UWB note: The issue resulted in the resignation of the first democratically elected (and Maoist) Prime Minister of the Republic of Nepal after his split cabinet fired the Army chief only to be rejected by the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Nepal. The country is now into a constitutional crisis with the Supreme Court issuing a show-cause notice to the President’s secretariat as to why he ordered the army chief, who was sacked by the cabinet, to stay on. Maoists and some members of the civil society are hitting the streets saying the Presidential letter to the ‘sacked’ army chief was unconstitutional where as opposition parties representing more than 50 percent in the 601 seat constituent assembly feel the Maoist’s unilateral decision to fire the army chief was unconstitutional and improperly executed. Here is a research article, written before the resignation of PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal, that explains the issue that has almost threatened to put the fragile peace process in peril.
By Bishnu Pathak, PhD
The confrontation between the United CPN (Maoist) and the then Royal Nepal Army began when the former first attacked the Army barracks in Ghorahi, Dang on November 24, 2001 and continued up to the initiation of the Popular Movement (Jana Andolan II) in April 2006. When the present Prime Minister (PM), Puspa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, first appeared in the media two years ago, along with Dr. Baburam Bhattarai at Baluwatar, he harshly criticized the Nepal Army (NA). Even his retraction soon after did not untie the knot that had developed in the relationship. The result of Constituent Assembly (CA) widened the gap. This gap intensified more due to the Maoists having their own army, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The anti-Maoists generals felt abandoned, and the national and international forces who were against the Maoists-led government were (are) able to exploit their feelings to serve their interests. Their traumatized psyche aligned them towards politics. They knocked on doors of their near and dear ones, forgetting their structured and disciplined duties and responsibilities. The NA generals, particularly the incumbent Chief of Army Staff, (CoAS) Rookmangud Katawal, started to deliver political lectures as if they were political leaders, against the Interim Constitution, elected government, peace process (integration or formation of a new national army), and so forth. The vested interests of a few generals fomented distrust with the civilian government. Continue reading