A senior American official desires that
“Two years for a non-elected government is too long”, says Dr. Doug Telling, Professor of Government at the Framingham State College, Massachusetts. Echoing him the panelists have the consensus that ‘a free, fair and credible election’ must not take more than a year. They argue that the
In fact, Dr. Fakruddin Ahmed took the oath of office with the goal to hold a free and fair election ‘within the shortest possible time’. Although 120 days have passed, the political parties have not been allowed yet to resume their activities or campaigning. Instead, the military-backed government is reportedly manipulating breaking up the major political parties of the country namely, the Awami League (
Such manipulation and breaking up of major political parties is against the concept of popular democracy and such technocratic adventures hardly succeed. President Ayub Khan of
The last few years’ struggle especially last 2.5 years for improving the politics of the country and end looting, in fact, created an atmosphere like that of the French Revolution to bring about ‘qualitative changes' in Bangladesh politics and in particular, major political parties. Therefore, the interim government should leave it with the parties and if they intervene too much, the hopes and sacrifice of millions would go in vain. That would be disastrous.
It is painful that although four months have passed, the Fakruddin government failed to provide a road map for the election yet. Since next election is their top priority, their goal post, they should have declared the election dates by now. Retired Brigadier General Sakhawat Hossain, an Election Commissioner, stated that none can hold the election in less than 18 months. That is a subjective judgment that has already been questioned by many at home and abroad. We can only remind him that the ingenuity of human beings has been unpredictable throughout history. Great economist Thomas Malthus failed to visualize that the food productivity due to technological advancement could outperform the population growth rate. His prophecy of a human disaster and famine therefore did not come true.
‘Closed minds’ hardly could visualize the creativity of human brain powers. For example, President Cleveland of the
A great scientist Lord Kelvin, then President of the Royal Society publicly stated in 1895 that “heavier than air flying machines are simply impossible”. It was impossible to Lord Kelvin, but not to Wright brothers. We are used to flying jets and planes that are heavier than air. Good news is that Lord Kelvin, however, did not put up barriers to scientific pursuits.
Commissioner Sakhawat Hossain who failed to clarify the allegation against him of misuse of 20,000 tons of rice yet may not be able to develop ‘correct voter list with photos’ and ‘election reform’ in less than 18 months. That does not mean that others can’t do. Preparation of voter list with attached photos must not take too long. Secondly, if it is linked to ID card preparation it may repeat the failures of the past. Both BNP and
Instead of breaking and weakening the political parties and their leaderships and changing the goal post, the interim government should concentrate their hearts and minds in holding the next general election by January 2008. Dr. Ahmed is a competent bureaucrat and his advisors are also competent. Therefore, instead of delaying the main task of holding a free and fair election, they should act together quickly. It is important to remember that they are the last hope for sustenance of multi-party democracy in
People all over
The nation’s economy is stagnating due to uncertainty and especially due to an environment of fear. The prices of essentials are increasing sharply making it difficult even for the middle class to make both ends meet. There are also disturbing news of changes and tension in the Armed Forces, who are backing the current Government and such does not augur well for political stability. Before circumstances take a bad turn the Fakruddin government must hurry the process of election. The development partners are getting nervous as they do not like to see the 3rd largest Muslim country get destabilized and follow
Dr. Abdul Momen, a professor of economics and business management, Boston, USA Sylhet@Verizon.net. This article was contributed on May 11, 2007