Mayor is the title used for the highest ranking officer in a municipal government. We have seen and heard of mayor(s) but in Hollywood movies.
Well the Dzongkha translation of the word ‘mayor’ is a ‘thrompon’ and of municipality is a ‘thromde’. It was decided during the last session of the parliament or a session before that, the towns of Thimphu, Phuntsholing, Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar would be classified into class ‘A’ thromdes and each thromde is to have its own thrompon or the mayor.
Thromde election comes under LG (local government) elections and ECB (election commission of Bhutan) has already conducted many tests around the country. However, judging by the qualification of the Thrompon hopefuls that test may not be necessary. The candidates confirmed so far for the post of Thimphu’s first ever Thrompon are an architect, an engineer, a private company’s proprietor etc.
Those planning to contest for the post of Mayor are already identifying the city’s problems and making promises to resolve them at the earliest. People’s requirement of their mayor is one person who understands the town planning, land and housing issues, government policies and infrastructure and hence explains why the candidates are retired architect, semi-retired engineer etc.
On the eve of Bhutan’s first municipal elections, high hopes are vested in the Thrompon-hopefuls, expectations are varied and high. A mayor is the executive head of the city and a very powerful post. There are many wanting to be the one; however, just high qualifications and occupying the post are not good enough. We need action, we need changes for better, we need him/her to make a difference and we need it soon.
Identifying city’s problems, making false promises or giving long speeches are not enough to make a difference. There’s need of resources (human resources and others) and budget, to actually implement those plans. Perhaps it’d be wrong to blame our town planners and our would-be Thrompon even because we have to consider budget constraint before anything.
Reports say Thimphu has the current population of about 108,000 and only 6,486 registered voters. Which means only 6,486 people will decide what’s best for the rest of the people residing in Thimphu. It’s not fair not every citizen gets to vote, however, not many seems to care. This is how the modern mentality is like; we are all selfish. As long as it doesn’t affect us individually, we do not care much.
So someone from Thimphu valley, someone whose census is registered under Thimphu Dzongkhag (for at least last one year), someone in whom people have their faith gets to become Thimphu’s first-ever Thrompon. So far, three candidates have come forward to contest. I do not know anyone of them personally to give my judgment, nor does it count, so ‘may the best man win’.