Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus is facing a campaign to remove him as managing director of Grameen Bank, the institution he established to help poor people in developing countries, particularly Bangladesh, access financial services and enable them to start their own businesses.
The campaign is led mainly by Bangladeshi politicians and is expected to intensify this week as Grameen Bank board members prepare for a key meeting Feb. 28, the Guardian reports. Yunus’ supporters believe the meeting will include an attempt to force him to quit his position, the U.K.-based newspaper adds.
Some Bangladeshi officials, including the country’s finance minister, have called for Yunus to step down following allegations of irregularities in the bank’s operations. The finance minister also noted that Yunus is “now old” for his job.
Meanwhile, Yunus’ supporters have expressed fears that officials want the bank to be under government control. Some of his supporters added that Bangladeshi politicians have been on the lookout for a chance to oust Yunus following his attempt to establish a local political party in an attempt to flush out corruption from Bangladeshi society.
Friends of Grameen, an international group of influential people who support Yunus, has come out in defense of the economist. The group, whose members include former U.N. human rights high commissioner Mary Robinson and former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, has said that criticisms against Yunus are “politically orchestrated.”
“It is vital that Grameen Bank remains an independent financial resource for the poor of rural Bangladesh,” the Guardian quotes Liam Black, a social entrepreneur and another member of the Friends of Grameen. “The bullying and insulting of Yunus as a ‘blood sucker’ and the pathetic attempts by the government to remove him on grounds of his age must stop.”
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