Good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka [Elektronische Ressource] : a political analysis of people's perceptions of institutions at the local level and the challenges of decentralised governance / submitted by: Christine Bigdon

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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Fakultät für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften Südasien-Institut, Abteilung Politische Wissenschaft Inaugural - Dissertation Good Governance and Conflict Transformation in Sri Lanka A Political Analysis of People’s Perceptions of Institutions at the Local Level and the Challenges of Decentralised Governance Submitted by: Christine Bigdon, M.A. Rosental 96 53111 Bonn Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Subrata K. Mitra March 2006 Acknowledgements To complete a Ph.D. thesis means to have reached the end of a long, exciting, sometimes overwhelming adventure. At the end of this process it is particularly difficult to keep track of what has been achieved and to appreciate the interesting aspects of the topic one has been researching for such a long time. For me the most exciting part is to think back to the beginning of this process and to those who have shared this road with me. It has been them, the team of research colleagues, partners in critical discussions, supporters, family members and friends who have made this experience lively, valuable and at the end truly enjoyable. I am deeply grateful to my supervisor Professor S.K. Mitra who has always encouraged and supported me throughout this long journey from the initial ideas up to the final preparation of this dissertation. Thanks also to other colleagues from the South Asia Institute, especially Prof.

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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Fakultät für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Südasien-Institut, Abteilung Politische Wissenschaft






Inaugural - Dissertation





Good Governance and Conflict Transformation
in Sri Lanka

A Political Analysis of People’s Perceptions of Institutions at the Local
Level and the Challenges of Decentralised Governance




Submitted by:

Christine Bigdon, M.A.
Rosental 96
53111 Bonn




Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Subrata K. Mitra
March 2006

Acknowledgements

To complete a Ph.D. thesis means to have reached the end of a long, exciting, sometimes
overwhelming adventure. At the end of this process it is particularly difficult to keep track of
what has been achieved and to appreciate the interesting aspects of the topic one has been
researching for such a long time. For me the most exciting part is to think back to the
beginning of this process and to those who have shared this road with me. It has been them,
the team of research colleagues, partners in critical discussions, supporters, family members
and friends who have made this experience lively, valuable and at the end truly enjoyable.

I am deeply grateful to my supervisor Professor S.K. Mitra who has always encouraged and
supported me throughout this long journey from the initial ideas up to the final preparation of
this dissertation. Thanks also to other colleagues from the South Asia Institute, especially
Prof. Hans-Georg Bohle, Dr. Karsten Frey, Hartmut Fünfgeld, Christiane Noe and Pia
Hollenbach for their support and encouragement to begin and to complete this work. I would
like to thank the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation for providing me with a scholarship to complete
this Ph.D. and a network of other Ph.D.-candidates with whom I could share experiences.
The Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies and Transformation, Sri Lanka has provided
funds and other support for the empirical research of this study. Dr. Norbert Ropers, Director
of the Berghof Foundation has been a key-person in the initiation of this research and a
source of inspiration. Special thanks also to Claus-Dieter Wild from the Berghof Office in
Berlin for his efforts in responding to difficult literature inquiries.

The empirical research was conducted jointly by a wonderful research team from Colombo,
Batticaloa and Heidelberg University. First of all I would like to express my deep gratitude to
my colleague Ayoma Abeysuriya, who has been at the centre of keeping the research team
together and has provided all manner of essential support. I would also especially like to
thank my Sri Lankan supervisor Prof. Siri Hettige for his initiative and enthusiasm in starting
this research project. Also special thanks to the two senior researchers Dr. Yuvi Thangarajah
and Prof. Laksiri Fernando, with whom it was a pleasure to work. I also want to thank Mr.
Thirunavukarasu, Mr. Dissanayake, Mr. Seneratne and the other survey support team
members for their great engagement as well as Dr. W. Gooneratne and Mr. G.
Wickremasinghe for their logistical support. The Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance
particularly Ms. Nandani Gunasekera played a key role in opening the doors to local
authorities – a support that was crucial for the success of this work.

I am deeply thankful to those who contributed to this research project through sharing their
time, experiences, ‘stories’ and knowledge with us. I would especially like to thank the
officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government for their
support and interest in this research, the chairmen and council members of the local
authorities we visited, the Government Agents and Divisional Secretaries, Provincial Council
representatives, the representatives of the trade unions, NGOs, Mediation Boards, police as
well as citizens from the four research study locations.

ii
Of the colleagues and friends in Sri Lanka who influenced my ideas, with whom I debated
political issues or who gave critical feed-back, I would like to mention Dr. Markus Mayer,
Maleeka Salih, Ananda Galapathi, M. Sidhartan, Sunil Bastian, Eberhard Halbach, Rohan
Edrisinha, Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, Rohini Singarayer, Dedo Geinitz, Christoph
Feyen, Antonia Engel, Benedikt Korf, Eberhard Bauer and Camilla Orjuela.

A substantial contribution with regard to proof reading, critical feed-back, long inspirational
discussions, and endless encouragement to keep going came from Dr. Christian Wagner, Dr.
Markus Mayer, Maleeka Salih and Wolfram Zunzer - to whom I want to express my deepest
gratitude. Special thanks also to Virginia Roaf for the fantastic work done in editing the
language and to Astrid Fischer for typesetting the final document.

Warmest thanks to my family and friends and especially to my partner Wolfram and my
daughter Elisa for all their support throughout this journey and for their confidence that this
thesis would indeed be completed one day.


Bonn, December 2006 Christine Bigdon



iii
Table of Content:

0 Preface
Acknowledgements ii
Abbreviations vii
ListofGraphs,Boxes andTables ix
ExecutiveSummary(English & German) Xi

11 Introduction
1.1 Democracyandgovernance in Sri Lanka – background to the researchfocus 1
1.2 CoreConceptandResearch Methodology 6
1.2.1 ‘Perceptions count’ – assessing governance through the eyes of the people 6
1.2.2 Learning from ‘Case Studies’ – local governance in three regions of Sri Lanka 8
1.2.3 Empirical research methodology 11
1.3 Chapter Outline 15

16 2‘Governance’ and ‘Good Governance’ – the International
Discourse
2.1 Governance - from government to (good) governance 16
2.1.1 The discourses on ‘democracy measuring’ and ‘assessing governance’ 16
2.1.2 Roots and definitions of the governance discourse 19
2.1.2.1 From government to governance: the minimal state, socio-cybernetic 19
systems and self-organizing networks
2.1.2.2 Governance as ‘socio-political’ or ‘interactive’ governing 22
2.1.2.3 The role of actors and institutions in interactive governance 24
2.2 Strengthening the local level – decentralisation, challenges and trends 26
2.2.1 Challenges and trends of local governance 26
2.2.2 Decentralisation – strengthening local governance towards more efficiency 30
and the accommodation of diversity
2.3 International approaches and indicators to assess good governance 36
2.3.1 The international good governance discourse and indices (World Bank & UN 36
Habitat)
2.3.1.1 ‘Governance matters’ and ‘Governance diagnostic’ - The World Bank 39
Governance Measurement Approaches
2.3.1.2 The UN-Habitat Index on good governance 41
2.3.2 Conclusion: Developing a context-specific good governance model 42

47 3Institution Building and Conflict in Sri Lanka
3.1 Dynamics of protracted conflict Sri Lanka 47
3.1.1 Background causes of the protracted conflict 48
3.1.2 Actors, issues & mobilisation strategies 49
3.1.3 Catalysts of violent conflict 55
3.2 Milestones in the devolution politics and discourse on federalism 58
3.3 Re-centralisation or more autonomy for local government? 65
3.3.1 Historical development of the local government system 65
3.3.2 Introduction and functions of the provincial council system 67
3.3.3 The present local government system 69
3.3.4 Reform Agenda of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Provincial Council and Local 72
Government

477 Empirical Study on ‘Good Governance’ and the Realities of Local
Governance in Selected Regions of Sri Lanka
4.1 Introduction to the three research regions: the actors, institutions and 77
development & conflict dimensions
4.1.1 Ambagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha, Nuwara Eliya District 77
4.1.1.1 The area and its regional context 77
iv
4.1.1.2 Socio-economic context and conflict dimensions in the area 80
4.1.1.3 The actors and institutions of the local governance system 83
4.1.1.4 People’s perceptions about the actors of the local governance system – 85
findings from the household survey
4.1.2 Moneragala Padeshiya Sabha, Moneragala District 86
4.1.2.1 The area and its regional context 86
4.1.2.2 Socio-economic context and conflict dimensions in the area 89
4.1.2.3 The actors and institutions of the local governance system 92
4.1.2.4 People’s perceptions about the actors of the local governance system – 95
findings from the household survey
4.1.3 Kaluvanchikudiyiruppu Pradeshiya Sabha & Kattankudy Urban Council, 96
Batticaloa District
4.1.3.1 The area and its regional context 96
4.1.3.2 Socio-economic context and conflict dimensions in the area 101
4.1.3.3 The actors and institutions of the local governance system 105
4.1.3.4 People’s perceptions about the actors of the local governance 108
system – findings from the household survey

4.2 Finding a local definition for good governance and elaboration of research 111
framework
4.2.1 ‘Good governance or bad governance’ – definition and indicators for good 111
governance as provided by local elites
4.2.2 Assessment of governance by local elites 115
4.2.3 Elaborating an organizing research framework of good governance indicators 120

4.3 Comparative study of local governance in three regions of Sri Lanka 127
4.3.1 Efficiency 127
Efficiency in Ambagamuwa 4.3.1.1 127
Efficiency in Moneragala 4.3.1.2 133
Efficiency in Batticaloa 4.3.1.3 136
Comparative Summary 4.3.1.4 142
4.3.2 Responsiveness and Equality 144
4.3.2.1 Responsiveness and Equality in Ambagamuwa 144
4.3.2.2 Responsiveness and Equality in Moneragala 149
4.3.2.3 Responsiveness and Equality in Batticaloa 153
4.3.2.4 Comparative Summary 155
4.3.3 Professional Leadership 157
4.3.3.1 Leadership in Ambagamuwa 157
4.3.3.2 Leadership in Moneragala 160
4.3.3.3 Leadership in Batticaloa 161
4.3.3.4 Comparative Summary 163
4.3.4 Transparency and Accountability 164
4.3.4.1 Transparency and Accountability in Ambagamuwa 164
4.3.4.2 Transparency and Accountability in Moneragala 167
4.3.4.3 Transparency and Accountability in Batticaloa 170
4.3.4.4 Comparative Summary 171
4.3.5 People’s Participation 172
4.3.5.1 People’s Participation in Ambagamuwa 172
4.3.5.2 People’s Participation in Moneragala 175
4.3.5.3 People’s Participation in Batticaloa 178
4.3.5.4 Comparative Summary 181
4.3.6 Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection 182
4.3.6.1 Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection in Ambagamuwa 182
4.3.6.2 Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection in Moneragala 186
4.3.6.3 Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection in Batticaloa 189
4.3.6.4 Comparative Summary 190
4.3.7 Trust in Politics and Basic Security 191
v
4.3.7.2 Trust in Politics and Basic Security in Ambagamuwa 191
4.3.7.2 Trust in Politics and Basic Security in Moneragala 193
4.3.7.3 Trust in Politics and Basic Security in Batticaloa 194
4.3.7.4 Comparative Summary 196
4.3.8 Conflict Transformation Capacities 197
4.3.8.1 Conflict Transformation Capacities in Ambagamuwa 197
4.3.8.2 Conflict Transformation Capacities in Moneragala 204
4.3.8.3 Conflict Transformation Capacities in Batticaloa 206
4.3.8.4 Comparative Summary 208
4.3.9 Level of good governance in the three research regions – summary of findings 210

214 5 Key Issues, Challenges and Reforms of Local Governance
5.1 Key actors and key issues of local governance in Sri Lanka 214
5.1.1 Status quo of good governance at local level – the key actors 214
5.1.2 Status quo of good governance at local level – the key issues and 219
challenges
5.2 Reform agenda to strengthen local governance in Sri Lanka 223
5.2.1 Extension of devolution of power to the local level 225
5.2.2 Improvement of financial management systems 226
5.2.3 Improvement of human resource management, capacity building, and 227
promotion system
5.2.4 Increase of people’s participation in local planning 228
5.2.5 Develop measures to support ethnic harmony and conflict transformation 230
mechanisms
5.2.6 Revision of the local election system or creation of alternative form of 231
power-sharing
5.2.7 Strengthening the law enforcement and security system 233
5.2.8 Challenges for local governance reforms in the North-East 234

238 6Redefining good governance in Sri Lanka - visionary thinking and
lessons learnt
6.1 Value-added of the methodological approach for good governance concepts 239
6.2 Value-added of the empirical findings for good governance in Sri Lanka 241
6.3 Lessons learnt for local and national governance reforms 244

Annexes 250
Annex 1: Interview Partner 250
Annex 2: Elite Interview Guideline 256
Annex 3: Household Survey Questionnaire 258
Annex 4: Pradeshiya Sabha Member Interview Guideline 265
Annex 5: NGO-Representatives Interview Guideline 271
Annex 6: Interview Guideline Focus Group Discussions 273
Annex 7: Interview Guideline Ministry Representatives 274
Annex 8: Research Locations in Ambagamuwa 276
Annex 9: Research Locations in Moneragala 277
Annex 10: Research Locations in Batticaloa 279
Annex 11: Good Governance Indicators by Local Elites - all regions 280
Annex 12: Good Governance Indicators by Local Elites - regional differences 281
Annex 13: ‘Bad Governance’ Indicators by Local Elites - all regions 283
Annex 14: ‘Bad Governance’ Indicators by Local Elites - regional differences 284
Annex 15: Assessment of Last Local Government Regime by Local Elites 286
Annex 16: Assessment of who is responsible for a decline of governance - all 289
regions
Annex 17: Assessment of who is responsible for a decline of governance 290
Annex 18: Agencies important for good governance at the local level 292

294 References
vi
Abbreviations

AGA Assistant Government Agent
BMZ German Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development
CBO Community Based Organisation
CNC Ceylon National Congress
CPA Centre for Policy Analysis
CIC Ceylon Indian Congress
CWC Ceylon Workers Congress
DDC District Development Committee
DS Divisional Secretary
EPDP Elam People’s Democratic Party
FA Farmers Association
FP Federal Party
GA Government Agent
GMI Governance Matters Index
GoSL Government of Sri Lanka
GS / GN Grama Sevaka (Grama Niladari) – Village administrative officer appointed by
the Ministry of Home Affairs and Provincial Council
IDEA International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
IDP Internally Displaced People
IPKF Indian Peace Keeping Forces
IRDP Integrated Rural Development Programme Moneragala
ISGA Interim Self-Governing Authority for the North-East
JP Justice of Peace
JVP Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People’s Liberation Front)
LKR / RS Sri Lankan Rupees
LTTE Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
MOH Medical Officers of Health
MP Member of Parliament
MSEP Manmunai South / Eruvil Pattu (Divisional Secretary)
NEMPA North-East Muslim Peace Assembly
NGOs Non-Governmental Organisations
NORAD Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
NPC National Peace Council
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OIC Officer in Charge
PC Provincial Council
PA People’s Alliance
PLOTE People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Elam
PR Proportional Representation (System)
PS Pradeshiya Sabha
PSC Protracted Social Conflicts
PLOTE People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam
RDO Rural Development Officer
vii
RDS Rural Development Society
SLAF Sri Lanka Armed Forces
SLFP Sri Lanka Freedom Party
SLIDA Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration
SLILG Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance
TC Tamil Congress
TELO Tamil Elam Liberation Organization
TNA Tamil National Alliance
TULF Tamil United Liberation Front
UC Urban Council
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNP/UNF United National Party / United National Front
WB World Bank



viii
List of Graphs, Boxes and Tables:


Box1:Research Study Locations 10
Box 2: Research Design and Methodology 14
Box 3: The Discourse on Federalism in Sri Lanka 64
Box 4: Local Governance Reform Steps of the Ministry of Home Affairs, 74
Provincial Council and Local Government
Box 5: Socio-economic situation in war-affected Batticaloa District, 2003 102

Table 1:Profile of the Research Study Districts 11
Table 2: Governance Indices and Assessment Approaches 42
Table 3: Ambagamuwa PS Area - Population on the Basis of Ethnicity 79
Table 4: Ambagamuwa PS Area - Population on the Basis of Religion 79
Table 5: Moneragala PS Area – Population on the Basis of Ethnicity 88
Table 6: Moneragala PS Area – Population on the Basis of Religion 88
Table 7: Batticaloa District, Kattankudy UC & Kaluvanchikudiyiruppu PS Area - 99
Population on the Basis of Religion
Table 8: Agencies important for good governance at the local level 120
Table 9: Level of good governance in the three research regions – summary of 211
findings

Figure1:Developing a context-specific good governance model 45
Figure 2: Provincial Council and Local Government Structure in Sri Lanka 67
Figure 3: Indicators for good governance as defined by local elites from three 112
regions in Sri Lanka
Figure 4: Indicators for ‚bad governance’ as defined by local elites from three 114
regions in Sri Lanka
Figure 5: Critical Issues of Local Governance in Sri Lanka 220

Map1:Mapof Sri Lanka x
Map 2: Research Study Location in Nuwara Eliya District – Ambagamuwa PS 78
Area
Map 3: Research Study Location in Moneragala District – Moneragala PS Area 87
Map 4: Research Study Locations in Batticaloa District – 98
Kaluvanchikudiyiruppu Pradeshiya Sabha & Kattankudy Urban Council
area.


ix
Map of Sri Lanka with Research Location





x