Commentary: No constitutional change can make a man a woman or a woman a man


– Mainul Hosein :

Responding to a query the Chief Election Commissioner assured the European Union that he was getting all the cooperation from the government to make the upcoming parliamentary election free and fair.

Now the CEC has to ask the government for the right kind of cooperation.

It was at the insistence of Awami League, then in the opposition, the BNP government and the other parties in the parliament adopted the constitutional change to have an impartial caretaker government during the election time as essential for free and fair election.

But when Awami League came to power it amended the Constitution in a hurry to discard the election-time caretaker government to have the election under the sitting government meaning the Awami League government.

The amendment is so ridiculous that we refrain from giving the details.

What is important to note is that the same Awami League which found it imperative to have an impartial caretaker government for ensuring free and fair the election now changed the Constitution to hold the election under the sitting government.

Since then Awami League won all the elections as there was no need to have the election-time caretaker government.

The CEC did not raise with the government the issue of contradiction in the government’s own position.

The Chief Election Commissioner should have explained that under a partisan government in power how it could assure the voters that the upcoming election would be free.

The CEC must have known that nowhere under the parliamentary system the election is held under an elected government.

A political leader of the kind we have can easily fail to understand the difference between an elected government and a government selected by the president.

The CEC did not care to know about the foolproof election rigging mechanism the government has devised to win the election every time without caring how the people vote.

Under this mechanism the election is rigged by the government officials and supervised by the prime minister away from the hustle and bustle of the election process conducted by the Election Commission.

These election rigging government officials have no connection with the Election Commission and they work out of sight.

That is the reason why it is so important for the sitting government to continue in power as part of the grand scheme of election fraud.

We can make an educated guess about election rigging blueprint of the government, but the Election Commission is in a position to verify whether such a big election rigging scheme involving the government officials is, in fact, working or not.

He cannot be evasive about the serious blueprint of election rigging by the government.

The opposition politicians should come out openly.

They were offered seats before the election in the past two parliamentary elections in which the government decided which party would get how many seats in the parliament depending on the result of negotiation.

In addition, cash was distributed generously for making it clear that election time is the best time for the money-making business of politics.

The Election Commission has to satisfy itself that impartial conditions exist for a free and fair election.


It is good to know that the Chief Election Commissioner is getting all the help from the government, but for doing what?

It cannot be that he is not aware of the steps the government took to eliminate the election-time caretaker government which was the demand of Awami League.

To put it more clearly, Awami League considered that without an election-time caretaker government there could not be free and fair election.

But now Awami League contradicts itself by claiming that the election-time caretaker government is not needed for the election to be free and fair.

No constitutional change can alter facts necessary for holding a free and fair election.

The well connected conspiracy to destroy democracy in Bangladesh existed since its inception so that there could be a puppet government without needing the support of our people.

It is said about the all-powerful British parliament that it cannot make a man a woman or a woman a man.

The same way no court or the Chief Election Commissioner can declare an unfair election to be a free and fair election.

Though it cannot be denied that the system of secret killing and forced disappearance made us all cowards and slavish only to survive another day in the hope that change has to come.

We have to say that international help took so long a time to come.

The right to life is protected by our Constitution also but violated secretly despite protests by the UN and Amnesty International.

The right of the people to have a government of their own choosing is a fundamental human right to be protected nationally and internationally.

The US government has made it clear that visa sanction policy is only in respect of Bangladesh conditional on holding free and fair election.

So, if we succeed in ensuring free and fair election the visa sanction will automatically cease to be effective.

This position was clarified by Mr Matthew Miller, the spokesperson of the US State Department who said that visa sanction policy is only “to ensure free, fair and peaceful national election”.

We feel especially let down by India because, for all our close relationship with the largest democracy of the world, it failed to help our people build democracy.

It is not unknown to India how our people struggled and gave blood to build democracy.

Bangladesh has become a graveyard for democracy being denied independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

We must have full cooperation of India to have the upcoming election free and fair.

The need of caretaker government for holding free and fair election was mainly the demand of Awami League when it was in the opposition.

The right to vote is people’s right, it is not support for any political party.