Recent instances have proven how this government is highly allergic to accepting any blame and is also intolerant of criticism especially when the fault lies within.
The OAG, acting on a cabinet letter asking for legal clarification on the ACC’s prosecution and suspension has now even questioned the right of the ACC to prosecute the Gyelpozhing case.
The actions of the OAG demonstrate in full, the government’s real attitude towards ‘zero tolerance towards corruption,’ and also the fact that the government’s alleged support for the Anti Corruption Organization is limited to only when ACC sticks to the small fishes.
The Prime Minister’s brazen claims that no laws were broken and conversely the ACC report that later said numerous laws were broken show, that the current government and its leaders are not willing to acknowledge any mistakes.
Even on an important issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity, over Chinese passports reflecting Bhutanese territory, the government has adopted an ostrich like approach preferring to ignore the issue and instead blaming this paper for bringing up the issue.
While all international governments, big and small, sharing boundaries with China have either remedied or acknowledged the problems reported by their local press on the issue, the DPT government has decided, once again to shoot the messenger and attack the press for pointing out the obvious.
Ironically under the era of absolute Monarchy, Bhutan’s boundary problems and issues were always transparently discussed in the then National Assembly and also widely reported in the press.
On the rupee crisis the main causes were lack of proper fiscal and monetary policy to rein in reckless lending and spending but the entire blame was put squarely on private spending and the private sector.
In the Chang Ugyen case land was clearly grabbed as shown by a report and subsequent Land Commission decision but the government passionately defended him to the extent of the Prime Minister’s office writing a recommendation letter for him to the NLC.
When youth employment is the burning issue of the times the government has taken a very convenient stand of blaming the youth. Instead of examining our education policies, the state of the economy, the slow and bureaucratic system, and other issues, college graduates who studied to be doctors, engineers, civil servants etc are being blamed for not wanting to be farmers or clean waste.
Critical and investigative stories backed up by concrete proof and subsequent verification by ACC or RAA reports are dismissed as ‘fiction’ or ‘fabricated’ stories while government cheerleaders in the media come up with new terms like ‘bad media’ with no evidence.
There is a virtual great wall built around our government which only lets in praise and sycophancy be it from among its own, the society or elements in media and blocks out all criticism.
However, the government’s problem is not just limited to not listening but it has consistently demonstrated an increasing tendency to hit back.
Unable to accept or deal with a critical media the government came up with a system of economic sanctions to punish critical media houses by misusing advertisement money.
The government branded the Opposition leader a virtual ‘Ngolop’ for asking legitimate questions about the loss of the Security Council bid and asking for the expenditure to be made public.
The government has also used the OAG like a rubber stamp to undermine the ACC and its corruption probes on Gyelpozhing.
There has also been no hesitation to use untruths to blatantly attempt and defame its critics. Fantastic conspiracy theories are flown and defamatory lies spread about its critics.
Bhutanese democracy in this sense is headed down a unpredictable and dangerous path with a government unable to handle criticism in a mature manner and with a habit of lashing out instead of addressing the issues at hand.
“Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit”