Editorial

Ruwan Wijewardene and the Mulberry Bush

Summary

RW2’s should do a re-take on 20A and Buddhism

Ruwan Wijewardene (RW2), Deputy Leader of the United National Party (UNP) and as of now the heir apparent to the party throne, has commented on the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Good. Nepotism, dynastic practice and such notwithstanding, it is good for an aspiring leader to delve into constitutional affairs. It’s good that he has talked about separation of powers, the ills of power-concentration and other things his uncle J.R. Jayewardene had absolutely no interest in when the constitution that is to be amended was ushered in way back in 1978.

And, out of the green (shall we say?), Ruwan says the proposed amendment will threaten Buddhism. OMG, WTF and all that should be interjected here.

Here’s RW2’s logic: Strengthening the executive invalidates the people’s sovereignty (so we weren’t sovereign between 1978 and 2001, when the 17th Amendment curbed some presidential powers?). When the sovereignty of the people is violated, Buddhism is threatened. So says Ruwan W. Let’s mutter ‘OMG’ and ‘WTF’ all over again.

First of all, Buddhism must indeed be a weak doctrine if it is dependent on constitutional safeguards. Secondly, IF, as RW2 puts it, strengthening the executive threatens Buddhism, such an eventuality should threaten all religions, not just Buddhism. Thirdly, history shows that the religion (which is of course different from doctrine, as is true for all religions) has had its best days when there weren’t constitutions, no ‘separation of powers,’ no ‘media’ to talk of (the 4th pillar, according to RW2) — i.e. the times of the kings. ‘

The 20th Amendment has issues. The 19th certainly has to go but the 20th is just a part answer and needs correction. RW2 is Deputy Leader of a one-seat party. That’s ok. Fortunes fluctuate. His day could come. Not if he is given to sending the hand around the head to touch his nose. 

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