By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
It’s becoming clear that Maoists are focusing themselves in the politics of pressure and their recent activities are alarmingly contradictory. On the one hand, they never stop talking peace and saying feudal and monarchical forces are active in derailing the peace process and on the other hand they state protest programs in front of the army and bring their guerillas (in their words injured and incapacitated) in the capital city and hold public meetings. It seems that they are just trying to exert as much pressure as possible to the government. Yes, this government of Girija Prasad Koirala, who is hell bent on saving monarchy, definitely needs pressure but the way Maoists are exercising is not right. It will only harm the peace process. I have heard Maoists leaders publicly accepting that their cadres have violated the code of conduct. “Yes, there are some cases [of violations] on our part,” said Dev Gurung, a Maoist negotiator recently. “But they are nothing compared to the violations from the state side. Ours are on small scale and the state is ignoring the code of conduct on political level.” Violation must not be measured in scale and there should not be any excuse for this.
To be honest, I support the government’s decision to mobilize the armed police in the city as long as they don’t invite any misfortune. I have felt that they are being too arrogant and demanding. Yes, I agree they are fighting for peoples’ right and they want reform within Nepal Army no insane king can overthrow a democratically elected government in future. But what about their army? Are they serious enough to reform their army and separate them from political ideology so as to make them professional and independent force? Maoists should learn to behave responsibly.
While stressing on the need to quicken the peace process, Maoists are also constantly threatening of another April Revolution type of uprising. It gives comfort to hear from the rebels that they will be holding peaceful protests instead of going back to the violence if peace talks fail. But why talk about those protests when you are currently holding peace parleys? Isn’t that contradictory and confusing?
There are some serious mistakes from the government’s side as well. The government is frustratingly slow on its efforts to finalizing the interim constitution and going toward the election of constituent assembly. It is giving the impression that it wants to change and doesn’t want to move forward. If that is the case, Maoists would be right in holding peaceful protests in the near future and government should take responsibility if the peace talks fail. Maoists also need to explain to their cadres and government should provide them some space, some reason to stick to the peace process and safe landing.
For the record: The Press Conference
When Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the chief Maoist negotiator and spokesperson of the party, started press conference the day before yesterday apologizing to reporters for the poorly organized show, I remembered that day when Prachanda, the Maoist chairman, started his first ever public speech comparing the utterly disorganized press conference to that of the state of the state of Nepal. I was sure someone would remind Mahara his chairman’s statement on that day. Reporters faced difficulties in hearing what Mahara and his comrade Dinanath Sharma was speaking and photographers had to push each other to get a clear view of the leaders. Soon after the conference started, it rained. Journalists were outside and leaders were under shade. Mahara had to stop the lecture and we all went inside the office of Maoist negotiating team’s public relations office. There is always an excuse for such mismanagement. “We are still rebels,” Mahara defended later when a journalist reminded him what Prachanda had said in Baluwataar. “We are not in the government.” But the comrade, for the moment, forget to mention that the same party claims to have running the parallel and new regime.