It’s very simple to understand current Nepali politics. It’s a game between two blocks. One is incompetent and the other is extremely corrupt. Yes, the ruling leaders are cunning, corrupt, and hell bent on extending their tenure at the cost of national consensus. What about the opposition leaders? Are they serious and capable to end country’s political impasse? Can they ensure change that the people want to see in politics? The answer, unfortunately, is a big NO.
By Siromani Dhungana
One thing is for sure. The ruling parties have a clear objective: they want to make a lot of money before they leave the government. Leaders from ruling parties are cunning enough to create a catchy phrases and jargons against parties in opposition. They are good at blame game.
What about opposition leaders? They are good for nothing. They do not have a clear agenda, plan, tactic, or vision to solve immediate and long-term challenges that the country faces. Moreover, the high level leadership of opposition parties – namely the Nepal Congress and UML – is not capable to fight against or challenge tactics applied by the UCPN Maoist in Nepal’s politics.
I do not mean that leaders from NC and UML challenge Pushpa Kamal Dahal in changing tones and tactics every second day or rely on propaganda as the Maoists are doing. Nor they should give ‘false hope’ and sell ‘dream of Switzerland’ to people as Maoists did during the insurgency and continue to do so even now.
What all they need to do is resort to pragmatic politics with clear vision and agendas. Politics without vision and ideology is like beating a dead horse which leaders from opposition parties are doing.
People always want change- fresh, new and young. But senior NC leaders are just the opposite- old, stale and bland. Their relevance in national politics has already expired. But the problem is they continue to think that they the country cannot sustain without them. Equally, if not more, dangerous is the fact that they have become a banyan tree that doesn’t let other plants grow beneath it. Old NC leaders have stopped the new generation from taking over the helm of the party.
Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Paudel- the trio, and Krishna Prasad Sitaula, the general secretary, of Nepali Congress have already contributed to the party to the extent they could. Now they should retire. They should pave way to a new generation of leaders to lead the party. Only the new set of leadership can instill energy to the party that it badly needs.
Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Paudel have already been tested. The former prime minister and deputy prime minister, respectively, couldn’t deliver when they got chance. Sushil Koirala and Krishna Prasad Sitaula, as president and general secretary of NC respectively, have completely failed to live up to the hope, expectations of its their own constituencies and general public as well.
If Nepali Congress that considers itself as the synonym of Nepali democracy, has failed miserably in one field that is implementing democracy in its own organization. Intra-party democracy doesn’t exist in Nepali Congress and unless that remains so the party cannot get the public support that it needs.
Sushil Koirala failed to make party’s decision making process democratic and transparent. He has limited himself to a small coterie to take vital decisions while the central working committee has become either irrelevant or ineffective. As Sushil Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba surround themselves by a small group of loyalists, a large number of young, intelligent and energetic democrats have been left of the broader NC umbrella. A real loss indeed.
On the other hand, Deuba who lost election to presidency to Sushil Koirala, continues to see himself as the elected ‘president’ of Nepali Congress. His creativity has been confined to interfering or objecting Sushil Koirala’s decisions. Deuba should let Koirala do the job of running the party because it was Koirala who was elected to the post during the general convention of Nepali Congress delegates.
If there is one force that can counter the rising influence of Maoist communists in Nepal, that is Nepali Congress. But this Nepali Congress, filled with incompetent, old and stale leaders, cannot do that job. These NC leaders neither have energy, wisdom and tactical superiority needed to beat the Maoists nor can they inspire and mobilize the masses for the change. On top this all, they all are a bunch of visionless folks.
UML and dillydallying
This brings us to the UML. But the party’s dillydallying on several key issues have made it, at times, a poor copy of the Maoists (though, according to analyst Muma Ram Khanal, the key issues in Maoist’s political document presented in the ongoing seventh general convention in Hetauda, have been lifted out from UML’s youth leader Ghanashyam Bhusal’s paper). Most of its professional fronts want alliance with the UCPN Maoist (for example, UML supporters collaborated with the Maoists to win leadership positions of the Federation of Nepali Journalists and Nepal Bar Association) whereas some leaders, like KP Oli, are so much anti-Maoists that they have also become die-heart supporters of Nepali Congress. The party neither can throw away hammer and sickle from its flag nor can it stop itself from blaming the UCPN (Maoist) of becoming an ultra-leftist group.
So what is the way out? Young leaders must dare to intervene in the intra party affair more forcefully. Icons of peoples’ revolution- Guru Ghimire, Gagan Thapa and Purushottam Acharya who were arrested by the then government in December 2003 for being ‘freedom fighters’- have disappeared from the scene. They must come back and claim the leadership. The leadership must be transferred from Sushil to Gagan, for example, and from Jhalanath to Purushottam, to give name to the young face.
One of the two bad things must have happened to NC and UML in these years: their youth leaders must have indulged themselves in filthy politics or they do not have what it takes to challenge their seniors. Or, is it that they don’t have the ideology and political principles to enthrall people in favor of democracy?
2 responses to “Nepali Politics is a Game of Corrupt Rulers versus Incompetent Opposition”
Implement 1990 Constitution to End Nepal Crisis
By Dirgha Raj Prasai
The term of the Constituent Assembly ended at midnight of 27 May 2012, with failure to promulgate a constitution. This ended the relevance of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s cabinet, the presidential apparatus and all elements formed under the interim constitution of 2006. The President and Prime Minister, without constitutional mandate, are legally debarred from exercising any constitutional right. Despite this, the so-called President Ram Baran Yadav designated Baburam Bhattarai as the acting prime minister. How can Ram Baran Yadav who has lost his own position direct Bhattarai to continue in office as acting PM?
Baburam Bhattarai is automatically relieved of his position as prime minister and member of the Constituent Assembly with the dissolution of the latter. Despite losing his constitutional status, Bhattarai has announced dates for re-election of a new Constituent Assembly in November 2012, something for which there is no legal provision, and which requires the consent of all political parties (two-third majority of the CA was necessary before the expiry of its term).
The Constituent Assembly failed to promulgate the constitution within the stipulated time span of two years. Its term was repeatedly extended and the work of drafting the new constitution could still not be completed in four years time, climaxing with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. With their failure to draft a new constitution, party leaders betrayed the nation and the people.
The interim constitution 2006 that was introduced for the management of the Constituent Assembly has no meaning after the dissolution of the latter. The interim constitution stands automatically dissolved as the new constitution was not drafted in time. This means that the 1990 constitution stands automatically revived with the King. The Nepalese people demanding the monarchy’s safeguard around Nepal’ King Come Save Nepal’ . Then, the King Gyanendra will be brought from Nagarjun Jungles and reinstated as the King in Naryanhiti Royal Palace. The autocratic government led by Congress, UML and Maoists Parties do not want election. Election is simply a ploy to continue sticking in power to break the country. So, there is no option other than to revive the 1990 constitution. There is the limit to ever thing. After all, how long can people wait?
Nepal Students’ Union founder-coordinator, Nepali Congress leader and veteran senior advocate Devendra Nepali wrote in a daily newspaper, “If the interim constitution 2006 fails to draft a new constitution then it will automatically dissolve and become defunct. The existence of the political parties was accepted as per the 1990 constitution; in this sense the 1990 constitution is seen as the legal parent of the political parties. It was established by the 1990 constitution viewing the people as sovereign. The dissolution of the interim constitution will automatically revive and activate the constitutional monarchy, multiparty parliamentary system and all other organs and institutions under 1990 constitution. It is fallacious to posit a nation without a constitution when the legality of the 1990 constitution revives.” If not implement the 1990 constitution the situation would have created uncertainty, confusion and anarchy in Nepal.
Maoist leader C.P. Gajurel opined, “’Baburam Bhattarai is not a member of the CA, so he cannot continue as PM.”
There are abundant examples round the world to establish that when an interim constitution collapses, the previous constitution (of 1990 in the case of Nepal) is automatically revived. After Indonesia’s independence in 1949, elections to the Constituent Assembly were held. But the failure to promulgate the new constitution within the stipulated time span compelled the country to revert to an old constitution, which was then suitably amended to serve their needs.
In Pakistan, the Constituent Assembly was elected and for five years it dabbled with the work of drafting the new constitution inconclusively, till they reverted to the 1935 constitution drafted by the English to announce fresh elections. The constitution finally came through the newly elected parliament.
In Britain, the republic system ran from 1649 to 1661 and collapsed. After 11 years, the monarchy was reinstated with the constitution and system that was prevalent during the days preceding the republic. In Spain, the republic system was introduced in 1936, but in 1969 the monarchy returned along with the old system.
Likewise, Cambodia became a republic in 1970 but in 1993 the people chose the royal institution and reinstated the law and constitution preceding the 1970 revolution. Hence, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in Nepal means the revival of the 1990 constitution. The parliament abolished by the Nepali Congress-led government was reinstated four years later after an agreement with the King on 24 April, 2011. Why shouldn’t we revive the 1990 constitution as it frees the nation from current crisis?
The current chaos results from the maladministration of the political parties after they misused the parliament that was reinstated after an agreement with the King, ending the people’s uprising of 2006. Nepali language was established as the common language of all ethnic groups and protects the numerous mother tongues. Anyone who does not understand this truth will not understand Nepal’s nationality. This is why the leaders who came to the fore after 2006 failed.
On 27 May 2008, the then Home Minister Krishna Sitaula, who was not even an MP having lost the election, stood inside Parliament to declared a republic. This was an unconstitutional act in itself. An individual having lost the election and not being a member of parliament has no right to participate at a parliament meeting. The Nepalese people have no wish to listen to or look at the faces of leaders from the Nepali Congress, UML, Maoists and the Madhesi parties. The 1990 constitution has regained full legitimacy; we must use it to form an inclusive cabinet that will resolve the current crisis.
We must bring out a list of the names of Prime Ministers, ministers, secretaries, general directors, project chiefs, contractors and businessmen who embezzled huge amounts of money from the state treasury after 2006. The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) must be directed to arrest them for appropriate action. The seized money should be nationalized. The Constituent Assembly Members including the irresponsible Speaker Subash Nembang should be punished for taking remuneration and using all facilities and benefits and failing to perform their duty; they must refund the money to the public fund. In Haiti, a strict form of punishment was introduced to discourage corruption when the nation plunged into excessive corruption.
Hence some suggestions:
(1) The state facilities given to parliament, Constituent Assembly, and cabinet, as per interim constitution 2006, must be returned to the state. The money collected from the sweat and blood of citizens was used for a certain purpose which went unfulfilled. It should be returned to the state, or in future it will be difficult to control the activities of criminals.
(2) A law must be passed debarring the members of the parliament, Constituent Assembly and the cabinet from contesting the forthcoming general election, and for five years from any election.
(3) All facilities, decisions, including Citizenship Act, that have been a burden on the nation and introduced after the implementation of the controversial interim constitution must be repealed.
(4) Foreigners must be prohibited from spending or distributing excessive amount of money in the country. The state must take control of the international NGOs and their funds. The state must control such foreign economic support and spend it scrupulously, for management of which a separate body can be created at the Ministry for Local Development. In this way, foreign activities can be checked and their intervention stopped.
Nepalese people do not want any kind of communist authoritarianism; they want full democracy, political stability, peace and good governance. Nepalese people no longer want the unconstitutional rule of the so called larger parties, Maoists, Congress, UML, Madhesi.
With the demise of the Constituent Assembly, the constitution of 1990 constitution is restored automatically and Nepal’s royal institution, Nepal Army and people of Nepal are protectors of Nepal. The monarchy was pivotal in integrating Nepal, establishing democratic and equitable society at par with the modern world.
Only this option will open the doors for political resolution in Nepal. Nationality is a sensitive issue and will be difficult to re-establish once it rolls down the slope. In the past, Nepal was defended at the joint initiative of the King and people according to the 1990 constitution. Now that thread of unity has snapped. To rescue this holy land from an imminent dark future, all patriotic forces, the Nepalese monarchy, and the people, the Nepal Army, court and the chief organs of the State must all unite and defend the nation from chaos.
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