Gyalpoizhing Land Case - Gyalpoizhing literally means field of the King but legally it has become a hot bed of troubles and expose of fringe benefiters as proven by court verdicts.
I feel more for the families of the 11 civil servants and for their sake my unsolicited advice to the 11 who got entrapped in the melee, make a sincere appeal to His Majesty the King. Do not seek overturn of verdict and do not maintain you had no choice. You had choice but more courage and sacrifice would have been necessary to decline to be a committee member or oppose the Chairman. The bureaucratic or political environment then and even now is not sufficiently conducive for a subordinate officer to exercise expression of individual point of view to impact a decision of an Agency or Committee. Therefore what had taken place would have occurred regardless of who the committee members were as long as the chairman wanted it to happen. In-fact this no-win-situation should have been the thrust of their defense lawyer’s submission to the courts and this fact should have been dearly weighed in by the different level of Courts. It was absolutely necessary for the Judiciary to examine the actual relevance of any kind of committee members in arriving at a decision that a chairman is bent on producing especially when the members are his juniors whose official welfare are in his hand. Committee members whose roles were irrelevant in the sense that they were not at an equal level playing field with their boss, cannot be held responsible in the same light as their chairman for the irregular decisions that were made in the name of a committee which in substance was very much a domain of the Chairman.
I feel a compulsory retirement from civil service with due retirement benefits would have met both the standards of legal and social sense of Justice for the 11 civil servants. It may be too late to make legal appeal because everything stops at Supreme Court level (can SC amend decision within 10 days?). However, there is recourse for compassion and sufficient ground for kidu consideration for conversion of termination from civil service to compulsory retirement by His Majesty the King.
I hope the 11 civil servants and especially the family members receive a royal reprieve in the form of compulsory retirement.
Thank you Supreme Court for ACC upliftment - Kuensel referred to it as guidelines but ever the long-term conscious person, I view the directives of Supreme Court on ACC suspension powers as an image upliftment of ACC. In Democracy, no agency especially Constitutional Agencies should behave in draconian manner and exercise unilateral decision. A Constitution that provides the foundation of democracy cannot also be the source of authoritarian power of any other institutions.
Regardless of the methods used, I do appreciate the intent of ACC to defeat corruption or at least hold accountable some of those who deviate from official or acceptable way of administering or exercising due diligence in upholding responsibilities. But if ACC could do their job in less authoritarian ways, it will have positive impact for the King who appoints the commissioners, for the Agency that houses the commissioners and for those officers and staffs who assist the commissioners.
Constitutional Bodies of any kind be they ACC, ECB, RAA etc. do not exist to terrorize the system of governance or the society at large. They are quasi-legal independent agencies with specific responsibilities to curb or discourage misuse of national wealth and power or official positions so that ultimately harmony of co-existence and equal sense of fairness can prevail among various components that constitute a nation of good governance and happy people under the constitutional institution of Monarchy.
The Nation is evolving and it seems the highest authority on law interpretation is endeavouring to grapple with demands of changing times and modes of democratic conduct.
Bhutan Politics after General Election - The media is laced with allegations by DPT about the General Election being, “unfair, farce and sham”. Whatever it is or was, it is over now and the nation must move to whatever direction or any kind of direction. It cannot stand still.
PDP Victory - My own view is that the result of 32 versus 15 cannot be all about money, power, internal or external threats. It would be naive to rule out that central game changer had to do with the will of the majority. The number of successful candidates could have varied but PDP would still be the Ruling Party. No other conclusion adds up.
Omen for PDP and DPT - DPT got singed quite badly; in-fact as badly as PDP got scorched in 2008. But like PDP in 2008, the signs do indicate good future prospects for DPT as it did for PDP in 2008.
In 2008, as sorry as I felt for Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup personally, I felt PDP was destined to have a political future because it had secured foot-holds in the two historic Dzongkhags that played pivotal political roles in the past. Gasa is the Dzongkhag through which the deeply venerated Tibetan high Lama of Ralung Monastery entered Bhutan after fleeing Tibet. His Holiness is known as Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the Dharma Raja of Bhutan credited with the unification of various regional chieftains within one central rule. Haa is the Dzongkhag which is famous for the Black and White Temples (Lhakhang KaNa Gni), three hills of Miri Phuensum (Risum Goem) and Political deity Ap Chhundu. Through the grace and blessings of the three Celestial Authorities, Haaps dominated both political and religious scenes of Bhutan for many decades.
I shared these personal perceptions with friends after 2008 General Election and during Primary Election of 2013. Along with DPT, I was sure it would be PDP that would make it to the General Election. That Nyamrup and PDP would merge after Primary Election was a foregone conclusion for quite a few political watchers but most thought that it would be the other way around PDP merging with successful Nyamrup. This merger is most troubling to both political watchers and ECB.
I did not think that PDP would be able to win the General Election of 2013 though after the near miraculous rise of Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay as PDP president in 2008, I felt he would someday become the Prime Minister. I, however, could not help sensing the two warning signals indicative of possibilities that against all odds, DPT may miss its tryst with destiny to govern the second time.
1. The first was the granting of mining license for Dragong in Haa by DPT Government when it was nearing the end of 5 years term and about to face the 2nd Election. In Haa, we offer prayers, butter lamps and incense smoke to the three Celestial Authorities whenever we embark on personal, dzongkhag or national ventures. DPT Government offered insults, dust, explosives and destruction. (Underground mining? Where is the Underground Mining Act? Haaps may be suckers but Celestial Authorities impossible to dub).
Not by design or intent but by coincidence of birth responsibility and root (Dragong is the backbone of my village and central edifice of Haa dzongkhag countenance), I ended up leading the protests against this horrendous act of sacrilege by DPT. And in the process, it was necessary for me to submit to the three Celestial Authorities that they had better watch out for themselves because in my humble position, bereft of political or fiscal clouts, I could only provide the human face to the celestial protest.
2. The second warning sign was the cabinet walking off with pradoes and office equipments. O.K almost every high official who warrant a pardo for official duty eventually tried to walk off with it, if possible, as solrey if not buy it at a substantially reduced payment. Then the mobile phone and laptop, maybe, on reasons of confidentially, it makes judicious sense to maintain ownerships of the same. But what about photocopy machines, fax machines etc.? Well, you rape if you do not intend to marry and you ransack an office when you do not believe in re-occupying it.
To a Buddhist me, those two acts of DPT Cabinet were most disturbing and tale telling about their possible future. By the way, I am no institutional Buddhist. What I know about Buddha can be outpoured in few minutes but my faith in the Dharma is immense and therefore by nature I give due regards to signs that intrigue comprehension.
My summary of DPT debacle is that PDP may have been the secondary obstacle but the primary obstacle could have been DPT itself. However, the loss could be a strategic defeat because minus the Speaker Lyonpo Jigme Tsultrim, DPT is back to its 2008 prior election status. The core group of DPT is intact and if the psychological impairment from the unexpected debacle is repealed, 5 years is not that long to endure out. My personal sadness is that Lyonchen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley will never be at the helm of government again even if DPT bounces back later. The constitution bars anyone above the age of 65 from vying for political post. In hindsight and because so much criticism is laid in public, his way of national governance may have differed from the thoughts of His Majesty the King. However, if he had been truly honest with his love of the Kingdom then I feel, whatever clouds of misunderstanding presently exist, these would gradually clear away and by the grace of Palden Drupai Chhochhong and Ka Sung, one way or another, the three times most popularly elected Prime Minister of Bhutan, will continue to have a leadership role in the service of Tsawa Sum. For sake of posterity, it is necessity to record that in-spite of real or imagined short falls; he did gallantly serve the Bhutanese Tsawa Sum and achieved international stature to the extent that world leaders were pleased to be standing with him on the same podium.
Personal declaration -It is not in me to harbor any ill will towards political parties nor be intimidated. They are answering the call of democracy. Moreover I feel that regardless of which party comes to power, apart from general effect of development or policies, there will be no direct impact on most Bhutanese life including mine. The outcome of democratic election does have direct impact on the positions of the candidates and the personal welfare of their close supporters and financers. However, for all the rest, there is no perceptible difference between governance by Monarchy and elected party.
In the primary round, I voted for DPT because as a Haap, I am grateful for the Prime Minister’s effort in building up confidence in Sino-Bhutan relation (but India had always been a unanimous national priority though now, I for one am shocked into reality of India’s political design). I did not go to Haa for General Election voting for two reasons: (1) It would be uncomfortable to choose between two Haaps, one of my own generation and the other the generation of my children and oft the touted hope of the future. (2) A celestial decision that somehow maneuvered the nuptial day of my son and daughter-in-law to Thursday the 11th of July and for reasons of preserving chha and yang, I the head of the family could not move away from our Thimphu home for three days. As it turned out, one vote could not make any difference to either of the candidates in Haa and on the other hand, we enjoyed a blissful marriage in privacy for three memorable days – a good omen by all accounts.
India and Bhutan - I am bursting with emotion to pen my thoughts on the shameless and bizarre intervention of the present government of India (not people of India) into the General Election of Bhutan. But I need to give time for internal political dust to settle and moreover, I need to be prepared to be as remorseless and as heartless as the Ambassador of India to Bhutan. Unlike him, I have not led a diplomatic career that conditions one to excel in stating the most horrendous declarations, in the most sober manner adorned with publicly palatable smile. And more urgently, I need time to keep praying for the country and us the people now that this Indian Government has decided to completely entrap Bhutan in the web of India whirlpool.