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Dhaka Tribune

Authorities should have authority

Update : 30 Apr 2013, 04:28 PM

Despite being governed in line with a pro-people constitution focusing on mainly those who are poor and marginalised, the successive governments since the birth of Bangladesh have been failing to establish a nation where the driving force [elements] of the state system are sensible about the people in general, and serve them with their highest efforts – due to the job responsibilities and obligations of standing for office.

Since its birth 42 years back, ordinary people have been unable to reach the higher echelons of government – that are supposed to be formed by politicians elected as lawmakers by the people’s vote.

The helms of the top two parties that have ruled the country most of the years since independence have been occupied by single persons and/or their families.

Therefore, even though only a few reliable and efficient leaders could reach the higher rungs of these parties, they had to stop or were forced to stop at a certain stage.

As we have experienced, the mindset of the government heads, developed through their family and social orientation and assisted by political norms, are often pro-business in the name of pro-development.

The development theory generally aims at planning sustainable development tools for poor communities, executing those through ventures involving the government and non-government organisations, monitoring and research on the implementation and reassessment of previous development plans – everything in line with constitutional guidelines. Impressed by project proposals, developed to assist millions of people, many foreign governments and organisations extend their hands too.

The people become happy when they hear about such initiatives through media and public addresses by political leaders and government representatives. And at the same time, they pray to Almighty God that the funds are not embezzled by dishonest officials and public representatives.

But, they are cheated! Even though the people are paying taxes every day in many ways, they are hardly heard or attended to by their elected officials in government, reportedly, because the rich people, mainly the businessmen, pay higher and snatch the attention and benefits that every citizen should be ensured.

The perception of the successive governments resembles the rich’s view though they can’t say that in public due to constitutional obligations. However, they express their pro-business stance at all times, except for when they attend humanitarian campaigns or civil society discussions or address the nation as a whole. At present, over two-thirds of MPs are engaged in business while most government officials have investments in different business too.

Invest and return has been the key driving philosophy of the time; it is rapidly spreading among the people as they are deprived and cheated by the governments they elect as their representatives. Hence, for quick access to public funds and projects, these deceptive people join the political parties in power, or join other influential groups, or just bribe corrupt officials and party leaders. Some people protest the misdeeds – mainly corruption and irregularities – while the majority, who are sarcastically called “ordinary people,” stay mum and deal with the consequences, which are often brutal.

This piece is merely a psychoanalysis; here, figures and facts of growth, economic indicators, and government data on the success stories in reducing harmful indicators in some sectors [poverty, mortality rate, agricultural production, literacy rate] are not supposed to suppress the “ordinary” people’s voice, which portrays the inhuman characteristics of the present leading quarters in our society that influence the government mechanism.

And interestingly, when leaders of the political parties address people, they mean their people [supporters], not those apolitical ordinary people.

In a relatively stunning economy like Bangladesh, those people who are privileged and holding responsible positions involving the people, need to take a second look at their perceptions and attempt to look at things from different perspectives; reassess their aims that are irrationally higher than what they need; shun the rowdy game of invest and return; stop favouring only the people who pay higher taxes and making mountains with coins, often by snatching or cutting others’ pockets.

Justice for the ordinary people is what should be ensured first in a country like ours where the majority lives from hand to mouth and can’t find a way for generations to rise above chronic poverty. People who are unable to see the light of development easily.

We feel frustrated during every government term, when we hear that the ministries and other agencies indulge in massive corruption, irregularities and nepotism, and the authorities entrusted to punish the culprits have no effective or strict authority to address the crimes.

A similar scenario is seen these days in the private sector too.

This culture of apparent “weakening of the regulators and also the supervising entities” is supported and adopted by all political parties that are handed power. Say for the ACC, the corruption watchdog, or the SEC, the stock market regulator, or the BERC, which oversees the power and energy sector, or the UGC that monitors higher education, or the Board of Revenue, or the BTRC that regulates the telecommunications issues, or the BRTC, the transport regulator, or the Election Commission, the DoE, the environment regulator, or the Directorate of Health, and even the parliamentary watchdogs, all these bodies as well as the other state components are constituted in line with the guidelines of the constitution.

The already-rough road to achieve rights and get justice for the poor victims has been aggravated further by some dishonest politicians, public servants, and policymakers and officials of the institutes linked to the judiciary – law enforcement agencies and the court.

But this should change, and it’s not impossible either.

We have the guidelines stated in our constitution and we just need to honour and follow those, and uphold the “spirit of humanity” as Bangladeshi nationals.

The writer is a journalist.



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