It is really hard to believe that Nepal has a democratic government.
By Krishna Giri
Instead of mocking Nepali leaders, this time my thoughts were going towards the country and countrymen. Bulldozed by the political and leadership changes; besieged by living and security conditions; aggravated by the false hope for water and electricity, people are going through exceptional intellectual stress than ever before. The successive government’s governance is being so underprivileged that people are abandoned by every successor. Peace, Rule of law and social harmony amongst diverse societies are fouled by various power centres. I thank God that this country is still surviving and let it remain the same forever. The Prime Minister is talking about waging another civil war. Defence Minister and Chief of Army staff announced series of ambiguous statements. A Madheshi leader is talking about end of Nepal. Janajatis are already declaring their own autonomous regions. Indian Ambassador, once close friend to all parties, is holding secret meetings with former Monarch. Various ethnic groups are recruiting armed combatants to wage war against the state. Few religions elements are already plotting bombs across the country. A Supreme Court judge gets lecture about rule of law and power of people. And now a Pashupati Priest becomes another victim of dirty political onslaught.
My worries at this point of time are neither leaders nor parties but the nation. We have been bombarded by nationalistic rhetoric for some years but hardly anything has been done to keep the aspiration alive. It is really hard to believe that Nepal has a democratic government. If you believe in modern capitalistic democratic society, you would assume at least ruling and opposition parties. We do have parties but may be someone can help me to identify who is ruling and who is opposing. Parties are moving their feet left, right and centre. They trying to grab every opportunity vested by political ego and ambition. In the name of democracy, the country has faced immense undemocratic stirs in the recent past. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. If he was alive to witness the political hysteria in Nepal, he would have regretted the last bit, democracy for the people. And he also once said, “Ballot is stronger than the Bullet”. He would have changed his mind if he was born post Maoist era. Let’s forget about the sincerity of the government towards people, there is no evidence that the government is working for the people. The political backlashes within parties and communities have forced the country to embrace unfortunate economy, security, peace, jobs, affordability, housing etc. The country, which is second richest in hydropower after Brazil, fails to provide adequate electricity in one of the most expensive rate in the world.
The country has lost ground in a verge to collapse. A ‘Fail State’ is not a new term for us any more. These words have been thrown for discussion by numerous scholars for a while. The principal anxiety for people is this- ‘Is the country going to fail’? As a commoner, it is imperative to understand the basics of a ‘Failed State’. A Washington D.C. based NGO, Fund for Peace, defines a ‘Failed State’ as, “A failed state is a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline”.
All successive Nepali governments in the last decade meet the above criteria and pose enormous threat to the sovereignty of the country. It is expected from an independent country’s government that they exercise genuine control over at least the larger part of their country and population. A state should be capable to cooperate with other states, donors, international communities and govern according to the rule of law, respect international law, and prevent crimes. But government is promoting crimes and violence in the name of YCL, Youth Force etc. Kangaroo courts are still in operation, seized properties are still in Maoist’s control, extra judicial killings and extortion are still going on, hand picked and unqualified people are sitting on the most important and high profile portfolios. These are not the symptoms of good governance and the country is not heading in the right direction even if some people believe the county is in safe hands.
The African Studies Centre, Leiden, in its report released in December 2003, send a chilling threat to the states in a path to fail. The report states, “It should be realized by policymakers that failed states, and particularly the ones that have collapsed, never return to how they were prior to breaking down, even in the event that they do succeed in regaining coherence after a period of failure”. I don’t think a patriot would ever think to lose the history, culture, nationality and identity as whole because of domestic conflicts. These conflicts motivated by political ambitions are causing widespread harm to the entire nation and has jeopardized the national harmony. We should not let the country fail.
Most states fail with internal conflicts and civil wars but that is not only the reason. In some cases, a country may fail because of foreign governments who knowingly destabilize a state by fuelling ethnic warfare or supporting rebel forces, causing it to collapse. We know the role of India during Maoist insurgency leading to the overthrow of the Monarchy. In a recent interview with Kantipur, D.P. Thripathy, an Indian leader who brokered the 12-point understanding with SPA in November 2005, has admitted that Indian elements want to treat Nepal as a colony. Political market is already frenzied by the China’s interest in CPN Maoists government. We need to be alarmed by too much interest expressed by world powers and our neighbours. What we need to understand is, ‘if they succeed, we fail and if they fail, we too fail’.