Saturday, June 18, 2011
“The Constituency Development Grant was established by the government as a separate budget head in the annual budget (herein after referred to as the Grant) to be placed at the disposal of the Members of the National Assembly. Its primary purpose is to deepen and strengthen democracy by establishing a basis for direct and regular interaction between the MNAs and their constituencies. It is aimed at ensuring that the government elected by the constituencies does not become distant and estranged from the realities of life in the communities.” This is the opening paean in the singsong to the CDG Grant Rules 2009. The words are noble and no doubt penned by a person or people with some kind of smug entitlement and copyright to king and country.
The people come last, and are normally at the receiving end of their smugness.
This is also the very seed that planted the notion of the country falling into chaos and anarchy and doom and gloom when the Supreme Court slapped them on the wrists for that unconstitutional tax hike. Talks of moral resignations were further compounded by looks of hapless dreariness. The media and the citizenry spoke back reassuring the government to take the burden of governing the country.
It was thus bespoken for fears and concerns regarding the country’s governance, not because the DPT was indispensible. But unfortunately that seems to be the message they have deciphered. Handing over the purse strings to politicians by way of the CDG was unconstitutional but was executed as sharply and as incisively as a surgical blade. Yet the voices of dissent turned to consent, in the hope that somehow the epitaph etched in the CDG Charter will be respected. Reality tells us just the opposite.
The LG elections beckon. Up to now the brouhaha has hogged the headlines. They are apolitical, remember? And it’s but a matter of time when the LG reps find their offices deprived of the cash, held by politicians. One can almost see that picture: the blame game and the fight over the CDG cash.
There is a reason why so many struggling democracies in LDCs have failed to serve the masses. Let’s just say mixing the cash and the politics is a lethal brew so toxic that the steamy aroma alone can cause a lot of deaths; the first casualty being truth, followed by altruism and ethics.
The government sits smug stating its needs for political funds from the state in a manner that makes it sound like the people and the state owe the parties a debt of immense proportions. If the threat this time is about the disqualification or dissolution of parties, let there be others that can form brand new parties, and perhaps form them in the fashion for which democracy itself was gifted – to take self-responsibility and to govern as astutely as possible, but always keeping in mind civic and public service, and not the other way around.
The matter stands crucially juxtaposed, balancing now on the hinges of a joint sitting. Even if the joint sitting declares it in favor of the parties, the vote should not count. The reason is laid bare as simply worded as is possible in the constitution: there will be no mixing of the Mullah and the Ayatollah. If this funding is sought and touted as an absolute necessity to nurture a young democracy, then amend the constitution itself, and do it thoroughly, following due procedures and legal methodology.
Knee jerk changes brought about ad hoc and incognito to provide temporary band-aids will ail the whole country. Should such trends go unchecked; the state will go broke clearing off everyone’s debts, including mine at the local canteen, for the food that nourishes me is what keeps me writing; as equal a contribution to the nation as the parking vendor boy who weathers not just the five seasons but the verbal abuses.
That is how kind we are. Our concerns to the triple gem are manifest in the TCA. It has succeeded in criminalizing 41 people so far – in the name of health and the Guru himself. The drink is kept aside. The naked emperors are rising by the numbers and guess what? The people have had enough and they can see through the veils. When the next general election approaches, they will get their messages across. For now, there is still that unalienable flicker of hope burning against the storm. Do the right thing. Let people vote you in for your qualities and not because of cash quantities.
Free the people imprisoned under the TCA – you know it’s such a hypocritical lie.
Regain your conscience that endeared you to the masses in 2008.
Reclaim, reenact and rectify the slogan.
Or true equity and justice will come back to haunt you.