Thursday, November 16, 2006

Are we fighting for Democracy?

This election aside, true democracy will not come till there is independence in the parties themselves. Both AL & BNP will need to have elections to party posts. MP nominations need to come from the constituency level. And MPs should have the right to vote against their party in Parliament. Otherwise in the “winner-take-all-my-netri-is-always-right” system we have currently, Iajuddin is right, it is Presidential. I would even go as far as to claim it to be dictatorial.

People get the government they elect! And they can only elect the people who run. Doc Y, CPD and the rest can go on crying “elect clean candidate” but till we are willing to take a stand and contest in elections and get involved in politics there will not be any change. We will just replace one corrupt and ineffective government with another.

Power also needs to devolve to the people. Rajiv Gandhi championed the Panchayat Raj in India. We need to do this here. Development work and local administration should basically happen where it all happens – the villages. A working body of Union Chairmen plus the UNO (Upazila Nirbahi Officer) should decide on how to best use the development funds available to the various unions in an upazila. And for God’s sake they should arbitrate on petty constituency level issues (e.g. who stole who’s goat) and not allow the MP to be involved in everything. Our honourable MPs should be free to be honourable. Their role is to lay down the vision for the nation; the laws that effect us; the guidelines of governance (budget, policies, et.al) and to act as auditors of the local government.

Until these two fundamental changes occur all these oborodhs, rallies, processions, backroom manoeuvring, constitution readings, talk-shows, articles in newspapers, blogs, debates, bothi-logha-kanchi, fiery speeches, posters on the wall, politically motiveate killings, white papers, corruption charges, mean nought, nada, nothing!

9 comments:

Rezwan said...

The practice of Democracy is something one need to learn. It all depends on placing trust on others, transparency, accountability and above all respecting each other.

Those parts are absent in our country's politicians. I wonder is this a earmark of the developing countries. E.g. in DRC Kabila won and the person he beat is accusing that the victory was stolen by him. Nobody wants to lose the power.


Is democracy so hard to practice? Look at India how it is establishing to a democratic culture. Because accountability of the MPs are there. Once we can establish accountability and transparency in our country, we can go a long way.

Tanvir said...

think bangladeshis are more sensitive about family value. or else we would see new leadership. However, we can limit the party leaders to serve as prime minister for two terms only. umm.. make it family based, one family for two terms...

Salam Dhaka said...

Article 70 is a shame. So called "Sushil Samaj" should talk about that more.

If there is Article 70, "democracy" becomes a pick-up line for leaders.

Supriyo said...

All democracies, in the end, have a dictatorship in its core. There is always a tyranny of the majority in democracy, and once we start breaking up the decision--making groups, we often end up with a majority of one! The boss! It is ingrained, and unchecked, any democracy is bound to degenerate into dictatorship.

The only balance we have against this inevitable slippery slope is the public institutions. Like the courts. Like the media. Like the opinion makers and 'civil society' [dont know whether that means rest of the society is uncivil!].

When these institutions fail, however, there is little reprieve but to go the full circle and experience the perils of an unfree society. This is the challenge the CG has at this time - they are the only viable institution who can preserve the sense of fairness and give democracy another chance.

Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

hmm... term limitation. Not a bad idea actually. Of course this hasn't been done in a Parliamentary system earlier. But then neither has the CTG either.

Yes Article 70 has to go. I like the bit about the "pick up line". However we must also be mindful that horse trading (ie buying Parliamentary votes/seat) does not happen rampantly. It is a major issue in India. Specially in the assembly seats.

Supriyo: any idea how this is tackled in Bihar, UP or recently I understand Karnataka?

Supriyo said...

Political defection is less of a problem now in India than it was 20 years back. The reason is the 52nd amendment - the Anti-defection Law - which contains clauses somewhat similar to Artcle 70 that we are discussing. Tellingly, the states you mention are the states where the other institutions were weaker [Lalu Yadav ruled Bihar by terror, and no journalist who took him on escaped unscathed] or the political accountability is lower [because voters often vote along community lines - as in Bihar, UP and Karnataka, and also possibly Haryana].

This may be a subject of debate, but in systems like ours, it may be a good thing that the parties are more powerful than individuals.

The key issues are probably political accountability [through a more educated electorate and a free media] and functioning institutions [Indian courts have turned down many a disqualification, as well as some of speakers of the house have acted outside their political affiliations and lived upto their role].

I would not think removing Article 70 will make Bangladesh a better functioning democracy. If the leaders of the two main parties [and ex-PMs themselves] take the political battles so personally, article 70 will be the only thing they may agree upon. I am sure the real hope lies in a more fundamental change of the governing institutions, which the Gen71 will, hopefully, bring along.

Anonymous said...

“Belief in democracy, like any other belief, may be carried to the point where it becomes fanatical and therefore harmful” Bertrand Russell

MD. SUJAUDDIN said...

AS PER A MYTHOLOGICAL STORY LORD KANGSHA OF MOTHURA , INDIA, WAS TOLD THAT THE PERSON WHO WILL KILL HIM WILL TAKE BIRTH IN THE HOUSE OF A GOALA(GOKUL). LORD KANGSHA KILLED ALL NEW BORN BABIES FROM GOALA FAMILIES IN HIS KINGDOM EXCEPT KRISHNA, WHO LATER ON KILLED LORD KANGSHA AND ENDED HIS UNPOPULAR KINGDOM.
THE SAYING WAS ''TOMAKE BODHIBE JE GOKUL E BARICHE SE''.
IN THE CURRENT STUATION OF BANGLADESH THE SITUATION IS '' GONOTONTRO BACHABE JE GOKULE BARICHE SE''.
THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS EAGERLY AWAITING A PERSON WHO WILL LOVE AND TAKE CARE OF THIS COUNTRY.A PERSON WHO WILL BEHAVE AS THE PERSONS FROM MALAYASIA AND SINGAPORE BEHAVED TO PUT THEIR COUNTRY IN THE FORE FRONT OF DEVELOPMENTS. WHO WERE TOTALLY DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE OF THEIR COUNTRY.
LETS ALL WAIT FOR THAT DAY.

Anonymous said...

The love for mother and motherland can not be different.Time has come to identify people who love Bangladesh as much as they take care of their mother.The present crisis is taking Bangladesh back in terms of economy,education, stability and above all international image.Lets all get togather to stop this decay.For a change lets go above politics to save motherland from a disaster.