Yunus, the managing director of the Grameen Bank, which has lent small sums to millions of deprived people to help them start or run their own businesses as a first step out of poverty since being created in 1983, has been caught in a bitter political battle in his homeland of Bangladesh.
The campaign to remove Yunus, mounted mainly by politicians, is to intensify this week ahead of a key board meeting next Monday, which his supporters believe will involve an attempt to force the 70-year-old to quit as managing director.
Last week, Bangladesh\’s finance minister said Yunus should stand down following alleged irregularities in operations.
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith called Yunus a \”man of high standing and respect\” but \”now old\”. The minister, who is 77, said: \”We need to redefine the bank\’s role and bring it under closer regulation.\”
Supporters of Yunus fear politicians want to bring Grameen under government control. Yunus did not respond directly to the minister\’s comments but told reporters: \”Any transition [would] essentially require a friendly environment and support from the inside and outside stakeholders of the bank to ensure that we continue to be totally committed to our mission for and with the poor.\”
Other government comments have been less polite. In December, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, accused Yunus of treating Grameen as his personal property and claimed the group was \”sucking blood from the poor\”.
Who does he think he is? This just getting on with things and solving a problem like poverty without the use of politics and politicians?
Quite rightly, we\’ll see all the usual suspects here applauding this move, just as they do with The City. You know, banking must be under the control of politics, of democracy: finance must be the servant, not the ruler?
We will see those usual suspects doing this, won\’t we? You know, being consistent n\’all that?