Fighting for the sole chair of the National Council (NC) member from Zhemgang are five candidates. While they differ in some of their pledges, the common prioritized pledge is to reduce poverty in their dzongkhag by promoting eco-tourism in their district.
During the debate, all candidates said that Zhemgang dzongkhag has a high poverty rate compared to other districts, despite its high potential for tourism.
Former planning officer, Thinley Jamtsho, from Wangduegang under Trong Gewog, with 16 years of work experience in the civil service, pledged to represent the ordinary people of Khenrig Namsum.
42-year-old Thinley Jamtsho said that he would like to humbly offer his vast experience, expertise, and close development connection with people for Zhemgang’s development aspirations.
“With my decades of experience in formulating and implementing development plans, I commit to upholding the Constitution with the highest level of integrity,” Thinley said.
The candidate said that Zhemgang has rich biodiversity, potential for tourism to enhance income, and to generate employment opportunities for youth. He also pledged to support and create jobs and reduce poverty rate.
Another candidate from Zhemgang is Samphel Dendup, a civil servant with work experience of about 20 years, who had served as Police General Service Cadre (PGSC) under the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP). Before resigning to contest in the NC, he was a deputy executive engineer.
Samphel Dendup, 49, has pledged to fulfill the people’s dreams and to shoulder the responsibility of drafting and amending laws and regulations.
Samphel also said that he will aim for holistic development in collaboration with the people and community to become self-sufficient and address youth-related issues such as unemployment.
He also added that he will heed to the people’s aspirations and priorities and work to solve issues and review national policies through public consultations and motions in the House.
He will review financial and banking policies regarding interest rates, collateral, and accessibility, as well as develop a long-term road map and design policies to reduce the rate of poverty in the affected districts.
Tshering Yeshi from Trong village will contest the National Council election from Bjoka Gewog. He has 19 years of experience as a civil servant under the judiciary of Bhutan and also served as practicing lawyer, under the bar council of Bhutan.
The 46-year-old said that he would like to be the voice of the people of Khengrig Namsum to represent Zhemgang Dzongkhag with the highest honor, integrity and professionalism in discharging the duty to Tsa-Wa-Sum.
He also said that transparency and accountability of elected officials are ensured and citizen engagement in policy making are given priority and due respect.
Tshering Yeshi said that fair and just laws should be enacted and policy corruption eliminated, while ensuring economic prosperity by promoting regional tourism with balanced regional growth.
One of his pledges includes, to review the policies in reducing unemployment and rural-urban migration issues; and ensure quality and motorable farm roads.
A former teacher and businesswoman, Tshering Tshomo, 39, of Ngangla Gewog, with almost 14 years of experience in education said that since the mandate of NC members is to formulate laws, she will make laws in line with the Gross National Happiness principles to benefit the people.
She said that some laws are stringent and troublesome for the people to follow. “If elected, I will review and formulate implacable laws,” she said.
The candidate also promised that she will visit the constituency once a year and explain the enacted laws and policies reviewed in the house to the people .
She said she will share concerns and problems raised by the people in the House without reluctance and consult with relevant ministries and agencies.
She said that Zhemgang has the highest poverty rate and that the solution to solve poverty is tourism. She promised to promote sustainable eco-tourism in her district.
Similarly, Sonam Leki, 43, from Nangkor Gewog, Tsheldang village pledged to uphold the mandate of the National Council and fight for people-centric public service delivery. His pledges included facilitating agriculture and tourism interventions.
Prior to contesting for the NC, he was a teacher. He has a bachelor of education from the Samtse College of Education.
The three Gewogs of Bardo, Goshing, Shingkhar, and Zhemgang Throm did not have any aspiring candidates.
Zhemgang district has approximately 20,522 eligible voters, with 10,424 females and 10,098 males.
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu