Eminent economist Professor Wahid Uddin Mahmud said when accountability is not ensured, the institutional structure of the democratic system is weakened, as ensuring accountability at all levels of the governance framework is a must for the governance system.
"And as a civil society organisation, Shushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) is playing a significant role in strengthening the democratic system of the country with its pro-people activities," he said while inaugurating "The 8th National Conference of Shushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan)" at the Institute of Diploma Engineers on Saturday.
Former caretaker government advisor Akbar Ali Khan and former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda were the special guests at the event, with Shujon's vice president Hamida Hossain in the chair, said a press release.
Akbar Ali Khan said Bangladesh's democracy is now going through various challenges. Firstly, the government is formed based on a majority of the votes although many countries in the world adopted a proportional majority. Secondly, Bangladesh has one legislative house system. If there are two separate assemblies (bicameral parliament), dissent is reflected in the parliament. Thirdly, state power is in the hands of the prime minister. Fourthly, the premier is also the party chief and she has to uphold the party's interests. For this, citizens are facing many problems.
"Absence of a fair election is one of those key challenges for Bangladesh's democracy. The Election Commission is not able to hold a fair election. They cannot dare to do it," he added.
ATM Shamsul Huda said, "Good governance is a key pillar of democracy. If good governance deteriorates in the country, where will democracy be? So, everyone has to work to maintain good governance. Large-scale corruption is prevalent in the country. For this, an organisation like Shujan has to work for the people.
Shujan Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar said although we achieved independence twice, unfortunately, we have not yet been able to develop a sense of citizenship. There is just one relationship-- clients (citizens) vs patrons (political leaders). Shujan was established to develop a sense of citizenship among the people of Bangladesh.
"Shujan has been monitoring various activities of the state as a civil society organisation. Sujan has several important achievements, one of which is that it has been instrumental in formulating the provision of eight pieces of information to the contesting candidates," Sujan's executive member Justice Abdul Matin said.
Shujan's Deputy Secretary Md Zakir Hossain, Treasurer Md Syed Abu Naser Bakktiar Ahmed, Tofail Ahmed, Md Ali Imam Majumder, professor Robayet Ferdous and Professor Mohammad Sikander Khan also spoke at the meeting.