Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Doing Politics with the Constitution.




Having  won an election for the last time in 2001, Ranil Wickramasinghe is desperately  pulling all the rabbits he can from his hat hoping something would pop-out  to propel him  onto the Presidential Chair.  All his yes men-Tissa Attanayake, Laksman Kiriella, Ravi Karunanayake, Karu Jayasuriy and the rest follow him wagging their tails yapping in unison,
hoping one day to follow the “magic leader” in to some sort of government  of their own,
while the failed politician Mangala Samaraweera is  praying the western leaders to boycott the CHOGM, as he says he has found  a dictator in Sri Lanka.  What a looney lot ?

In the mean time the Catholic Bishops’ Conference led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith  has announced the wisdom to have a totally new Constitution, and proposes while waiting ,  to continue to keep the 13 Amendment in tact.  Apparently the Cardinal would like to have his say in a new Constitution to  multiethnic Sri Lanka, providing an equal place to Christianity along side  Buddhism .

A constitution and the writing of it is not the activity of a political party without government responsibility, if it is so there would be numerous Constitutions prepared by different political Parties, -the TNA, SLMC,JVP,  and claiming their constitutions as well be  considered  to be accepted  as the Constitution of Sri Lanka by a referendum- a vogue term now  brandished in respect of the 13Amendment. Therefore, it is a dangerous precedence, and lack of respect to an existing Constitution for UNP to present a draft for  a  new Constitution to Sri Lanka.

Ranil Wickramasinghe may well  have written a Constitution for his own part, but his attempt at writing a Constitution to Sri Lanka is a pathetic sequel to his political failure as an astute politician, despite his being the Prime Minister twice and many years as  the Leader of the Opposition of the Parliament.  He seems to have learnt nothing of politics either as the Prime Minister, or as the Leader of the Opposition.

Writing a Constitution for a Nation cannot be taken lightly although again a UNP Leader had been the  prime mover of the present Constitution of Sri Lanka with its numerous defects, with the inclusion of the 13Amendment as the “icing on the cake”.  

The Present Constitution however is the second Republican Constitution of Sri Lanka of the three Constitution she had since her independence.  The first constitution  of 1946 with Dominion status was authored by Sir Ivor Jennings. The second and the First Republican Constitution  of 1972 was authored by Dr. Colvin R.De Silva. 

The present Constitution came into effect in 1978 . This Constitution  was created by a political leader who was thrown into the political backyard after the SLFP triumphed  at the General Election of 1970. The SLFP drew up the  new Constitution of 1972 breaking away from the Westminster model and establishing the first Republic of Sri Lanka, with a ceremonial President. The Prime Minster was given  executive Authority.

In the General elections of 1977 the UNP led by  JR Jayawardhana got a landslide victory.  JR Jayawadhane who had been biting his nails for seven years being out of political power had planned a revengeful come back.  He  immediately set about preparing a Constitution  on the basis of the UK and French Constitutions and made himself the all powerful Executive President.

The Executive powers of the President was not questioned at the time and JR used executive power making himself a Dictator.  owHowever when  However when eventually Mahinda Rajapakse was elected President of Sri Lanka, he still retained the  1978 Constitution, but refrained from using the  Executive powers vested in him as the President to the detriment of the people and the country.  He kept strictly within the Democratic norms, whatever his antagonists have to say. 

It shows that even the excessive powers vested in the office  of a Dictator or a President may still be used for the betterment of the people and the country dependent mostly on the character  and   a strictly religious, cultural and patriotic essence of the  person holding the office , as it is in the case of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse.

One cannot deny that in fact the Executive Powers vested in the President under the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka had been of benefit to  Sri Lanka in the elimination of the terrorism and keeping at bay those who wanted to prevent the successful military operations against terrorists.  The retaining those powers further is still essential as the terrorism though it has disappeared in the soil of Sri Lanka it  still lingers amoung those Tamils who live in clover in Western Countries. 

They  keep alive the fires of  communal hatred amoung the Tamils in the diaspora and those within the country shedding crocodile tears about the suffering of the Tamil people without taking any step to help them.  Instead they are using all means to destabilise and weaken the government to allow the star players from the West to intervene to divide Sri Lanka to allow them to establish a separate Eelam State, to derive political benefits for themselves.

Therefore, UNP’s latest tactic to bring disrepute to the Government of the President Mahinda Rajapakse and remove the government by a possible popular uprising of the people  against it, is seeking  the people’s approval for his Draft Constitution.  It is a  dangerous initiative which had no precedence any where  else in the world.

It is best to have one Constitution for Sri Lanka for ever, without having a new Constitution each time a new political party comes in to power.  The Constitution has only to be amended to remove what is considered offensive, out dated or a danger to the unitary status of Sri Lanka . 

In other words a Constitution should be Amended and not rescinded.  The 1978 Constitution with much of its defects had withstood the most critical period of Sri Lanka’s history, and therefore it is worth keeping it as the basic instrument of political Authority and the one and only Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Eventually, Amendments may be brought in to reduce the executive powers of  the President and Committees be set up to study the ways and means to improve the Constitution always without rescinding it, but moving suitable Amendments.

In conclusion, Ranil Wickramasinghe or following him any other Political leader should not be allowed to brandish any document drawn in  any ones back yard as a draft for a New Constitution of Sri Lanka. Such an act should be made a  legally chargeable act of  high treason. 

We already have a constitution with which we won a war against ruthless terrorists and impeached a not so good Chief Justice, therefore we should respect the Constitution we have  and keep it for generations to come. The future political leaders may continue to use this Same Constitution, amending it when the necessity arises but never rescind it to replace it with another.




2 comments:

Veluppillai Thangavelu said...

In retrospect this writer must now take back all he vomited in the long rigmarole he wrote 3 years ago. Mahinda Rajapaksa who is an unrepentant Sinhala - Buddhist ultra nationalist has been soundly defeated and his rule brought to a ignominious end. This person who speaks about culture and civilization is bearing a Portuguese name.

Charles.S.Perera said...



This is to Velupillai Thangavelu

Well after all what is in a name, it is what is in ones mind that matters. Your name, at least a part of the name is that of the most ruthless terrorist who made his own people suffer for more than 30 years. Perhaps that suffering is divine for you as the Hindu’s pay penance for their Gods by rolling on the ground, piercing tongues, hanging on carts with hooks pierced into skins.

I did not vomit my words I wrote them with care, carefully selecting words I thought appropriate. If that you think is vomit it is sad. Mahinda Rajapakse was not an ultranationalist and not an unrepentant Sinhala Buddhist. He was the most altruist leader of this century. He loved his people without differentiating them communally. As a learned Muslim writer Izeth Hussain wrote recently the Tamils have a problem of inborn racism that has become part of their lives and try to plant it on others. Like the man who sees the speck of saw dust in the others eye but does not see the log in his own eye.

Mahinda Rajapakse was defeated in the elections with the Tamils and Muslims voting against him. That is life , you win, and then you also loose. But he is very much living . He is much more happier than those who have replaced him. I wish you will think bereft of your attachment to self looking at a problem without prejudice to one or another. You may then see the reality of issues more clearly. Thank you, and wish you well.
Charles