Image by Yogendra174 via FlickrApart from pushing vested agendas under the guise of nurturing democracy and serving the three jewels, what have we learnt from the conclusion of the seventh parliament?
Apparently quite a lot. For starters, members bringing up pertinent issues such as the non-use of some 30% of the total budget and laying that blame on local government; realizing that such an accusation was going against their own government and then changing tack and track by declaring it as good for the country; going to the extent of suggesting a raise of the percentage to as high as 50 percent. And again the dawn of realization of such a self-inflicting damage and an ignorant statement made in full view of the lens of the national television and thereby, flip-flopping yet again.
The comic strains were juxtaposed throughout the session at strategic intervals as if on cue and in design. One gem was the Health Minister responding to the OL’s statement of corruption and the health ministry figuring prominently in it. The retort from the health minister was instant. “It shows that we are also transparent,” he said.
The other issues on which differences cropped up aplenty were the government’s decision to endorse and implement state funding and the CDG. Here it is worthwhile to note that non-political members of the upper house, amounting to about six councilors, gave that political thrust by backing the DPT government and in effect, displaying their political aspirations even as they sit in a body created effectively to provide checks and balances so such suggestions that run contrary to the constitution is brought to the fore.
Here it’s also worthwhile to note the opposition party’s opposition to the CDG and state funding, in the vein of the unconstitution
al tax revision and the vindicating judgment reached at by the High and the Supreme Court that the tax revision was indeed unconstitutional.
Yet the pro-argument was pushed on, with certain members citing the fact that “state funding as an unconstitutional act is not mentioned in the constitution.” My dear MP, the constitution, indeed, does not state what is unconstitutional because if the constitution were to spell all things that might be regarded as unconstitutional, it would run out of pages and explanations. The constitution also, by that logic, does not state that killing and taking a person’s life is unconstitutional, yet we all understand, from the illiterate farmer to the sophisticated academician, that killing and taking another human being’s life is inherently criminal and without having to say it, unlawful. The constitution states that money and politics and their collaboration should be kept at a minimal and observed with the most fundamental needs in mind and in the most minimal of circumstances.
One need not be enlightened like the Buddha to figure out certain pitfalls; such as the creation of division in communities all across our chiwogs, gewogs and dzongkhags. If state funding goes through, there will be camps that are politically motivated fighting against the recently elected LG candidates, who really actually will be carrying the moral legitimacy to represent and execute their duties. An inevitable clash looks certain, with foreboding consequences of the one thing we are all trying to practice; living in harmony with our neighbors and communities, and Bhutanese society itself. Now add the CDG factor to such a state funded scenario and really, the can of worms will crawl into the belly of each and every person at the grassroots level, effectively creating a foundation of mistrust, demoralization, vicious gossip, malicious slander, defamation and the like.
If we are to recall the words of the party leaders, there are plenty of references to building a harmonious society based on the noble goal of GNH and its Four Pillars, Nine Domains and 72 Indicators. We would like to believe that every word regarding king, country and people was said to mean what they said and spoken to say what they mean. The last couple of parliamentary sessions have done anything but demonstrate that trust and faith.
If anything, remonstration was more the norm rather than the oddity. And that is definitely demoralizing to say the least, and frightening to say the most. Perhaps it’s time to dwell more on Equity and Justice and bring it back on the forum in a workable atmosphere where the keynote and tone should be Serving the Public; sorely missed by all and sundry. There was a note from the PM’s office to a weekly paper; it was circulated to this paper as well. It carries a remark attributed to the PM: “Power lies not with those who hold the pen. It is in the truth the pen must write.” The phrase is a beautiful reminder of the duty of the Fourth Estate (a misnomer now re-anointed the Broke Estate), and in that vein, might we also add the old truth about how Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely?
Yes. We are all learning. But of what use is learning when abject rejection, denial, acceptance, together with selective memoirs come to play without redressels?