Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Local Government Elections in the Eastern Province: Empowering the people?

This is reproduced from a comment i made to Sanjana's article on groundviews:

For whom are these elections being held? Can Local Government of Provincial Council Elections empower the people of the East to usher in the development that the region requires? The answer is a plain no. Both the Local Government and the Provincial Council systems do not have the legal competency (powers) or the finances to undertake development work leave alone taking care of basic or local needs. The public administration system (GA's and AGA's) managed by the Central Government run the show when it comes to the basic day to day needs of the people. The ‘Big’ Ministries and the ‘Big’ Ministers at the Centre and in this case the Ministry of Nation Building (one of those five which comes under the President) are responsible for the so far announced development projects for the East. These are being done (if at all if they are being implemented) with almost zero consultation with the elected representatives from the East. Mr. Basil Rajapaksha is in full control. DBS Jeyeraj in a post on his website dated Oct 20, 2007, candidly explains how these projects could be used and are being used to promote Sinhala colonisation in the East. So are the LG representatives going to be of use? Are we naive to think that democratic elections should not be questioned for their purpose? That’s the first question – would the Local Government representatives be used or would they be of use within the present framework of governance? The second is the one that a lot of people are raising will it be of value balanced with the blood that is being and going to be shed in electing these representatives?

The UPFA is teaming up with TMVP for the polls. Without Govt support the TMVP cannot exist. So the TMVP has no choice but to accept UPFA as an electoral partner to gain legitimacy. So even there given that TMVP will sweep the polls the govt is going to have full control. A self-serving election for the Government this will be.

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