The fake degrees scandal seems to have an extraordinary ability to drag on far longer than the nation can bear. It appears that although government intimidation of the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) chairman and his family seems to have stopped, the Election Commission (EC) and the ministry of education both seem to have jumped into the fray. The EC is saying that it will give all those legislators whose degrees have been declared fake a “chance” to explain their position. While the principle behind this may be fine, the timing of the EC’s sudden realisation of its duties seems a bit worrisome. An EC official has also been quoted as saying that the Commission doesn’t need to be instructed on how to carry out its job — which is all well but the question is that had it done this before the 2008 elections, this whole fiasco wouldn’t be happening now.
The timing would make even the most ardent supporter of the EC and its effectiveness think that perhaps something is amiss. Add to this the education ministry’s reported missive to the HEC about some seemingly trivial matter and asking it to re-send the report containing the names of all those legislators whose degrees have been deemed not genuine. It wasn’t for nothing that Abraham Lincoln said that governments can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. The government should not take the electorate for fools. To say that ordinary voters have other issues more important than this is to miss the point entirely: that anyone with even an iota of common sense and understanding would know when the people they sent to parliament are wilfully violating the law and the trust reposed in them by the electorate.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2010.