Tilak S. Fernando writing from London
A few days ago, July 2019, an open political discussion was held by Kirana TV, inside a crowded hall in the London Borough of Hounslow, Middlesex with a prospective candidate for the Presidential Office in Sri Lanka, a prominent lawyer and a vociferous personality on politics in Sri Lanka, Mr. Nagananda Kodituwakku. Kirana TV conducted this programme titled under Jana Vimasuma, in the presence of London based journalists attached to Kirana TV, namely Roshan Samantha Yapa, Thushara Perera and Nishantha Wickramarachchi who fired several vital questions at the potential presidential candidate. The TV programme was produced for Kirana TV by journalist Jayasanka Wijesinghe.
During the question time, numerous questions were raised by the panel of journalists, whereas Nagananda Kodituwakku attempted to answer questions focusing mainly on his newly proposed Constitution, which he wants to implement if he succeeds at the President of Sri Lanka. However, throughout the discussion, Nagananda Kodituwakku mainly concentrated on the theme of a Unitary State and a Single Law and Order Principle applicable to all citizens in Sri Lanka, in what he called as a ‘Peoples’ Government’. He intends to implement his new constitution IF he becomes the head of his proposed “ Peoples’ Government”.
In his answers to the panel of journalists, he seemed to be collecting peoples’, ideas and proposals to be assimilated to his proposed new Constitution stating that the bulk of the vital areas have been incorporated already in the New Constitution. According to him, a Comprehensive Constitution is due to be in the hands of the voters within the remaining few months before the presidential election. The main vital areas in the already formulated ‘draft constitution’ are the following aspects :
When and if the new ‘Peoples’ Regime’ is appointed ‘by the people’, and the head of the government certifies and legalises the new Constitution, then the existing Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will be abolished automatically.
All positions of Magistrates in the Appeal Court and the Magistrates’ Courts will become null and void. However, when new appointments are to be made, those ousted magistrates too have a second chance to qualify, to re-apply to such positions afresh. Service periods of all existed members of committees will cease to function. Similarly, all those officials too will be reconsidered for such positions as in the case of magistrates.
Executive Policy Making
The prime responsibility of the “Peoples’ Government” will be to protect the Independence and Sovereignty of the new ‘Peoples’ Government,’ as much as to safeguard the independence of law and order covering all citizens; to protect the environment giving prominence to the mother earth. His government will limit the number of parliamentary seats to 125 in number, and the Parliament will be shifted to the old parliament building near the Gall Face Green building.
He will abolish the current procedure of issuance of duty-free car permits to all political representatives, scrap all liquor licence permits and fuel station permits issued to politicians and their henchmen; withdraw all revolvers that were given to MPs for their protection and he promises to come with a well-balanced budget to take off citizens’ tax burden. Nominated MPs will receive payments as an allowance, purely for serving the people and the current practice of MPs qualifying for a pension, after being an MP for five years, will be scrapped in its entirety, and adjustments will be made so that everyone qualifies for a pension akin to any other government servant at the statutory retirement age. Parliament privileges and abuses against Magistrate and Judiciary Courts will be ignored, while equivalent delegation in the election committee on performances will cease to function and the members to the new Parliament will be chosen on an electoral basis.
The number of members in the Legislative Body will comprise of 10 people and the Chairman of this Committee will be the Speaker of Parliament. The other 9 members will be chosen out of educated, honest, honourable and law binding civilians of social standing from the society. The Prime Minister, Speaker and the Leader of the opposition will be responsible for the new Legislative Body.
The Executive Presidency will be abolished once he takes over the reins to run the country and made the Prime Minister responsible for the entire cabinet of ministers, while he (PM ) too becomes a member of the cabinet. The prime minister will appoint the appropriate number of cabinet ministers and junior ministers and assign their functions, duties, and responsibilities in accordance with the laid down procedures in the new ‘peoples’ government’ Constitution.
Nagananda’s version was that once his new Constitution gets accepted and approved by the people, no parliamentarian could ever be able to dream of getting involved with any fraud, bribery or corruption, as his new constitution for Sri Lanka appears to be equivalent to an iron cage.
Further, during this interactive session, specifically what was taken into a serious discussion was how should the Law and Order in the Country be applied to every individual equally irrespective of any bias to the influential; how should the judiciary be independent and what future action should be adopted to stop any frauds such as the Central Bank scam recurring; and how to put a stop to plundering millions of rupees in various forms from the government coffers. Nagananda went into detail in explaining the current administration’s involvement with the USA on SOFA and ACSA agreements, which are due to be signed in the near future, and also its repercussions to the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
It is a recognised fact that the general public in Sri Lanka is fed up to the back teeth by the heavy burden on citizenry on taxes, and currently how the word ‘ parliamentarian’ has become the most reviled word in politics. They seem to approach the voter prior to any election, especially to remote villages and give the ‘political carrot’ with blatant lies in order to get them elected to parliament, and once elected they transform into superhuman beings and the voters having to approach them by calling ‘sir’.
According to the general consensus of the people in Sri Lanka, the present-day politicians get elected to parliament ‘not to serve the public or their electorate, but to become entrepreneurs and plunder the taxpayers’ money from government coffers in a subtle and devious manner. In such political chaos, all political parties are hell-bent on securing their own party safeties in the heat of a Presidential election (which is not yet even officially confirmed), where the masses are made even more confused when they engage in never-ending squabbles in choosing a popular member as their party candidate. A recent interview on TV, which is on YouTube with Kumara Welgama admits that he himself is 69 years of age, and comes up with the blatant truth about politicians in Sri Lanka that “ all senior politicians over 70 years of age must retire, and let the young blood with novel ideas take over and run the country. ”
Nagananda ,who has promised to reform the society, has not so far named any of his staunch patriotic team of supporters officially who would come forward and sweat out for the sake of the country by earning only ‘an allowance’ for serving the people, minus all the perks that are enjoyed by the present-day cabinet ministers, who get 6 security personnel- 4 for his personal safety and the balance two to protect his residence! In a manner of speech, what Nagananda Kodituwakku says makes sense, but the million-dollar question would be how he is going to win the hearts of the villagers, and the Tamil community in the east and north, who have been conned repeatedly? Such questions have been posed to him even by the Buddhist clergy, but his only answer has been for people to have trust and faith in him and comesout with several Buddhist stanzas to blend with Lord Buddha’s revelations on how to identify a principled, honourable and a virtuous man!
Undoubtedly, there is a backing for Nagananda Kodituwakku from a part of expatriates in every corner of the globe because what he says gets absorbed by the ‘fed up’ Sri Lankans, and automatically get drawn to his proposals, but the million-dollar question is how a man who has been living abroad for several years return to Sri Lanka suddenly and trying to reform the whole system overnight, when the Sri Lankan society is rigid and a stereotype.
The unfortunate fact is that many political leaders at present in Sri Lanka are superstitiously inclined, if not why should they always rush to seek protection from Indian Gods, particularly from Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati, which is dedicated to Lord Sri Venkateshwara, ‘an incarnation of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared to save mankind from trials and tribulations of ‘Kali Yuga’.
In the rush, Sri Lankan astrologers have surfaced once again to the battlefield, with various predictions about the winning candidate, when even prospective presidential candidates are not made known officially. This forms into a battleground among Sri Lankan astrologers, and in the midst, a reputed yogi, who claims to have so far come up with accurate predictions in the past, even about the Ester Sunday bombing, has entered the political arena on predicting reviews astrologically. He comes live on YouTube video and predicts that people in Sri Lanka will have to wait patiently up till 2025until the ‘universal forum’ brings a virtuous leader to repair all the damage done by venal politicians in Sri Lanka so far. Commenting on Nagananda, he boldly warns the public ‘ not to get deceived by his rhetoric’ stating that “Nagananda is an infant in politics”and questions as to how he could fulfill any of his aspirations, as long as the 19thAmendment to the existing Constitution is in force! Anyone is able to see this yogi’s astrological live commentary and how confidentially he makes such predictions on YouTube.
Pic credit : Goole and Janavimasuma TV