Freedom for democracy and development18 December 2022
Majhar Mannan :
Democracy serves as the lifeblood for the overall development of a country. There is no universal definition of democracy since it varies from place to place. Democracy, however, is seen as a political system where the people elect their representatives through a fair election. The three aspects of systemic democracy are considered unique. They are: 1.Universal suffrage 2. Competitive and participatory election, 3. Respect for freedom of speech and civil rights. The type of democracy is not the same in all countries and the characteristics of democracy vary from state to state. So various adjectives are added before the word democracy. They are:1. Semi-democracy 2. Virtual democracy 3. Electoral democracy 4. Pseudo democracy 5. Liberal democracy 6. Hybrid democracy. But the features of true democracy are good governance, political accountability, bureaucratic integrity, people's empowerment, respect for human rights, free flow of information, independent judiciary, freedom of the press and fair election system.
Today Bangladesh is considered as a role model of development. Bangladesh is moving forward with many positive changes and will be included in the list of developed countries within few years. But to accelerate this positive change, it is necessary to eradicate corruption and control electoral violence. Political competition is essential in a democracy and this contest needs to be constitutional, peaceful and non-violent. If democracy moves forward in a constitutional manner, it will bring a lot of good for the country. The constitution is the supreme law of a country. According to the constitution of Bangladesh, Bangladesh is a democratic state and the people are the source of all power here. Free and fair election system, control of corruption, good governance, strong civil society, and independent judiciary, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are considered pre-requisite features for true democracy.
Development does not mean just infrastructural development. In addition to infrastructural development, it refers to more other development such as development of culture, development of human rights, development of corruption- free administration and politics, development of fair and peaceful electoral system, development of transparency and accountability. Democracy is an ongoing process that never comes to fruition overnight. The democratic system of a country has to go through various adversities. The age of democracy in Bangladesh is only 30 years. We may not get what we were supposed to get in these 30 years, but we cannot say for sure that we won't get it in the future. There seems to be no lack of interest from the top echelons of government for the transition to real democracy. Overall development is closely linked to the development of human rights and the reduction of inequality, so civil rights and good governance must be ensured. Bangladesh needs to pay more attention to free trade and more focus on tax collection and foreign investment. Bangladesh needs to pay attention on other issues such as the implementation of the Eighth Five Year Plan, the Climate Action Plan and the implementation of the SDG Agenda announced by the United Nations.
Everyone dreams that a beautiful democracy will be established in Bangladesh in the coming days. However, recent election violence has somewhat overshadowed the image of the journey of true democracy. Bangladesh is moving fast in the face of various political challenges and natural disasters in the global economy. It is guessed that in the next three decades, Bangladesh will be ahead of Malaysia in terms of GDP and PPP. By 2030, Bangladesh will become a fast growing economy. Bangladesh is ranked among the 32 largest economies in the world which is a great achievement. Bangladesh's role in women's empowerment and education is exemplary. Even a decade ago, per capita income was below 1000 US dollars, not it has exceeded 2000 US dollars. Bangladesh has been inducted as a developing country from a least developed country due to meeting certain criteria of United Nations. However, from 1975 to 1991, Bangladesh was under authoritarian role and the democratic process has been blocked by various amendments of the constitution. As citizens of Bangladesh, we desire development and democracy simultaneously. If democracy and development can move forward in parallel then Bangladesh will be a great example a developed democratic state in the world. In order to give the gift of real development, democratic leadership, accountability, transparency, good governance and reflection of public aspirations are undeniable.
(The writer is a poet and columnist).