Determining boss of geog
Thimphu, April 15, 2009: The debate is currently in table, who will hold the authority of decision at geog level – is it the gup or the geog administrative officer (GAO)? About 205 gups from around the country have converged in the capital to discuss and resolve the issue, determine the boss of the geog.
Gup is traditionally an elected representative while the GAO is a bureaucrat appointed by the government. Since GAO is a new practice in the country, sharing responsibilities has become difficult.
In democratic countries, final decision lay on people’s representatives while bureaucratic staffs carry out only the administrative works as decided by the elected body. Gups have demanded, they should be the boss, and the demand seems logical.
GAO has an important role to play where people elect uneducated gups, being the country dominated by landlords and uneducated people. The government appointed college graduates as GAO in 2007 to plan, manage and monitor local development programs.
The dispute came up after the planning hemler GHN Commission designated GAOs as Chief Executive Officer at gewog level despite the provision in Gewog Yargye Tshogchung (GYT) Act empowering gups with executive powers.
On the other hand, government wants gups to be chiefs. Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley, addressing the meeting, said gups are elected by the people and they’re most suitable to be the CEOs. The tussle is certain to remain at bemusement until the national assembly passes the Local Governments bill.