Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) spokesperson Sonam Tobgay talks to Business Bhutan reporter Lucky Wangmo in an exclusive one-to-one.
1. With 2018 elections approaching, what expectations does BKP have?
Answer: BKP expects not to score points, catch headlines or is keen on hollow sound bites. We instead commit to uphold the law fair and square, but laws alone are not enough therefore hearts and minds must change. We all have to try harder on the premise that each one of us love this country and values hard work. BKP is committed to instilling people’s trust and confidence in politics and politicians and thus democracy.
Democracy means debating on the best idea and BKP likes to offer an alternative choice to the Bhutanese people in the 2018 elections. BKP’s maxim “Beyond Five Years: Beyond Self” places people and the country first. In this spirit, it endeavors to create a broad based institution with members from across all 20 dzongkhags, among others. It is about long term national wellbeing and national integrity. It stands for the realization of a compassionate and democratic social order underpinned by values of Tha-Damtse Ley-Jumdey, integrity, justice, liberty and fraternity.
2. Currently the Party President is Dasho Neten Zangmo. What prospects do you see for your party because of the strong female leadership?
Answer: BKP is fortunate to have Dasho Neten Zangmo lead the party into the 2018 elections and would like to tell the Bhutanese people the following. Change only happens when ordinary people engage and get together to make it happen. We all have to engage in bold commitments, pursue our collective happiness and rights, and achieve a common good because BKP will embrace all and not just some.
As a leader Dasho Neten Zangmo has a vast pool of experience starting as a planner, educationist, diplomat, anti-corruption Chairperson and as a social worker. In addition to her qualities that need no elaboration, she is a natural writer and can articulate spontaneously which is a big strength. BKP is confident to win the 2018 elections with overwhelming forces out there, we only need to awaken our imaginations and initiate wisely.
3. How many candidates-confirmed and prospective do you have right now?
Answer: BKP is in a comfortable position regarding constituency candidates and will reveal them one by one at an appropriate time.
4. What are the main challenges that you foresee in the 2018 elections?
Answer: “Electoral success can become an obsession, to the extent that their loyalties lie first to themselves and their party instead of the country and people. Similarly, the fear of losing can drive people to compromise their moral rectitude. This is how democracy can be divisive and at its most dangerous when divided by ethnicity, religion, and region. When the elected leaders lose the respect and trust of the people, when they fail to set the right examples and uphold certain standards, corruption and bad practices spread. This greatly destabilizes the entire democratic process and eventually undermines the future of the nation. If there comes a time when you have to forgo personal comfort and self-interest, your own consciousness must guide you to take the right decision in the interest of the nation”. Leaders of all parties have to set the ethical standards and the tone and lead by example. People must discern wisely.
5. What are BKP’s unique strengths?
Answer: BKP appreciates each other’s perspectives and tries to forge synergies percolating down to societal harmony and overall goodness in society. We cannot afford to operate from an ivory tower and therefore the tone for future thinking is very important, otherwise it would be disturbing. We need to appreciate beyond our own domains and as they say, no one story is privileged over the other, its just that we have different stories. With this in mind, BKP endeavors working towards a smart nation in addition to being a happy country and high time we pull our innovation trigger impacting quality of life of all Bhutanese positively.
6. Dasho Neten Zangmo joining BKP is seen as a game changer in the political scenario. What do you have to say about it?
Answer: Dasho Neten Zangmo is a big asset and the nation will win if BKP wins in 2018 elections. BKP will go beyond face value but rather dive deep to understand the context better in terms of needs of all Bhutanese people timelessly.