To each his or her own seems to aptly describe the conclusion drawn by various agencies and even individuals. Some have taken the speech as praising the political parties and reprimanding the civil service. Thus quite a few have capitalized the occassion to hype their prejudices against the civil servants in social media. Others are dumb founded by the ratio of 1 public servant to every 13 Bhutanese citizens. Public servant is a wider term. Whereas, civil servants are those under Royal Civil Service Commission.
I would say we need not be dumb founded with statistic. The reality is much different. For example not every public servant is directly in attendance to immediate needs of 13 Bhutanese. The area of service is far wider including past, present and future of Tsawa Sum not just 680,000 Bhutanese citizens which form one pillar of the three Tsawa Sum.
It seems even the Prime Minister and the RCSC Chairman have different takes about the implication of Royal thoughts about the civil servants ( reference an article in the The Bhutanese Newspaper ). One takes it as civil servants needing improvements and therefore changes in civil service organisation. The other takes it as royal trust and confidence in the civil service and therefore the impetus to endeavour harder. I respect both their views because the two are central figures in governance and HM was talking about governance. Also their official positions and proximity to " Gokha " would place them at an advantage over others in interpreting the implication of the royal address.
My own humble take of the royal message is very positive for Royal Civil Service Commission and the civil servants. His Majesty the King have praised the dedication and service of civil servants in the past. And at this jucture, royal faith is renewed in the trust and confidence upon the civil service organisation and its role highlighted.
I have read together not just the words but
the inter- related essence of His Majesty acknowledging the manifestos and goals of Political Parties as ways of nation building and at the same time highlighting the vital role of civil servants in the service of shaping the nation. Therefore, the national day royal address could also be conveying to political parties that in their pursuit to accomplish respective party goals and ambitions, the elected political party in governance should not make light of the national role and responsibility entrusted to civil servants. By the same token, the civil servants are reminded to not astray from their duty to Tsawa Sum. His Majesty commanded that in 10-15 years down the line if the national interests are found to have been undermind, it will be civil servants who will be held accountable not the gone bye successive governments of elected political parties.
To me the message is clear. The civil service is trusted to serve the Tsawa Sum above political party goals. Perhaps the elected government must provide room for civil service to function to serve the Tsawa Sum. It would be healthy if elected Political Party formed governments refrained from overhauling civil service organisation to suit their political convenience. PDP Cabinet had vanquished 3 government secretaries to cower down the line the whole of civil service heirachy. And ill effects will continue to haunt the Tsawa Sum even after PDP government term is long over.
The principle of democracy is ofcourse a guiding light of governance. However, Bhutan lies in a very sensitive position and age. Our hearalded democracy is getting younger in terms of experience of elected leaders. Thus the danger from a ruling political party of turning civil service to party machinery apparatus and cajoling the Bhutanese media to become party propaganda outlets cannot be under estimated. When fresh leaders are hard pressed in managing affairs through democratic process, it is tempting to bull doze and dismantle established structures and adopt dictatorial trends.