Introduction : Corruption has been a feature of public and social life in human societies since time immemorial. Politics in ancient Greece, Rome, the South Asian Sub-Continent, Europe and America have experienced varying degrees of corruption during different times of their history.
In developing and less developed countries like Bangladesh, corruption in public life, civil administration, business and industry, education etc. has become an intense and extensive problem. Corruption is not only a stumbling block to the achievement of economic development and national prosperity. It is also a great barriers of the way of realization of true democracy. Corruption in Bangladesh and other societies has various dimensions : political administrative and commercial. Corruption at the political, level is often the result of compulsions of political leaders and parties to mobilise support for their respective organisations.
Corruption in The Political Dimension
In all situations, even in healthier one’s political leaders and parties need money for the parties and political and election campaigns. In countries like Bangladesh their need for enormous funds and increased manifold on account of monetization and criminalization of politics in recent decades.
Election campaigns in the country have become enormously expensive much more money is needed to contest and win elections at various levels.
All this in the absence of legal ways of mobilising such massive resources lead to corruption by many of those involved in politics within or without power.
Corruption in Administration : Corruption in the public administration sector is present in all societies in different degrees. The more developed and stable the society the less the scale of administrative corruption and vice versa. In less developed and developing countries such as Bangladesh, corruption in administration is strengthened and broadened by the impact of corruption and instability at the political level.
The adverse impacts of political ailment is manifested in lack of coherent policy for recruitment, posting, transfer, training and promotions in the public administration sector. As a result many in public administration fall prey to adhocism and uncertainty and resort to corruption to secure individual future. Transparency International Bangladesh revealed in most of their yearly reports that the greatest corruption was found among first class officers of the civil administration, public service, taxation and customs officials. Their combined corruption cost the country a loss of above 50 billion Taka a year. Inadequate pay and allowance in the public administration sector further stimulates corruption. During 1947-71 period, the emoluments of a secretary of the Government stood at taka 3,000 per month. This was equivalent to the price of approximately 2830 kgs. of rice. Today the emoluments for officials of the level of secretaries stand at very high amount. The need to give the public servants enough remuneration to lead a decent life in the present day social environment is urgent. Corruption in business and industry also flows from politico-administrative instability and uncertainity.
Present Political Situation : A lot of dramatic events took place in Bangladesh in 2006-2007. The climactic and of the drama came through the resignation of the honourable president lajuddin Ahmmad from the position of the chief adviser of the caretaker government. President lajuddin Ahmmad resigned on the night of January 11 in consideration of mounting demand from the political parties under grand alliance of 14 parties and declared state of emergency. The general election of January 22, 2007 has cancelled. com Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, has become the new head of the caretaker government. He has already brought on board ten other advisers. We feel that the new caretaker government faces quite a few daunting challenges.
The main task for the caretaker government is to create an environment for a free, fair, neutral and credible election. Fair elections are not sufficient for democracy, it is only a necessary condition for democratic system. Elections bring about qualitative change in the elected representatives. Qualitative changes in the leadership will obviously require the reform of political parties. Political parties are the engines of democracy. Without democratic, transparent and accountable political parties, fair and meaningful elections are not possible and democracy cannot become effective.
AL wants fair polls within a certain period and the BNP ask for handing over power to elected government as soon as possible.
Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed said, ‘Caretaker government is to hold a free, fair, peaceful and neutral election with participation of all parties in accordance with constitution and peoples aspiration’. We are eagerly waiting to see the caretaker government immediately take the necessary steps to rectify the voter list, overhaul the Election Commission and bring into force administrative changes to ensure a level playing field for all parties. People have welcomed the recent changes that took place in Bangladesh.
Challenge of Democracy: Democracy literally means rule by the people. The term is derived from the Greek ‘dea’, which was coined from ‘de’ meaning people and ‘kralos’ meaning rule. For all practical purposes, democracy is rule of representatives of people. Representation of people in a democracy is not morely confined to selection through a process of election from amongst the lot. But the real representation of people by those elected extends to their activities where they are to represent the people by reflecting their hopes and aspirations.
Unfortunately, our system fails to ensure that the elected representatives would represent people in their actions. Due to lack of accountability to the people, the government can get away behaving autocratic, fulfilling personal and partisan interest only at the cost of people’s interest through corrupt practices. So much so, that the elected government also try to manipulate the election process to become re-elected in a fraudulent way.