Published:  12:54 AM, 26 November 2017

Nepotism is a deadly disease for rulers

Nepotism is a deadly disease for rulers  Indira Gandhi Khaleda Zia Robert Mugabe

Just before the emergency was imposed in India, in 1975, by the than Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, her younger son Sanjay Gandhi allegedly slapped her six times in a private dinner party in Delhi. This striking news was not published immediately. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lewis M Simon was the witness, who had been working as The Washington Post correspondent in Delhi. Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi took no action against the scion. Being a stateswoman, Indira had to take drastic action against him, but failed due to her blind affinity.  

After some months, when the emergency imposed, Sanjay Gandhi began sterilizing the poor men across India. 6.2 million Indians were forcibly sterilized in a year. Sanjay Gandhi had lot of influence over Indira's policy, especially during the mid 70's and during emergency. He used his political position in Maruti Project, in which he exploited the system, grabbed lands and appointed his own man as managing director. 

India saw much misconduct committed without saying a word against. It had been a question to the Congress politicians why she turned so blind to her son for help in making major political decisions. During that time Indira Gandhi had lost her iconic image across the country and Indian people started to think otherwise. So it can be said that the Congress party lost its long-standing ground by a blind affection of a mother, who had heavy responsibility to a nation like India.

Mahinda Rajapakse was the sixth president of Sri Lanka. He served the country for two terms from 2005 to 2015. No doubt he has been a popular leader in the country for many years. Why his party conceded defeat and became the opposition in parliament?

The International Crisis Group once said that something in the order of 75 per cent of the Sri Lankan government was controlled by the President, his brothers, sons, daughters and cousins.  His son Namal Rajapakse had been extra-ordinarily powerful. Rabert Mugabe, the recent past President of Zimbabwe, has been ousted after he appeared to be moving to secure his wife's position in his party and power. His second wife, Grace Mugabe, came to the political forefront after her marriage with Mugabe.

The popularity of the populist Zimbabwean leader started to lessen as Grace was empowered. Many Zimbabweans still remain grateful to Mugabe for his dedication in liberating the country from colonial rule. However, they did not accept Grace Mugabe with same passion. It was not understood by the Ruler Mugabe who had been in power for last 37 years. Mugabe wanted to die in harness. 93-year-old Mugabe loved his second wife Grace, who happened to be 41 years younger than him. So it can be said that this love restrained him fulfilling his desire.

In our country, we have experienced the same fate. Begum Khaleda Zia's love her eldest son Tarek Rahman damaged her image she achieved. Her political office named Hawa Bhaban became a center of corruption, irregularities and misuse of power. The Bhaban also turned into a de-facto head office for promoting and transferring government officials. Tarek's corruption has been well known nationally and internationally.   

There is a strong perception across the country that he was the man behind the grenade attacks on 21 August 2004. He was assisted by the than State minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, prime minister's political secretary Harris Chowdhury, a fugitive killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a top Jamaat leader, two HUJI founders and one leader of Al Markazul Islami found no reason to disagree. In the presence of top Hawa Bhaban boss Tarek Rahman, they chose to kill Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader.

The Criminal Investigation Department has quizzed Babar and other affiliates to dig more into their alleged role and identify people beyond him in manipulating the administration to stage the horrendous attack on Bangabandhu Avenue that missed its prime target Sheikh Hasina, but left 23 dead including woman leader Ivy Rahman, wife of late president Zillur Rahman and over 300 injured for life.

However, investigators are not sure as well as the people of Bangladesh whether conspiracy was designed with or without the knowledge of the then prime minister Khaleda Zia. But the investigators and the people of Bangladesh as well know that the beloved boy of Khaleda Zia was behind the plot. Khaleda Zia never tried to dissuade him from the crimes that her son had been involved in.

So, nepotism is a disease almost unavoidable to a person who does not have a strong sense of morality. A leader should not behave like an ordinary person. If someone behaves so, definitely he or she does not have the quality of leadership. Unfortunately we fall in the grip of this kind of leadership knowingly or forcibly.

The writer is Executive Editor of The Asian Age. Email: 

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