Understanding Nepalese Politics: Playing the Game of Peace

The Maoists have adopted a simple strategy and are exploiting the current situation to the hilt.

By Chattra Bahadur
UWB received this article in email

The great ‘peace-ball’ has finally started rolling with the declaration of the 8-point understanding between the SPA and the Maoist leadership before the Prime Minister flew to Bangkok for medical check-up and treatment. The immediate outcome of this declaration was a formation of a committee to draft the Interim Constitution with a time-limit of 15 days. The Interim Constitution is to pave way for the Maoists to join the Interim government to hold elections to the Constituent Assembly. Secondly, the 8-point agreement also accommodated the long-standing Maoists’ demand to dissolve the reinstated Parliament after promulgation of the Interim Constitution and formation of the Interim government; in return, the Maoists agreed to dissolve the People’s government (Jana Sarkar). Though the media had reported that the government will be requesting the UN for its assistance in decommissioning arms, the 8-point agreement has not thrown much light in the issue of arms management.

The consequent press conference conveyed the exuding confidence of the Maoist leader, Prachanda. He was seen propagating the Maoists’ commitment to peace, his vision of ‘new’ Nepal and other usual ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric. Other leaders, representing the SPA, sat there devoid of any emotion or expression in their faces. Most of them were listless and simply disinterested. The very next day, the regular columnists and political analysts in the national media wrote hagiography of Prachanda; perhaps they were awed by his presence. The write-ups clearly showed that they were impressed with the ‘clarity of his thoughts’, ‘profound knowledge of the Nepalese politico-social condition’, and his ‘serious intent to end centuries-old inequalities and perforce social justice’.

With the end of self-congratulatory jamboree and jubilation, the dissenting voices slowly came into the fore expressing dissatisfaction. The dissenting voices, within the various SPA constituents, showed severe dissatisfaction and raised variety of questions.

The strong dissatisfactions were related to:

(1) inability to recommend and install party-loyal lawyers and members of the special-interest groups in the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee, resulting in the absence of party and special-interest group representation; and

(2) the declaration of dissolution of the reinstated Parliament without creating alternate mechanism and inadequate deliberations within the constituent parties.

The serious questions were raised relating to:

(I) the legality and legitimacy of the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee (the Speaker had apprehension since such an important committee was formed without approval of ‘self-declared’ supreme Parliament); and

(II) who would be the final approver of the Interim Constitution (the Speaker held the view that the reinstated Parliament represents the people, not the government, thus the final approval must be granted by the reinstated supreme Parliament).

Before the sudden negotiations at the Prime Minister’s residence in Kathmandu and the resulting declaration of 8-point understanding, the Prime Minister (in his home town) put forth the idea of Ceremonial King and the reasons for which he had advocated for the same. His trusted lieutenant also defended the party president’s viewpoints. However, others within the Prime Minister’s party were not amiable to his view regarding the Ceremonial King and strongly favored democratic republic. They cited the party’s official policy, which had adopted neutrality (rather than positivity) on the issue of the King’s role in the future Nepal. Likewise, other constituents also expressed displeasure at the Prime Minister’s idea of the Ceremonial King stating that this decision is for the people to make during the Constituent Assembly election. Hyper-active and politically-oriented students’ unions immediately protested. Some civic society leaders and human-rights defenders (namely Krishna Pahadi and Mathura Shrestha) went overdrive to criticize the Prime Minister and warned of new ‘people’s movement’ if the King was given the ceremonial role. As of date, no comments regarding the criticisms of his view have been issued from the Prime Minister’s side as he is away for medical treatment.

The constituents of the SPA, the civic-society leaders, the intellectuals, and the human rights defenders are now busy proving their intellect capabilities and mouthing brave words in the press conferences, seminars, and talk shows within the confines of the Kathmandu Valley. The themes invariably remain the same– historic achievement of the peoples’ movement and respecting the spirit of the peoples’ movement; defeat of the repressive regime and emergence of ‘new’ Nepal; necessity for democratic republic to end century-old inequalities; federalism to correct all anomalies prevalent in Nepal; reservation to uplift marginalized sections of the society, etc. New jargons – participatory democracy, federalism on basis of tribes and community, reservation, secularism – are quickly adopted and abused whether they convey any meaning or not. At the same time, the SPA has not been able to show much strength in controlling the Maoists’ aggression and ambition. Contradictory statements from the leaders of the SPA and the continuous bickering within the constituent parties of the SPA have not enhanced already-fractured credibility of the alliance.

With each passing day, the skepticism on the ability of the SPA to deliver among people is rising. At the end of the day, most Nepalese realize that these people talk in a language that they do not even understand, let alone appeal them. For the most, ground realities had not changed at all even when the FM radios, national media and stream of politicians are screaming day-in and day-out that change has come. The first immediate change, of course, that most of them experienced is manifold multiplication of the Maoists activities with new found legitimacy – what was done by the Maoists discreetly earlier had come over the ground. The second change, which is positive, is the drastic reduction in the Army excesses and abuses. However, there is a growing opinion that the 25-point, the 12-point and the 8-point agreements have given the Maoists official sanction to spread ‘red terror’. The Maoists are busy in establishing their kangaroo courts to issue edicts in the name of social justice, extorting indiscriminately in the name of levying tax by the People’s government, ferrying hapless villagers to mass rallies and indoctrinating them forcefully in the name of political activity, display weaponry publicly in the name of providing security, interfering in the development works such as road building etc. And these actions are in direct violation with the various ‘historic’ declarations between the Maoists and the SPA.

The Maoists have adopted a simple strategy and are exploiting the current situation to the hilt. Sensing state of confusion, they are continuing their activities unabated with a single purpose – to fill political vacuum either by coercion or by indoctrination. Whatever may have be agreed by the Maoists’ leadership in numerical-point declarations with the SPA from time to time, the local level Maoists’ leaderships are running their own shows, contradicting finer points of the various declarations. It is unclear whether these activities have prior and tactical approval of the top Maoists leadership. Unfortunately, there is no one to question or check their activities – neither the Maoist leadership nor the local-level SPA leadership. If such activities had prior and tactical approval of the top Maoists leadership, it may provide them short-term gains but also has grave long-term consequences for the top Maoists’ leadership themselves. Secondly, the legitimacy and political credibility that they are desperately seeking now may elude them forever.

In current situation, the Maoists are widely perceived to be in the driving seat and the SPA relegated to the background because of lack of sound homework. At the same time, it may be too early to analyze, either positively or negatively, the peace process.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

23 thoughts on “Understanding Nepalese Politics: Playing the Game of Peace

  1. A very good article. The Interim Constitution will have no constitutional legality.Shambhu Thapa has said it only brings conflict when one side (palace) is not represented in the drafting of this interim constitution. He is right. We are embarking on a new unchartered road by abandoning the pitched road (the present constitution). What happens there is no CA elections and the present constitution is already abroagated. Then we will pave the way for another Hitler or Mussoloni to rule Nepal. The Maoists are not going to surrender arms. This is the main stumbling block. We are ont he verge of becoming another terrorist state if they are allowed to join the interim government.

  2. I would rather put it this way, most of the nation is in “state of shock.” Article is quite apt- rather a sane voice among clusters of contradictions and counter contradictions galore from SPA, peusdo right activitist, and mobs who believe themselves to be justice in themselves.

    The news of faction within Maoist is relevation that all is not right with the radicals. The hurry in inking deals with SPA and “Badal” supposedly conflict with the Prachanda can be new twist yet to unfold.

    From the look of it- it is going to be a long haul and can take detour as well

  3. There is hardly any solid evidence to support the claims of the increasing conflict within CPN(M). Badal – Prachanda confrontation is just another wild speculation.

    As for the growing dissatisfaction regarding the disolution of the reinstated HoR is concerned, it is SPA’s responsibility to make their ‘mananiyas’ understand the current political reality and its underlying dynamics. No one really likes to concede power and the luxury. That is quite understandable. But if the continuation of the ‘HoR’ poses threat to the peace process it is not worth risking it. The janaandolanII was not for the revival of the house. It was merely a ‘turup’ that the palace had in its hand to throw at SPA to save its arse at the height of the movement.

    Mananiyas have done enough. Now its time they stop being nostalgic. An interim government of Maoists, SPA and members of civil society to hold the free and fair election for the CA is what the major objective of the present must be.

    Let our mananiyas win again in the polls to serve their constituecies after the CA finalises the political structure of Nepal. Shouldn’t they be more interested in becoming the first elected members of the HoR in the Democratic Republic of Nepal! Or are they too scared of loosing their deposit???

  4. We need democracy there is no doubt about it. But our leaders in politics, Army, Police forces and bureaucracy, all are corrupt. That is our problem. They are like gang leaders or dons who cares only their own group only. They don’t care about the overall interest of all Nepalese and the country.Now you can see people making contradictory remarks. Statements of OLI,Thakur and sitaula or Sharchan do not correspond to each other when they are in the same cabinet. They never reform themselves even if JANATA give them 100 opportunities.

  5. “it may be too early to analyze, either positively or negatively, the peace process.”
    True, the mercenaries of Royal-American Army can spoil the peace anytime.

    “The Maoists are not going to surrender arms.”
    True again. If they do, the Royal American Army will resume killing innoccents in the name of ‘security’.

    Fellow Nepalese must remember that they have to deal with the wounded lion struggling to step out of his den and the pack of foxes of Royal American Army ready to do his bidding.

  6. After wat prachandra said about army in baluwatar it looks like he is the one who don’t want peace. He should not forget what his army has done why just blame Nepal Army?

    Nepal Army was just quietly staying and taking the change slowly and positively why provoke them by unnecessary statement.
    Govt was also quite Army were compelled to give those statement, and look what that guy Mahanta thakur and later prachandra said again to army.
    It looks like them not Nepal Army who does’t want peace.

  7. Why wouldn’t the Maoists be in the driving seat? The SPA stands alone and cannot even command the obedience of the govt. security forces while the Maoists have the PLA. The Royalists are the ones who are obstructing the peace and facilitating the rise of the Maoists. The only people I hate more than the Maoists are those stupid self centred Royalists. There are a lot of them on this website too.

  8. Kirat: I would say you’re on the side of Kim Jong Ill, the hated son of Kim Ill Sung- according to the Maoists, he is the great leader of North Korea and indeed an inspiration for the people’s republic of Nepal.

  9. astha, I guess you decided not to read the part where I said I hated Maoists? I detest all rabid communists like our own home grown Maoist. When KG took over I was even willing to give him the benefit of the doubt-but that’s history now. Nepali Royalists are a sick bunch. What is it with you people anyway? Why do I have to be this or that when I speak the truth? If I critize the Maoists people call me a Royalist vice versa.

  10. The one to be hated most are the INDIAN GOVERNMENT and PRACHANDA….
    PRACHANDA lives and dresses like a King but calls himself Maoist.PRACHANDA is the most SELF CENTERED Person today..INDIA has boosted him up..
    He has the cheek to blame the Army..Before opening his mouth he should make sure his Maobadi Goondas are disarmed..otherwise No Peace..

  11. “CRITICISING MAOISTS DOES NOT MEAN BEING A GYANENDRA SUPPORTER”
    “THIS IS A MAOISTS’ TACTIC; THEY WANT TO CAPITALIZE THE OPPORTUNITY” and I am sick of it. It is a terrible stupidity. Rather than this, I call Maoists as Royalists. Why did not they kill or punish any of the Royalists or Mandales in their 10 years war?????? Why did they only rape and torture only the poorest of the poors?

    “CRITICISING MAOISTS DOES NOT MEAN BEING A GYANENDRA SUPPORTER”

    “THIS IS A MAOISTS’ TACTIC; THEY WANT TO CAPITALIZE THE OPPORTUNITY” and I am sick of it. It is a terrible stupidity. Rather than this, I call Maoists as Royalists. Why did not they kill or punish any of the Royalists or Mandales in their 10 years war?????? Why did they only rape and torture only the poorest of the poors?

    “CRITICISING MAOISTS DOES NOT MEAN BEING A GYANENDRA SUPPORTER”

    “THIS IS A MAOISTS’ TACTIC; THEY WANT TO CAPITALIZE THE OPPORTUNITY” and I am sick of it. It is a terrible stupidity. Rather than this, I call Maoists as Royalists. Why did not they kill or punish any of the Royalists or Mandales in their 10 years war?????? Why did they only rape and torture only the poorest of the poors?

    I used to sympathize the Maoists in the beginning because of the issues they had raised but not any more after seeing their barbarism and autocracy.

    I beleive in critical thinking and freedom, which Maoists are more opposed to than the autocratic brother [icd] Gyanendra.

  12. CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY IS THE STUPID IDEA. WE NEED TO GO FOR ELECTION FOR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE RIGHT AWAY. IF WE GO FOR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY NEPALESE DEMOCRACY WILL BE HIJACKED BY MAOIST. IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT’S GOING ON IN NEPAL YOU WILL NOTICE THAT SPAs ARE IN MAOIST CONTORL. SPAs ARE SIMPLY GIVING IN TO THE MAOIST DEMANDS. CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY WILL BE THE POISON PILL TO SPAs.

  13. The Maoists are basically taking advantage of our collective desire for peace-by collective I exclude the Royalists and the Royalist controlled security forces.

    The parties that do not care for peace are the Maoists and Royalists.

  14. Reply to Masino: Was the Royal Nepal Army killing people before 1996? They were playing volleyball inside their barracks. If the Maoists lay down their arms, the Nepal Army will return to their barracks and play volleyball again. Yes, after that their size can be gradually reduced. But the Maoist insisting on keeping arms is the main obstacles to peace right now.

  15. astha-it is sad that you do not know the history of the RNA-either that or you are an idiot. If you want to defend the RNA come with facts not lies.

  16. Shree Shrestha,
    I know what u r talking about. U Want that Monarchy be saved in Nepal.Right..! I know its.

    Hehe..But fren, your dream will never turn into reality.Monarchy is already abolished from Nepal.Its just the matter of time to legitimate it.

    And, hey CA is poison for not only SPA, its same also for your “Malik” raja gyanekukur.

    Otherway,its ‘Amrit'(Panacia) for People loving democracy.

  17. Shree Shrestha,
    I know what u r talking about. U Want that Monarchy be saved in Nepal. Right..! I know.

    Hehe..But fren, your dream will never turn into reality.Monarchy is already abolished from Nepal.Its just the matter of time to legitimate it.

    And, hey CA is poison for not only SPA, its same also for your “Malik” raja gaynekukur-KG

    Otherway,its ‘Amrit'(Panacia) for People loving Democracy.

  18. Haha Kiratkanchha!
    Shame on u man..U like Gaynekukur-KG.
    What a pity! U chose KG because u dont like Maoists..shame sh..

    Do u know the atrocites & barbarism committed by police and army in last 1 decade to innocent Nepali people ??

    What do u say about 8000 Nepali people killed by them,hundreds of women raped by then so-called security forces…??

    Atleast try being a real human than a hypocrite.

  19. Nothing but the truth guy- Just find a nearest tree, dude. You seem awfully one sided as if you have been indoctrinated, completely brainwashed. Learn to see other side and stop acting like a parrot

  20. Sansar,yes i am one sided. Know it. And its the side of Truth.

  21. Nothing but truth:
    At least you agree that CA is the POISON for SPA.

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