Government on the move with a tough PM

Nadeem Qadir
Published : 21:53, Jan 14, 2019 | Updated : 17:31, Feb 06, 2019

Nadeem QadirThe newly elected Awami League government is on the move, with a reassuring indication that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will firmly ensure the proper implementation of her pledges. In the process, she will leave no gaps which the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party can use to attack her politically, just for the sake of criticising.
The prime minister knows that the international community which wholeheartedly welcomed her return to power for a record fourth time, will keep a close watch especially on issues like corruption, from day one.
Sheikh Hasina will be tough against corruption, negligence to duty, non-performance and nepotism as indicated by her post-election comments and there is no choice for her because we, the people, want her to succeed. Her success means the delivery of our hopes and aspirations.
It will eventually lead to the establishment of the Golden Bengal that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted Bangladesh to be when he declared independence, on his return from a Pakistani prison, in 1972. It is also what our martyrs and freedom fighters wanted.
The prime minister has warned her colleagues in the council of ministers that the huge majority meant more obligations and therefore, leaders must not become “monsters.” Focusing on good governance, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned her new cabinet colleagues that they would be under her surveillance. “Be careful, I'll always keep you under my surveillance to see who's doing what.”
The vote this time has been a collective decision of all minds to back the prime minister in her endeavours and hard work in turning Bangladesh into the Golden Bengal of a new world order which is based on stronger economy and high-tech.
The new Council of Ministers also signals the prime minister's strong wish to deliver what her people and the world want.
New faces and the allotment of their ministries, for the most part, have been welcomed.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina including other party officials attend the oath taking ceremony of the newly formed cabinat in Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 7, 2019. REUTERSShe has put her trust on the young. Her election victory was also due to the support of first-time young voters who caught the spirit of her campaign. For them, she was the sole torch bearer of the Independence War Spirit and a developed Bangladesh.
She cannot alone achieve the goals and her team must be equally committed and sincere.
The new government leaders must be first alert about sycophants who have been behind the fall and the bad name earned by governments in many parts of the world. Identifying turn coats and people who wrongly enjoy positions undeservingly is important.
Service extensions of defence or civil officers must end and only the few who need to continue for an extra time in the national interest may be considered. Service extensions have many negatives. The major one is the anger it creates among those whose promotions are stalled and extensions create sycophants. They hamper the talents that the young -bring and dampen the work spirit. In the last ten years we have seen some civil and military bureaucrats in the same position by “managing” extensions one after the other. The leaders must remember that no one is indispensible.
The other one is corruption. Sheikh Hasina has announced zero-tolerance on graft and that is a huge challenge. One needs to ask which sector is free of graft. It’s a disease that has affected people from nearly top to bottom.
The prime minister has no allegations of graft, but many others around her have been accused of amassing huge, questionable wealth.
The first thing is to make the Anti-Corruption Commission independent so that it can probe and put on trial the influential and the powerful. Unless people at the top are punished, it will be impossible to eradicate corruption. It has to be a drive that will be based not on favours, it needs stressing that a criminal is a criminal. The drive against corruption and punishment for the guilty must be visible.
Last but not the least, is the quick and visible punishment for crimes like rape, extortion and economic irregularities that generated much public criticism after the collapse of the Farmer’s Bank and the Basic Bank.
I hope the prime minister’s watchful eyes will spot political turncoats who enjoy the cream, as it were, from regime to regime, even as they damage a government more than anybody. They are the enemies of the state.
Bangladeshis would wish the prime minister all the luck and good wishes for a great success in her fourth and the straight third term in office. We want to raise a full throated cheer, “JOY BANGLA” after five years.
Nadeem Qadir is a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.

***The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions and views of Bangla Tribune.