Communities elect their new Gup candidates
The people of Phobji Gewog elected former gup while Nahi Gewog voted for a new Gup candidate.
In Phobji Gewog, former gup Jamtsho, 38, won the election with 762 votes, of which 39 were postal votes. His opponent, Karma, secured 392 votes.
Kinley Tenzin, 34, was elected the new gup of Nahi Gewog with 282 votes over Sonam, who secured 210 votes.
The former gup Jamtsho was nominated from Khyimdro-Nemphel chiwog zomdu after securing 171 “yes” votes and 20 “no” votes. With this victory, Gup Jamtsho will serve his second term.
The new Nahi gup Kinley Tenzin was voted out with the total of 82 votes from 117 voters during the Nagbisa Chiwog zomdu. Now the community decides him to take over the post of gup in the second LGs election.
The candidates for local government offices need to produce certificate of functionally literacy test to attest that they are adequately skilled. The candidates are more educated, which will be important to function of the local governments as the Constitution gives local leaders significant powers to implement plans for socio-economic development.
Gup Jamtsho holds a diploma certificate in Buddhist and Philosophy from India. He served as Phobji gewog clerk for 10 years then as Phobji gup in 2011 in the first LG elections.
Nahi gup was a class 12 graduate from Ugyen Academy, Punakha, and worked in Bank of Bhutan from 2006 to 2014. Then, he initiated a farm in Nahi.
Gewog administrations formulate five-year development plans run their own budget, and raise their own labour for public projects.
The elected local leaders will implement the 12th five-year-plan at the grassroots level.
Jamtsho said, “I have works to complete from the first term in the 11th FYP. Now I can take off the gewog development plan in the 12th plan.”
There are some issues which were not initiated in the 11th plan, according to him. Therefore, he wants to incorporate them in the 12th plan.
Since he has been working between the people and the government over the years, he said he will use his experience. “I have experience in working with all the people and cover many different issues,” he said. But he added that he is not yet satisfied with his own service to the people.
Phobji Gup said that the communities have given him the second chance and, therefore, he should uphold the people’s trust and work harder. “I served my best with all the possibilities during the first tenure,” he said, adding that the gewog brought the development activities to the village over the years.
Nahi Gup Kinley said that his win has encouraged him to work hard. He said, “I feel a strong sense of responsibility and duty as a gup.” But he is worried with the amount of responsibility.
He wishes to improve the farm roads and make them pliable throughout the year. “I have to look forward to connect the villages by bridges that were washed away by flash floods on the night of September 17, 2016,” Kinley said.
Jamtsho hopes to support farming and eradicate poverty. He said he has contested not to compete with his opponent. “I have hoped to serve the people with full dedication and mostly I don’t want to misuse the power that comes with the responsibility,” Gup said.
Kinley said he wants to serve all local people equally with respect. “Everybody should be treated equally and with dignity,” he said. “I will help them with all the possibilities,”
Further, through decentralization, he said he will give the power to the people to bring the issues. “We will discuss issues together for our development activities,” Kinley said.
Phobji gup wants to bring improvement in drinking water facilities and improve the farm roads that mostly remain muddy during the monsoon season.
With the beautiful valley and a large population living in the villages, he hopes to set the gewog as an example to the rest of the gewogs in Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag. He said, “I’ll bring development in all fronts.”
In Phobjikha, farmers were struggling in the muddy farm road transporting their potatoes to Phuntsholing during the monsoon season. The gup says while many problems were solved during his first tenure, some are yet to solved.
Nahi gup also hopes to improve the existing farm road quality to make sure that it is usable around the year.
Agriculture remains the primary source of livelihood for the majority of the population. Nahi Gup said he pledged to renovate the existing irrigation channels to ensure the development of agriculture in the village.
The people recognize their leaders by deeds and achievements. Things are expected to change with their candidates.
People are happy with the development brought by the former gup who is now re-elected.
Passang Tobgay, 30, said, “Our gewog has developed so much under his leadership.”
Jigme, 26, from Nahi said, “We have elected our new local leaders and we have to appreciate them for being concerned about every issue of the villages.”
“For all practical purpose, it is now safe to say he have secured the elections battles of our gewog,” Jigme said. “I hope he will definitely perform what we expected.”
While the former tshogpa Sati was elected as the mangmi of Phobjik Gewog and Tandin Wangchuk in Nahi gewog.
More than 500 polling officers, including security personnel, were sent to 79 different polling stations across 15 gewogs in Wangduephodrang.
The Constitution states that the candidates’ local government elections must not belong to any political, must not be registered clergy, and must meet the residency, character, and other requirements of Bhutan election laws.
The Local Government Act of Bhutan 2009 is the latest legislation on local governments, establishing Gewogs as their divisions of Dzongkhags, themselves with locally-governing counsels.
All local governments are administrative divisions and are prohibited to make laws, however they are empowered to make rules and regulations consistent with law established by Parliament. The second LG elections concluded on 27 September after the completion of the tenures of the first democratically elected LGs. The first LG elections under the Constitution of Bhutan, which was adopted in 2008, were held in 2011.
Nahi Gup elect Kinley Tenzin
Phobji Gup elect Jamtsho
(This article is reported with support from DoIM)