The city of absolute corruption– Seven more questions for city council candidates
I am grateful that many people have supported and enjoyed my previous article “Ten questions for parliamentary election candidates.” This is the first time elections of the highest governing bodies of both state and city are going to be held at the same time.Therefore, before we lose more time, I would like to pose another seven questions for the city council (Citizens’ Representatives Khural of the Capital City) election candidates.
Ulaanbaatar holds most of Mongolia’s population and is the capital city of our country’s economy, politics, culture and arts. Unfortunately, Ulaanbaatar is also the world’s coldest capitalcity and has the most polluted air. This is a fact that you don’t need me to remind you of.
However, how much do you know about Ulaanbaatar as a city of “absolute corruption”? I wonder how well your understanding is about this topic. This is the issue which worries the people of Ulaanbaatar most of all.
Our mayor is chosen by a political party, not by us. Therefore, no mayor takes responsibility for the people. This explains why the current and the previous mayors do not think they are involved in any crime, where (as representatives) they steal the city’s land and public property at every level. There is nothing people can do about this because these “so-called mayors” are never responsible for anything. They always put the blame on the previous mayor you see.Most people do not think about this fact, as they are too busy trying to find money in order to survive.
Corruption is the main condition which allows the city administration to exist and it has already become a common phenomenon. Our city has been governed by only one political party and they strive to make it look like there is no corruption. A photo of those candidates smiling like there is no problem in the city proves it.Because there is no accountability, those who steal public property are taking it too far.If one has enough money, he can purchase land anywhere in the city and buy property under a fancy name like “management privatization.”There is no nonnegotiable trade in our city if the price is right.
For example, there was only one park (the children’s park) downtown, but it was secretly sold by the mayor of the day and he is now having a hotel erected there. He also sold the south part of the park to his friends promising that a Disneyland would be built there.The next mayor went on the same path asking for money to build a newpark full of wonders on the banks of Tuul River. His cheeks looked pretty red these days - maybe because he was embarrassed because the previous mayor actually sold the previous children’s park.Those cheeks are scarlet now because no family got an apartment after he was elected from Bayanzurkh district. He deceived people in believing they could get a 3-room apartment in exchange for their land. He even lied with his slogan “Exchange land for apartment.” What’s worse is that this time, he is a candidate from a different district (Khan-Uul district). You can see him smiling as his photos are plastered all over the streets. The man has even make-up on his cheeks.
Ulaanbaatar is going to become a “zombie city” where cars can only go in between tall buildings. Every square inch of the city will have been sold by bureaucrats – even the city sidewalks.Aware of this but pretending not to be, the current mayor is patting the other officials on their head and going along with them, ignoring it all.It is said that the eyes, not the cheeks, of these corrupt officials have become red, so money looks white in their eyes.
Our city is the only capital in the world, where one becomes its citizen after building his ger or his tent in the outskirts of it. If you are being nominated from a district that has a ger district, you had better know how many families are sharing one hot water shower. How could you talk about urban culture with a person who does not take a shower? This is also not their fault. The blame is on those officials who are stealing funds for their own showers.
Our city spends its winter breathing in the most black and harmful air because the most of the dwellers live in gers circling the city and burn coal.As a consequence, many children and adults die because of the smog. When winter comes, our city rulers, who never have spent a night in a ger in the wintertime, start talking about transforming ger districts into apartment blocks. No matter how wonderful a plan they come up with, they forget about it when spring comes. In the recent years, they have begun to steal billions from the public budget while at the same time, talk about smokeless stoves and fuels.The smoke increases year by year.
The biggest wonder of our city is that no one has been held accountable for stealing from public funds and properties. On the contrary, they get richer and mayors along with managers magically become ministers of the state or members of parliament.
Since you, the candidate, are trying to get into the administration team of this city that sets this amazing standard, as a citizen who was born and raised in this city, I would like to ask you the following.
Would you stop this tradition developed by these deceivers or continue it after entering the city council? Almost all people who were representatives before you have gained unlawful profits from public property. If you think this is a lie, please find me a former representative, head of department, attorney or manager who failed to own land or privatize factories, service centers, business entities, Apartment Owner Associations or Public Service Companies. If you find me one, people of the city will verify it. As a result, many of his relatives and connections might be revealed.
We have a capital city without any plans or management which favors a mayor who was appointed by a political party. Can you see that mayors and their teams have been stealing from public property by trading land under protection from the state and conspiring with the ruling party?How do you see these billionaires born from the state (the capital city) escaping from traffic jams and smog by living near the mountains secretly?How will you change this situation? By the way, where do you live?
Would you admit that state-criminal groups which sell Ulaanbaatar’s land have come into existence? They are laundering their money by dividing big areas of the city into small parts and selling them to construction companies for millions of dollars and buying back the apartments they built.That is why apartment prices are going up, not down. What is your view about this? Can you have them release reports of all of the districts built or being built to the south of the Traffic Police Department?
Apartments and other buildings that were built or being constructed in almost all of all schoolyards belong to officials of the city or the district and their accomplices. Can you reveal them, expose their names and hold them responsible for stealing from public property? Do you at least know the names of all schools and organizations located in your election district who lost their land in this way?
What happened with our properties such as Ulaanbaatar Foundation, insurance companies and banks? Where is our citizens’ property and whose management is it under? How much profit or dividends did the capital city’s dwellers gain from these organizations? If we gained nothing, could I ask why?
Why can’t the people themselves choose their mayor? When and who will reveal the corrupt network that has become more disastrous than the smog? When will the deceiving, fancy speeches stop?
Are you afraid of fighting against those who accumulated a massive fortune by stealing and then trying to make it legal?Can you hold them responsible for their unlawful actions, make them pay it back to the people and create a development fund for the city?
If you answer these questions positively and with full confidence, people will choose you. However, they will demand you implement a new system. If you cannot answer these questions, you are probably a part of this corrupt structure.
Anyway, I advise you to review your main goal and rethink about how you will reimburse the expenses of your election campaign. I hope that your expenses do not include a payback condition.
For a voter in the city, what will you do if you suffer from lung cancer? Who will pay the cost? What school do your children go to and what are the conditions? Are you able to take a shower at your home? Do you believe that your children will cross the roads safely when they go to school? When answering these and other questions, your vote in the city election will surely have the biggest influence.
I cannot advise you to whom to vote for. This is your choice only. However, please remember that your choice will be for your children’s future. Actually, the city election is much closer to Ulaanbaatar inhabitants, and much more significant for us than parliament elections are.
Translated by B.AMAR