Sunday, February 28, 2016

Does Sri Lanka really need a Two party system?

I recently had the opportunity to read two biographies written by my grandfather, HAJ Hulugalle, on DR Wijewardene and DS Senanayake, both of whom he knew and worked with closely during the period of obtaining independence from the British. It was quite apparent from that, that had it not been for the British two party system, bequeathing a parliamentary system requiring an opposition, and governing party, Sri Lanka was not naturally a Country to which a two party-system was appropriate!

In short the system was forced on us, through the Donoughmore Constitution, of committees that made the Executive decisions, recognized one nation, and not minorities or majority communities. If one studies the 1931 Donoughmore Constitution that gave Sri Lanka universal adult franchise before most other British Colonies, in retrospect, it could have been designed in such a way, and served the purpose of self-government, that would have prevented much of the Ethnic distinctions, and subsequent loss to Sri Lanka of its best and brightest, of ALL Communities, namely, British, Burgher, Malay, Tamil and Sinhala.

Uncannily, I believe if elements had been changed, and if that original Constitution lasted, we would today, be the Island of Paradise that everyone would be fighting to get into, with a GNP per head of US$100,000.

Such is the course of history. Now we come to the present in 2016. We have a National Government like nothing the world has ever seen. Its first task is to draft a New Constitution for the times, and set in place a framework of how Sri Lanka should be governed for the next 50 years.

Those born after 1990, who would be under 26 today, would in 2065 be under 75 years of age, who would be the beneficiaries of this Constitution, or those who suffer from its ill effects if it goes drastically wrong, confining the Country into the armpit of history. It important they are included in the process.

When one talks to this generation, it is apparent that the two party system is an alien concept to them, as 70 years of experience has taught us that each election is won on promises, and lost on disappointment that the promises don’t come to fruition, and something worse has resulted.

 It is therefore quite clear that the two party system is NOT the form of Government for Sri Lanka, and in its place the new Constitution MUST allow for people’s representatives representing their own locality, call it Electorate, and you would vote for AN individual to represent you devoid of any party affiliation. It is the person who you can trust to represent you. NOT vote for you, as new technology will ensure that the voting on ALL bills will be done directly by the people exercising their non-transferable vote on fingerprint scanned smartphones wherever in the world they may live as long as they are registered in the system as citizens.

Your MP's task is to act as an overseer to protect your interests, and act as a Couner weight to the Executive who would be running the Country. No minister would be an elected MP, they are appointed for their skills, endorsed as suitable by the MPs. After even an appointment in the US for an Ambassador to Sri Lanka is ratified by the Senate, and until he is he cannot even be sent over. That was why the present Ambassador came so many months after the previous incumbent left. 

It is therefore clear that without a two party system to vote on bills to become Acts of Parliament, they can all be law on a plebiscite of the people, with instant and fool proof results, enfranchising the 3 million Sri Lankans overseas, creating an incredible bond with the mother Country, that will ensure that they will retain their ties, and possibly remit their earnings and invest their savings for the benefit of the Country which will NOT have to rely on foreign investment from NON Sri Lankans!

Now wouldn’t that be quite a change? I ask the reader to think about this proposal objectively, as there is a Golden Chance, a once in a lifetime opportunity from heaven so to speak, in this era of National Government, to go down this path of Government. I know the only people who will be against this are those who currently are in Parliament except of course the Prime Minister, who is the architect of the National Government and will no doubt see the value of this proposal put forward, as his interests are for the economic upliftment of Sri Lanka over his personal hold onto power.

What have we to lose, when the current system has failed Sri Lanka miserably?

In history, especially at the point Sri Lanka gained independence there were missed opportunities and chances, that were not the fault of the British, but more selfishness of the leaders who put self before, Nation, and we have paid dearly since then.

DR Wijewardene’s pre-occupation was the fight for self-government and he felt with the gentleman’s club of educated Sri Lankans at its helm, would be able to iron out differences amicably for the sake of the Country.

The coffers were full when the British gave us this right of self determination, and we just wasted it, to gain or keep power in elections, spiriting away this pot of gold, whilst at the same time creating communal disharmony to hold onto power as fear of others were the focal point of incitement to take your side!

I suspect if there was NO two party system, but a benevolent one party democracy at that stage, things would have changed. People would have been focused on real development and not divisive politics to stay or regain power, and use and disenfranchise minorities to serve their selfish goals.

We have gone full circle taking 70 years with it, and sent out of Sri Lanka people who collectively earn about 5 times what the present Sri Lankans earn in total, proving that their choice was the best for themselves, and the losers are the people who remain, third class, incompetent, self serving, now so insecure as to protect their incompetence from the threats of the latest avatur, ETCA!! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is quite a lot to consider. regarding electronic voting, this should be the future. while it was impractical for citizens to keep abreast of issues and be present in the millions to vote on each and every law of the day, now with modern technology information dossiers can be available at the touch of a finger, and votes in the millions can be taken in seconds. sri lankans, being what they are, unfortunately, cannot be trusted with such technology as they will manipulate it to serve their narrow and particular interests. we can only imagine bookie-pala manipulating electronic votes which will end up with him having casinos throughout the island!

this leads to the problem of one-government rule. the purpose of the multiparty system is to provide alternatives to the government and bring accountability for their poor governance. if there was no opposition, the pigs in government would grow fatter and fatter with no slaughter ever on the horizon. what brought about the 'good governance' movement in sri lanka in the first place (the most recent one)? so how can we trust sri lankans with such power as ruling the entire country without accountability?

we have a world class and beautiful island. somehow we need to find a way to cultivate the people to make it a livable place for everyone.