Rakib made CEC | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 09, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 09, 2012

Rakib made CEC

Four election commissioners also appointed; oath today


Kazi Rakib Uddin

President Zillur Rahman yesterday formed a new five-member Election Commission with Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, a former secretary, as the chief election commissioner amid political tension in the country.
The four other new election commissioners are Mohammad Abu Hafiz, a former additional secretary; Mohammad Abdul Mobarrak, a former joint secretary; Brig Gen (retd) Mohammad Zabed Ali; and Mohammad Shahnewaz, a former district and sessions judge.
The new Election Commission (EC) will have a five-year tenure, and will hold the next parliamentary election scheduled for early 2014.
The Cabinet Division issued a gazette notification to that effect.
Main opposition BNP rejected the new EC saying the party will not take part in the next election under the new commission as "it was formed illegally". But ruling Awami League (AL) welcomed it terming the appointments as a milestone for democracy.
Members of the civil society appreciated the appointments saying the new chief election commissioner (CEC) is very competent, free from political influence, and has the ability to work independently.
The swearing in ceremony will take place at 4:30pm today in the office of the chief justice. Sources said the new EC might start working in a day or two.
The Daily Star talked to Rakibuddin Ahmad yesterday. Asked about his reaction, he said he neither got the gazette notification about his appointment nor did he take the oath yet. "Once I take the oath, I will talk to the media," he said.
The president formed the new Election Commission a day after the Search Committee, formed to recommend persons for the appointments, proposed ten names to him.
The committee recommended former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, and Rakibuddin Ahmad for the post of the CEC, after the tenure of ex-CEC ATM Shamsul Huda had expired on February 6. Former election commissioner Sohul Hussain's tenure also expired on the same day.
The tenure of the other Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain of the former three-member Election Commission will expire on February 14.
The Search Committee proposed eight names for the posts of four new election commissioners.
Following his dialogue with political parties on formation of the new Election Commission, the president on January 22 constituted the Search Committee.
Ruling AL and five other parties recommended names to the committee. But main opposition BNP, AL's key ally Jatiya Party, and 16 other parties did not send any name.
Rejecting the four-member Search Committee, BNP demanded restoration of the caretaker government system first.
Supreme Court Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain was made the chief of the Search Committee. The three other members of the committee were High Court Justice Mohammad Nuruzzaman, Public Service Commission Chairman ATM Ahmedul Haque Chowdhury, and Comptroller and Auditor General Ahmed Ataul Hakeem.
BACKGROUND OF THE NEW CEC
A veteran freedom fighter, Rakibuddin Ahmad, was born in Andulbaria Village under Jibon Nagar upazila of Chuadanga on December 2, 1943. He studied Chemistry at Dhaka University and secured first class second position in the MSc examination.
In 1966 he joined the chemistry department of Dhaka University as a lecturer. The next year he quit teaching and joined the then Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) as an officer. He later went to the US for higher studies. He got his MBA from Boston University, and received professional training at Harvard University.
He was a zonal coordinating officer of the freedom fighters who took shelter in Agartala, India, during the 1971 Liberation War.
After the war, he served as the deputy commissioner of Comilla, and later became the director general of the NGO Affairs Bureau, chairman of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, and also the chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation.
He retired from the civil service as the parliament secretary during the last BNP-Jamaat coalition government in 2003.
When February 21 was declared International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999 he was then the education secretary. He, on behalf of the then AL government, negotiated with Unesco on the matter, Kazi Rukunuddin Ahmed, elder brother of the new CEC, and the acting editor of Bangla daily Jaijaidin told The Daily Star last night.
Rakibuddin also served as the primary and mass education secretary and as the information secretary during the last AL government. He has two daughters -- one is studying for a PhD at Harvard and the other is studying for an MBA at the Independent University of Bangladesh.

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