The verdict is out, at least from the government, on foreign minister Rinzin Dorje.
The minister, who is on indefinite “authorised leave” after being entangled in a legal battle, has been removed from his ministerial post, with the home minister, Damcho Dorji, slated to take over the reins.
This is an important development and a bold decision from the government. The decision is under scrutiny, with some calling it a political stunt, others appreciating it, and a few calling it unfair, as the minister was exonerated by the Haa court and an appeal is pending at the High Court.
With his leave thereby extended, some expected the minister to resign from the ministerial berth on moral grounds. An appeal case will take time and the ministry has been without a minister for months. What the government did will send a strong message, even if it is saving the party’s face.
Although some may feel that the government has criminalised a member of the cabinet before his verdict from the High Court is out, elected governments have to take tough decisions. These include removing members from the party, if the situation demands. Relevant laws mandate the removal of an elected member when convicted for criminal offence. It is during such complicated times that a government will be tested.
The party’s stand, it seems, is to protect the national interest rather than that of individual elected members. The underlying message is that the government is not taking corruption lightly. This includes even perceived corruption charges, going by what the party’s spokesperson said. They do not wish to be tainted with corruption charges.
The foreign ministry, an all-important ministry, had been without a secretary and a minister for far too long. While we have a strong bureaucracy and the Prime Minister wears the added hat of a foreign minister, we cannot undermine the importance of the foreign ministry. Just because the previous government didn’t have a foreign minister is not a good precedence to follow.
There are important events being lined up thick and fast. We have the United Nations General Assembly in September. There are also talks about the boundary talks happening soon, and dignitaries keep visiting.