Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. -Will Rogers
By Siromani Dhungana
I don’t support the idea of a government that bureaucrats or technocrats lead. Do you support a military-led government led? If not there is no reason you will support a government led by bureaucrats? The only difference between military rule and present Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi-led government is that Regmi is not wearing combat uniform.
It was no surprise that Regmi, in a recent meeting with medical professionals, said that he was appointed by foreign powers (international community, he said) despite his unwillingness and that Nepal had no power at the moment therefore there was no need for a separation of power (between executive and judiciary). Regmi has clearly hinted that he is not accountable to Nepali people but to a clique of four party leaders and ‘international community’.
If, as Regmi clearly hinted, this government is not accountable to people of Nepal there is no reason to believe that this government will be able to hold an election in which Nepali people will participate in an enthusiastic manner.
The Bitter Reality
Even if we put aside the accountability issue, the present government, we were told, was formed to hold a free and fair election by November. If the government thinks that it is not possible to hold election by that date then all ministers should dare to resign. But the situation is quite different. Former bureaucrats have started to work in a manner as if they are members of the elected cabinet.
Ministers have already started to commit various reform agendas during their tenure. It is ridiculous that members of incumbent government can pledge reform (long or short tem) in every sector whole forgetting to work to hold free and fair election.
And They should not Face the Public
Unlike to politicians, leaders in current government don’t have to face people or ballot box. Ideally, politicians are afraid of the masses because people can punish them in elections if they did bad things. But the corrupt bureaucrats, in most cases, don’t have to face the consequences of their mistakes because of lack of an effective watchdog and regulatory body to bring corrupt bureaucrats to book. In fact, the government may appoint one such corrupt bureaucrat with questionable character as the chief of the anti-graft body on Sunday!
Popular Perception about Bureaucrats
In Nepal, the popular perception about bureaucrats is not positive. Many believe that most bureaucrats are corrupt. Even politicians often accuse bureaucrats of systematizing corruption. Lavish lifestyle of many bureaucrats (unjustifiable to the salary they earn) proves that there is something wrong. But who is ready to investigate in transparent manner?
Roman scholar Marcus Tullius Cicero once said: “I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?”
Can our bureaucrats-led government prove him wrong? I don’t think so.