Prof. Laksiri Fernando’s defense of the executive presidential system is flawed

What is it that is being taught the name of political science in Sri Lanka?

By Citizen Somapala

(January 03, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Professor Laksiri Fernando of the Political Science Department of University of Colombo was quoted in the BBC Sinhala service as saying that, there is nothing wrong in the executive presidential system. He simplistically argued, that the war against the LTTE was won under the executive system and therefore, it cannot be argued that it is a bad system. Professor forgets, that the problem about LTTE arose after the executive presidential system was established and it took over thirty years under that same system, to end some aspects of that problem. However most of the problems associated with the conflict still remain to be solved.

Prior to the establishment of executive presidential system in mid 1977, the only violent conflict experienced after independence, was JVP uprising of 1971. Under the priministerial system this problem was resolved within short period of time. The JVP even returned to democratic politics, some times afterwards as a legitimate political party. Reemergence of JVP once again, resorting to violence took place after the executive precedential system was established. Ever since the executive presidential system has been established, there had been intense violence in all part of the country and the executive presidency has not been able to resolve such problems, except by way of use of enormous violence by the state itself.

Professor Fenando’s argument about executive presidency reminds another professor some decades back, who argued that there is no inflation in the country, as the rupee has hundred cents before and it continue hundred cents even now. Another politician who has had his education under such professors, told his electorate, that the government is he represents is so good that, while the former government gave eighty rupees as equivalent to one dollar earned by the children of the people of his electorate form abroad, now his government is giving hundred rupees instead. Such is the wisdom of professors and those who are taught by them in recent years.

When vice chancellors and professors joined politics in Sri Lanka they have also acquired the same habits of unscrupulous politicians who tell a people what ever they like in the most cynical manner. Thus instead of benefit being acquired by the educated persons joining politics, politics degenerate further by this kind of cheap talk. In this recent election such “educated” persons, have come to say things like the value of nepotism as a cultural virtue and that political families benefiting economically is a universal phenomena and the like.

The problem of executive presidency is about the head of the state being above the law. When the head of the state is above the law, then it is not possible to have a system of administration based on law. If the system is not going to be based on law, what else is there to ensure the prevention of abuse of power? If the power is not prevented from being abused, how is country going to have any kind of rational governance? If Professor Laksiri Fernando is defending the executive presidential system, how is he going to teach this to his students without dealing with such problems?

What is it that is being taught the name of political science in Sri Lanka?