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Thursday, November 22, 2012
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Local politics face external influence

BRAC University study blames weak democracy for this

The country is facing external influence due to weakness in its domestic politics and unconsolidated democracy, according to a Brac University report.

Crisis during power transition and political confrontation in many cases invite external forces to interfere in domestic affairs. As a result, political parties often compromise national interests to satisfy the forces and stay in power, said the report.

The Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) at Brac University yesterday unveiled the report “The State of Governance in Bangladesh, 2010-2011” at the Brac Centre Inn in the capital.

Although Bangladesh's dependency on foreign aid has been declining drastically and the country is making much economic and social progress, external stakeholders' influence on the country's policymaking process is significant, according to the report.

It said this influence generally originated from important stakeholders, such as development partners, key donor countries, non-profit organisations, multinational corporations and supranational institutions.

Presenting the summary of the report, IGS Research Coordinator M Shahidul Islam said democratic deficit caused by political bankruptcy and weak bargaining power forced the country to engage in lose-win games while dealing with external parties.

The report recommended reforming and institutionalisation of political parties, making parliament effective and building of national consensus for democratisation and good governance.

In response to the report, Akbar Ali Khan, former adviser to a caretaker government, said time had not come yet to bid good-bye to international donors.

He said interest of vested quarters was a major barrier to establishing good governance in Bangladesh.

“Because of politicisation in every sphere of administration, it has become difficult for the administration to work with skills and impartiality,” said Khan, also a professor of Brac Business School.

On corruption, he said the institutions burdened with little corruption can be changed through reform and training. But those which were hugely corrupted would have to be restructured or needed new officials at the top.

Akbar Ali Khan termed the Anti-Corruption Commission a hugely corrupted government body.

Another former adviser to caretaker government Hossain Zillur Rahman said people of low quality were getting appointed under political consideration which impeded the establishment of good governance in Bangladesh.

While monitoring good governance, members of civil society focused only on the success of documentation, rather than success in real terms, he said, giving an instance that the record of human rights violation was alarmingly high despite having the National Human Rights Commission.

Brac University Vice-Chancellor Prof Ainun Nishat, IGS Director Rizwan Khair, its institutional adviser Manzoor Hasan, among others, spoke at the function also attended by academicians, social workers and rights activists.

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First of all our political leaders have to show the will of undertaking some bold step to purge the country’s political system of all its bad elements. They needs to come in consensus on issues like checking corruption, establishment of good governance and other issues of national interests. National issues which are directly related to the country’s progress and prosperity, and which directly affects people’s life must be kept outside of all political rivalry. Because an improvement on these indices will result in the country progressing much faster than it is currently doing. Consolidation of democracy in every sphere of governance has to be the ultimate goal of our political parties and to achieve this they themselves have to become more democratic. When all of the state institutions will be able to enjoy practical democratic functioning only then they can deliver maximum efficiency thus the country will have a faster growth.

: Abu Rayhan

 

 


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