Explaining our absence

Captive audience

I got back yesterday. My tour to the eastern and central parts of our country was quick yet fruitful. So the first thing I did today was to visit Dechenphug Lhakhang, my favorite monastery. I went there to thank Ap Gengye, one of our foremost guardian deities, for granting us protection and safety during the tour.

In Dechenphug, I met several groups of recent graduates. They had attended the recent National Graduate Orientation Program, and, as they prepared to enter the real world of work, most of them were still weighing their options.

They could sit for the Royal Civil Service Commission’s “common examinations” and compete for civil service jobs. Or they could seek employment in government owned corporations immediately, thereby preempting competition from fellow graduates who wouldn’t make it through the common exams. Or they could join the private sector.

The graduates had to make important decisions. So they had converged in Dechenphug to seek Ap Gengye’s support and guidance.

I stopped to speak with some of the graduates. I asked them what they had studied, where they had studied, and where they planned to work.

They asked me why the opposition party didn’t have a session at the National Graduate Orientation Program. They told me that it would have been relevant for the graduates to meet the members of the opposition party.  And they added that that’s what they had indicated in their feedback form.

I said that I agreed with them – the opposition party really should have met the graduates to congratulate them and to wish them luck in their careers, but also to explain the roles and responsibilities, and priorities of the opposition. But, I explained that we had not been given that opportunity.

I explained that the government had not allowed us to participate in any of the past NGOPs. I explained that, this year, I had written officially to the labour minister requesting him to grant a session for the opposition party to meet the graduates. And I explained that the labour minister had written back saying that it wouldn’t be possible to accommodate our request.

The upshot of this, I explained, was that I could tour the eastern and central parts of our country … uninterrupted.

Photo credit: Kuensel

 

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Comments

  1. Opposition is an important institution of Democracy. As a responsible citizen, not as DPT or PDP, I am concerned. We always talk about building and strengthening the institutions of Democracy as one of the most important national goals. His Majesty keeps reminding us about this in all his speeches.

    But sadly this institution is not allowed to participate in any national event. I believe the Opposition doesn’t even get to meet the GUPs during their annual conference. Opposition is also not given a chance to meet any State Guests from India and other countries.

    This is not good for a young democracy like ours.

  2. The labour minister says “cannot accommodate” and that was heeded to by our OL. What a pity ! You as the OL should demand to meet and address the NGOP. This is democracy and it is only natural that the OL also met the graduates and told them about the opposition. It seems OL failed to Oppose to the labour ministers letter stating inability to accommodate him. You as OL do very well in the parliament and what happened to this instance. You gotta find your way through to address the NGOPs.

  3. Dear OL,
    When the fresh gradautes of 2011 was busy attending orientation programme, you were busy doing compaign!!! and we recommended the labor ministry to have “OL” doing his presentation, his roles in democracy in 2012 orientation programme.
    Actually I was expecting the presence of you during orientation programme 2011!

  4. Sonam penjor says:

    Dear Pema,
    Do not accuse some one without having proper knowledge on word “campaign”, if OL was campaigning than what the hell do you think DPT is doing.

  5. giving chance alone to opposition will not be a good idea but certainly ol should have been part of a group from legislative which comprises from NA (OL and mps from ruling) and NC….

  6. Yangka Chojay says:

    Dear Sonam Penjor,
    What you said was also right but then, Pema said was also not that hell. what he’s trying to say is that if OL IS……..!

  7. I think the question here is when did OL request for the slot. If OL requested for a slot too late, when the NGOP programme is finalized, the OL is wrong. A genuine interest of meeting the young graduates should have prompted OL to make early request for the slot.

    If the request is made on time, way before (at least one month) the NGOP, it is a serious mistake on the part of the MoLHR. As said by someone above, Opposition Party is an important institution for a healthy democracy. OP always must be given an opportunity to mingle in public especially to meet our young brains. In future, some of these youngsters have to become the ruling party member and some the opposition member. It is imperative to nuture the brains on time.

  8. I don’t know whats going on with the graduate but your tour especially your visit to sherubtse college made really wonderful.
    I personally was glad I met you for the first time in my life as i was eagerly looking for it.I remember one of my friend asked you this question,”What would you do if you were Prime Minister of the country”
    Your answer was really perfect and was should i say like it was super cool.”I would thank OL”
    “WE” really appreciate your way,praying you will be the next Prime Minister.

  9. Dawa Drakpa says:

    The Labour Ministry explained( if wat i understood is corect) saying that he would not be able to accommodate the OL’s request, and OL heeded it. This is what is unique about Bhutan’s democracy. Parties here work in mutual, respecting eachother’s decision. Though divided as two parties, both work for the same cause; to serve US…three Cheers both DPT and PDP

  10. Dawa Drakpa says:

    Oh and a REMINDER Lyonpo, ‘Please do not let the Gyalposhing case be a water under the bridge, like anyother issues. It seems like only you would be the one who can sort things in this issue. make haste and hit the iron hot. we expect you to shade some light in this case…Aup Geynye Bless You.”

  11. mouth belongs to those in power….! tell you what! it is not rare to find people holding important position in public service organizations who think they are working for DTP rather than for people…it is disgusting….! so many foreign travels has done nothing to their mind…other than fattening their purse..!!!

  12. I could not meet and miss his meeting with the public duirng the eastern tour. I have been always wanting to meet and miss a great chance and pray that I meet one day officially.

    I wish him to be the next PM so that poor people are liberated.

  13. Dear Sonam Penjore,
    I was actually expecting Opposition Leader to do his presentation during national graduate orientation programme,2011 and i was one of the participants..
    Opposition leader is playing a vital role and we expect a lot…. expect a lot….of his presence during NGOP.
    NGOP is only the proper time to exchange ideas about our democracy.

  14. Your Exc…

    I fully support your views.

    for young people, who are soon going to become the leaders themselves in near future, its also equally important that your youth also know the views from the opposition’s side too.

    I think youths already know enough about the ruling party’s plans. Now as democratic principles demand, our youths should also get equal orientation with the opposition party in the parliament.

    If the labour ministry has denied your request, then the principle of democracy is defeated. there is no use saying we are in a democratic society. This is an act of being authoritarian, which i think is against the principles and values of our democracy.

    Your Exc… you should again ask this question the the Govt in your coming session .I think our youths deserves to know as to why your request was denied outright. Is opposition party a threat to nation?????.

  15. The Opposition’s opportunity barred!!!

    In the democratic theory, political parties are voluntary organizations that are supposed to promote democracy and vertical accountability. Whereas the legislature and the judiciary promote horizontal accountability to link the people and the government. Parties organize campaigns, recruit candidates and mobilize the political community to participate in the selection of office bearers. The goal of party activism is to build institutions and shape public politics, policies and laws that impact the rights and welfare of the political community.
    For a culture of democracy to take hold, opposition parties need to have the confidence that the political system will guarantee their right to organize, speak, dissent and or criticize the party in power. Opposition parties also need to be assured that in due course, they will have a chance to campaign and re-seek the peoples mandate in and through regular, free and fair elections. For this, the opposition party should be given enough opportunity to interact and discuss with the people of the country in any way as it fits to be to make democracy effective and strong today and tomorrow.
    However, the opposition party in Bhutanese democracy is suppressed and most Bhutanese have no idea what the leader and the members of the opposition party is doing due to the majority of the parliaments are with Druk Phunsum Tshogpa (DPT) where all the decision making powers are centralized or monopolized/unilateral.
    The majority wins or the majority decides in the modern democracy. Therefore, the opposition party has no say or not given opportunity to contribute in the decision making since it has only two members having no effect. This is the worst part and in fact is the saddest part in constitutional democracy in Bhutan and most people who have knowledge about it describe as unilateral decision making government in the world.
    The DPT government won the landslide victory over PDP in 2008 election thereby making every citizen of the country happy. But is it worth happy to be??? Everyone needs to rethink the effect of one sided decision making in the democracy. The Opposition Party being weak in the sense that it has the least members/participants it could do nothing even if the ruling party diverts its decision from what it has decided in the meeting. This is what happening with the present government who gives no damn to the opposition party even if it is of worth giving because as mentioned the opposition party could do nothing since majority speaks in democracy.
    The Opposition Leader, His Excellency Lyonpo Tshering Tobgye has posted in his blog, “….I stopped to speak with some of the graduates. I asked them what they had studied, where they had studied, and where they planned to work”.
    “They asked me why the opposition party didn’t have a session at the National Graduate Orientation Program. They told me that it would have been relevant for the graduates to meet the members of the opposition party. And they added that that’s what they had indicated in their feedback form”.
    “I said that I agreed with them – the opposition party really should have met the graduates to congratulate them and to wish them luck in their careers, but also to explain the roles and responsibilities, and priorities of the opposition. But, I explained that we had not been given that opportunity”.
    “I explained that the government had not allowed us to participate in any of the past NGOPs. I explained that, this year, I had written officially to the labour minister requesting him to grant a session for the opposition party to meet the graduates. And I explained that the labour minister had written back saying that it wouldn’t be possible to accommodate our request.
    Take you own share but do not let other go hungry!!!. You need food to sustain your live but can other live without food or the share you have taken will suffice them? Give opposition party an opportunity to participate in any activity as deem needed rather than ignoring them as they have their own role to play.
    If one asked the question why the opposition party is not given an opportunity to participate in any of the past NGOPs or during graduate orientation is unknown. Everyone knows that the country’s population is made up of individuals. The case is very same with the opposition party. The opposition party is one of the main components in the modern democracy and without opposition party there is no democracy. No one can say that a country is democracy without having an opposition party. The opposition party has its own role to play and act. It has its own say in modern democracy. There is no reason to bar them from getting indulged in any activities in modern democracy if it is for the good course. The opposition party meeting with graduates during their orientation will never harm the government in any way rather it would have benefitted graduates and enlightened them with the roles, responsibilities and priorities of the opposition party in modern democracy.
    This is the responsibility of each and every citizen of the country to think about why the opposition party is not given an opportunity to participate in any of the past NGOPs as well as in the recent graduate orientation program. It is sad and disgusting yet interesting to know why this is happening in Bhutan, the youngest democracy in the world.

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