Even former ministers are fighting to be an ambassador. Why?
The government hasn’t appointed chiefs at several constitutional and legal commissions, important educational institutions and diplomatic missions even after 8 months of its formation. Newspapers in Kathmandu are full of stories related to the delay in appointment and possible names for various posts. The most talked about names are for the ambassadorial positions. It seems the parties, Nepali Congress, CPN UML and Nepali Congress Democratic are going through tough bargain for the diplomatic posts. But the threat of CPN Maoist (“Don’t appoint anyone before we join the interim government) seems to have worked as well. It’s obvious that Maoist would also like to see some of their comrades holding the diplomatic positions and clarifying the world that what they did in the past 10 years was all for the poor and oppressed people of Nepal. Even the big names of Nepali politics are being floated as the possible candidates for the ambassadorial positions. Shailaja Acharya, former deputy Prime Minister and Sahana Pradhan, senior leader of CPN UML, are reportedly being considered for the Nepali missions in India and Russia respectively. Fifteen ambassadorial positions are vacant.
There is one interesting report in yesterday’s Nepal Samacharpatra by Lekhnath Adhikari with the title: Why people try hard to be appointed as ambassador? “After all, what’s there is the ambassadorial post?” the paper writes. “The answer, it is said, that the post offers prestige, good lifestyle, salary and other benefits, and foreign trip etc.” The ambassadorial positions have become such a job that there is no bar for anyone. We have seen former prime minister, former ministers, former chiefs of army staffs, and secretaries working as ambassadors in the past. Those whose name haven’t appeared in newspaper reports as possible candidates have started complaining with foreign minister KP Oli, says the report. And those whose names have been doing rounds in newspapers, an official tells Nepal Samacharpatra, have approached the foreign ministry to ask the officials there to “brief me about that country as my name is being associated with that. Shameless folks!”
The paper also lists salaries for the ambassadors for various countries. Ambassador in Japan will get US $ 5, 700, India: 1500, UK: Pound 1390, Russia: 1870, US (New York): 2200, Egypt: 2000. Plus, ambassadors also receive other benefits and allowances for family.
The ambassadorial appointments have been used as prize for loyal from Panchayat era and the tradition continued to some extent in democracy days. The king revived it strongly and now, some reports say, parties are doing the same. Those who can manipulate decisions and influence decision makers can always secure a position.