12:00 AM, November 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 22, 2012

Local politics face external influence

BRAC University study blames weak democracy for this

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Staff Correspondent

The country is facing external influence due to weakness in its domestic politics and unconsolidated democracy, according to a Brac University report.
Crisis during power transition and political confrontation in many cases invite external forces to interfere in domestic affairs. As a result, political parties often compromise national interests to satisfy the forces and stay in power, said the report.
The Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) at Brac University yesterday unveiled the report “The State of Governance in Bangladesh, 2010-2011” at the Brac Centre Inn in the capital.
Although Bangladesh's dependency on foreign aid has been declining drastically and the country is making much economic and social progress, external stakeholders' influence on the country's policymaking process is significant, according to the report.
It said this influence generally originated from important stakeholders, such as development partners, key donor countries, non-profit organisations, multinational corporations and supranational institutions.
Presenting the summary of the report, IGS Research Coordinator M Shahidul Islam said democratic deficit caused by political bankruptcy and weak bargaining power forced the country to engage in lose-win games while dealing with external parties.
The report recommended reforming and institutionalisation of political parties, making parliament effective and building of national consensus for democratisation and good governance.
In response to the report, Akbar Ali Khan, former adviser to a caretaker government, said time had not come yet to bid good-bye to international donors.
He said interest of vested quarters was a major barrier to establishing good governance in Bangladesh.
“Because of politicisation in every sphere of administration, it has become difficult for the administration to work with skills and impartiality,” said Khan, also a professor of Brac Business School.
On corruption, he said the institutions burdened with little corruption can be changed through reform and training. But those which were hugely corrupted would have to be restructured or needed new officials at the top.
Akbar Ali Khan termed the Anti-Corruption Commission a hugely corrupted government body.
Another former adviser to caretaker government Hossain Zillur Rahman said people of low quality were getting appointed under political consideration which impeded the establishment of good governance in Bangladesh.
While monitoring good governance, members of civil society focused only on the success of documentation, rather than success in real terms, he said, giving an instance that the record of human rights violation was alarmingly high despite having the National Human Rights Commission.
Brac University Vice-Chancellor Prof Ainun Nishat, IGS Director Rizwan Khair, its institutional adviser Manzoor Hasan, among others, spoke at the function also attended by academicians, social workers and rights activists.

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