LG: Of more than 600 eligible voters in Sisinang chiwog under Maedwang gewog in Thimphu, only 26 voters showed up for the common forum at Sisina primary (community) school on September 13.

Likewise, only about 60 voters from Danglo-Namsaeling and Khasadrapchu chiwogs under the same gewog attended the common forum at Khasadrapchu Middle Secondary School yesterday. Khasadrapchu chiwog has the highest number of voters at 725.

South Thimphu returning officer, Pemba T Gyeltshen said that while showing up for the poll day is important, turning up for zomdus and common forums is equally important.

The common forums provide a platform to determine who the best candidate is by allowing aspirants to showcase what they are capable of and to convince voters.

However, Pemba T Gyeltshen said most people in the gewogs are out in the forests collecting mushrooms, which could explain the low turn out.

“Despite the low voter turn out in the common forum, I am hopeful that more people will show during the poll day,” he said.

There are four candidates contesting for Maedwang gup, two of whom are woman and three for mangmi. Meanwhile, a total of six, with an equal number of men and women candidates are contesting for tshogpa from the three chiwogs.

Chencho Tenzin, 50, from Jiminang chiwog, who served as gup and mangmi for about 10 years said his experience would assist him in serving the people and carrying out his responsibilities without failure.

The oldest gup candidate in Maedwang gewog, Jowchu, 58, said that he would not make any promises like constructing new farm roads and supplying drinking water but said he would support the developmental activities that is in the Plan and within the gewog budget ceiling.

Karma Zangmo from Khasadrapchu and Choki from Sisinang are the only two women gup candidates contesting against 11 men for south Thimphu.

Choki, 46, said that the former gup did a good job serving the people in the gewog and she assured that she will do even better than the former gup. “If I get elected, I will bridge the gap between the people and the government.”

Meanwhile, Karma Zangmo spoke on gender equality and on voting for the best candidates regardless of gender. “Women have the potential to do any kind of work.”

If she gets elected, she will set an example of a good leader, she said.

To complete the pending tasks listed in the 11th Plan, to solve issues the gewog faces, doing their best to develop the gewog, serving the people without discrimination and corruption, and voting for the best and deserving candidates were some of the key topics contestants spoke about at the three chiwog’s common forums.

Tashi Tshering, 59, from Khasadrapchu said that besides working without discrimination and corruption, he wants the next gup to be fluent in speaking and writing in both English and Dzongkha.

“I expect the next gup to be someone who can speak out in public and take the gewog issues to the authorities and work accordingly,” Tashi Tshering said.

Meanwhile, Tenzin, 52, from Zhisargang in Khasadrapchu said that it has been about ten years that Zhisargang and Gidagom have had no clean drinking water facilities. He added that the previous gup did put up the issue to the gewog tshogdu. The budget of about Nu 660,000 has been approved after the former gup retired.

“Whoever gets elected as gup, we expect him or her to continue the pending work.”

Of the five chiwogs under Maedwang gewog, the last common forum for south Thimphu will be held in the Yum-Thujizam school for Jiminang chiwog today. Tsha-loong-na chiwog had its common forum on September 12.

For the four gewogs in south Thimphu, there are 13 gup candidates, 11 mangmi (four women) and 32 tshogpa (12 women) candidates.

Maedwang gewog has the highest candidates at 16, followed by Ge-nyen gewog at 15 and Darkarla at 14.

Of a total of 4,460 voters in south Thimphu, Maedwang gewog also has the highest voters at 2,589, while Chang and Genyen gewogs have 759 and 782 voters respectively.

Dechen Tshomo

Supported by Bhutan Media Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation