The Complementarity of Politics and Administration in Developing Countries: A Theoretical Paradox?

Abstract: 
Determining the role of bureaucracy in a democracy has always remained a key concern in the public administration literature. Discussions on this particular concept has highlighted two important issues. First, it specifically points out that in a democratic political system, the public administrators are in effect, “unelected officials”, and they are bestowed with responsibilities which deeply affect the citizens’ lives. Second, it acknowledges the fact that the bureaucrats can never be only “passive instrument” of the elected officials and they do have the ability to exercise certain discretion in carrying out their duties. Thus, the bureaucratic responsibility in a democracy largely depends on the existing politics-administration relationship. The scholars of public administration, starting from Woodrow Wilson, have taken numerous efforts to define this relationship. Initially, a politics-administration dichotomy model was proposed which differentiated the role of the elected officials and the administrators- the former would be engaged only in shaping policies and the latter would only ensure the effective and efficient implementation of these policies. However, over time, the dichotomy model was rejected on the ground that “politics and administration are not two mutually exclusive boxes, or absolute distinctions, but they are two closely linked aspects of the same process” (Friedrich, 1971: 401). Contemporary theorists have emphasized a middle-range complementarity model which at one end acknowledges “both distinction and separation between politicians and administrators” and argues that “administrators should support the law, respect political supremacy”, and acknowledge the need for accountability. They should be loyal to the mission of their organization (Svara, 2007: 42). On the other hand, the model also points out the overlapping and shared responsibilities of the politicians and the administrators and states that, “administrators are responsible for serving the public, promoting the broadest conception of the public interest, supporting the democratic process”. In this paper, we have tried to develop a framework which points out the circumstances under which the complementarity of politics and administration is feasible and based on that framework have attempted to explore the existing nature of relationship between politics and administration in Bangladesh. We have found out that in the context of Bangladesh, complementarity of politics and administration has never been practiced and we have made an effort to identify the reasons behind this.
Main Article: 

1. Introduction

Determining the role of bureaucracy in a democracy has always remained a key concern in the public administration literature. Discussions on this particular concept has highlighted two important issues. First, it specifically points out that in a democratic political system, the public administrators are in effect, “unelected officials”, and they are bestowed with responsibilities which deeply affect the citizens’ lives. Second, it acknowledges the fact that the bureaucrats can never be only “passive instrument” of the elected officials and they do have the ability to exercise certain discretion in carrying out their duties. Thus, the bureaucratic responsibility in a democracy largely depends on the existing politics-administration relationship. The scholars of public administration, starting from Woodrow Wilson, have taken numerous efforts to define the relationship. Initially, a politics-administration dichotomy model was proposed which differentiated the role of the elected officials and the administrators- the former would be engaged only in shaping policies and the latter would only ensure the effective and efficient implementation of these policies. However, over time, the dichotomy model was rejected and contemporary theorists now emphasize a middle-range complementarity model. In this paper, we have analyzed the complementarity model and have made an effort to develop a framework which points out the circumstances under which this complementarity of politics and administration is feasible. Based on that framework, we have attempted to explore the changing nature of relationship between politics and administration in Bangladesh. We have found out that in the context of Bangladesh, complementarity has never been practiced and we have made an effort to identify the reasons behind this.

We have pursued the following approach- after analyzing the basic premises of the model, we have tried to develop a framework which points out the circumstances under which the complementarity of politics and administration is feasible. Consequently, based on the framework, we have made an effort to find out whether these particular circumstances exist in Bangladesh.

2. Theoretical Framework

As mentioned earlier, determining the role of bureaucracy in a democracy has always remained a key concern in the public administration literature. If we consider the administrative history of the United States, we will find that this issue was a prevalent one from the very beginning and until the progressive era movement, the politicians opted for a “spoils system” which despite its limitations was considered to be “a more democratic way of selecting public officials” (Rohr, 1998, p4). However, the spoils system proved to be an ineffective one which eventually increased the extent of fraud, waste and abuse of power by the public officials. Finally, after the assassination of President Garfield by a job-seeker, the Congress passed the Pendleton Act of 1883 which paved the way for establishing a merit-based appointment procedure in the civil service. However, “the merit system with its good government tone was nevertheless an invitation to government by a ruling class” and the Progressive era reformers had to find way to respond to this (Rohr, 1998: 4). Woodrow Wilson’s classic essay “The Study of the Administration” provided the basic guideline and based on this the reformers opted for an administrative system which would rely on ‘science’ that “could be learned and entrusted to people who had the proper credentials and expertise” (Rohr, 1998, pp4-5). A politics-administration dichotomy model was proposed which differentiated the role of the elected officials and the administrators- the former would be engaged only in shaping policies and the latter would only ensure the effective and efficient implementation of these policies. At the same time, the administrators would be held accountable to the elected officials in implementing these policies. 

Since the end of the Second World War, the dichotomy concept came under scathing attack by the public administration scholars. In the famous Freidrich-Finer debate, Carl Friedrich (1971) rejected the dichotomy model in its absolute form and argued that it is extremely difficult to differentiate between politics and administration and, “politics and administration are not two mutually exclusive boxes, or absolute distinctions, but they are two closely linked aspects of the same process” (1971, p401). At the same time, he pointed out two important things- first, as the policies evolve slowly over a long period of time, this evolution allows the public administrators to play a significant role in the policy process; second, this participation coupled with the conflicting and contradictory nature of the policies allow a complex pattern within which the administrators enjoy certain discretionary power. According to Friedrich, this discretion enjoyed by the bureaucrats is inevitable and the political accountability mechanism as prescribed in the classic dichotomy model is not good enough in checking the discretionary authority of the administrators. In fact, Friedrich broadens the term ‘accountability’ by including responsibility with it and argues that an administrator has to be responsible in exercising his discretionary authority and this responsibility will come from recognizing the standards and ideals of the profession which will work as his “inner check”.

The Friedrich-Finer debate has two significant contributions. At one end, it introduces the concept of administrative discretion and on the other hand, it calls for a new form of accountability to check this discretion. Since then, administrative discretion is considered a key issue in defining the role of bureaucracy in a democracy. The NPA movement of the 1970s has considered administrative discretion not only as inevitable but also as an effective precondition for the existence of democratic governance (Frederickson, 1997). Other scholars have adopted a cautionary approach and call for the elimination of discretion where possible and structured and/or confined in other cases (Burke, 1986; Bryner, 1987).  Svara on the other hand has followed a middle-range approach and in his complementarity model, he made an effort to merge these two contrasting views. The model at one end acknowledges “both distinction and separation between politicians and administrators” and argues that “Administrators should support the law, respect political supremacy, and acknowledge the need for accountability. They should be loyal to the mission of their organization (Svara, 2007, p42). From this perspective, the model recognizes the necessity of political accountability as propagated by Finer (Finer, 1941). On the other hand, the model also points out the overlapping and shared responsibilities of the politicians and the administrators and states that, “Administrators are responsible for serving the public, promoting the broadest conception of the public interest, supporting the democratic process” (Svara, 2007, p45). From this perspective, the model points out the significance of “patriotism of benevolence” and the role of the bureaucracy in upholding the “regime values” as indicated by Frederickson & Hart (2000). Thus, in a nutshell, the model provides a basis for “identifying the obligations and duties of public administrators in the political-administrative relationship” (Svara, 2007, p42).

Though the basic premise of the model is that the politicians and the administrators complement each other's role, it also provides an ethical guideline in dictating the responsibilities of the administrators. It provides a “duty based approach” to defining responsibilities of bureaucrats.  As Svara states:

Thinking about the basic responsibilities of public administrators, it is straightforward to identify complying with organizational directives, avoiding conflict of interest and avoiding service orientation. The administrators should maintain the integrity of organizational process and support the democratic process. In dealing with organizational superiors and elected officials, administrators have responsibilities to push back and help shape decisions as well as to follow and comply (Svara, 2007, p44, emphasis added).

Thus, the administrators have to play the role of ‘accountability juggler’ and maintain a delicate balance of accountability and independence. However, the question remains- what should be the role of the administrators when their sense of responsibility clashes with political reality? What should they do if their expertise makes them understand that policy developed and/or implemented will not provide benefit to the citizens at large? Svara (2007) argues that in these cases, the administrators have to realize the ultimate goal of public service duty, i.e. “to advance public interest”. If their expert opinion suggests that the policy adopted will not advance public interest, it is their duty to point out the problems, “to speak truth to the power” and in extreme cases, i.e. if they are confident that the policy will not result in desired outcome and their advices are not adhered to, the administrators can decide not to comply with the orders of their superiors. They reserve the right to refuse to go along with their political superiors if their professional and democratic values clash with the preferences of politicians.

However, in this context it is necessary to grasp the idea of public interest. Barth (1992) argues that there are two essential values related with the concept of public interest- symbolic and instrumental. The symbolic value indicates the integrity of the public policy-making process, i.e. the policy has been adopted through a legitimate process and has incorporated and/or taken under consideration all the views related with the policy issues. On the other hand, the legitimacy of a policy process does not necessarily determine that it advances the public interest. To be “in the public interest”, a policy has to “represent an ongoing concern with the effects of policies and programs on individuals and groups, using the best analytical tools and reasoning best possible to obtain unbiased information” (Barth, 1992, pp291-292). Svara (2007) also agrees with this as he points out that public interest entails two specific things- meeting the aspirations and needs of citizens (instrumental value) and protecting and improving the  process of public governanace (symbolic value). Thus, a public administrator will remain accountable to and follow the order of his/her superiors as long as the policies are adopted through legitimate means and the policies are attaining the desirable ends. If any of these two criteria is missing, that indicates that making or implementing the policy is not serving the ultimate goal of public service duty, i.e. the policy is not advancing public interests. In that case, the administrator has to respond to the relatively higher call of duty and may disregard or ignore the directives of the political superiors. 

From the administrator’s perspective, the essential instruments available to promote public interest are:

  • The presence of a process which allows him/her to use discretion in promoting public interest
  • The procedural safeguards that allow the administrators to utilize their neutral competence

Based on Svara’s ideas, we have developed the following schema:

 

3. Politics - Administration Relationship: Bangladesh Scenario

In order to have a better understanding of the politics-administration relationship in the context of Bangladesh, it is essential to look back at the historical development of the administrative machinery of the country. Present day Bangladesh was part of the British Empire for almost two hundred years. This experience of British rule certainly had its impact on the administrative development and the bureaucracy of the country is believed to bear a colonial outlook, which was eventually “…designed to be administered by a handful of administrators at its apex who would rule or govern” (Laporte, 1981, p581; Haque, 1995). Even, when the Government of India Act, 1935 was framed in the expectation that the ministers would be Indians, it enabled the civil servants to bypass the ministers. In fact, the bureaucratic system was framed in such a manner that it would curb the development of indigenous political institutions (Khan and Zafarullah, 1991). Thus, there was no question of partisan selection of personnel rather attempts were taken to select the best among the good men (Syed, 1971: 168; Laporte, 1981: 581). The country, after the British left India, became a part of Pakistan (East Pakistan) in 1947 and the political turmoil that followed the period after independence from British rule helped the bureaucracy (i.e., the elite Civil Service of Pakistan group) to take over control of the state from the politicians. As Jahan & Shahan (2008a) pointed out, “the extent of this control was, in some cases so strong that the bureaucrats made even a number of political decisions, like the dismissal and appointment of the Prime Ministers, the dismissal of Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, etc” (Jahan & Shahan, 2008a). Though the autocratic rule of Ayub Khan initially threatened the powerful position of the bureaucrats, the situation changed soon when he decided to implement the Basic Democracies Order of 1959.  “In order to implement the program, he needed effective and efficient bureaucratic machinery, which was contentedly supplied by the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) - the elite service which enjoyed maximum power within the public services. Thus, a partnership was built between the army and the bureaucracy” (Jahan & Shahan, 2008a).

As a result, the CSPs became the main target of political hatred after the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. There are a number of reasons behind this. First of all, the CSPs made efforts to preserve a heritage which would allow them to accumulate key positions in the bureaucracy. Second, “they manifested a negative attitude toward politicians on the one hand, and a paternalistic attitude towards the common man, on the other” (Khan and Zafarullah, 1991: 653). As such, both the politicians and the citizens held an anti-bureaucracy attitude and the ruling political party promised to build an administration free from elite and isolated attitude. As Ahamed comments that bureaucracy was in fact a much hated word in the political lexicon of Bangladesh and political leaders in public speeches made stinging attacks on the bureaucracy (Ahamed, 2004:106 cited in Jahan & Shahan, 2008b).

This particular attitude towards bureaucracy has severely affected the politics-bureaucracy relationship in the independent Bangladesh. In fact, we can divide the politics-administration relationship in Bangladesh into three different phases:

Phase-I: The initial phase of political dominance (1972-1975)

Phase-II: The phase of bureaucratic dominance (1975-1990)

Phase-III: The phase of re-emergent political dominance (1990-present)

Phase I: Initial Political Dominance

Due to reasons described above, the political leaders of the independent Bangladesh remained quite skeptical regarding the intention of the bureaucracy and were quite hostile to the institution (Jahan & Shahan, 2008a; 2008b). Moreover, after the liberation, the bureaucracy was divided into two groups and engaged in a ‘war’ within itself. On the one side were the bureaucrats who remained in Bangladesh during the Liberation War and on the other side were the bureaucrats who worked with the government-in-exile. Therefore, the environment tempted the political leaders to violate the standing convention of political non-interference in recruitment and routine civil service management. Instead, they initiated the process to politicize the bureaucracy to establish control over the bureaucrats. This is the phase when the government was tempted to incorporate specialists who remained outside of the machinery into the bureaucracy, developed rapid decentralization plan which would provide power to the local political leaders and even introduced some ad-hoc recruitment procedures to incorporate partisan people within the bureaucracy. Jahan & Shahan (2008b) described this in the following way:

“To reduce the power of the generalist civil servants, academicians were appointed to the highest posts of the civil service. This effort made the bureaucracy uncomfortable; the government later withdrew from the reform efforts, but the bureaucracy remained in a vulnerable position”.

However, this phase was relatively short. Within a few years, the bureaucracy managed to regain its position, especially after the famine of 1974. Reform plans of public sector were shelved and the government found it necessary to rely on the bureaucratic machinery (Carino, 1991).

Phase II: Bureaucratic Dominance

In the history of Bangladesh, 1975 is a crucial year. During this year, assassination of national leaders, coups and counter-coups disturbed Bangladesh; and this political instability created an opportunity for the bureaucracy to fully regain its previous status. After the coup-de-etat of 1975, a military government was put in place, which like the Pakistani military regime started to rely on the bureaucracy to push forward their agenda. In fact, “in 1972, Alavi commented that there was a chance that in the future Bangladesh might come under military rule and new bureaucratic-military oligarchy would then come into existence (Alavi, 1972). This is exactly what happened after 1975. In spite of some efforts made by politicians, no viable, transparent or accountable political institutions developed and, in its absence, an alliance between the civil and military bureaucracies emerged”. The colonial heritage of distrust towards political leaders and paternalistic attitude towards the citizens on the part of the bureaucracy also facilitated the growth of an effective partnership between the bureaucrats and the military government (Jamil, 2002; Haque & Rahman, 2003; Khan & Zafarullah, 1991; Jahan, 2006). During this phase, a quid-pro-quo relationship emerged between the bureaucracy and the military government--where the military authority needed the support of bureaucracy to consolidate its regime and the bureaucracy strengthened its position in return for supporting the military regime. The bureaucracy’s power continued to expand because its “organizational strength and managerial skills” were essential for supporting successive governments. Thus, the bureaucracy attained considerable autonomy in the years following 1975.

This autonomy allowed the bureaucracy to resist administrative decentralization and reform in order to maintain their powerful position. The literature on administrative reform suggests that the reform efforts were unsuccessful mainly because of strong resistance by the civil servants. A review of the literature suggests that, so far, they have succeeded either to resist any reform agenda or to create impediments in implementing it. This resistance has two phases- first, power and authority to make the reform successful has been concentrated in the hands of bureaucrats and second, after taking control, they succeeded in adopting a non-cooperative or a go-slow approach. Moreover, reforms that threatened the status of the civil service faced even more resistance. Similarly, the decentralization agenda of various governments have been met with the same response. Whatever the method used, the bureaucracy successfully created impediments to ensuring people’s participation in affairs of the state and development activities (Morshed, 1997).

Phase III: Re-emergent Political Dominance

When Bangladesh reverted into a democratic governance system in 1991, the bureaucracy found its autonomy challenged. The politics-administration relationship was redefined as the bureaucracy found itself in a vulnerable position and became a target of attacks by politicians. In the first five years of democracy—1991 to 1996, the ruling party fostered politicization in various forms including the placement of party loyalists in important public service positions. The other major party, after coming into power continued this process of politicization. The government created a record by appointing 978 officials as “Officer on Special duty” (OSD). Allegedly, promotion decisions were no longer being made according to seniority or merit; rather importance was given to party loyalty. Furthermore, the number of contractual appointments also increased and most of these appointments and extensions of job contracts, were made on the basis of political allegiance (Jahan, 2006).

If we analyze the existing literature, these were the following characteristics of administrative politicization:

•     Creating indirect pressure on the administrative officials by manipulating the promotion and transfer processes

•     Providing prize and punishment posting to the bureaucrats as a mean of control

•     Manipulating the recruitment process to incorporate partisan candidates within the civil service.

If we look at these trends it looks like there was no ‘direct’ method of intervention, i.e. the local or central political leaders did not use their political power to take action against the ‘disobedient’ civil servants rather there were frequent uses of administrative power where the ‘guilty’ officials were transferred elsewhere or made “OSDs”.  However, this trend has undergone significant change in recent years. The following case provides an example of that.

4. Back to Spoils System?

The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of a district, considering that political interference had risen uncomfortably, told officials to disregard “illegal” requests of the local politicians and lawmakers and promised that in such cases, he would protect them. However, soon after conflict arose between the DC and the local MP when the MP requested the DC to recruit his ‘own men’ for some vacant posts in the district. The DC refused to recruit them if they did not meet the recruitment criteria. The relationship worsened when the MP requested the DC to withdraw a case against a political leader and the DC refused to do so.  As a result, the local MP was not at all pleased with the DC.  Subsequently, when a recruitment examination was being held for some vacant posts, political activists forced officials to stop the examination. When the news spread, it sparked criticism all over. However, the politicians commented that the incident took place due to the administrative failure of the DC.  Interestingly, the initial reluctance of the government to take action against political activists frustrated the district officials and then in a view-exchange meeting they sought support from the civil society for the incident. This became a front-page national story. After this, the situation heated up as political leaders accused the DC of violating the Conduct Rules of civil service for taking this unprecedented step of holding discussions with civil society on a sensitive issue and demanded exemplary punishment against the officials for breaking the usual official norms. On the other hand, the civil society supported the officials and demanded action against political activists. Subsequently, in view of the public uproar in the media over the issue, a case was instituted against the political activists, which in the long run did very little to punish them. Meanwhile, the government blamed the officials for violating the Service Rules and concerned officials including the DC was transferred elsewhere for mishandling the situation.

This scenario points out a few important trends- first, the political leaders, especially the local leaders increasingly expect the local level civil administration to serve the purpose of the party in power. As such, the question of public interest (be it instrumental or symbolic) is no longer important. Second, there has been a power shift. The political leaders are no longer using their administrative power (i.e. transferring officials through administrative means) rather they are more interested in using their political power (i.e. demanding benefits directly from the local officials, etc.). Third, the fact that the government officials decided to resort to informal protest processes (like talking with civil society) indicate that the formal grievance mechanism is not working properly. Fourth, the political leaders do not expect the administrative officials to use their judgment or discretion in greater public interest; rather they want them to only obey their wishes and political demands.

This reveals a significantly changed scenario- that even under a democracy, the politics-administration relationship does not allow the bureaucrats to be accountable for their public responsibility, rather bureaucrats have to be accountable to their political superiors and have to implement their wishes even when at times they violate the basic premises of public interest. The big questions to be raised here are- why did this happen? How far are we from complementarity?  What is necessary to establish it? The following section makes an effort to answer these queries.

5. The Lack of Complementarity: The Explanation

The answers to these questions lie in the pattern of politics-administration relationship as experienced by the developing countries like Bangladesh. Whereas in the developed world, there has been a gradual development of bureaucratic institutions over a significant period of time, the story is not the same in case of developing countries. As the experience of Bangladesh shows, almost all the developing countries had to go through some type of colonial rule which deeply impacted the growth of bureaucratic institutions of these countries. As Alavi (1972) points out, during colonial times the bureaucracy functioned as an apparatus of the colonial lords. For their own purposes, the colonial powers placed special emphasis on making the bureaucracy an elite and organized force and totally alienating them from the society. As a result, at independence, the bureaucracy remained a strong and highly developed state apparatus (Alavi, 1972, pp59-62). Whereas in every political context, the political leadership and the career bureaucrats remain in constant struggle for control, due to the elite status and alienation from the society, in the developing countries the struggle is even more complex. The reason behind this is that as the bureaucrats functioned faithfully under the colonial power, the political leadership always remains skeptical about the power, ability and intention of the institution. Moreover, in developing countries, democracy is comparatively a new phenomenon which is yet to be institutionalized.  In fact, most of the developing countries are in reality transitional democracies which have either embraced or returned to democratic principles and processes after a long experience of authoritarian governments. As a result, the politics-bureaucracy relationship in the developing countries have gone through considerable changes and both of these actors, in particular the bureaucracy had to constantly adjust its position to serve the political masters and/or to preserve its own interests.

In this context, the politics-administration relationship in developing countries like Bangladesh and its impact on bureaucracies can be analyzed by using Carino’s Regime-Bureaucracy Interaction (RBI) model (Carino, 2001). Based on the assumption that the political leadership and the civil service are in constant struggle with each other in order to secure control over the state, Carino (2001) argues that the relationship between these two actors takes two main forms- “Regime ascendancy and bureaucratic subordination (Regime ascendancy) and Bureaucratic power sharing and coequality with the regime (Bureaucratic coprimacy). At the same time, he points out that the relationship of the regime and the bureaucracy is “expected to differ in democratic and authoritarian systems”. Based on the interaction between political system and forms of relationship between bureaucracy and political leadership, Carino (2001) identifies four different models. One of them is known as a “regime-dominant in a democracy” model where political leadership completely controls the public service. The second model, named as bureaucratic coprimacy, refers to a democracy dominated by bureaucracy due to its “…expertise, permanence and institutionalization” (Carino 2001: 1057). The third model marks bureaucratic subordination under an authoritarian regime where there exists little room for the bureaucracy to maneuver. The final model is known as authoritarian and bureaucratic coprimacy which “…shows authoritarian leadership joined by a bureaucracy assuming less explicitly subordinate roles. Usually, leaders of military and civilian bureaucrats combine in ruling the state” (ibid: 1059). Carino through analyzing the models and applying them to different developing countries, presents some significant observations—first, a government’s commitment to democracy to a large extent determines its mode of interaction and attitude towards bureaucracy. Second, regime changes even for a short while place the bureaucracy in a vulnerable position. Thirdly, a well-institutionalized bureaucratic system is capable of getting out of the vulnerable position, unless modified in an abrupt, dramatic or disruptive ways (Carino, 2001).

If we apply the RBI model in explaining the politics-administration relationship in the developing countries in general and in Bangladesh in particular, the following issues become rather significant:

•     Due to the experience of being under colonial rule, most developing countries had to go through the authoritarianism and regime ascendancy model. As a result, the bureaucracy of the developing countries initially served the purpose of the colonial masters and the political leadership of these countries always had certain reservation about the role of the bureaucratic institution.

•     There are some developing countries which also had to go through authoritarian rule and had experience of functioning under the authoritarianism and bureaucratic coprimacy model. Putnam’s (1973) analysis suggests that the colonial bureaucracy often preferred to serve under the authoritarian rule and the classical bureaucrats tended to have a negative attitude about the politicians. Similarly, due to close collaboration with authoritarian regime, the political leaders also remain skeptical about the bureaucracy. This eventually complicates the politics-administration relationship in a country.

•     As Carino (2001) points out, every regime change made the bureaucracy vulnerable and from this perspective, the bureaucracies of transitional democracies had to go through at least two regime shifts and at the same time, as they are dealt with by the political leaders in ‘abrupt, dramatic or disruptive’ way, getting out of this vulnerable situation becomes difficult for the institution.

•     When political leaders come into power, they make every effort to take control of the bureaucracy to serve narrow political ends. This controlling process is done at the price of the neutral competence of the bureaucracy and undermines greater public interest.

Thus, the vulnerability and persistence of the vulnerability makes political intervention inevitable, which eventually destroys the neutral competence of the bureaucracy as an institution. The case of Bangladesh shows that this political intervention often trickles down from the central level to the street level bureaucracy and creates an impact on the authority and power of the bureaucrats. As a result, when the bureaucracy lacks its neutral competence, it becomes difficult for the institution to effectively perform its duties, i.e. to suggest the most effective way of designing and implementing policies. At the same time, an ill-functioning democracy often disrupts and/or destroys the necessary political institutions which act as safeguards for the bureaucracy. The case is not that different for Bangladesh.  Here, the democratic practices have resulted in a ‘winner-takes-all’ syndrome where politicians make every effort to capture the state to reap its political gains. In order to do that, the parties often show their inertia to develop safeguards for the bureaucracy or they even take steps to undermine the existing safeguards. In Bangladesh, there is no whistle-blowing protection act for the bureaucrats and at the same time, their job security is often not ensured and vulnerable to political pressures.

Therefore, these two factors - the disrup-tion of the neutral competence and the non-existence of effective safeguards makes the practice of ‘complementarity’ quite problematic in the context of developing countries like Bangladesh. Without establishing these frameworks, it is almost certain that no such ‘complementarity’ will take place here.

6. Conclusion

The dilemma faced by the bureaucrats of developing countries like Bangladesh can best be explained through the famous story - “The Emperor’s New Clothes” written by Hans Christian Anderson. In this story, the emperor ordered new uniquely designed clothing for him. The weavers promised to make him clothing made of fabric invisible to those who were unworthy of their position or ‘hopelessly stupid’. The clothing was ‘made’ and the emperor wore it in a public parade. However, no one was able to see the suit but kept quiet in fear of being considered as unworthy of their positions. Suddenly a child spoke up: “But he is not wearing anything”. This story, to a large extent describes the role of bureaucracy in a democracy where the bureaucracy has to design policies as per the instructions of the politicians, just like the weavers had to design the unique suit. At the same time, the bureaucracy needs to point out the problems of the designed policies and should present the true picture and give proper policy advice to the politicians. However, the major dilemma for the bureaucrats of developing countries like Bangladesh was and still is finding a way which allows them to play this dual and conflicting role. In our paper, we have argued that in order to allow the bureaucracy to play this dual and at times conflicting role, it is necessary that adequate institutional safeguards are there which would allow the bureaucracy to perform its role neutrally and responsibly in order to promote public interest to protect the institution from arbitrary actions of politicians. If these two pre-conditions are not met, it is highly unlikely that there will be any complementarity between politics and administration. Therefore, if these institutional arrangements are not provided, complementarity will always remain a paradox in the context of developing countries.

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