Peace Process: Quarreling and Mistrust Continues

Access Kantipur from here

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Web Log [Images from International Elephant Race Video and interview of winning elephant rider]

All the wrangling, quarrellings and mistrust between the Maoists and Nepal government strongly indicate that the election of constituent assembly will not be held on time i.e. by Mid July 2007. It now appears that the plan to hold election by that time was itself with some flaws. We have already missed key deadlines related to the peace process (finalization and promulgation of interim constitution and formulation of interim government etc.) and it’s almost certain that we will be missing the date of CA election as well. No problem, we can vote in October, if not July but people must feel assured that they will hold the election. Missing the deadline of the election is not like missing the deadline of finalizing interim constitution.

Government, mainly Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the Maoist party are involved in a series of ‘friendly verbal fight’ that is about to overshadow the peace process itself. Yesterday I heard Shekhar Koirala, a close aide and relative of PM Koirala who is involved in the peace process from the government side, saying in Nepal Television that the days ahead are tough and one shouldn’t expect the smooth transition. Yes, we are not expecting the “smooth transition” but general public is a bit confused over the exact status of the peace process. As long as there is no conflict and general strikes it wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that Nepali public doesn’t really care about the process. What they care about most is an environment in which they could live peacefully and do their work without any hindrance.

I am not satisfied with the way Maoists are handling the issue. In every speech and interview, Maoist leaders emphasize that the CA election must be held on time and the government must make favorable environment for that. No disagreement. Everybody wants the election to be held in time. But Maoist themselves are doing things that are contradictory to their speeches. Why stop government from reestablishing police posts in villages and sending secretaries to Village Development Committees? Maoists haven’t given us convincing reason for doing so.

Another twist is Prime Minister Koirala’s remark against the authority of the Prime Minister in the interim constitution. Koirala has said, several days after he signed on the draft, that he is not satisfied with the power given by the statue to the interim Prime Minister. What the hell he was doing when he signed the draft? He says that the PM should not appoint the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because that would act against the checks and balances. But his remarks come after the Chief Justice and his deputy publicly said that they have no problem in taking oath under the Interim Constitution. Both justices also said that they see no wrong in the provision of interim PM appointing the Chief Justice. So the question is, Why Girija Prasad Koirala, who was advocating for the ceremonial monarchy until recently, suddenly decided to speak against that specific provision? Prime Minister hasn’t given us credible reason for this remark which only makes us suspicious about his intention that he wants to give some power to the king in one way or the other. The draft of the interim constitution that has been signed by all eight parties including the Maoist has put king in the state of suspension. There is no doubt reactionary forces are damn unhappy with the interim constitution of Nepal.

Both Koirala and the Maoist (I don’t really see other parties’ voice that much worth mentioning) are free to do certain amount of politics but they have no right to hold the whole peace process in hostage of their weird stands.