Mukti

On the edge of order and chaos

Posted in democracy, governance, politics by jrahman on January 27, 2014

It seems that every man, woman, child, their pets, even their Apple devices seem to have an opinion on what BNP should have done.  Well, I am not going to add to that volume.  I don’t presume to lecture politicians who have been practising their craft since before I was a twinkling in my parent’s eyes on what they should have done.  I can, however, revisit what I wrote exactly halfway through the Awami League’s last term, and make an educated guess about how things could unfold from here on.

… there are good reasons to expect an AL win in 2013 election.  What happens then?

… AL may well win the 2013 election, but its ability to hold on to power and govern successfully will depend on four key powerbrokers in Bangladesh: the bureaucracy, the army, foreign powers, and the business sector.

That’s what I wrote in July 2011.  To be sure, I got a lot of things wrong.  Follow through the links and you’ll find that I was fearing that a fragmented BNP would hand Awami League a narrow victory in a flawed election.  The reality is that while BNP was more united than at any time in its history — not a single member of any standing left the party to join the 5 January election — and might have won any semi-decent election in a landslide, Mrs Wajed decided to hold an election that surpassed the 1996 or 1988 farces to rival the 1971 ‘by elections’ held under Lt Gen Niazi.

(more…)

Tagged with:

No foreigners needed

Posted in democracy, politics by mehomaan on January 26, 2014

(Guest post by Tacit.  A version posted at Rumi Ahmed’s blog.)

BNP has made a mistake! BNP has missed the election train! Khaleda Zia must repent now! I keep hearing versions of this argument from various quarters, including individuals in whom I have a great deal of faith and whose judgment I usually regard as sound.

 

What would have happened had BNP participated, and hypothetically, won the election? Would Sheikh Hasina have handed over power to Khaleda Zia and meekly left Ganabhaban?

 

I can tell you that Sheikh Hasina will not hand over power. It can only happen over our dead bodies. —  Was Mr Wazed speaking only in the context of coups, or was it a general statement, encompassing all foreseeable future possibilities?

 

 

(more…)

Comments Off on No foreigners needed

Flying with broken wings

Posted in army, books, democracy, elections, politics by jrahman on January 16, 2014

A magical realist masterpiece, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children has weird and improbable events and people juxtaposed against the history of the 20th century South Asia up to the late 1970s. One such improbable fact was that at the time of writing, and thus the story’s culmination, military rulers of the erstwhile two wings of Pakistan had the same first name.

This is not the only parallel between the political history of Bangladesh and post-1971 Pakistan.

Both successor states of United Pakistan started with larger-than-life charismatic leaders, whose rules ended in tragic denouement inconceivable in 1972.  Both giants found governance to be much harder than populist rhetoric, both resorted to un-democracy, and both ended up meeting cruel ends at the hand of their trusted guards.  Both countries succumbed to dictatorships in the 1980s, although the extent and mechanism varied.  In both countries democratic opposition developed.  In both countries, some form of democratic politics came into practice by the 1990s.

(more…)

Choosing Politics, Choosing Democracy

Posted in democracy, politics by mehomaan on January 8, 2014

(Guest post by Tacit, a previous version posted at Rumi Ahmed’s).

In the days of yore, when men were men, and giants strode the earth, there used to be a website. It was called unheardvoice. It was, for a while, very good. Then it stopped being as good. Then it disappeared. So it was with great interest that I recently read a newspaper column by Asif Saleh, one of the founders of unhearvoice.

(more…)

Tagged with: