No Democracy – No Governance

Information highway has integrated the world in such a way that economy and business have become borderless. Existing governance skills and knowledge becomes absolete quickly, specially in the absence of e-governance. For economic development and to maintain competitive edge with the global changes, governance reform including egovernances should be the top priority to design the future of Bangladesh. 1. No democracy No Governance: Human rights associates once stated in its report that, “Democracy is based on two core principles; Participation and accountability”. Therefore in the light of above observation when there is less or absolutely no democratic prevalence in a nation that mean there is leakage or loopholes in government as well. So the scientific formula is no democracy no governance. 2. Reforms for Good governance in Bangladesh: Every citizen wants democracy and development. For independence and democracy thousands of lives have been sacrificed. Only independence was won but rule of law, good governance is still a far cry. A corrupt syndicate created a vicious cycle of exploitation and as axis of violent politics & mis-governance. But good governance is the precondition for any economic development & stability. Therefore, to restore democracy for common man and not for the large favorite kitchen cabinet, also to serve the mandate of the common people of Bangladesh Govt. and opposition are liable to work as a joint venture in this regard, as no one would come from outside to resolve our national issues. Now there is a dire need of progressive, promoting and positive reforms not words in the national interest of Bangladesh. 3. Good Governance: A pre-condition for economic growth. It seems a profound systematic reform in governance, development and management of all Bangladesh government activities including constitutional matrix, economic, education, trade, tax and privatization elements are absolutely necessary. Lot of blood has been shed, yet the aspiration of independence is not fulfilled. People of Bangladesh had already suffered much military cum political corruption for more that three decades. For how many more years do they have to cry for good life & good governance? For the last 35 years, we have seen the changes in political leadership and government. A number of political programme have been taken for socio-economic developments, poverty elimination, pollution and population control, drugs, violence and crime control. Yet there are some questions that need to be addressed with the perspective of Bangladesh politics and governance system. 4. Proposed Governance Reform: The competition of survival in the 21st century is expected to increase over time. To meet the increasing global challenges of competitions & the quality of our governance it is crucial to bring change promptly and effectively. In this regard I would like to pursue urgent reforms on the following issues: a) Reform for investment friendly governance. b) Reform for ending red tapism of the bureaucracy & ensure one stop service for foreign investment.

c) Reform for more efficient BOI to analyze & attract foreign investment promptly to protect national interest. d) Reform law to control extortion & corruption. e) Reform law to established e-governance within the first three years of the next government. f) Introduce the ombudsman system including the law, tax, bank, police and administrative ombudsman. g) Reform legal system & separate judiciary executive organ. If our Government is courageous enough, it could take a move for comprehensive governance reforms. It can make a breakthrough for a sustainable development of future Bangladesh. It is possible that the curses of violence, corruption, bribery and mis-management can be eliminated through these reforms. 5. Election 2007: Will people’s aspiration come true? The 9th parliamentary election may be an opportune moment which the citizens may skillfully utilize towards good governance by ensuring that honest, apt and patriotic people gets the leadership to overcome governance crisis. Citizens are not merely the passive voters; they are also active citizens and above all “the owner of the country”. They don’t want “democracy for the party,” They don’t want “government for the party”. But they want “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Although the people are electing representative for the parliament, one can examine the kind of political system in which the MPs are elected & operating inside & outside the parliament. One thing we have to remember, our elected representative are operating in state machinery inherited from the British & Pakistani Colonial rulers. For good governance & rule of law we have to give serious thought to establish democratic institution & also strengthening the existing weak institutions which are gradually failing to act as a backbone of a democratic society. Reforms are required that would help uninterrupted economic growth & development – development which will meet the needs of common people. The common people do not want to hear assurances of false hopes any more; they want to get the benefit of democracy & fruit of good governance. Today they want skills, knowledge and expertise of their leaders. They want to have special breed of people who can significantly change their lives and set them up on a footing so that they can compete with people from any other part of the world. The current speed of the problem solving approaches and the attitude of the political leadership to address good governance issue are hopeless. With the increasing rate of the governance crisis & problems arising thereto, we have to decide to solve national issues keeping national interest above party interest & thus remove the road block to the development of a potential country like Bangladesh. Because as the owner of the country the citizens of Bangladesh

deserve the fruit of democracy & has the right to have a good quality life in a peoples republic in a true sense. The Author Syed Ahsanul Alam is an Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Chittagong and Charman, Center for Good Governance & Former Vice-Rector-IIBT, Premier University. E-mail: centerforgoodgovernance@yahoo.com Fax: 880-31-2550872

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