Monopolization of Governance Structure: Insights from TIB's Report on Bangladesh's 12th Jatiya Sangsad Elections

Monopolization of Governance Structure: Insights from TIB’s Report on Bangladesh’s 12th Jatiya Sangsad Elections

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prothom hello ,

The election expenditure has exceeded the expenditure of all previous elections – more than 20 billion taka (2000 crore taka). And of this, 54 percent was spent on law enforcement agencies alone…

Iftekharuzzaman

The Election Commission should release detailed details of its expenses. Expenditure will increase to some extent from 2018. Prices have increased in the last five years, but there is a limit to expenditure. Expenses have increased three times. It is still being calculated. As a constitutional body, the National Election Commission has the responsibility to release details of how much has been spent in various areas.

prothom hello ,

Your report mentions Ansar and VDP members bringing voters from their homes to polling stations. What is the source of this information?

Iftekharuzzaman

We received information from the constituencies under study by TIB. This matches the information received in the media. The government and the Election Commission had also said that the presence of voters is mandatory. Participatory elections were interpreted as voter participation. According to this, the government had set a target of 50 percent voting. However, the Election Commission had said that if even one percent of the votes were cast there would be no problem of validity. Many government employees, some of their own free will and some on unofficial orders, went to the polling stations. Many people were told that if they did not go they would not get benefits. Those covered under the social security net were also threatened that they would be deprived of their allowances.

prothom hello ,

Many people from the pro-government camp try to say that even if there is corruption, development has taken place. Let development happen first, corruption can be controlled later. What will you say?

Iftekharuzzaman

I don’t see any logic in this. Simply put, our GDP has increased in the last one and a half decade. Our socio-economic development has taken place. But the basic problem is that suppose our GDP has increased by 7 percent. Government records show that if we can do even moderate control on corruption, our GDP will increase by three percent i.e. the growth rate will become 10 percent. The socio-economic impact of corruption is before our eyes, but we are unable to see it. There is a discriminatory component within corruption. Corruption is a disease which deprives people of their rights. If we look at corruption only in the service sector, we will see that among those who fail to avail the service they wanted, 74 percent say that they could not pay the bribe demanded.

prothom hello ,

Minister TIB is calling BNP a bastard…

Iftekharuzzaman

If BNP were in power today, they would have said that TIB is an Awami League supporter. We are not supporters of anyone. We are fair. Our only objective is to establish public administration. I do not believe that all those involved in the machinery through which propaganda is carried out are unanimous. We are a thorn in the side of anyone who comes to power at any time. Again, we are the darlings of the opposition. Criticism is not tolerated in our culture.

prothom hello ,

In which direction is the government going? Do you see any hope?

Iftekharuzzaman

I always have hope. Without hope, I would have given up this job long ago. Due to our work many laws were made, many policies were made. There was the National Integrity Strategy, Anti-Corruption Commission and more. Perhaps the desired results have not yet been achieved. It would be wrong to judge the success of TIB’s work by assessing how much corruption has been controlled in Bangladesh. We don’t have the power to control and it’s not our job. We are not the police, or any judge or ACC. Our duty is to create such an environment so that these institutions can perform their responsibilities properly. Unfortunately, the institutions which have been entrusted with the responsibility of stopping corruption are themselves complicit in corruption.

prothom hello ,

What kind of response do you get from the youth? You have programs all over the country.

Iftekharuzzaman

I went to Dhaka University a few days ago. A girl stood up and said, “Sir, I am a student of political science and study the Constitution. I know it by heart. But I do not find myself anywhere in the Constitution.” Youth want change. He says that opposing corruption is a second world war for him.

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