A vigilant, well informed & responsible citizenry - a sustainable strategy towards a successful parliamentary democracy

Deputy Minister, NEC,
Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan, Election Commission,
Kalyon, RAC,
Auditor General, RAA,
Attorney General, OAL,
All Secretaries,
Heads of Armed Forces,
Drangpoen,
Dzongdag,
Chairpersons DYT & GYT,
Heads of Autonomous Organizations,
CEOs of Corporations & Financial Institutions,
General Secretary, BCCI,
Heads of other Business Associations, and
Heads of NGOs

SUB: POLITICAL & ELECTORAL CORRUPTION

Dear Sir (s),

Our great leader, His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo envisioned a political system that would evolve so that Bhutanese would continue to enjoy peace and prosperity, justice and fundamental rights, which have always been enshrined in our system. As the nation prepares for the new political system under the inspiring leadership of His Majesty the 5th Druk Gyalpo, every citizen and institution has the sacred duty to realize the noble intentions of the great vision. In particular, our senior leaders have greater responsibility in ensuring the successful implementation of the democratic system of governance. The importance of strong political systems and political parties must also be recognized by the people, the electorate and more importantly they must be enabled to work towards achieving it.

As a small country, located as we are in a challenging environment, we cannot afford to fail in this important mission. It is vital that corruption risks are addressed NOW! It is common knowledge that political corruption initially perpetrates during the electoral cycle - party financing, campaigning and polling and subsequently politicians in power misuse state funds and public resources for electoral purposes and bribery of voters and election officials. Stories as reported from the Dzongkhags, if true, are precursors to dangerous inevitabilities. Further, quality of political candidates is of paramount importance. The ECB, media, ACC and the electorate have to take the critical responsibility in checking "wrong" people getting into governance.

Information is a powerful tool and its access besides being a fundamental right is also fundamental to fighting corruption or demanding better service delivery. An informed and vigilant citizenry can be more effective in combating corruption. Civil society is a vibrant network of diverse talents, which if properly focused, can play an important role as a watchdog over the conduct of business by political parties, party members and government in ensuring ethics, accountability, transparency and responsiveness.

Sir, in order to pre-empt political and electoral corruption in a concerted effort, the ACC in consultation with the ECB has consolidated and compiled relevant information on "dos" and "don'ts" from the Election Bill(click here for the details), which is not exhaustive, to serve as a public education and advocacy material. As the first election is approaching, it has become ever more urgent and compelling to equip all citizens with relevant information to enable them to exercise their franchise freely, fairly and confidently.

Therefore, the ACC implores leaders of all profession and ranks, individuals and agencies to widely circulate the enclosed information to fulfill our common goal of establishing a strong parliamentary democracy that ensures continued peace and prosperity, justice and fundamental rights to all Bhutanese.

Sir, post 2008 is everybody's concern. However, we believe that if we have confidence in ourselves and if every citizen commits him/herself in body, speech and mind, to the service of the nation and the people, we do not see any reason for any concern at all. Post 2008 will totally depend on what we do or don't do now!

It is our duty to fulfill the aspirations of our great leader! If we fail Him, we fail our fellow citizens and our great nation!



With respect,



Yours faithfully,
(Neten Zangmo)
Chairperson