It was busy yesterday (Friday), with Thimphu residents engaging in another round of exchange of goodwill and offering of khadars, as a new group of officers take up important posts in the government and constitutional offices.
Looking beyond the ceremonies, it is a new stage in the nation’s development, especially in our march towards democracy. Since we became a democratic constitutional monarchy in 2008, we have seen two elected governments. The appointments of the chairpersons to the constitutional offices complete another milestone.
Most importantly, it symbolises the completion of a stage even as continuity is ensured. As the honoured officials start new careers, it is a reminder to society at large that the relatively stable career patterns for many prominent citizens are over and that they are likely to see significant changes.
The old order changeth, yielding place to the new.
Amidst the exchanges of goodwill, there are concerns and speculations on whether the newly appointed officials will be able to fill the shoes of those who left. This may arise from the high standards the old guard had set. But many of the honoured officials are not entering into new territory.
They have the experience, which is crucial in leading the way forward. The Election Commissioner of Bhutan, Chogyal Dago Rinzin, had worked as a commissioner for the last many years. If there is one man, who can fill in the gap, it is he. He would be continuing where he left off on July 21.
The Auditor General, Tshering Kezang, had many years of experience in the field before he became a dzongdag. He is returning to a place, where he moulded his career. It is good to see familiar faces with experience in the field return to take over the reins.
The work of the Anti-Corruption Commission is talked about the most, because it is an area where the public is more interested. It is human nature to appreciate a body investigate or detain high profile government officials. The expectation was raised when the Anti-Corruption Commission was instituted, because tackling corruption was formalised.
It is not that corruption was ignored or there was no one or a body to prevent it. Check and balance was there even before the establishment of ACC. The Royal Civil Service Commission dealt with civil servants coming into conflict with laws. The Royal Audit Authority was very active in ensuring public resources were not misused or wasted. The three branches of the government provided a good measure of checks and balances.
The expectation was that an institution like the ACC would officially tackle corruption. ACC chairperson Kinley Yangzom taking over Dasho Neten Zangmo should be seen beyond the fact of the commission being chaired by a woman for two terms. Her vast experience in the civil service as head of the human resource department, and then as a commissioner, would have equipped the new chairperson with all the necessary wherewithal to take on the new responsibility.
Then we have the machinery in all the three constitutional posts that are run by people who have years of experience. It is a new chapter in the history of Bhutan. We can only expect that each new chapter is different and interesting.