Sunday, August 11, 2013

Food for Thought (Weekly)

After the election, anxiety in Cambodia appears to be on the rise as both, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the Cambodian People Party (CPP), which won most of the votes begin to talk tough at each other.  One could only hope that the rhetorics will not be turned into actions, for once one party acts, the other will react.  And who knows, what could happen when the ball starts rolling.  The worst scenario is that supporters of the CNRP stages a protest to demand proper resolution to alleged election fraud/irregularity and the CPP which controls the government and security forces would use many anti-freedom laws it created over the past several years as pretext to crack down on the demonstrators.  If this scenario were to happen, we could certainly expect to see bloodshed, and, if both sides are determine to win at any cost, then Cambodia will expect to see another tragedy.

As Cambodian citizens, we could only hope that our politicians are wise enough by now to foresee what the costs to the nation and the people if they let their ambition to attain power overrules their rationale.  Nowadays, one could not expect people to behave the way they used to.  Nor could anyone, especially ruler, expect to see people respect the authority when they felt their will has been trampled upon.  There are countless examples in recent memory to ignore this fact. The revolutions in Yugoslavia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya were all too real to not take notice.  Given the fact that all of these countries were ruled by dictators with well groomed security forces to smash virtually just about any form of uprising, it is absolutely unbelievable to see them failed at their own game, that is the use of violence.

Regarding the popular uprising that brought down the dictators who used to rule Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, once said that he would "close the doors and beat the dogs" meaning that he would crack down hard on any group of people who dare to challenge his authority.  Well, at this point in time of Cambodian history, Mr. Hun Sen might need to reconsider his idea of "closing the doors and beat the dogs" as it might not be wise to try to beat the angry dogs, many of which might be crazy.  Certainly, neither the dogs nor the dogs beater would win.  No matter what the final outcomes would be, there will be death tolls to count and wound to heal.  Enough talk about this yet to happen scenario, let's look at some possible, peaceful scenarios which could bring about a win-win outcomes for all Cambodians.

For the CPP which is an incumbent ruler in Cambodia, the election result, albeit it is acceptable, indicated that the people have disapproved of what it has done over the last mandate of governance.  Clearly, the significant decrease of representative seats in the National Assembly is a direct result of this disapproval.  If the election result were to be taken as an indication, it is certain that people wanted to change, or at least to reform, the way the country is governed.  In a democratic political process, people speak with their votes, not their voices.  Hence, they want the change or reform to be peaceful, smooth, and tranquil.  Can our politicians deliver this desire?  Only time will tell.
One way to solve a crisis peacefully, smoothly, and tranquilly is through COMPROMISE. What this means is that both the CPP and CNRP must give up something in order to meet each other's demands on one hand, and to meet what the people who votes for them wanted on the other. It is safe to say that what the majority of people wanted is change or reform to the way the country is managed. But how would two antagonistically opposing forces go about to reach a compromise? The best answer is: Put the nation's and people's interests above anything else.
As a modest prosposal, a power sharing in the form of government administration would be the least painful route to settle a possible political impass. However, this power-sahring formula should not be like the one conceived by the UN/UNTAC in 1993. We all know by now that it was a recipe for administrative incompetence. Once, it is acceptable to all parties as to which party won the majority of the National Assembly's seats, that party shall have the right to form a government whose ministerial, provincial, and district portfolios are divided proportionally among the parties that won parliamentary seats. Each ministry, province, or district should be assigned and be the sole domain of one party or another. This way, people could see and determine who or which party is responsible for improvement or lack there of, in each level of government. It would also provide a competetive admosphere among those who are in charge of government administration. As a result, all politicians and political parties would be more receptive to what the people wanted. Also, as a mechanism for discipline or dealing with administrative misconduct, all parties involved should form and assign a committee to oversee, evaluate and determine the removal, relocation, or promotion of individuals within the ranks and files of this power-sharing administration.
With all these possible scenarios in mind, let us hope for the best.

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