Monthly Archives: August 2007

Nepal Political Update: Latest Agreement and CA Election

Nepal Government-MPRF agreement is the best thing that has happened to the Nepali peace process in the past several months. Now get ready to VOTE!

Forget the Maoist reaction, the Nepal government-Madhesi Forum (MPRF) agreement is the best thing that has happened to the Nepali peace process in the past several months. Peace Process? You must be thinking I am kidding, right? Dude, peace process is between the Maoist and the government of Nepal. So where does it come in an agreement between the government and the Forum? Well, the answer is plain and simple. Peace process also includes successful holding of the Constituent Assembly election and this agreement is a big step in ensuring just that. Why the Maoist denounce this agreement? Answer: Hello! Are the Maoists welcoming the fast approaching election? NO. If they fear election, how can they welcome something that ensures the same? But the Maoist folks have no other genuine option than taking part in election and, well you know the consequence, take a couple of dozen seats (I am being too generous in my guessing) in the Constituent Assembly. The only other option is the one suggested by the Maoist nominated lawmaker Hari Roka. (I know he doesn’t’ like to be labeled as Maoist but my suggestion to him is: Hell with your double standard yar. Come on, face the reality. You are happy to be nominated by the Party and still hesitate to be called a Maoist? Grow up.) And the Hari Roka option is: get out of the government (and interim legislature) and start the urban revolt. Will Maoist dare to go for such step? It remains to be seen but my impression is that that is highly unlikely. Continue reading

Update on Nepal Politics: Maoist Drama and Election Schedule

election_program_1.jpg ब्लगमान्डू: संविधान सभा चुनावका लागि शर्त राख्दै माओवादीले गरेको अपील

Click on the pic to see the poll Schedule 1 and here is Schedule 2

This and the past week are witnessing interesting developments on the political front. The Maoist drama and its confusing and contradictory statements regarding elections have overshadowed the past several days. Amid all the uncertainties the election commission publicized the schedule of the Constituent Assembly polls that has helped to propel the election electin politics to new height. Then one UN honcho says he thinks elections are possible on November 22 which is also a matter of satisfaction. Also comes the news that the cabinet on Monday (20 Aug) has decided to nationalize within 15 days the property of the late King Birendra and his family and property inherited by King Gyanendra. Decided? Didn’t the government decide to do the same months ago? Still better to be optimistic and we are thiking positive. Here is the roundup of key headlines (and leads) of the past few days just in case if you have missed them:

Maoist U-turns on poll pre-conditions continue

KATHMANDU, Aug 20- The CPN Maoist renewed its call for a republic and a proportional election system as pre-conditions for the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls. However, in an ironic twist, Maoist Chairman Prachanda has issued a press statement floating a 22-point pre-requirement proposal to “ensure” that the CA polls are held on November 22. Prachanda has warned of strong protests including ‘people’s action’, ‘political’ strikes and public meetings in case there is no action on the 22-point proposal. The two Maoist pre-conditions – declaration of a republic before going for elections and a proportional election system – are not new and were incidentally already decided upon by an eight-party meet long ago. The EPA had decided in favor of a mixed election system and finalizing the fate of the monarchy at the fist meeting of the constituent assembly. (continue reading this article here or click on More read rest of this blog post) Continue reading

Maoists Must Not Fear Election

The Maoist party must unconditionally commit itself to the process of election. It shouldn’t not run away from the democratic process in whatever excuses

Constituent Assembly Football Cup
Referee: Election Commission
Okay, get ready!

Cartoon by Batsyayana via Kantipur

It’s very disturbing and disappointing that the Maoists are becoming increasingly uncommitted towards the CA election at a time when there are less than 100 days remaining for the democratic process. It’s shocking that Prachanda, the Maoist supremo, couldn’t express unconditional commitment to the election that’s scheduled for November in a high-level meeting of eight ruling parties yesterday. Is the Maoist party afraid of the voting process? It clearly seems so. Maoists are trying to running away from the election blaming the possible disturbance that might be created by the anti-election groups or people. While doing so, Maoists have forgotten that it is their duty, as pro-election group, to fight with those in the campaign who don’t want election to happen. Deserting the battlefield is not an option. Continue reading

Nepal Press Freedom Update: Papers Back on Stands, Maoists Back Off, Editors Unite

Update: In a separate agitation program today, police detained over 35 journalists from the southern gate of Singha Durbar, the central administrative block as some scribes were protesting against the recent Maoist attack on the press. Demanding reinstatement of 49 scribes who were sacked from state-owned Gorakhapatra, press freedom, among other, the journalists were staging a sit-in at the south gate of Singha Durbar today. (more)

……..
In a pleasant development in the struggle for press freedom, Nepali media emerged victorious yesterday after the Maoists backed off from their strikes in media houses. Meanwhile, prominent editors of the country have come under a common umbrella called Editors’ Alliance. Here’s the summary of the development:

Court Issues Stay Order: The Patan Appellate Court on Wednesday (15 Aug) issued a stay order requiring a Maoist-aligned trade union not to obstruct the printing and distribution of The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post dailies. The court noted that the obstruction has infringed people’s constitutional and legal right to information.

Mahara Urges Dialogue: Minister for Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara has urged the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) and other media organizations to resolve the present crisis seen at media houses through dialogues. “We have a special request to the FNJ and other organizations to take positive initiative to resolve the dispute between working journalists and the managements of media organizations,” Mahara said in a statement. “The government is seriously concerned due to the uncomfortable situation at Gorkhapatra Corporation, HBC FM , Annapurna Post, The Himalayan Times and other institutions in recent days,” Mahara said. (source)

Shalikram Jamarkattle, Chief of the Maoist trade union, has said that his organization wouldn’t obstruct the publications of newspapers from 15 August. He issued a statement on 15 August saying that while launching agitation for the rights of workers, his trade union wouldn’t close down offices and disrupt printing and circulation of the newspapers. He also said that other forms of agitation would be opted. He also requested his union’s branch in the Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post not to obstruct the publication of the dailies, Annapurna Post reported in its 16 August edition. Continue reading

A Notice That Wasn't Printed in the Himalayan Times….

…because of the Maoist disruption in the production of the newspaper. UWB reproduces the full text of a notice issued by the Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post (published in today’s edition of Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post):

YCL Threat to Kantipur Journalist: Hari Bahadur Thapa, Chief Reporter at Kantipur, nation’s largest and most influential newspaper, said that he received threat on phone today morning “from a person who didn’t identify himself but warned me not to publish anything negative about YCL” (Young Communist League), the youth wing of CPN Maoist that is involved in intimidation through Nepal in recent months. “You have been maligning YCL,” the person told Thapa. “Completely stop this act.”

“Please come to our office and tell which news report you find objectionable,” Thapa told the person.

“Yes, we will come to the office but in a different form,” said the person and slammed down the phone.

Thapa called back at the number but found out that the phone belonged to a shop in the city and the shopkeeper said he couldn’t identify the person.

This threat comes at a time when senior Maoist leaders are expressing against the professionally run independent newspapers in the country that they say are trying to spread rumor or malign the Maoist party and not writing for the poor.

YCL tries to abduct reporter: Meanwhile, Drishti, a pro-leftist vernacular weekly, has issued a press statement a while ago saying that a group of about 18 YCL members reached the weekly’s office at 1 PM today and tried to abduct its reporter Madhav Basnet. The group first surrounded the office as they tried to take away journalist Basent. “This kind of act that has been coming against the journalists and media houses recently from the Maoist is a mocks our press freedom,” said the statement.

Notice Issued In Public Interest

This is to update all our valued readers, advertisers and society at large on the recent developments with regard to the disruption in the production and distribution of the newspapers, The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post.

The latest Chronology of events is as follows:

9th August 2007 (Thursday): A petition was filed by APCA Nepal against the office bearers of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Communication and Printing Publication Workers’ Union (ANCPPWU) which had threatened to disrupt the distribution of the two newspapers from Saturday. APCA sought a stay order against the defendants as their activities violated rights guaranteed under Caluse 6 (6) and 9 of the Citizens Rights act 2012 BS.

10th August 2007 (Friday): A single bench of Justice Buddhi Prasad Regmi summoned the defendants to appear in court on 13th August (Monday) when the bench was to conduct a hearing and decide on whether or not to issue a stay order. The defendants refused to accept the Patan Appellate Court’s summons. Continue reading

A College Side Story: Maoist Vs Nepali Congress

Update: Today, a group of NSU affiliated students thrashed another group of ANNISU affilated students in Saraswati Campus.
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The Maoist affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student Union (ANNISU) beat up Nepali Congress affiliated NSU students in a college in Kathmandu

Santosh Dahal, president of NSU Thapathali Campus Unit, undergoes treatment in Kathmandu Model Hospital after he was attacked by ANNIFSU (R) students. He gained consciousness after five hours. His younger brohter Jagdish (on cell phone) and sister Nanu Nepal. All pics by Suraj Kunwar

By Suraj Kunwar
[More photos inside]

It was a day of clash between two of the biggest ‘gangs’ err student organizations in Kathmandu. The battleground? A college, of course. Arrogant boys from the Maoist affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student Union Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) came to Thapathali Engineering Campus [on Monday, 13 Aug] to beat up, one by one, the students affiliated with Nepali Congress sister organization Nepal Students’ Union (NSU). At least six students were injured, three of them seriously and are undergoing treatment at Kathmandu Model Hospital. Continue reading

Carter Center Election Observation Mission in Nepal: Latest Report

Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal released its 5-point observations and recommendations yesterday

“Now is the time for the government of Nepal to demonstrate its genuine intention to hold a credible constituent assembly election on November 22, 2007. The parties must come together to convince the people of their dedication to this goal, take immediate steps to gain the confidence of marginalized groups, and address the poor security environment so that the peace process continues to progress.” -former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

This statement presents the observations and continued findings of the Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal. In March 2007, the mission deployed 13 long-term observers (LTOs) representing nine different nationalities throughout Nepal to assess the political and electoral environment in the period leading up to the constituent assembly election. The Center’s observers have visited all of Nepal’s 75 districts, in many cases multiple times, reaching not only to district headquarters but also to the village level.

The observations and recommendations below build upon the Carter Center’s previous pre-election statement and are based on information gathered by the Center’s headquarters staff and long-term observers in meetings with electoral authorities, government officials, political party and civil society leaders, security officials, Nepali citizens, and representatives of the international community.

The Carter Center conducts election observation activities in a nonpartisan, professional manner in accordance with applicable Nepali law and international standards for election observation as set forth in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The Center coordinates closely with other international and domestic observer delegations and publishes statements of its findings and recommendations on its Web site: http://www.cartercenter.org. The goal of the Center’s mission in Nepal is to demonstrate international support for and provide an independent assessment of the constituent assembly election process. The Center hopes that its activity will help ensure a credible process that is accepted by the people of Nepal and which serves to consolidate the gains of the ongoing peace process. Continue reading

Good News: Janajatis for Constituent Assembly Elections

The government and agitating Indigenous groups finally ink a 20-point deal paving road for the CA elections

Again it seems like the CA election is happening on time. The Maoists are still not sure about it but more importantly, it appears, is that they are not sure about their victory. Anyway, the latest Prachanda formula is to use the election as a form of revolt or uprising. They have kept their bargaining cards of declaring republic and proportionate electoral system but hopefully they won’t be disturbing the biggest democratic process that is going to take place in November. It also seems the government has reached some kind of agreement with the Madhesi Janadhikar Fourm though formally both sides haven’t acknowledged the positive development. They have just said that they will come back to the talks table with the aim of addressing all the issues raised by all agitating Madhesi groups. So far so good. The government yesterday scored a success in bringing in the agitating Janajatis in the election fold. Kosh Raj Koirala in the Kathmandu Post writes:

The government, the agitating Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and the ruling eight-party aligned Indigenous Nationalities Joint Struggle Committee (INJSC) finally inked a 20-point deal on Tuesday (yesterday). Both NEFIN and INJSC have withdrawn all their protest programs and announced they will make the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) election a success following the agreement reached after 10-rounds of negotiations. The deal was signed by Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Ram Chandra Poudel on behalf of the government,and Dr Om Gurung and K B Gurung on behalf of the agitating Janajaatis. Talking to media persons, coordinator of NEFIN talks team, Dr Om Gurung, said “The government has fulfilled our demands to a large extent. We have now decided to withdraw all protest programs and actively participate in the movement for Constituent Assembly poll,” he added.

Highlights of the Agreement

1. 240 CA seats under First-Past-the-Post system to be “proportionately inclusive”

2. Constitutional guarantee of at least one representative from all 59 indigenous groups in the CA

3. Alternative arrangement for representation of groups failing to get elected through either the proportional or first-past-the-post system

4. Formation of State Restructuring Commission (SRC) soon

5. Govt to adopt ILO convention number 169; ratify UN declarations on the rights of indigenous people

6. Women from indigenous nationalities to get priority in development plans and programs

7. Recognition of local languages as official languages in government offices.

But Limbuwaan, Khumbuwaan strike paralyses eastern Nepal: Normal life across 16 districts in eastern Nepal has been crippled yesterday, the first day of three-day transport strike jointly called by two agitating ethnic groups in the region. Federal Limbuwaan State Council (FLSC) and Khumbuwaan National Front (KNF) called the bandh to press for their major demands such as autonomy with rights to self determinism and proportionate electoral system. (source)

American Ambassador Nancy Powell Arrives in Nepal: Namaste…Dhanyabaad

Nancy J. Powell, the new U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, arrived in Kathmandu today. She made a brief statement to waiting journalists at Tribhuvan International Airport. Here is the text:

“Namaste. It’s very nice to be back. I look forward to working with the government and the people of Nepal as we move forward in this time of democracy. Dhanyabaad.”

Ambassador Powell is scheduled to present her credentials to Prime Minister G.P. Koirala on Thursday, August 9.

American ambassadors are headline hunters in Nepal. They are one of the most talked about and one of the most controversial figures in Nepali politics and society. Moriarty is in our mind and we haven’t forgotten many of his predecessors. We even remember how the first US envoy came to Nepal decades ago. We know which American ambassador fixed which of our minister’s marriage and which American diplomat get stoned by ultra communists. So we think it’s worth knowing about the top American diplomat in Kathmandu and we here publish a biographical summary of Nancy Powell that we received from the American Center in Kathmandu: Continue reading

Cartoons: A Prime Minister Among Women and the Rayamajhi Report

According to a report in Kantipur by journalist Saraswati Karki, a group of women met Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in his home district Morang Saturday for about 20 minutes. Guess what was the woman might have talked about: Election system? Creating awareness about CA election? Problem faced by women? Worsening security situation? NO. All women, turn by turn, requested the Prime Minister to provide job to their relatives! Some talked on behalf of their daughters or sons. “Women activists are political sufferers,” said Gita Silwal, president of the Morang district chapter of Nepal Women Association, a sister organization of Prime Minister’s Nepali Congress Party. “That’s why we talked about jobs with the PM.” She said the Prime Minister assured them that he would do his best. “He didn’t discourage us,” she said. “We were worried that he might dismiss us for bringing up such issues at a time when the nation is going through such problems. He was positive.” Sketch by Dewen via Kantipur Continue reading