Director Law and Order appointed Bhutan’s Consul General to Kolkata
Bhutan will have two female ambassadors posted in the United Nations, New York and Bangladesh.
The first is Kunzang Chhoden Namgyel who was earlier the Deputy Permanent Representative in New York and is now an Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations, effective from January 3, 2014.
The second appointment is of Pema Choden who has been appointed as the Ambassador to Bangladesh. She is currently the Chief in the Bilateral Department covering the Europe, Americas and Africa Division. She also served as the Managing Director of Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS).
Though Kunzang Chhoden Namgyel has been announced as the first female Ambassador, technically both she and Pema Choden’s appointments were given Royal Approval on January 3, 2014.
In the case of Pema Choden, a diplomatic formality of sending her name to the government of Bangladesh is being completed. Once that is done, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be expected to make a formal announcement.
A third diplomatic appointment is that of Director of Bureau of Law and Order, Karma T. Namgyal as the Consul General in Kolkata. Similarly, in this case too, his name has been sent to Kolkata for approval from the host government.
It is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to nominate Ambassadors, after which under the Constitution, His Majesty the King gives the Royal Assent and appoints them.
Meanwhile, with the appointment of three senior bureaucrats into senior positions, the senior bureaucratic circle in Thimphu has been buzzing with rumors and speculation on more appointments and transfers.
A reliable source on the condition of anonymity said, “The government is aware and there is even pressure from the public to change and transfer senior bureaucrats, but at the moment there are no changes planned. The senior bureaucrats will be given a chance to prove their worth and perform and if only they cannot perform then changes can be considered.”
The source said that the government would like to have continuity, and let senior bureaucrats complete their appointments, have rule of law and not allow for the politicization of the civil service.
It was felt that prior to, during and also after the 2013 elections, some senior bureaucrats showed signs of being politicized and affiliated to the former ruling party. There is a growing feeling that such politically affiliated senior bureaucrats are undermining the new elected government to the extent of even ignoring cabinet directives.
The source said, “There are those who want to bring about changes for politically valid reasons, but the government will take its own decisions.”
Apart from senior secretary and other senior bureaucrat level positions, the terms of many Dzongdas are nearing completion and a reshuffle is also expected there. The source said that the new government, going by the Constitution, will nominate Dzongdas for transfer and give it for Royal Assent.
Kunzang Chhoden Namgyel joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 1, 1980 and has served in various capacities as Director, Multilateral Department, Chief of Protocol, Counsellor to the Permanent Mission of Bhutan in Geneva, and country Director, SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Pema Choden joined the Civil Service in 1989 and held positions like, the BBS MD, First Secretary to the United Nations in Geneva, Head of Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Assistant Director for Cabinet Affairs in the MFA, and Third Secretary to the Bhutanese Embassy in Bangladesh.
Both Ambassadors are considered to be experienced career diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their appointments bring back the trend of appointing diplomats as Ambassadors instead of government secretaries from other ministries.
Kunzang Chhoden Namgyel will be replacing Lhatu Wangchuk who was the Permanent Representative from early 2009 to 2013. Pema Choden will be replacing former RCSC Secretary Dasho Bap Kesang who was appointed to Bangladesh from around 2008 to 2013.
Karma T. Namgyal will be replacing the former Consul General Dasho Tshering Wangda who also came back in 2013.