The political aspirations of Dr Yunus

The other day I was going through an article by Mohiuddin Ahmed on 1/11 in the Prothom Alo Eid Special, and I found it quite intriguing. In the article, Ahmed claimed that Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus had turned down the army’s offer to become the chief of the caretaker government. He claimed then army chief General Moeen Uddin presented the offer through DGFI officer Brig General Chowdhury Fazlul Bari and that Yunus’s was not opposed to the idea, but did not accept because the tenure of the caretaker government would span only two years.Professor Yunus left no stone unturned to refute the writer’s claim. In his statement, he provided a detailed description of the proposal of the army chief and his reaction to it, claiming that he never asked the army chief about the tenure of the government. Rather, he claimed to have refused to become the chief of the caretaker government, despite requests from a number of army officers, including the then army chief. However, Mohiuddin Ahmed stands by his article based on the interview with the then army chief Gen Mooen Uddin Ahmed. But Dr Yunus keeps denying it. It seems that ‘something is rotten in the State of Denmark’.

In reality, Prof Yunus did make a few moves that corroborate his strong political ambition. Let me refresh your memory by referring to an open letter issued by Prof Yunus on February 11, 2007. Through this letter, he sought the support of the countrymen to launch a political party to reform the politics of Bangladesh, which, in his view, had been gobbled up violence and corruption. The solution he proposed was a political party he was set to form that would focus on good governance. Doesn’t it substantiate his political ambitions?

Even the information leaked by Wikileaks confirms his burning desire to set foot on the political landscape. On Feb 13, 2007 Wikileaks published an article titled “Nobel Prize Winner Dr Muhammad Yunus Considers Entering Bangladesh Politics”. They clearly mentioned that Dr Yunus had detailed discussion with Indian officials on Feb 12, 2007, during a two-day visit to Kolkata on his plan to make a debut in Bangladesh politics. Expressing his political interest, Dr Yunus stated that he was reviewing his options. He also advocated in favour of the then caretaker government and their decision to declare a “State of Emergency” on the grounds that it had rescued the country from a possible civil war.

That Dr Yunus was keen to join politics was also reflected in a write-up that appeared in Kolkata’s ‘Telegraph’. In reference to a Pranab Mukerjee’s book, the author illustrated Hillary Clinton’s urge to India to back the plan to undo Hasina and settle Yunus in power in Bangladesh. Hillary Clinton and her successor as US secretary of state, John Kerry, reportedly opined that social entrepreneur and micro-credit pioneer Muhammad Yunus could improve Bangladesh’s political arena by ridding Bangladesh’s politics of corrupt politicians. That is why they extended their support to Yunus, who had been aspiring to join politics since 2006. The writer also mentioned that many world leaders, including Mary Robinson, the former Irish president and later UN high commissioner for human rights, openly swore their allegiance to Yunus as the man capable to “rescue” Bangladesh from the likes of Hasina and her political rival, Khaleda Zia.

A news report published by CBS News also claimed that Dr Yunus met Clinton thrice and talk to her over the phone. It was during that period Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to step down from the bank’s board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him. Previously he had ordered the American affiliates of his nonprofit Grameen Bank that had been working with the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative programs as early as 2005, to donate between $100,000 and $ 250,000 to the foundation.

Another Grameen wing chaired by Dr Yunus, Grameen Research, donated between $25,000 and $50,000 to Clinton’s foundation. These donations might be well linked with Hilary’s support to empower him as a political leader in Bangladesh. We all know that Dr Yunus is a family friend of President Clinton and Dr Yunus’ inclination towards joining the country’s political process had raised questions. His support to the then army-backed caretaker government which was poised to depoliticise the country’s power is utterly unacceptable. It is his hidden political ambition and its pursuit through controversial means that called his image into question. Bangladesh’s phenomenal economic development in the last one decade belies the much-hyped Western thesis that only the likes of Yunus can be our saviour and that others cannot.

Sufi Faruq is a politician and entrepreneur.
Source: Bdnews24.

One Response to The political aspirations of Dr Yunus

  1. Why Dr. Yunus?
    • Dr. Yunus like any other citizen cannot be deprived of a right to vote as well a right to stand in a test of public support for any political position. He nowhere lacks in any brilliance from birth as he was born in a family with well recognized leadership in society bearing names of roads in the name of his grandfather ‘Nazu Meah Saudagar’ and his father ‘Dula Meah Saudagar’. At a time when, except in public sector scarcely any entrepreneur dared to set up a packaging industry his family took a leading role. Being from same M.E School I remember him standing first in the range in M.E Scholarship exam. From then on to college he showed his capability in stage performance (in dramatics and recitation) and writing and at the same time his academic career also kept glowing. Before he matriculated he participated in Scout jamboree in two foreign countries. It is no wonder that he would do something of lasting interest to the world community by formulating ‘Grameen Bank’- A bank for the poor with ownership to 70/80 lacs people. His ‘Social Business’ is equally appreciated by world community. Long before he Got the ‘Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, he got the Asian Nobel ‘Ramon Magsaysay Award (1984). He also got Independence Day Award (1987) , Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1989), World Food Prize (1994), Pfeffer Peace Prize (1994), Gandhi Peace Prize (2000),Volvo Environment Prize (2003), then Nobel Prize in 2006, followed by Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009) and Congressional Gold Medal (2010). Prizes, awards and doctorates continue to flow to him as yet. There are about 28 ;Nobel Laureates who had been head of a state, because they were competent and their people liked them in power ‘ whether or not they were there from being in politics or not’. If he tried to open a political party ‘Nagtarik Oikkya’, he did nothing wrong, however his denial might have a concern about his international image as he didn’t want to be lost in a dirty political game with which most people remain disillusioned. He has survived to stand against revenge of vicious politicians to contribute to the world community with his talent and international image acquired. Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t go only by merit, it needs lobbying additionally. If he didn’t do it, Bangladesh would not have got any Nobel Peace Prize. We want more people get the prize from Bangladesh and more so if any politician deserves it for good works plus lobbying additionally. What is special about him 1. His Grameen Bank supplied liquidity and self employment to nearly 100 million women as a tangible effect of which their husbands also sharing food assurance and employment in agriculture. Their children are affording health and education. He enriched the agriculture through HYV seed supply, Grameen livestock enterprises, Grameen fisheries Etc Many other enterprises originating from his initiative remain as top ranking organization such as ‘Grameen Phone’, Grameen Shakti, Grameen Cybernet etc. He is in advisory position in many United Nations and international organization and Institutions. Recently the retired Chief Justice of India expressed in a press interview that the politicians in India have destroyed all the institutions beyond repair and for reconstruction. It will require complete change through revolution. We however stand in such a situation that thinking for a change is unthinkable.

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