Fighting corruption is the fundamental duty of every Bhutanese. It is enshrined in the Constitution as: “Every person shall have the duty to uphold and to act against corruption.” Therefore, the strength to fight corruption must come from the heart of every Bhutanese.
The recent signing of an MoU between the Royal Civil Service Commission and Anti Corruption Commission to resolve the human resource issues of the commission is a welcome move. The past years saw frequent disagreements amongst the constitutional offices regarding their ‘independence’ or ‘autonomy’, which had consumed quite a bit of precious time and energy.
The least we can afford are anomalies in our laws, which create unhealthy environments amongst the implementing agencies; often resulting in personality clashes making matters worse, sometimes for years. Therefore, timely interventions from the executive, legislative and judiciary may be the key to promote the rule of law and for our democracy to succeed. Here, the National Council’s ongoing work on the review with respect to harmonisation of laws is big way forward.
In our fight against corruption, the rule of law is of paramount importance but arbitrary or disharmonious laws may weaken the very strength of individuals or organisations to fight corruption. Such a situation would provide ample opportunity for people in power to manipulate and reward the corrupt.
Perhaps, now is the right time to iron out all the discrepancies in laws, rules and differences amongst institutions and bring the house to order in identifying gaps and loopholes so that appropriate measures can be taken to minimise corruption.
Now is also the right time to further gain strength in eradicating corruption from Drukyul as we have the leadership in His Majesty The King, the Constitution, the political will of the elected, the judiciary and the constitutional offices are in place armed with laws to change behaviours, and the media gaining maturity.
On corruption, every Bhutanese must be guided by The Druk Gyalpo’s 107th National Day address: “Corruption is unambiguous – there is no great or small corruption. And no one can be above the law. But there is an even greater threat – ignoring corruption. When the corrupt are not held to account, those who observe due diligence, work hard and professionally are most likely to be discouraged.”