Nepal: Elections, Voters and the Economy

Nepalis Are Not Dumb. They Voted Parties with Best Economic Policies for Nepal

By Siromani Dhungana/UWB

“An empty stomach is not a good political adviser”- Albert Einstein

The Constituent Assembly election is over now but its impact will remain until the next election. People have expressed their aspirations and exercised their power during this election so as to set the progressive course for issues that matter them the most. After humiliating defeat of left-extremism, there is hue and cry among so-called progressive analysts who think the country still needs extremist agendas to dominate Nepali life and influence policies. Supporters of left-extremism (aka ethnic federalism) are trying their best to interpret the result as voters’ revenge against Maoists but not their approval of stands taken by the Nepali Congress and the UML on federalism (multiple identity). In this article, I am not going after the ethnic extremists’ lame argument. This is my attempt to analyze the election results in the light of economy. Continue reading

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Predicting the Future: Nepal Elections 2013

UWB:

Here we reblog Ushaft’s latest entry.

Originally posted on Ushaft's Blog:

More info (22nd Nov): Followups to this blog post can be seen here: How was the polling day? and Citizens’ Statement about Maoists’ walkout from vote counting. I have made some revisions about my prediction made on this post on the blog post written after polling closed across Nepal, and the results that are coming out right now confirm the general mood in Nepal I had described in one another post.


This is the third post in my election-update series. The first one is here, and the second one is here. The first post contains the definition of the Nepalese “echo chamber,” a theme which will be referred to throughout this series.


We discussed in the past blogs the reasons you need Ushaft’s election updates on Nepal and how the echo chamber you may easily fall victim to loves predicting the past. We’ll try to predict…

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Why do you need Ushaft’s election updates for Nepal?

UWB:

Ushaft says:

“I have repeated many times that the English language media circuit in Nepal is an echo chamber, consisting of a very narrow group of privileged and detached people who always agree with each other, often to imply that the Maoist war was the greatest achievement in the history of Nepal. As it is, relying on most of Nepal’s English language pundits can end up in very embarrassing situations for yourself. As was evident in one instance from last week, a very vocal “Nepal expert” English language writer was found criticizing a New York Times article because, according to her, the article was making fun of the Maoists in Nepal by calling them “Dashists” and “Cashists.” In fact, the Nepali language press and the streets of Nepal have long been using these terms coined by the Maoists themselves. In the past, the Maoists have made public remarks like calling the third largest party “an eunuch party,” and the echo chamber didn’t even produce as much as a whisper for this insult (or joke for them) that would be unacceptable in most of the civilized countries.”

“Take another example. We had an election for the constituency assembly in 2008 too. The run up to that election was full of violence, intimidation and countless other incidents that could have influenced the result in the end. However, election observers and foreign press, watching elections in the polling centers near the highways, and from the eyes of Nepal’s English language commentators, were unaware of all that was going around. In the end, a very violent polling campaign was termed as completely free and fair, even before polling had closed at all centers.

“Nepal’s politics and society is much complex than it seems. The English language press can make you believe in a very simplistic picture of good guys vs bad guys (with Nepal’s radical forces always being their good guys), but you will be left very ill informed with sources like these, which can be both ignorant about the issues and manipulative and driven by their vested interests at the same time. It is no surprise that many commentators, writers and columnists do not provide full disclosure in Nepal, often hiding their affiliations with interest groups, which however, are of common knowledge to many others inside Nepal.”

We agree with Ushaft. We will reblog him as soon as he comes up with informed analysis on the site.

Originally posted on Ushaft's Blog:

More info (22nd Nov): Followups to this blog post can be seen here: How was the polling day? and Citizens’ Statement about Maoists’ walkout from vote counting. After polling closed across Nepal, I have made some revisions about my prediction made in the initial posts of this series. The results that are coming out right now confirm the general mood in Nepal I had described in one another post and the vested interests and ignorance of the echo-chamber.


Starting today, I’ll cover some of the discussion from the Nepali social media circle related to the upcoming election. Because of the discussions being in Nepali, many outside observers will miss the real pulse of Nepal as we draw very close to the election. The aim of this blog-series is to narrow this gap and let everybody get a feel of how it is like here at present. Many such reports…

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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Transitional [in] Justice in Nepal

As today is Blog Action Day 2013, and the theme this year is Human Rights, I thought it would be an appropriate time to write a piece about transitional justice in Nepal. All say Nepal is in political transition but none of them are clear how to end this transition. It seems political parties have not realized the gravity of human rights issues. The country which faced a decade long bloody war is yet to form an ‘independent and powerful’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Politicians and security forces, who were supposedly involved in war time crime, have been demanding blanket amnesty to all criminal cases. In this piece, I will focus on transitional justice and issue of disappearance in Nepal.

Siromani Dhungana
UWB

Nepal abolished the monarchy and become a federal democratic republic. In spite of the change in the political sphere, overall human rights situation in Nepal is yet to be improved. Political parties are far ahead in paying lip service to provide justice to victims. But they are reluctant to translate their words into action.

Communists waged war against the state when then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) openly declared that they do not follow parliamentarian system in 1996.

The ‘red revolution’ began with armed conflict, resulting in the death of more than 13,000 people in a decade — from 1996 to 2006. Besides, approximately 1,300 people were forcibly disappeared during a decade long armed conflict in this small Himalayan country. Continue reading

Why Khum Bahadur Khadka is a Symbol of Power in a Greedy Society

Lack of accountability mechanism, declining faith of public on judiciary, red tape scandals, inefficient and corrupt politicians and incompetent and greedy bureaucrats are major issues most Nepalis often talks about. Release of Nepali Congress leader Khum Bahadur Khadka, who was convicted of corruption in August last year, from Dillibazar jail today has once again brought the debate about corruption at the fore.

By Siromani Dhungana
UWB blog

We can simply call it euphoric. There were no hint of regret. Khum Bahadur Khadka, comparatively ‘popular’ figure in politics in spite of corruption charges against him, succeeded in showing his political power while getting out from jail today. His supporters, clad in t-shirts with BP Koirala’s image printed on them and Nepali Congress’s chartare (four-stars) flags in hands, cheered and celebrated. Some dubbed his move as a ‘BP with Corrupt Leader’ and blamed Khadka of trying to tarnish image of the most famous leader of Nepali Congress while his supporters argued the following:

Khum Badhaur dai matra bhrasta hoina. Dai hamro asthako Kendra hun, neta hun, daikko birruda shadayantra bhayeko chha (Khum Bahadur dai alone is not corrupt. We have faith on him and he is a leader. Some people has conspired him to put him behind the bar).

Both sides have logics. Generally, popular perception about corruption begins from a common question: who is not corrupt in this country? If s/he is not, it is due to lack of opportunity than personal integrity. It is a bitter fact to a large extent. Lavish lifestyle of politicians and rapid change in their lifestyle provide much room for public to smell rat in their activities. Bureaucrats are no different breed. Continue reading

खुमबहादुरले आत्महत्या गर्नुपर्थ्यो हो ?

सुलभ खत्री
यूडब्लूबी पाहुना ब्लग

खुमबहादुर खड्काले भ्रष्टाचार गरेको कसले प्रमाणित गर्यो ? अदालतले । अदालतले के गर्यो उनलाई ? कानून अनुसार  कसुर बमोजिम सजाय दियो । अनि उनले के गरे? जेलमा बसेर सजाय भुक्तान गरे । कानूनबमोजिम सजाय भुक्तान गरेपछि उनी कानून अनुसारै जेलबाट निस्किए ।

तर अहिले कतिपयले यसरी प्रतिकृया दिइरहेका छन् कि कानूनबमोजिम सजाय भुक्तान गरेका खुमबहादुरले कानूनबमोजिम जेलबाट निस्कने हैन आत्महत्या गर्नुपर्थो या आफैलाई गोलि ठोकेर मर्नुपर्दथ्यो । तर त्यसो गर्नु त कानून विपरित हुन्थ्यो । अनि कानूनले उनलाई हास्न या माला लगाउन या हजारौं समर्थकबाट स्वागत ग्रहणगर्न त रोक्दैन ।  जव उनी जेलबाट निस्कन पाउछन् र त्यसक्रममा कानूनको उल्लंघन हुदैन भने उनी नाच्दै निस्किउन् कि रूदै त्यसले के असर पार्छ ।

पानीमाथिको ओभानो बन्ने पाखन्डीहरू र दोहोरो मापदन्डमा जीउने कतिपयका दृष्टिमा त्यो उति नैतिक नहुन सक्छ । तर कानूनका दृष्टिमा त सजाय भुक्तान गरिसकेका खुमबहादुर रूदै निस्किउन् या हास्दै पटक्कै फरक पार्दैन । उनलाई एकैजनाले स्वागत नगरोस् या पाँच हजारले स्वागत गरून् कानूनको दृष्टिमा केही फरक हुदैन ।

त्यो कानूनी कुरा भयो ।

अब कथित नैतिकताको कुरा गरौँ ।

अदालतले भ्रष्ट भनि प्रमाणित गरेका खुमबहादुर भ्रष्टै थिए । सही हो । तर के त्यसोभए भ्रष्टाचारमा चुर्लुम्म डुबेको तर अदालतले प्रमाणित नगरेको व्यक्तिचाहि  भ्रष्ट नहुने ?

हैन, नेपाली समाज के सारो पाखन्डी हुदै गएको ? यो देशका १४ हजार जनता मार्ने अनि निर्दोष र व्यांकबाट अर्वौं लुट्ने प्रचन्ड दाहाल र लालध्वज भट्टराई चाहिँ महान नेता भइ नै रहने अनि अढाई करोड भ्रष्टाचार गरेर (त्यो पनि मान्छे नमारी) त्यसबापत विगो जरिवाना तिरेर अदालतले भनेअनुसार सजाय विताएको खुमबहादुरले चाहिँ अझैं अपराधी बनिदिइराख्नु पर्ने ? भनिएला प्रचन्ड दाहाल र लालध्वज भट्टराईले जति मान्छे मारे पनि र जति अर्ब लुटेपनि उनीहरूलाई कानून र अदालतले दोषी ठहर्याएको छैन जो खुमबहादुरका हकमा भएको छ । यो आलुतर्कलाई वितेका केही साता, महिना र बर्षहरूमा यो देशका चारजना महापुरूषहरूले चुट्कीका भरमा कानून र संविधानकै पनि प्रावधानहरू मनलाग्दी बदलेका दृष्टान्तहरूले सोझै खारेज गरिदिदैन र भन्या ? अनि शक्ति पृथकीकरणको सिद्धान्तलाई लातहान्दै प्रधानमन्त्रीको कुर्सी समाएका प्रधानन्यायाधिश खिलराज विरूद्ध परेका मुद्दाहरू सुन्दै नसुनी रद्दिको टोकरीमा फ्याकिएको घट्नाले त्यो आलुतर्क गर्नेको मुखैमा थुईय भनेर थुकिदिदैन र भन्या ? मुद्दा जित्न वकिल नै राखिरहन नपर्ने (या भनौं वकिल राखेर बरू नहुने) अनि अरू कोही नै राख्नु पर्ने कुरा सार्वजिनकरूपमा भनिसकिएको र समाजले त्यो कुरा पत्याईसकेको स्थितिमा चार पुरूषले चुट्किका भरमा बदल्ने र बदलिरहने कानूनबमोजिम अदालतले दोषी ठहर गर्दैमा कोही दोषी भइहाल्ने अनि अदालतले ठहर गरेको छैन भन्दैमा निर्दोष भइरने अवस्था छ र भन्या ? प्रचन्ड दाहाल र लालध्वज भट्टराई नेपाली समाजमा महान नेता दरिइरहनु चाहीँ नैतिक अनि खुमबहादुरले सजाय काटेर निस्कदा स्वागत पाउनु चाहिँ अनैतिक । पाखन्डीपनाको पनि हद हुन्छ नि । Continue reading

General Rana’s Political and Undiplomatic Statement

Update: The Nepali Army today issued a press statement claiming that comments attributed to him are false and that he didn’t give any formal interview to any news outlets during his trip to India last week.

“The news reports published in a few media outlets in the past few days that Chief of the Army Mr Rana gave interview commenting upon the security of Nepal and neighboring countries and issues related to that are inaccurate and misleading. As Chief of the Army Mr Rana, during the week-long visit, didn’t give any types of formal interview to the media those comments, it seems, those comments have been disseminated out of context.

“Nepali Army is a professional and apolitical organization that, while remaining within constitutional authority, respects civil supremacy. There is no possibility of Nepali Army or the leadership of the Nepali Army passing comments of such irresponsible nature. It is to let all know that the military leadership hasn’t made such comments.”

UWB note: The Nepal Army statement, worded in Nepali, is a very badly written note with confusing sentence structure- as if it were a work of a liar who unexpectedly found himself/herself in a police interrogation room. If Mr Rana didn’t give any formal interview, were his comments published in the Times of India informally provided to the reporter? The Nepali Army statement seems to be implying that as it states Rana didn’t give any FORMAL interview to any news outlet and that news reports and commentaries seem to have come out of context (so what was the context?). Nepali Army may still be apolitical, professional and under civilian control as claimed in the Army statement but we refused to believe that the same can be said to the army leadership- namely Gaurav Rana. He should come clean.

Was it merely a slip of the tongue or our Army chief actually wanted to show how childish he can be when it comes to dealing with international issues? Was he intending to appease the Indians (if yes, he failed to do so) and hurt our relationship with the Chinese? If he fancies working as a political/strategic commentator for Indian newspapers, he should first resign from the post of the Chief of the Army Staff and cross over to India. Also, you can’t be a spokesperson (a bad one) of the Indian Army while still holding the top position at the Nepali Army.

Continue reading

The O’Reilly Factor: सुवेदी प्रकरण र भाषा बहस

Jesse Watters and Bill O’Reilly: Scroll down to find the English text. We won’t laugh at your inability to read the Nepali text.

By शिरोमणी ढुङ्गाना/Siromani Dhungana

भाषा ज्ञानको अर्को नाम होईन । तर अपसोच नेपालमा विस्तारै भाषालाई नै ज्ञान र विद्याको अर्को नामको रुपमा लिन थालिएको छ । त्यो पनि अंग्रेजी भाषा । अंग्रेजी खर्रर्र बोल्न आउने जुनै पनि स्वाठ नेपाली समाजमा जान्ने व्यक्तिकोरुपमा स्थापित हुने र अंग्रेजी बोल्न नआउनेलाई पाखे वा ल्वादेकोरूपमा प्रस्तुत गरिने क्रम बढ्दो छ ।

भाषाको सामान्य उदेश्य सञ्चार स्थापित गर्नु हो । आलोचनात्मक सांस्कृतिक सिद्धान्तकारहरु भन्छन्ः कथित ठुलाबडाले सधैं संस्कृति निर्माण गर्छन र गरिबहरुको संस्कृतिलाई दमन गर्छन ।

यसको पछिल्लो सिकार भएका छन् एकजना सज्जन नेपाली – सुदर्शन सुवेदी । यूएनको महासभामा अतिथि भएर न्युयोर्क पुगेका सुवेदीलाई टहलीरहेका बेला अमेरिकी टीभी च्यानल फक्सको कार्यक्रम द ओरेल्लि फ्याक्टरका तर्फबाट जेस्सी वाटर्सले हठात र छिटोछिटो अमेरिकी अंग्रेजीमा केही प्रश्नहरु सोधे । सुवेदी अन्कनाए किनकी उनले भन्न खोजेका कुरा अंग्रेजीमा व्यक्त गर्न जानेनन् । तर भिडियोमा प्रष्ट देखिन्छ उनी जुन मुस्कानका साथ प्रस्तुत भए – त्यो उनको भद्रता थियो । Continue reading

७१६ जना = एक गैससः नतिजा खोई?

स्कूल हुँदा नै मैले पढेको हुँ, नेपाल मन्दिर नै मन्दिरको देश हो भनेर । ठूलो भएपछि थाह पाए, किन त्यसो भनिएको रहेछ भनेर । त्यतिबेला नेपाल हिन्दु राष्ट्र थियो, त्यसैले पो त्यसो भनिएको थियो कि ? पछि थाह पाए, यहाँ मन्दिर मात्रै रहेनछन, मस्जिद, गिर्जाघर, गुम्बा पनि रहेनछ । अलिक ठूलो भएपछि मैले अर्को कुरा पनि थाह पाए, मन्दिर भन्दा त धेरै नेपालमा गैरसरकारी संस्थाहरु नै पो छन कि ? त्यसो भए, नेपाललाई ‘गैससहरुको देश’ किन नभनिएको होला ? मैले आजसम्म थाह पाएको छैन । 

जनकराज सापकोटा 

गैसस र गैससकर्मी । यि दुवै शब्द नेपालीका निम्ती नौलो होईन । जसले सुकिलो कपडा लगाउछन, योजनाहरु कोर्छन, प्रतिवेदनहरु लेख्छन, बेला बेलामा छलफल नामका कार्यक्रमहरु चलाउछन । गाउँघरतिरको फोटो खिच्छन, भिडियो पनि खिच्छन र तिनलाई पनि प्रतिवेदनमा चढाउँछन । गैससहरुको नियमन गर्न बनेको समाजकल्याण परिषदको पछिल्लो तथ्यांक अनुसार देशका झण्डै वार्षिक २० अर्व रुपियाको बजेट यिनै गैससहरुले यस्तै काममा चलाउछन । विकासका नाममा, जागरणका नाममा अनि खाने तरिका सिकाउन, बाच्ने तरिका सिकाउन, हात धुने तरिका सिकाउन, शौचालय प्रयोग गर्ने तरिका सिकाउन र अरु धेरै कुरा सिकाउन गैससहरुले वार्षिक यतिका धेरै पैसा खर्चिन्छन । Continue reading

Rights and Wrongs. Two Photos, Two Stories. Justice and Injustice. Nepal

Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Ganga Maya Adhikari have been staging a fast-unto-death seeking justice for their murdered son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. Krishna was killed by Maoist cadres during the Maoist insurgency in Chitwan in 2004.

Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Ganga Maya Adhikari have been staging a fast-unto-death seeking justice for their murdered son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. Krishna was killed by Maoist cadres during the Maoist insurgency in Chitwan in 2004. Pic: eKantipur.com

Seventy former Maoist combatants (two of them pictured) formally entered the Nepal Army as officers on Monday (26 Aug). Former People's Liberation Army combatants’ integration into the national army was a key component of the peace process that began in 2006.

Seventy former Maoist combatants (two of them pictured) formally entered the Nepal Army as officers on Monday (26 Aug). Former People’s Liberation Army combatants’ integration into the national army was a key component of the peace process that began in 2006. Pic: eKantipur.com

Two powerful images were splashed on the front pages of Nepali newspapers over the past week. Lets start with the most recent one- that of the former Maoist combatants- smiling to cameras, holding and kissing their kids with their wives by their side- who have been integrated into the Nepali army as officers.

A reporter from Kantipur newspaper caught Basudev Ghimire, one of the graduating officers, by surprise at the graduation ceremony (Tue, 26 Aug) with a question: “Do you know Pawell?”

“No, I don’t,” came the reply from the man who, as a Maoist guerilla, was known as Pawell. “I have already forgotten it.” Continue reading