ACC’s 2013 Message: Don’t practice electoral corruption or vote for corrupt candidates

The Anti Corruption Commission has started its advocacy program on political corruption targeted for the upcoming 2013 general elections.

The main features of the ACC’s advocacy are three advertisements broadcast after the, 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm news with a gap of three to five days starting from 11 February to 31 March 2013.

The central theme of these advertisements shows voters voting for corrupt candidates and then voters pay the price in terms of policy corruption, poor service delivery, nepotism, poor quality infrastructure, bribery, exploitation of natural resources and etc.

ACC’s Chief Public Education Officer A. Karma Rinzin said that the ACC’s advocacy advertisements stuck to some main messages.

One was not to engage in electoral corruption like bribery, misleading voters, being influenced by short term considerations and others.

He said that it was also important for voters to not vote for corrupt or compromised candidates. “Corruption can legally only be proven in court but there may be candidates who have not yet been caught or escaped the law or have a dubious background,” said Rinzin.

He also said that an important message from ACC is that corruption is bad for democracy and can bring down governments. He said that the advertisements show how corruption affects the economy, services, infrastructure, governance and also leads to nepotism and favoritism. “Just in terms of economic impact a service that should cost Nu 100 may start costing Nu 1,000 under corruption,” said Rinzin.

He said parties and candidates should practice ‘mindful democracy’ where parties should not resort to malpractices and malafide intentions and not give false hopes and promises.

Corruption is a governance issue and it is anti GNH when corruption looms around it will be hard to achieve GNH and if we want GNH to flourish we are saying we must first fight and stop corruption,” said Rinzin.

Rinzin said that corruption is anti GNH since it affects one of the main pillars of GNH which is Good Governance.

In the first advertisement there is a village setting where a father tells his son to vote for candidates with integrity without fear and favor for a strong democracy and also harmony and national security. The father says if such candidates are elected then even basic services like drinking water will be delivered carefully. The scene then shifts to the father learning from a friend of his that the Local Gewog office is providing proper services only to the connected people. The father then tells his friend that he is not supporting his brother who is a candidate running for the national elections because he is corrupt.

In the second advertisement a voter who is bribed votes for a corrupt candidate whose party wins the elections. The voter two years later regrets his decisions as service delivery and quality of infrastructure suffers.

He and his friends realize that they voted for the wrong candidate and party and now corruption is rampant in the country affecting every facet of their life. He then encounters and ACC official who tells him that to fight corruption he should elect people who are credible and do not have any link with corrupt practices. He said by doing this corruption will be defeated in a democracy and people’s concerns and difficulties can be addressed.

The ACC official then turns to the people and asks if they can do this. The advertisement ends with a quote from His Majesty the King which says, “I will not be corrupt and I will not tolerate corruption in others.”

The third advertisement is a starker one showing the impact of corruption. It shows first various policies, lands, natural resources, jobs, contracts and election not being approved and only being approved after bribes are paid. The resultants effects are shown in poor quality infrastructure, nepotism in service delivery, misuse of government resources, collapsed bridges, illegal forestry, poorly monitored mines and etc. It ends with the message saying that Corruption affects all.

“This advocacy program is only a smaller version of the much bigger advocacy program we did for the 2008 General Elections. Moreover it is ACC’s mandate to inform and educate citizens against political corruption,” said Rinzin.

He said in 2008 the ACC apart from a host of TV and Radio programs and messages also had numerous talk shows on the forms and types of political corruption and its impact on the country. In addition to that a multi-media road show on political corruption covered 15 Dzongkhags and 40,000 people directly.

This time around due to limited resources ACC is also focusing on just three short advertisements.

Rinzin said that the advertisements were garnering positive reviews from viewers who appreciated and understood the message.

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