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Who will work when so many public-sector staff have been disciplined?

“No need to worry that the country won’t have cadres to work," said Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong.
Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong.

At a meeting with Hanoi voters on June 23, Party Committee Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong repeated the statement of a former National Assembly leader who some years ago spoke about concerns about public staff amid disciplinary actions, which stirred public opinion.

But Trong said: “No need to worry that the country won’t have cadres to work. If cadres violate the laws and break morality, they must be punished. The important thing is choosing the right persons to replace the bad cadres. It is necessary to do this in an accurate and careful manner, with no hurry."

Trong said the Party Central Committee is going to review the last 10 years of fighting against corruption. This is a milestone to evaluate and draw lessons for us to go ahead.

The anti-corruption path

In Resolution 6 (second time) on February 2, 1999 on "some basic and urgent issues in the Party building work", the Party pointed out that embezzlement, bureaucracy and waste by some cadres and Party members had become serious.

Prior to that, the Party identified four dangers which may affect the survival of the regime, including corruption. However, because of some reasons, only since the 12th Party Congress did we begin stepping up the fight against embezzlement to a new level.

The turning point of the struggle, or the first shot of the campaign aimed at Trinh Xuan Thanh. From Thanh, the wrongdoings of a series of officials in the oil and gas sector and the Ministry of Industry and Trade were found. The person holding the highest position in this case was the Politburo member Dinh La Thang.

Over the last two-Party tenures, the anti-corruption furnace has been on fire, thus bringing confidence and hope about a successful internal reorganization of the Party.

Worrying about having enough employees if so many people have been disciplined is a groundless worry. On the contrary, disciplining incompetent and corrupt people is a condition for the country to develop.

At the national conference on fighting corruption on June 25, 2018, Secretary General refuted the opinion that if many cadres are lost during the fight against corruption, this would hinder development, and that if focusing too much on anti-corruption, building and reorganization of the Party, this may slow down development.

Trong pointed out the opposite: it is the success in building and reorganizing the Party and in stepping up the fight against embezzlement that has helped accelerate socio-economic development and strengthen security and national defence and foreign relations. 

"Taking people as the center"

Having enough cadres is just the prerequisite for development. The sufficient condition is that the cadres need to be proficient in their works. The development is created by good leaders, who can organize people to generate synergy. 

Cadres must be the locomotive, the good organizers who can discover ‘golden seeds’ among the masses. They must, as Uncle Ho said, be "public servants of people”, and work not because they want to get rich. 

In the past two-Party tenures, some members of the Politburo and members of the Party Central Committee have been disciplined. Previously, the disciplining of one incumbent official would be enough to cause a stir among the public. But now, people show agreement with the actions.

People believe that the country doesn’t lack ‘golden seeds’ among the public. The important thing is that the Party needs to create favorable conditions for them to work. So, there is no need to worry that the country will lack cadres and that the country will not be able to develop. 

Over the last two years, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘anti-corruption furnace’ still has been hot. 

Many high-ranking officials were disciplined, including 32 cases put under the management of the Party Politburo and the Secretariat. The figure was nearly the same in the first six months of the year. The number of officials involved in the Viet A case alone is over 70. Most of them have high academic qualifications and had been key personnel until they were arrested.

It is the disciplined people who hinder development. The lesson of choosing the right people and assigning right tasks always has its value. During the 9th and 10th tenures, we had sufficient conditions for rapid and strong development. However, because of many reasons, large corporations could not become the ‘locomotive’ of the economy, but turned out to be hurdles and the consequences they created still have not been settled.

Nguyen Dang Tan

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