Running against corruption

As I left for Trongsa this morning, I drove by runners participating in World Anticorruption Day. The turnout was impressive – hundreds of people, young and old, women and children, businesswomen and men, and bureaucrats and politicians had turned out to show their resolve to fight corruption.

Today’s run was important, and it was especially significant that some politicians participated. I didn’t run. So instead, I’m writing.

Shortly after the first parliamentary session ended, the ACC organized a presentation for MPs. Our Honourable MPs rose, one after the other, denouncing corruption, vowing to fight it, and promising full, unconditional support for ACC.

The clear determination of my colleagues impressed me. But I reminded my fellow MPs of three truths: one, that throughout the world, politicians are perceived to be the most corrupt; two, that we, as elected MPs, are politicians; and three, that unless we, politicians, are, first and foremost, incorruptible ourselves, we would have already lost the fight against corruption.

Easier said than done, I’ve been told. But, much more honest and effective than all the grandstanding and rhetoric that we, politicians, readily dish out when called upon to fight corruption.

We’ve started democracy. Start it right. Start by demanding that our politicians – ministers, MPs and party workers – don’t just talk of anticorruption, but are themselves not corrupt; that they do not smell of the nepotism, cronyism, patronage, graft, bribery and embezzlement that todays runners ran hard against.


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