Letter to my Dear Jayampathie,
The Presidential Advisor on Constitutional Affairs
Let me be clear.
It was a Protest Vote that turned Tables.
It was not a Yes Vote to reorganize S.L.F.P.,
You and I waited for 37 years patiently.
I want the post of President out and done with it.
I am totally allergic to it.
I cannot tolerate any form of it, even as a nominal figure.
President with defense powers is much worse, even with concurrence with the Prime Minister.
I know my proposal below won't make a dent in the current thinking of politics.
But I will nevertheless, air it for my own sanity and health.
Hope due consideration is given to it.
My proposal is to have a Senate of some sort, with 50 individuals (with Brain Capacity) with Creativity instead for a single nominal president.
My concern is whether we can find 50.
In other words, a gathering of political and social intelligentsia (I defer using science, since politics cannot be defined as a valid science) that could bring out proposals that would help good governance and reconciliation.
Only in advisory capacity not with any executive power.
Only executive power that should behold on it is to STOP an attempt like what we experienced under Mahinda Chintanya where one man/woman hijacks the Judiciary, Constitution and the Legislature, lock, stock and barrel.
Not the old Senate (we had under British engineering) for old codgers from various political parties who hold office to retire there doing sweet nothing.
Term of office for each individual is 3 years with no extension.
If the individual is not contributing any substance, he/she should be ousted by the sitting members by simple majority after a (sympathetic) warning at the end of one year.
15 of them should be ousted / changed by a point scheme of some sort after 3 years by the legislature.
Those who fall below the bar is out but the rest can remain in the Senate by default (not an extension but an approval of quality service).
The figure of 15 can be increased to any number below 25.
There should be 50 others in waiting list and short listed on a merit basis.
How they be nominated should be decided by some sort of consensus.
When a member is compulsorily retired or ousted next in line take his or her position.
The vacancies are filled with the approval of the legislature.
No person in the waiting list should canvas or criticize those who are already in the Senate with the intention of jumping the merit list and entering the Senate.
Any member can voluntarily resign from the Senate or Merit / Waiting list on health or incapacitation.
I do not want to put an age (age discrimination) for qualification.
Mind you I do not use the maturity as a criterion.
In this country a mature or wise person should never enter politics.
I do not want to mention the proportion of the sex (sex discrimination) or its ratio.
Those who go abroad and come back on scholarship are not entitled unless they have served the stipulated time on their contract.
Those who go abroad on their own should work a minimum of five years before qualifying.
Foreign qualifications in no way make them a special category unless those qualifications are not available currently in the country (for example space engineering, astronauts, nuclear scientists, etc).
Each individual should have the liberty to choose his or her own specialty or expertise to chair.
Anybody can chair its sitting on a rolling basis.
What it means is everybody should have a working knowledge of the contents or any discussions other members bring into the forum, current and old.
I prefer the word Forum instead of the age old Senate.
This is the skeleton structure of the form of the Senate but with legal advice necessary strictures should be instituted.
Anybody who managed to stay in this institution over a decade should be entitled for a reasonable pension.
The payment should not be a flat rate but a negotiable remuneration approved by the legislature.
The idea is to attract experts not mediocre guys/girls.
That is why I put 3 year term of engagement.
In a management sense three years is enough to evaluate a persons credibility he or she claims and brings to the forum with him/her.
This is similar to what is practiced in America in academic circles, where one cannot hold office or chair or title (PhD, Professor) without on going contributions.
In Sri-Lanka one becomes a professor and remains so till he/she dies.
Joining and leaving should be easy.
Now coming back to one's credentials as an expert should also be under public scrutiny.
The failure of satisfying the nation's aspiration including mine tantamount to perjury or infringement of fundamental rights of an average citizen.
So, if you are uncomfortable or not fit for the crown, you should leave this affair now itself and leave all the blame on the politicians and their politics.
That is your escape route.
I bet you cannot satisfy everybody including politicians.
That does not mean you should not try your best.
In the likely scenario, you cannot eliminate the post of president, you must give due consideration whether you or I (entice me but I will never accept it even in my dream) can wear that mantle with ease and does not feel guilty of you / I creating it or using it for your/my personal glory.
That is the bench mark.
Coming back to real politics, you come from the blue camp (I can remember two or three others at our time in the Peradeniya campus).
Striking figure is the "Koluratne" who gave a list of names for execution and I never liked them and the party, if not hate them for all the misgiving this country had from 1956 after SWRD.
Your leaning towards the left was a natural tendency, still keeping the blue tag.
But your dissociation away from the dead left was most welcome and alliance with the new political intelligentsia including Jayadeva Uyandgoda was a perfect match at this juncture.
One should seek help from those guys and girls if you are on a difficult wicket (is prudent).
Since your origin is from blue camp let me elaborate on few pertinent points of the current / presidential election just completed.
Blue vote was in the minority (even though difficult to assess) in the winning camp.
It is all protest vote against Mahinda Chinthanaya camp but turned Yes towards the end of the election.
My breakdown of possible scenario of protest vote.
1. Nearly 25% of the green camp.
2. Nearly 15% (may be more) of the Buddhist middle class intelligentsia.
3. At least 10% of Tamils and Muslims (may be more if you take the ones who voted for the green camp).
4. 2% or less from the hard core blue camp.
All these were protest votes against the blue camp in power for 21 years became Yes vote towards the end.
So you should not wear a blue tinted glass when deliberations are made.
Blue is in the minority.
25% to 35% had come from the ethnic minority.
Which may be more than fifty percent of the winning vote.
It is a critical factor one should not forget.
Their aspirations should be seen to be taken care of not the blue camp.
In the opposing side more than half (25% or more is the vote that Ma Ra had for himself by his total and obsessive campaign drive) and the rest 20% is the docile blue vote which is less than the green vote base.
With Ma Ra out of office this will sink to 40% in due course and the real docile blue vote would be 15% or less.
Only way to test is to have the parliament elections with or without Ma Ra.
It will be Maranthika for the blue camp if Ma Ra leads it.
Unless Maithree Sirisena reforms it in a short space of time or double quick time, its fate is not sitting pretty.
It is all due to misuse of power by one individual and his family.
The constitutional changes should not be seen either with a blue or green tinted glass but by wearing a rainbow coalition spectacle.
The constitution should come as a Spectacle that all citizens would be proud of.
Can we do it.
Yes we can.
But I still prefer it without a president.
It reminds us of the painful past.
It is better without it, so we can get on with the normal life that existed way back 38 years ago!
It is my wishful thinking.