[EDITORIALS]Beware of subversionPresident Roh Moo-hyun said Friday that he would organize “official or unofficial groups to lead reform drives in each government agency.”
This was an inappropriate remark for a head of government to make. What Mr. Roh is up to is not yet known in detail. If groups like this, however, are formed within the civil service, officialdom will be confused and divided. Mr. Roh indicated the possibility of exercising the presidential right of appointments by saying, “After the end of this year, those who go against the direction set by the president, those who do not follow it or those who deviate will not be tolerated.”
When groups that share the same “code,” or way of thinking, with the president are formed within government, ministers and vice-ministers lose authority and an atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia prevails. The level of conflict and division in society passed the danger mark since the inauguration of the Roh government. We are concerned that the president leads the nation by dividing it into friendly and hostile factions.
Mr. Roh said, “The groups will not be secret organizations like Hanahoe, a powerful military academy alumni group, but reform forces that will lead the nation to the era of hope with a $20,000 per capita income.” It is understood, however, that he intends to establish personal guards who share his code. These groups will “communicate with the president directly, exchanging e-mail messages.” It also sounds like Mr. Roh wants to create a group like Nosamo, his fan club during the presidential campaign, within officialdom.
Civil servants cannot be made into the president’s private organization. To preserve the government’s independence from partisanship, we have adopted a career civil service system. To implement the political philosophy of the president, administrative personnel and government organizations should be used. If separate groups outside of regular government organizations are mobilized, they will fall under the influence of a political party or faction. Mr. Roh must determine where he now stands.