Nobel Laureat creating his own political party in Bangladesh

 By Amin George Forji


Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus, who won the prestigous award for his “banker to the poor”, is now making new headlines following his announcement on Sunday that he is forming his own political party that would ”build a new Bangladesh,” after the next general elections.

“I seek your support to form a political party. Please write letters or call me to give your opinion. I seek your support and advice. I am waiting for your response,…If they say: go ahead, I will join politics… form a party. I am ready to take this risk. My politics will be to build a new country… set a new current in politics,” Yunus announced at a news conference in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

Yunus said he and his new party would not ally with any corrupt and grafty politicians.

“My main goal will be to re-establish political goodwill, qualified leadership and good governance.” He continued.

“I don’t have anything more to achieve. I know entering politics means making oneself controversial. I am ready to take that risk if people think my participation will help to open a new political horizon,” He added.

Bangladesh is presently run by an unelected army-backed interim administration, which has imposed a nationwide state of emergency, and tighten it’s grip to power by detaining more than 60 key figures from the leading political parties ahead of the forthcoming elections, whose date is yet to be announced.

The interim government which is led chief Fakhruddin Ahmed-a Central bank governor has promised to detain all politicians guilty graft before the elections can take place, with the outgoing Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the opposition Awami League being the main targets. The arrests so far have however been accused of being preferential and based on a political agenda to restrain only certain persons from running office during the electons. The administration is accused of turning a complete blind eye on some of the most corrupt officials.

The admnistraton has nevertheless been credited for embarking on a number of sound reforms such as introducing voter’s identity cards, re-organising the electoral commission and the depoliticisation of the civil service ahead of the elections.

The ballot that was initially set for Jan. 22, was postponed to an indefinite date after the country sunk into new wave of violence, that left atleast 48 people dead, and several hundreds others seriously injured.The army-backed interim administration responded by imposing a nationwide state of emergency.

The election, originally set for January 22, was postponed and a state of emergency was declared last month in the wake of countrywide violence between rival political parties, in which 45 people were killed and hundreds injured.

Yunus anouncement to form a new political party has taking many by surprise, as he has long refrain from playing active politics, despite several calls. He and his Grameen Bank won the nobel prize award for dishing out small but very symbolic loans to the vulnerable and desperately poor in Bangladesh, lifting millions out of abject poverty as a consequence.

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