All the nations in the world can be likened to ships sailing on the sea. Among them, a small ship named “Mongolica” is riding the waves. Despite its original color of white, Mongolica now looks grey – almost black, due to the coal it is burning. The ship has five decks.
The top deck of Mongolica is very luxurious, where people compete with each other with how expensive the cars, clothes, and goods they use are; what food and drink they are consuming; and how big and beautiful their homes are. The passengers on this deck are mostly the leaders of political parties, their associates, members of political factions, heads of police departments and courts, and their partners. The nametags those people wear reveal the names of almost all our state-owned companies. Despite the top deck accommodating only two percent of all the ship’s passengers, they own 80 percent of Mongolica’s wealth.
The people living on the fourth deck are mostly high-ranking officials in ministries and government agencies, the executives of some companies, and a small number of actors and singers. You can also see some people who earn a high income thanks to the education and skills they have acquired. Every family on this deck has their own cabin. Nearly 10 percent of all passengers travel on this level. Many of these passengers have recently graduated from the lower decks, while others have decided to go travel on a different ship.
The third deck has people who barely manage to have their income exceed their expenditures, and they live in mortgaged cabins with their savings kept in a bank. They account for 20 percent of all passengers. The second deck carries the most people, people who make up 40 percent of Mongolica’s population. Their income is not stable and they mostly rent rooms in accommodations owned by others. These people are barely able to find food for their table from day to day. The passengers on the first deck comprise 20 percent of the population, which explains why Mongolica is regarded as a less developed ship. The people on the first and second deck know each other well, and regularly visit one another’s levels.
A HALF-SUNKEN SHIP
Depending on how much water is accumulated at the bottom of a ship, all these ships on the sea have varying speed and power. Although every ship tries to make every effort to fix any holes in the ship, the outcomes of their actions are never the same. The ships that have managed to fix the corruption hole have greater speed and sail the sea more smoothly. These ships have most of their people living in the middle decks, as their economy flourishes and livelihoods improve. Their passengers choose the captain of the ship and carry out full oversight of the leadership’s actions.
The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International put Mongolia in 72nd place out of 168 countries. Our score (39) has not changed since 2014, which indicates that our ship still has a corruption hole in it. No significant change is expected for the 2016 index. If you achieve a score of 100, it means you do not have corruption (there’s no corruption hole in your ship). If you score 0, it means you are full of corruption (the ship is full of water). Two-thirds of 168 ships scored below 50, meaning they are half-sunken. The ships that have virtually no water in them are led by Denmark (91), Finland (90), Sweden (89), New Zealand (88), and the Netherlands (87). The sinking ships include North Korea (8), Somalia (9), Afghanistan (11), and Sudan (12).
Those countries that have high levels of corruption have a few people getting wealthy, taking advantage of their positions and causing dire consequences for the majority. What is worse, is that they are not punished for their actions. What is common in these countries is the regular occurrence of conflict, non-transparent public governance, police and courts fully controlled by corrupt authorities, and a lack of press freedom.
In contrast, countries that do not have such high levels of corruption value the freedom of the press, allow people to oversee how public funds are being spent, and have a fair judicial system.
RESCUING OUR SHIP
The main body of a ship is painted with a band of color that indicates whether a ship is sailing with the most optimal weight and speed. When the bottom of a ship touches the water only slightly, the ship can travel very fast, bringing about economic development. If there is a hole (corruption) in the ship, the ship starts sinking. If we fail to get the water (crime) out of the ship, we will have no choice but to keep gradually sinking.
Although large corruption cases make a lot of noise on Mongolica, they soon disappear. It is almost as if the media is more interested in chasing hot news stories to get paid for remaining silent about corruption.
In 2011, Ch.Sangaragchaa, then Head of the Independent Authority Against Corruption, said, “Even though we discover cases involving corruption and billions of tugrug, they just disappear during the judicial and police processes. High-ranking government officials even got pardoned by the President and got away without facing any punishment.” This situation remains the same today.
The corruption hole in Mongolica is not getting fixed, and only getting bigger. While we do not manage to get the water out of the ship, we are sinking. It looks like only a few people can see that when the ship sinks, all the decks will sink with it. How are we blind to the examples of what happens to corrupt countries, such as North Korea, Somalia, and Sudan? How long do we have to be taken advantage of by the thieves hiding behind the masks of political parties? When will we stop the political parties from breaking the law by not choosing to disclose their financing? They have sold Mongolia out in the name of donations. Mongolica has become the Titanic.
Let’s at least sue the leaders of the political parties that have been ruling the country. It is time to ban the people who have led or are leading the parliament and the government to own media. It is only natural to take action as we try to survive and not sink.
Translated by B.Amar