010, there was a 17-A, which took away some powers JR enjoyed. MR wanted those powers back but not in full scale so still wouldn’t have as much power as what JR enjoyed. So Kusal., may be you suffer from loose motion due to the stress caused by the UNP’s form but what you have written here is not worth an ounce of dog mess.

    • Rajitha

      What’s this fuss all about in this country ? The 18th Amendment etc…..

      Since I was a student I took a keen interest in politics of Foreign Affairs (not exactly the domestic kind) and some what attracted to local politics although it never appealed to me to me to fully indulge in this messy business. Thank god for that. In the 70’s I had easy access (even as a student) to the highest in the land so I think it is appropriate for me to write something about what’s going on now in our country.
      In a way I am happy that I was exposed to pre 1983 Sri Lanka and the post 1983 Sri Lanka. Like most of us I was able to live in a peaceful and violent Sri Lanka. Although I had enough possibility to escape and run away from my land of birth seeking greener pastures overseas, I was convinced that I belonged to live here and contribute something to my motherland. I did not benefit from the “free education” this land offered yet I felt I owed something. I escaped death by a mere fraction of a second in 1986 !

      In my opinion the turning point in the biggest blunders /mistakes as a nation we did started in 1978. But I also firmly believe that the 1978 Presidential system was not wrong repeat not wrong for this country. If it wasn’t for a powerful Executive this country would have ended up in unimaginable chaos.

      What was wrong in 1978 was the manner in which we isolated the traditional opposition.

      1.Firstly by removing the civic rights of Mrs. Bandaranaike (on false charges) and dumping her to the dustbin and allowing a monster in the form of TULF to appear;
      2. 1983 the riots that was instigated not by the general public but politically motivated unruly elements
      3.Burning of the Jaffna Library, the heart of the “Tamil Pride”.
      4.Therafter we had leaders who got entangled in further mess ups mainly due to not having a firm conviction, a backbone to eliminate terror the way it deserved. This may have been somewhat due to outside pressure we succumb to during the time but also mainly due to lack the of conviction on the part of the leadership.
      5. Then in 1989 we had a leader who had some vision for the local economy – (but he too fell trap to the war) but wasn’t allowed to work until his assassination in office. But my guess was that he was “politically assassinated” long before his actual death by his own kind !.
      6.It is history now …Since 1994 upto 2005 Sri Lankan economy and its politics drifted from bad to worse. For the 1st time in our history our economy was in recession. Bad leadership contributed 100 % and on top of it we had to silently witness this country decimated by an ill convinced CFA ceasefire agreement” (designed overseas !!!) thrashed on to us without the consent of the people ??? ( did someone ask me if it this so called 18th amendment was worse than this ?) c Just imagine , just imagine if this stupid agreement designed overseas went through ,what type of country we would have been living in 2010 ???? .
      I would certainly had to apply for a “visa” to go on my recent trip to Mannar or for that matter enter Yala National Park in the deep south.

      Alas could anything have been worse form the above than what we are going through now ? Two wrongs certainly don’t make one right. But have we been blind all these 30 odd years ?

      Let this country move forward and let it be given that chance. I saw with my own eyes the development that is taking shape. Now we are told that democracy perished on the 8th of September 2010……no it did not ….There is no difference from 1978 to date…..? Then why all this fuss ?

  5. billy

    i think this frustrated joker is trying to out do tissaranee!
    these darlings of tamil racists know until MR is there, they have no hope in this country!

  6. Bruz

    M.Rajapaksa is the best president SL ever had. We all shall enjoy his rule for quite some time. The facts Mr Kusal Perera has penned in this column cannot be ignored either. Blind hero worship will lead to disaster. One should think better or listen to what experienced elders say. Read the past political history of SL. Its all
    very pathetic. So many so called leaders came & went, but SL is sliding down tthe gutters. DS,Dudley,SWRD,Srimavo,JRJ,Premadasa,Chandrika,Ranil
    did nothing good for the country. Neither the so called leftists. JVP & JHU whipped up racial divide only. If any one can dream that MR & co will develop or do good things for the country or the people they should check their mental capacity & keep shut their mouth. The way things are done today is enough to see whats coming our way. Then those who accuse Kusal Perera will realise their folly.
    No one can stop the calamity enfolding in our midst. Every one will pay dearly for the
    mistakes made by others. It will be a collective punishment.
    Guys go & celebrerate with Kavun , kiri buth & crackers, every thing will be amended accordingly.

  7. kalutra Kalutantry

    Go on son, rule for another 10 years. If you were not leading, the self serving traitors of UNP would’ve sold us out. Spineless UNP were not only corrupt, they were traitors as well. Hence you are allowed to be little corrupt and that’s ok by me.

  8. kalana

    Rajapakse was the only Sl president who was atually able to do something about the war and finally bring it to a stop. Even though he does do unessasary things its k as its not like the rest of the presidents didnt do the same like the spineless Ranil irritating coward who only thought about himslf and nothing else. “We tamils have recognised this long time ago” o yea is that why you attacked when there was peace declarations and all.

  9. Monkey Boon

    One will understand the real taste of 18A after couple of budgets gone in next years. GOD BLESS MY MOTHERLAND

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