In Japan or South Korea, whenever an official or politician is caught in a corruption case, no matter how senior they are, they accept the consequences and whither away from public sight.
In Bhutan, there is the exact opposite reaction especially when big fishes in the form of senior politicians and officials are caught in corruption cases. Apart from a complete denial there is a strong fight back which includes multiple public statements of angelic innocence and counter charges.
The integrity of the investigating agency or even news organization and individuals working in them are questioned, and there is as much mud thrown at the institutions, investigators and prosecutors.
Even after court prosecutions, these figures carry a sense of being an unfair victim with a ready conspiracy theory to show how they are actually innocent, but somebody has it in for them.
Shame and regret are the last emotions shown as all kinds of subterfuges are resorted to.
In today’s democratic age, it is even worse in the case of politicians who can rely on a growing and increasingly partisan army of party supporters, in whose fanatic eyes, their dear leader can do no wrong.
These supporters among other things, go on social media sites to defend the politicians and attack the accusers and investigators. Even Constitutional bodies are increasingly being attacked by these fanatics despite the long term damage to them.
Bhutan may have achieved the 26th rank in the Transparency International index and things may appear strong on the surface, but there is also a deep fragility in our system.
A lot of this fragility is due to a feudal mindset of our politicians and officials that the resources of the state are to be extracted for their benefit, and that since they have power- money and wealth must also flow to them.
The biggest danger for the fight against corruption in Bhutan is the combination of the above feudal mindset of entitlement, along with modern and fanatic party politics where party supporters feel that their leaders can do no wrong.
Any one daring to question their leaders are mercilessly attacked through accusations, rumors and conspiracy theories which are also floated online.
It is time that Bhutanese citizens recognize the above two threats facing us not only in our fight against corruption but also in our aim to have a healthy democracy.
“Blind party loyalty will be our downfall. We must follow the truth wherever it leads.”