Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - 4:08 PM

Voter turnout

Democracy, as it is said, is not just only about elections, where citizens decide to empower a selected few to govern for the next five years.

It is about building strong, independent and transparent institutions, protecting basic rights, active citizens that hold government and leaders accountable, and rule of law.

Yet elections are the starting point of it all, and one of the most basic elements of a democratic system.

It is that basic right, where the electorate [... Read More]

Cold comfort to climate change

“The earth is supposed to grow warmer because of global warming,” so remarks a teenager to his father, who is seated with the rest of the family close to a kerosene heater, “and yet it feels a lot colder outside.”

The mother muscles in and says this winter has been comparatively colder than the last.

The father quips at his wife that this winter is always colder than the last, because people forget what last winter felt [... Read More]

The law is a morass

Last week, when the judiciary launched its annual report, it sent out an important message – perhaps we are making too many laws.

In the past two decades or so, the country’s highest legislative body has enacted close to 200 acts, from tenancy and bankruptcy to tobacco control.

This spate of lawmaking has come with the best of intentions, and in the spirit of the rule of law.  Most of the laws were to give agencies and [... Read More]

From no teeth to teeth to false teeth?

It was the implementation of the rule, which was weak, that it necessitated a proper law instead.

A law was crafted and tabled for parliamentarians to debate.

Merely having a law, experience showed, was not good enough, it had to be given teeth to bite violators with.

Parliamentarians deliberated and prescribed penalties so stringent that, in less than a month of its enforcement, it netted its first victim.

That was about the tobacco control law, which was a culmination [... Read More]

Kidnap prone Sarpang

Up here in the safety of the mountains, it is hard to fathom the kind of fear residents of border towns of Sarpang and Gelephu are living with.

Abducting an 18-year-old student in broad daylight at gunpoint, and then firing in the air to scare away others, is the kind of stuff you see in the movies, with the law enforcers arriving a little late.

But such a scene is happening for real, not on reel; and [... Read More]

On paper

After more than half a century of planned development that the Bhutanese health care system continues to face a shortage doctors because of poor human resource planning does sound like a misnomer.

But some officials in the health ministry say such a situation prevails, not because of poor planning, but because there was no planning at all.

This could probably be true of all sectors. Take a look at education. There are officially enough teachers, but the [... Read More]

Shooting the messenger

The annual education conference has always been one event that the Bhutanese media, at least some of them, have covered, for many years now.

It is one event that brings together principals and teachers from all over the country to sit down with officials from the headquarters in Thimphu for at least three days and take stock of the year gone by and plan for the next.

All kinds of issues generally pop up at the conference, [... Read More]

Minor symptom of major malaise

So the high court has sentenced a 53-year-old man to three years of prison in connection with a 10-year-old girl, who went missing in 2009, on charges of child trafficking, bringing some kind of closure to the case.

The sentencing was largely possible, because the parents of the girl sought the help of a civil society organisation that appealed the verdict of the district court, which had essentially thrown out the case.

But as some readers have [... Read More]

More competition

Politicking in the run up to the next general elections should now gather pace, with the election commission of Bhutan approving the registration of two new political groups as political parties.

The two new political groups – Bhutan Kuen-Nyam party and Druk Chirwang tshogpa – have some tweaking to do with regards to their charter, but are otherwise good to get status as a political party.  One more political group, Druk Nyamrup tshogpa, which applied almost [... Read More]

Another year older

The last day of the 2012 was business as usual for most people after all work must be done and a living must be made.

On the official calendar the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) observed for the first time its foundation day at its new headquarters in Jungshina, Thimphu.

His Majesty the King attending the function was a major morale booster for the employees of the fairly new constitutional body that has a challenging mandate to fulfill.

With [... Read More]

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