Prac­tice what you preach!

Business Bhutan - - Editorial -

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from po­lit­i­cal par­ties in a panel dis­cus­sion or­ga­nized by the Bhutan Democ­racy Dia­logue in Thim­phu al­most over a month ago smugly vowed to re­frain from cor­rupt prac­tices and mud­sling­ing to achieve their po­lit­i­cal goal.

They also agreed to con­duct them­selves more re­spon­si­bly dur­ing and af­ter the elec­tion pe­riod.

How­ever, this is be­com­ing eas­ier said than done go­ing by the con­duct of po­lit­i­cal par­ties. The gov­ern­ment and the op­po­si­tion have lately been en­gaged in a po­lit­i­cal im­broglio of sorts with ex­changes of cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions and mud­sling­ing. It is as if both the po­lit­i­cal par­ties are ve­he­ment on pulling the other down.

On one side, we have the gov­ern­ment ask­ing ACC probe in the fis­cal in­cen­tive case that the op­po­si­tion as the rul­ing party then had granted in 2013, thus ben­e­fit­ting Le Meri­dien alone by more than Nu 76mn that is owned (part­nered) by the daugh­ter of for­mer works and hu­man set­tle­ment min­is­ter Yeshey Zimba.

The op­po­si­tion out rightly de­clined the al­le­ga­tion, de­scrib­ing it as ma­li­cious po­lit­i­cal vendetta and a po­lit­i­cal stunt; ask­ing the tim­ing too of such al­le­ga­tion and call­ing it as a bad prece­dent by the gov­ern­ment.

Nonethe­less, if a bad prece­dent has been set by the gov­ern­ment, so has the op­po­si­tion. The op­po­si­tion doesn’t seem to be do­ing any­thing dif­fer­ent too. If the op­po­si­tion ask­ing ques­tions on the tim­ing of al­le­ga­tion made by the gov­ern­ment is be­fit­ting, it’s only apt that ques­tions must be raised on the tim­ing of the al­le­ga­tions on the mis­use of pub­lic re­source by the Prime Min­is­ter made by the op­po­si­tion.

Sim­i­larly, there are ques­tions as to why the op­po­si­tion waited for three years to come out with the al­le­ga­tion on the al­leged mis­use of around Nu 3mn by the Prime Min­is­ter to con­struct se­cu­rity sys­tem at his pri­vate res­i­dence. Though it de­scribed it as a se­ri­ous form of cor­rup­tion and that it needs to be in­ves­ti­gated, why didn’t the op­po­si­tion raise the is­sue from the be­gin­ning it­self? And that goes with­out say­ing for most of the other al­le­ga­tions on cor­rupt prac­tices as al­leged by the op­po­si­tion.

Delv­ing back into the main is­sue, the con­duct of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, re­spon­si­bly and sen­si­bly, per­haps doesn’t mat­ter much when win­ning be­come an over­rid­ing goal! Vic­tory must be se­cured by hook or crook. For now, it only por­tends that it is not pos­si­ble for par­ties to main­tain such high stan­dards of ca­ma­raderie and re­spect for each other dur­ing the elec­tions. So how do we go about? Should we de­cry po­lit­i­cal par­ties play­ing dirty?

On and at many oc­ca­sions, we pompously brag about democ­racy in Bhutan. We de­scribe it as an ex­em­plary one – from a sa­cred gift from the Throne to one that is be­stowed upon peo­ple with­out the lat­ter ask­ing for it. As a democ­racy that is ex­em­plary, we need to strive to­wards a po­lit­i­cal cul­ture that is ex­em­plary too. And this to a large ex­tent de­pends on the con­duct of our po­lit­i­cal par­ties. We need to prac­tice what we preach.

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