Monkey business

Last Sunday’s cover page of The Journalist features a troup of loud monkeys goading a horse and a couple of cranes to continue pushing for state funding.

The dejected animals encircled by the rascals appear to complain:

“…. And No Matter What We Do Or How We Spin It, They Are Still Gonna See State Funding As Monkey Business”

The Journalist is right: no matter how you look at it, state funding for political parties is indeed monkey business.

But The Journalist is also wrong: the horse wants no part of the monkey business, so it should not be there.

The Constitution does not permit state funding for political parties – plain and simple. So there’s no point in arguing about the need for state funding. If state funding is needed – and needed critically – then first amend the laws. Otherwise, no matter how state funding is justified, it must ultimately be subjected to the laws of the land.

Now join the fun in jungles of our democracy…



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  1. No matter what you (OL) say now, I as a neutral citizen of this country, feel that State Funding is indeed very much necessary. But since our Constitution do not permit it as of now, there are only two ways out.

    1. Amend the Constitution now and endorse State Funding.
    2. Implement the State Funding ONLY after the next election.

    This will be constitutional, fair and democratic for everyone.


  2. I can see you play very smart, dear OL. You do not make CDG as serious as Tax issue and the Tobacco Act, although CDG is also not constitutional. You do not make it fore, but silently accept the CDG for your constituency.

    Similarly, you are fully aware State Funding for Political parties is not constitutional, but you do not stand strongly against it because The Horse will also benefit if the Crane breaks it through with the State Funding.

    So, never say Horse is not in favour of the State Funding. Instead, you are getting so used to of “reaping the fruit without thorn pricking”, a famous Bhutanese saying!

  3. The Horse looks better than the cranes in the picture. The cranes are almost dead in the picture.

    DPT ministers are contributing 10% or so of their salary every month to their party fund and still they are crying for state fund. Had they been like PDP, they will die also – I think.

    Why can’t the DPT stops putting forth the state funding? Some say it is unconstitutional while others say constitutional. Take the case to the court if it is approved to seek the final interpretation on it.

  4. someone said..the higher a monkey climbs, the more he shows his ass..very apt, if you relate it to this issue of state finding..dpt is trying to get some feelers from the public but they know it’s unconstitutional..I say let them use their majority & bulldoze it through..then like you did with the tax issue, take them to court once again..let them learn the hard way..
    the local govt candidates did not get campaign funds or donations..the nc & na candidates did..the political parties received, if the state is to provide resources again to political parties, it is unfair & shameless for it’s proponents..why should national revenue be allotted to politicians/parties for its operations??if so, why don’t entrepreneurs, students, farmers, civil servants & the general public also receive state funding to run their lives??the pol parties are in debt coz they went overboard with their campaign..they don’t need state funding..they must run their pol aspirations with personal & voluntary efforts & within the permitted framework that now exists.. in addition to contributing from their undeserved emoluments..only when we have politics with as less money as is possible will we have elections that may be called free & fair..only then will politicians be elected based on merit, respect & a genuine belief that they will deliver for the kingdom, rather than for politicians themselves, as is the present scene..

  5. pem tshering says

    I find it much wiser to fund the state’s developmental programs efficiently instead of talking about funding the political parties. As long as the nation is in good health economically, socially, culturally and environmentally, I feel we do not need to think about funds for any other programs. Politicians will come and go, but the state should remain upright and vibrant in all terms. Whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional, funding political parties must be the last thing for a poor country like ours. Let’s discuss on more important matters and ensure that Bhutan is improving and developing as a nation in a best way possible.

  6. guardian says


    Your analysis is spot on. The OL is always playing to the gallery and is very incosistent with his actions. While he took the DPT to court for raising taxes unilaterally, taxes which actually would have benefited the country, he finds it absolutely moral for him to use the CDG funds for his constituency which are both illegal.

    If looks more and more like state funding is necessary for our fledgling democracy to survive, if my view is correct, then I don’t understand why the OL is against it.

    Otherwise, the OL needs to let us know how he thinks the parties will survive without state funding.

  7. Tashel Laglenpa says

    Everyone must understand that the OL is not saying that he/his party does not want CDG or State funding.
    On CDG he said that it is a great idea to have CDG but the MPs should be not be the ultimate authority for its use. He said the local government should have the power to spend it as deemed necessary.
    On State funding for political parties, I am sure OL would very much like it too, but he is arguing that it should be made permissible by the constitution first.
    On the tax revision issue also, the OL was in favour of raising taxes but he insisted that it be routed through the parliament and the DPT took the short cut for which he had to complain.
    I think OL is doing a great job by reporting the system flaws on time.

  8. 1) The issue here is not whether the CDG should be handled by MPs or the LGs. The issue is whether CDG is constitutional or not. If CDG is not constitutional how can OL accept it and not take the case to court like the tax case. Accepting the CDG, OL has already lost the trust of the people in him. His statement of CDG to be handled by LG is simply an eye wash.
    2) On the tax issue, OL in any case is a looser. All his effort made to take the DPT government to court has just managed to pospone the tax increase by few months. The government suspended car imports for many months, repaid taxes of few cars and from June 20, the tax is increased. Back to square one!
    3) If the stand of OL is to ammend Constitution for State Funding of the Political Parties, it is what I said in my earlier comment, “OL is playing smart”. He is so used to it. His decision here should be that there should not be State Funding for Political Parties at all, if it is unconstitutional. If PDP is comfortable without state funding. Why should the Constitution be ammended in such a short time span of its adoption? Are we trying to make mockery of ourselves, who adopted the Constituion in 2008? Are we trying to make mockery of our Beloved Kings, especially our God King, His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo who awarded the Constitution to the people?

  9. I think OL already made it clear that he could not take the government to the courts for the CDG issue because there is nothing in the constitution that says whether CDG is allowed or not. So even if the OL took the government to the court for it, he would have lost. As for OL accepting CDG, you act like he is accepting it for his personal use. He accepted it so that people in his constituency would not be deprived of the government money that other constituency receives. I think OL would gladly decline CDG if it is for himself, but if he declined CDG only his constituency loses. If I am under his constituency and he declines CDG I would be pissed because it means I am being deprived of the benefits that other 46 constituency is receiving.

    OL also has been clear that he does not support state funding of political parties, I remember him saying if his party gets dissolved due to not clearing debts, so be it. I agree with that sentiments, there will always be newer and fresher party.

  10. As for OL taking the government to the courts over the tax issue, it is due to the due process that needs to be followed. It is like a person that commits a crime in front of everyone, yet , we cannot lock that person up, even if it is a clear cut case, we need to put him through the courts to prove that he is guilty. Just because it is obvious that he committed a crime, does not mean he can be sent to jail without a trial.

    Same thing applies to anything government does, it has to follow the due process.

  11. sameer jain says

    “I as a neutral citizen of this country, feel that State Funding is indeed very much necessary”

    -Ones ‘feelings’ are important for oneself. But they cannot public policy make

    “but you do not stand strongly against it because The Horse will also benefit”

    -Isnt this what the OL is doing? He is damned for what he does and damned for what he dosen’t do

    “Take the case to the court if it is approved to seek the final interpretation on it.”

    – perhaps at some point one should. However judiciary is so under developed. There are more pressing egregious sins like people imprisoned under the possession of tobacco act where the judiciary should focus

    “why should national revenue be allotted to politicians/parties for its operations??”

    – Why do they need it? After all everyone is part of the ruling coalition, sans one or two?!!

    “funding political parties must be the last thing for a poor country like ours. Let’s discuss on more important matters”

    – What can be more important than this? State funding will only help strengthen a supra majority – how can Bhutan EVER HAVE a vibrant democracy if all that folks do is reiterate status quo.

    “then I don’t understand why the OL is against it.”

    – wowww. Poooori Ramayan parhii , phir poooochaa ” Sita kis ka baap thaa??”

    “but he is arguing that it should be made permissible by the constitution first”

    – why aren’t people getting this simple fact??

    “Are we trying to make mockery of our Beloved Kings, especially our God King, His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo who awarded the Constitution to the people?”
    – such a cheap argument

  12. truth,

    Who told you that CDG is not constitutional, the OL himself at one point has stated that it is unconstitutional but if other constituencies were getting it, he would also gladly accept it. If the constitution does not say anything about constitutional development grants, than it has to be illegal, also why has there been so much of a hue and cry over CDG if it is not unconstituional.

    So the same question arises, why is OL not taking the government to court on this issue. This is what we mean by saying that OL is not a principled man. So OL accepted CDG because he did not want to deprive his constituency of some development funds, then why did he take the government to court for raising taxes, the taxes raised would have been for the development of the whole country.

  13. truth,

    BTW, please ask OL if CDG is constitutional or not, lets hear it from him.

  14. Correction please, in my first post, I meant to say, who told you that CDG is not unconstitutional.

  15. sameer jain, for a person like you, who does not have ethics, who has no shame in buying qualification, a genuine argument like “Are we trying to make mockery of our Beloved Kings, especially our God King, His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo who awarded the Constitution to the people?” is cheap. Anything genuine obviously will be cheap for you because you do not possess a genuine qualification. Probably your citizenship is also not genuine.

  16. I agree with Sameer Jain. DPT has, and is, making a mockery of our constitution that was bestowed upon us by our beloved and selfless 4th Druk Gyalpo.
    The PM by saying that democracy will collapse if state funding is not provided is again trying to fool the people.
    I GUARANTEE you that if DPT and PDP collapse because state funding is not provided other parties will come up to keep democracy alive. It is not that democracy will collapse if DPT and PDP are not there.

  17. guardian says

    I think the PM is right in saying that democracy in Bhutan will collapse if there is not state funding for political parties. As per the ECB rule book if political parties don’t clear their debts from the previous elections, they will be disqualified and not allowed to contest the next elections. As of now the DPT and PDP both have massive debts, so if such heavy weights as the two incumbent parties are not able to get enough funds to continue where do you think other parties will sprout out from.

    Without political parties, there won’t be democracy, so PM’s views are absolutely valid and true.

  18. Other parties will not have debts like DPT and PDP because they will not spend lavishly during campaigning like the two parties did in 2008.
    U mean to say that there will be no democracy in Bhutan if heavy weights like the DPT and PDP do not receive state funding??? Wanna bet?? Ha ha ha, what a joke! Who are you trying to brainwash? Let DPT and PDP be disqualified other parties will come to replace them.
    Is it written in our Constitution that Bhutan can only be governed by DPT or PDP? We Bhutanese people may be simple but we are definitely not fools.

  19. Lets bet.

  20. I am looking at the issue objectively while you are looking at it from an idealists point of view. My argument is that if both PDP and DPT who have all the rich people supporting them cannot manage to get enough funds to run their parties, how do you think other parties will be able to finance their parties.

    Even if other parties don’t spend as much money on the campaign trail as the PDP and DPT spent, the amount of money required would still be substantial for any party to contest an election.

    So please tell me where this money is going to come from. In fact state funding would actually make it possible for new parties to spring up.

  21. Government already gives money for campaigning, what DPT is asking is for keeping offices in every dzongkhag.

    I think the government gives 1 lakh per MP to campaign, not sure about the amount, but the government gives money to the parties to campaign.

    ECB already told the parties that they don’t have to have offices in every dzongkhag, so it is a moot point.

  22. Then I think the ECB does not know what they are talking about. You mean to say once the elections are finished, just forget about all the voters that voted for you in the elections from the different dzongkhags. What kind of logic is this from the ECB.

    For Bhutan to have a proper flourishing democracy, it is imperative that you keep in contact with the local populace and for this we need to have officers in all the dzongkhags.

  23. Sir

    As a firm believer in your quest for a better democracy for us, I would like to offer my genuine membership. How do I do it?

  24. Everybody, all said and done. The papers say that DPT ministers and MPs have cleared their 20 million loan. It means that they can now re-register their party with the ECB and contest the 2013 election. PDP did also clear their loan but only with the sale of the mortage land of their former President. Is it acceptable to the former President to do so. Is it not the responsibility of the party to clear the loan? Since the loan was not cleared by the party, is it legal for the party to re-register with the ECB to contest the election in 2013? Kindly throw some light. Thanks.

  25. Thank you Hon’ble OL for the clarification but if you do not repay your former President, does it mean that you still have financial liability and cannot re-register your party with the ECB and cannot contest the 2013 election. Thanks once again.

    • Dear “shatsa” – About two years ago, the ECB issued a directive saying that political parties that do not clear their debts by June 2012 will not be permitted to contest in the 2013 elections. That means the we must pay back the money we owe our former president by then. Tshering

  26. why is the PDP web site not updated since 2008. is it due to lack of fund? people say that OL is IT savy but the truth lies in the PDP website which still reads.( i copy & paste from

    Tshering Dolkar is PDP’s Candidate for Gelephu March 10th, 2008

    • Chimithangka Case, PDP refutes defamatory allegations of DPT March 10th, 2008

    • PDP Ahead in the Bhutan Observer Online Poll! March 10th, 2008

    • PDP endorsed by The World Post March 9th, 2008

    • PDP Appeals to ECB regarding Restraining Orders on its Coordinators March 9th, 2008.

  27. Dorji T P says

    The point of the matter is our great leaders from DPT and PDP need to learn to live within what they can afford. If they are unable to even manage their party finance I wonder how they could possibly manage a Nations Finance??????

    The bottom line is spend less and spend only in areas which are essential. Finally they need to learn to earn their own finance and not beg all the time.

    Finally our leaders are the BEST BEGGARS IN THE WORLD. NO ONE CAN BEAT US ON THAT.

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