AS CRITICISM of the ruling government keeps mounting, its credibility takes a severe beating. The more it continues to keep silent on the vexing issue of corruption, the more it will come under pressure from the opposition and civil societies. The growing resentment to corruption is being increasingly reflected in bold encounters by civil society. People are waiting for someone to convey their displeasure on corruption and the government’s lacklustre response. Gone are the days when persons of integrity and stature put in their papers when an allegation against them surfaced and faced the proceedings to clear their name.
Two years into the Awami League rule, the prime minister made the brave statement at many events that the her party-led alliance would take corruption head on and demonstrate through actions, not words, that we mean what we say. She went so far as to claim that transparency, accountability and probity are the very heart of governance.
The ruling party’s other leaders sounded similar sentiments in lower key, acknowledging that public concern over the pervasiveness of corruption was legitimate and pledging that their government would take corrective action and would not hesitate to act against misuse of public office.
The questions raised by the media investigations must be answered immediately by the ruling government and the Prime Minister—and the whole matter must be speedily investigated, without fear or favour.
The brave statements of Sheikh Hasina have never translated into tangible action in the last two years. As a result, the saga of cover-up, error of judgement, trust deficit and poor governance continues unabatedly.
A primary reason for the unprecedented rise in scams and corruption seems to be the inaction, if not reluctance, on the part of the leadership to take concrete action.
It is always the media who first dig out scams involving big fish. The government then tries to please the public by appointing various committees and, by the time they submit their reports, the whole episode has been discussed threadbare in the media. Does the government not know when something is wrong? Can’t it take its own corrective action? Imagine life without the media!