Friday, August 14, 2009

Quicknote: A glimmer of hope...

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may be sitting at a mental cross-roads today. Likely, she is torn between two desires. The first is the desire for continued power and personal glory. The second is the desire to ensure the continued development of Bangladesh and the political party. The two are not necessarily intertwined.

Approaching her 62nd birthday and the recent passing of her husband, may he rest peacefully, may have caused her to think a bit more about the future of the Awami League without her. Any venerable leader knows when to start passing the reins of power, even if it is a slow transition.

Ten days ago, Bangla Nation discussed the Awami League's and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's sidelining of their "reformists" (see...).

Now it seems, that Sheikh Hasina is now thinking about assigning some function to the advisory council to which she banished the "reformists." The New Nation has noted that she wants to better utilize the experience and expertise of senior leadership in the interests of the country and the party. Such a turn is not unwelcome.

Sheikh Hasina will remain the President for the foreseeable future, but it is wise to engage the "reformists." For the most obvious reason, they must be engaged to keep them loyal, as the New Nation notes they are busy in their constituencies, no doubt entrenching themselves, possibly independently of the Awami League apparatus. The other reason is to engage them in a meaningful way is to incorporate their ideas and views - to progress the party and, if they continue to hold the people's trust, the country.

One wonders what Khaleda Zia, BNP Chairperson, will make of this. Her party conference will probably be held in the November-December time frame. Just far enough away to watch and judge the success of the Awami League's experiment.

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