Not any party supporter or those who have provided a fair wind to the prime minister or his party from behind in times of election should have this right.
It should not be any civil servant. That’s because of the rule that says civil servants should be apolitical, in our context. But there have been people from outside the civil service and those from “inside” serving in the office. And, resulting from that, there have been complications in many dimensions.
The Lhengye Zhungtshog Bill 2020 so needs a special focus and an in-depth deliberation.
From the ruling party and the prime minister, there is a point: you need a trusted officials to man the details – and that goes as far as the way information is let out. But that, unfortunately, comes with a lot of compromises from both sides, often detrimental to the people in the end.
“Specialisation” is the word doing the round in this debate. In itself, specialisation is good and desirable. Only we are going at it the wrong way. We only need to look at our foreign ministry, which should be at the core of relations-building inside and abroad.
The office of the prime minister should not be only trained in vital aspects of foreign relations, but also in the fair judgement of internal development needs. The integrity of the “servicing” officials is necessary, but that’s not enough. It, the office, should have the power to advise and block the pressure from “above” for the long-term benefit of the country and the people.
Equipping the office of the prime minister with “adequate” staff number may be necessary, but that should not be the ultimate and the only aim. What is important is building a culture of true and democratic service to the nation.
The office is important, but more important than the office is a culture and grooming of a crop of officials that can handle the dreams and visions of the high office. We have Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies, for example, to train the different cadre of people.
In governance, we are losing focus. And that’s the real danger we are facing today. Fix the top first and the rest will be easy to deal with. Creating a different cadre of officials to serve in the prime minister’s office will not be enough. That’s the easy part. Building a culture of service is more important.
We will await RCSC’s take on it. Hope it doesn’t sound, when it comes, as lightly taken by the MPs in the August Hall.